Recently, while visiting some of my family, I walked a former friend’s land and was saddened by the deadness and emptiness that I felt. During my growing-up years, this woman, Eva, had been a close friend of my family’s. As a child I would often go to her place for hot chocolate, laughter, and a good story. When I was in high school I would weekly visit Eva after school before going home. By that time it was I who was telling the stories and making her laugh, for Eva had become deeply grieved in her remaining years. We had many serious discussions about religion, relationships, and reality. This older friend was first a mentor to me when I was a child, and I then became hers in my youth and in her declining days.
After retiring, Eva moved from the Los Angeles area to her place near San Carlos in Arizona. She had dreams for that place and for her life. Retirement for Eva was a rebirth, a new way of being and existing. She left one identity in California to create another one in Arizona. Most of the family, especially her children, did not understand her choice. Most were embarrassed by her and possibly considered her move as a mental breakdown, and after her death, her children had no interest in the nonmaterial legacy that she had left. They were interested in the material inheritance of real estate and finances, but not those personal items that reflected the move into her new identity and life. . . . What was that move that Eva made?
She wanted to become more than she was. She wanted to go to the depths of her heart. She wanted to expand her experiences beyond what she had had in mainstream society. She wanted to embrace the legacy of her Native American ancestors and get back to dirt and plants and animals and away from concrete and plastic and machines. She wanted to find herself, for over the years she had become lost amongst the mannequins and masquerades of the dominant culture.
Her land became the physical manifestation of her own unfoldment. As she struggled to realize the depths of her spirit, her land evolved—plant by plant, stone by stone, path by path—into a landscape of little vignettes for meditation and reflection. Eva called her place the “Rendezvous of the Rainbow.” At the entry was a little sign that stated, “Leave your worries, fears, and burdens behind as you cross over the rainbow bridge. Step into peace, power, healing, and joy.” Two or three steps later a little bridge painted with the seven colors of the rainbow graced the path. After crossing the rainbow bridge, the path split into three different directions, each one leading to a simple landscaped motif that promised to take you into an inner journey of questing and discovering if you were an individual of imagination and adventure. Unfortunately, her family did not have the understanding of the “power of place,” or any desire for “vision questing,” so they ignored the many little compositions that she so lovingly created on her land.
After Eva’s death, the Place of the Rainbow lost its grace as a result of negligence and disregard. No longer did people come there to look for courage, power, peace, and joy. People with shattered lives continued to come there, but they were not seeking healing and composure; these ones were looking for enhancing their confusion and brokenness with the distractions of drink, drugs, and drudgery. Thus, Eva’s brave new world of rainbows, rebirth, and rehabilitation was destroyed by the masquerading mannequins who were the offspring of the industrialized and technology-crazed world of inner drought, dearth, and death that she had left. Her garden of living soil, colorful plants, many-textured rocks, and singing animals became a graveyard of concrete-like dirt, plant skeletons, rocks turned to asphalt, and no animals.
Many years ago, Eva gave herself the name Star Dancer when she decided to compose a new life with more depth and purpose. The name implies expansion into cosmic thinking and being. The name reflects a newfound freedom in the joy of interacting intimately and lovingly with the natural world. Star Dancer was a new name for a new life of adventure and exploration of the vast cosmos of outer and inner space.
The rainbow is a symbol of hope and life everlasting for many cultures. For Judaism and Christianity, the rainbow is God’s covenant never to forget humans. The rainbow consists of the seven foundational colors that blend and flow together, thus a sign for synthesis, synergy, and coordination. Barbara Marx Hubbard, a futurist with a hopeful vision, says the rainbow is “a mark of love signifying that the elevated individual is always connected to God consciously and is therefore whole, incorruptible, immortal and perfect as God in Heaven is perfect.” She goes on to say that the rainbow is “the mental counterpart of atomic energy. It is the light given off by minds whose thought is vibrating at the God-frequency, consciously accessing the universal information system, consciously connected with the mind of God.” The Bakongo tribe in Zaire honor a rainbow god who stills the thundering storms in the sky and the violence found in nature and humans on the earth. This rainbow god is considered to be the guardian of the earth and sea, including the village and its community, thus he is the protector of all life from destruction and chaos. Scientists explain that the rainbow is formed when water droplets in the air cause the diffraction of sunlight. I see each human being having the potential of being a water droplet that can reflect the Sonlight of Christ, helping to bring the rejuvenating and healing colors of the Universe Father’s/Mother’s love and truth to Earth.
