Why does it take so long to get clear? Years of muddling through the misery of other people’s opinions and judgments until, finally, you have no choice but to trust ourselves and those inner voices that have been screaming into the silence for so long.

An anecdote from Suze Orman’s 9 Steps to Financial Freedom: Parrots in the market square stood on their perches, surrounding their owner. Why don’t they fly away? Because he taught them that their perches were safe and secure and nothing else was. How can you teach them to let go and come back in their own time?

If it’s not money, it’s love, it’s a body beside you in bed at night, it’s the illusion of connection, it’s a belly-filling meal on the table with conversation and clinking glasses. There is no security or safety. It lies within, like the tiger at the gate, like the wooden perch, which is nothing more than a post in open air, exposed to the elements and opinions and tirades and protected by nothing.

Or everything.

Eleven years ago, I hiked the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, waxing philosophical to the swaying trees and slanting trails about the beauty of Sabbath observance at a friend’s house.

An hour of minutes, my voice trailing the wind. I was as far away from that notion as I could be and it was all I could see – not the trail before me or the dirt path under my feet or the snow-melt lake beside which I ate a picnic lunch of smoked meats and cheese slices and fruit.

Did I see where I was then? And better question – when I returned and slunk into the wrap of Sabbath silence in Oak Park, did I even see that? Or did I count the minutes until I could turn the light switch and clean the dishes and go on a date with someone I imagined would ignite my senses?

I don’t know about you, but I have long chased illusions and I am finally finished with that senseless trail.

Children know in the infinite that truth lies within. They do not see superficial nor do they judge. An old person’s hand shakes and they grasp the bent fingers to feel the softness.

We lose that perfection, that trust somewhere along the way – when fifth-grade bullies make fun of hair or the jeans we wear or when that first boyfriend chooses someone else to kiss. And most of us spend a lifetime searching for the voice that never left. If only we knew.

The tarot cards line my sidewalk and the stone runes are buried in the laundry basket. Acceptance and story, all the same. Truth lies within. It always has. Not in the mall, under the spin of the credit card, and not in a glass of wine drunk too fast. Not in the never-ending therapist sessions we turn to for answers that never appear. You’re better off shaking the magic 8 ball and closing your eyes.

Today the weather is unclear. Gray-hazy, not warm, not cool, not really much of anything. I get my children back at 3:15. The chicken in the crockpot roasting with the juice of a just-squeezed orange, a drizzle of olive oil, carrots and celery chunks and onions. Dinner tonight will be magic. As will the cleanup. As will the tucking-in, the story-reading, the silence that is never silent.

And then a new day.

The voice within. The voice without. The reaching hand grasping soft skin as the sailboat untethers and heads for the seas.

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