I am in Santa Fe, New Mexico with my friend and colleague Dawn Silver on what I call a working vacation. We’re teaching classes, working on clients and traveling around a bit. It is always interesting and exciting for me to visit other cities. Not only for the obvious enjoyment of seeing and experiencing things that Chicago doesn’t have, but for the richer multidimensional experience that most of us have but cannot explain of “having been here before” and the feeling of being transported back in time.
We are staying behind Canyon Road in Santa Fe, an area where the Spaniards settled 400 years old ago, in a beautiful empty adobe house that has been recently renovated. The floors are rustic, the wood panels are intricate, and outside the front of the house there is dirt, gravel and patches of grass where two more houses can be built. There are rabbits, squirrels and a variety of birds, running, fighting and playing all day long. The back of the house has a nice garden of rose, lavender and sage bushes. It is really quite peaceful and beautiful. In order to get to Canyon Road we have to maneuver our way along a dirt road and up a little hill. Once we get to the top of the hill we are in the hustle and bustle of the road made famous for its diverse art galleries.
The house, walking down a dirt road and coming upon the busy street all seemed really familiar to me. The more I was in the moment the more I visually tuned into a lifetime when Dawn and I were monks living together in this area. We were there to provide spiritual guidance to the Spaniards and to help to convert the Native Americans to Catholicism. We lived with very few amenities but had a sense of adventure and happiness. That’s the energy that Dawn and I had after we got settled into the empty adobe house with no furniture save a table, four chairs and two air mattresses. We had a sense of adventure and Dawn kept saying how happy she was to be in Santa Fe.
The next day I felt a little anxiety I couldn’t explain and Dawn was not feeling the best because her air mattress deflated and she slept mostly on the hard wood floor. As we talked I had an instant flash of going back in time and seeing both us in a jail, sleeping on the floor, and being anxious about the outcome of an accusation. I didn’t get any more information but just went about my day working with clients. In the afternoon, “Jennifer” came in for a session. She is of South American descent and reminds me of some of the paintings of the Native American women who lived in this area many years ago. I liked her immediately and felt like I was greeting an old friend. Besides having a session with me she was also going to attend our workshop the next day and she was really excited about our meeting.
Then another past life flash hit me like a ton a bricks. Jennifer was one of the Native American spiritual leaders we met while we were monks living in the Santa Fe area. During this time she taught me and Dawn the true meaning of spirituality. We couldn’t convert the Native Americans, they converted us! Dawn and I were thrown into jail for not following our mission. Discovering our predicament, Jennifer asked that we be allowed to talk to her tribe more about our God to create a better understanding. We were set free; she saved our lives. We remained great friends until Dawn and I went back to Spain, our lives changed forever. Jennifer had saved our lives and now it was our turn to help her. After our class was over, Jennifer invited us to her house the next day for dinner. It was like old friends reacquainting with each other as we shared our present life experiences, goals and dreams. Jennifer even gave us a gift of a bag of dried South American flowers in which to make into a tropical juice, popular in her country, upon our return to Chicago. I’m sure we received similar gifts from her upon our return to Spain so long ago!
I have had many similar experiences in my travels even before knowing about the concept of past lives. I remember getting off the plane in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1995 and feeling like I was home again. I remember going to New York City for the first time, taking one quick look at the subway map and navigating my way around the city like I’d lived there for years! I went to Macchu Piccu to be reunited with my Incan brother who not only took care of me in that life so long ago, but who also took care of me while we climbed Wanu Picchu, the mountain behind Machu Picchu, together in this life. I know that all of my close friends in this life have been friends, parents, lovers, partners in crime, teachers, students and siblings before.
We all have had déjà vu moments and couldn’t explain why something or someone was familiar, why some place or person didn’t feel quite right or how we knew our way around a city we have never been before in this life. Be open to those feelings of familiarity as you travel to other places and meet people on your journey. It will make your journeys all the richer and more intriguing if you do!
Copyright © 2009 by Shirlyn Wright