A spiritual advisor
I never have had a spiritual advisor per se. I have chosen some role models and tried to emulate their good traits but no one ever stepped forward even to apply for the position of spiritual advisor. Of course, I never have asked anyone to fulfill this role for me.
Instead, I have learned to walk into wild places and quietly sit, stand or continue walking and opened myself to the places surrounding me. I have listened to the wind, the birds and the water falling down a mountainside or colliding with the land beside the sea. I have felt the presence of some other with me at times and the quiet has at times spoken to me. I have felt a warm breath on my neck.
And somehow, I have learned to expect good things when I am chilled. The cold talks to me much more than the warmth of the sun. When I walk outside to feed the birds and "my" deer at dawn or when I notice the stars or the moon, these are special times for me. Like most men, I am not usually fond of the darkness of night: It is an uneasy time.
I have grown old in a world that seemed to expect me to find my own way through life and to unwind life's mysteries on my own ... there was help, but it was my journey and no one could do it for me. Mom and Dad, friends, teachers and books, priests and those I met as I passed through life could help me learn ... but whatever I found of value was my own individual discovery. There was no spiritual advisor excepting the small, quiet voice from deep within myself.
I am very glad for this. I could not trust some absent voice to give me truth all wrapped up with some pretty bow on it. I actually have enjoyed my failures, shortcomings and silliness and embrace my learnings because there is no other way that I could have learned them.
Then too, my cats have helped me greatly to learn the value of doing nothing, of taking a nap, having a bath and simply watching the world pass by - and the utter joy of allowing it to pass me by.
My first cat was Rocky (a grey, long-haired cat with a squirrel's tail), then came Simon (a black furry cat), then Phillip (Candy's cat, a lilac point Siamese), then Tony (a brown, mackerel tabby), then Stash (a black kitten with a white moustache), then Cassidy (a sweet little black and white girl without a tail), then Mr. Higgins (a big orange cat), then Miss Bibette (a black girl with a white bib), and now Teddy and Murphy (two orange and white males with Maine coon bloodlines).
So, perhaps I have had some very special spiritual advisors? They have not walked with me but they have helped me unravel the truths that I have been exposed to over time. A cat treats a fly on the wall with the same vigor that he would the problem of nuclear war. It is not a question of which problem is most critical but which is most immediate and which he is able to solve. Cats usually seem to set priorities before rushing into anything, but rushing in always is an option.
My current chief spiritual advisor is Teddy, a 16-pound, almost 6-year-old Maine coon with good genes and experience. He came to Sequim from Neah Bay through a Coast Guard connection. He is named after a very good friend. Teddy is a no-nonsense fellow with a playful streak who loves to discipline his younger brother Murphy.
What Murphy lacks in genetic purity and intelligence, he makes up for with "purrsonality!" These two together keep me spiritually active and curious. They also get me up early every day.
Richard Olmer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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