Eva Star Dancer represents many things to me. She is all those who have attempted composing a decent life within the mainstream and eventually realized that they could not be sustained. She is all individuals who have become refugees from the dominant culture of Western civilization—some of those have been able to create an enriching and sustainable life outside of the status quo; some have become immersed in the margins of desperate existence. She is those Native Americans who were “relocated” by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to urban areas for “assimilation” only to discover that they had been thrown into a terrifying wasteland of bigotry, loneliness, and poverty, experiencing “dislocation” that ended up in debilitating alcoholism. She is women who—having lived lives of constant interruptions from the demands of family, friends, and work—chose, in their mid or older years to redirect their existence in their status quo of discontinuity to a new life of continuity and coordination. She is the mothers and wives who are abandoned by their families when they no longer meet the wants, desires, and expectations of their children and husbands. And she is much more.
Though Eva finally succumbed to her sadness and took her life one golden, sunny, Autumn afternoon, I think that she had composed a life of dignity and compassion. She was victorious in recognizing that she was caught in a system of spiritual and psychological emptiness, and she had the courage to leave that wasteland of systematic deadening of sensitivity and humanness. She did compose a new life for herself, a life of higher aspirations and ideals, a life of quiet and composure, a life of celebration and ceremony, a life of ministry to those who were broken and searching for deeper purpose and meaning. I think that Eva’s tender heart grew weary of seeing the devastation that the dominant culture wrecked on nature, on people, on her own children. In her last days on Earth, I think that Eva, in her discouragement and sadness, forgot to follow the advice of her little sign at the entry of her place: “Leave your worries, fears, burdens behind as you cross over the rainbow bridge. Step into peace, power, healing, and joy.” In her depression, Eva lost her way and forgot about the rainbow bridge, thus losing faith in God’s covenant with her. I think that Eva not only felt abandoned by her family but by God. Star Dancer quit dancing on Earth near the end of her life, but in her passing from this world she crossed another type of rainbow bridge that leads to dancing on the stars of other worlds.
In our struggles to maintain sanity and sustainability on this fallen and pained world, we must continue to rendezvous with the meaning of the rainbow—a bridge to the mind of God, His/Her fragment within us that is continually there to redirect our thoughts of fear and anxiety, our feelings of discouragement and despair to the reality of courage, peace, love, joy, and hope. God never abandons us, but we humans often abandon Him/Her. We humans have two drives within us, the material and the spiritual. Our destiny is to evolve from material persons to spirit persons, and we struggle with much conflict here on Earth in our unfoldment.
Like Eva Star Dancer, many of us humans fluctuate between hope and joy in a vision of a higher way of living and the disappointments and sadness in experiencing the many limitations of living a material life on this world. We become disappointed with ourselves, with others, and even sometimes with God if we think that He/She is not meeting our expectations.
I know another woman, who I will call Naki (though that is not the name she goes by), who, in her aging process, has succumbed to her vanity and is now in a serious state of depression. Naki appears to have given up living with zest and sits around, moaning and groaning about the loss of her looks and therefore of her life. She was always a physically beautiful person, with people commenting on her prettiness ever since she was a little girl. Throughout her life she was very popular with males and always had them clamoring for her attention. Things came easily for her because of her physical looks, and she built a life based on materialism and outer beauty. Naki never really developed a relationship with the Creator or a rich inner life because she lived in a culture that reinforced her empty vanity and materialism. Now she is losing that prettiness and feels abandoned, lonely, and hopeless.
Unlike Eva Star Dancer, Naki has not yet made a leap in faith and attempted to create a new life, a better and higher way of living. Though Eva ended her physical life on Earth, she was always more alive than most. Eva had become an artist in juggling the material with the spiritual. Though she had to struggle to make a living and deal with her own psychological demons, she never denied her spiritual nature and continued to nurture her inner life, thus continuing to unfold into self-realization. Naki has yet to attempt dancing on the stars or rendezvousing with the rainbow. However, it is never too late.
It is never too late for any of us humans to begin to walk into the primal mandate and destiny for each one of us—to experience our Creator as our loving Father/Mother God, ascending into whole human beings, eventually becoming perfected and spiritized in divine pattern. Some, like Eva Star Dancer, begin to realize this spiritualizing destiny while living on Earth, while others begin to awaken to their true destiny after they pass on. For all of us, the journey towards ever-increasing perfection continues beyond life here on Earth.
Though we struggle as imperfect human beings with our selfishness, disappointments, discouragement, fears, self-pity, vanities, pride and lack of faith, we all have the promise of perfection within us. We can rendezvous moment-to-moment with God by crossing the rainbow bridge within; our material minds can meet the divine mind if we just continue in faith. Naki, in the depths her depression, can still become a star dancer. An ancient spiritual advisor once said, “Stars are best discerned from the lonely isolation of experiential depths, not from the illuminated and ecstatic mountain tops.”
Our so-called breakdowns, our moments of facing our own hearts of darkness can be the rainbow bridges that enable us to relinquish all of those habits, patterns, thought forms, beliefs, and ideas that are blockages to our moving into a new life of hope, joy, peace, purpose, and vitality. Remember, “Leave your worries, fears, and burdens behind and cross the rainbow bridge of God’s spirit within you and step into peace, power, healing, and joy.”
Niánn Emerson Chase