Stepping Out of “The Box”

By Sulana Stone

The early morning walk was uneventful until an overhead conversation captured my attention. Little did I suspect that I’d end up sharing my soul’s deepest wisdom with complete strangers a short time later.

I’m about half way up the steep desert mountain trail when I hear people talking. They sound as if they are close behind me. Expecting to greet people a few feet away, I turn around. Surprisingly, I spot a man and boy about 50 yards away jogging across the desert floor below.

Their conversation spirals up the mountainside as easily as a circling hawk rides uplifting wind currents. “Son,” the father queries, “what do you think gives you energy if you don’t have food in your tummy?” The boy is silent for a few seconds, then announces, “the sun.”

An Enlightened Kid

Wow! I’m amazed by the boy’s enlightened response. Thrilled to find evidence that young people are so wise. After decades of adventuring in nature, I only recently discovered that people can get energy from a variety of elements in nature, including the sun. Now I’m witnessing a boy who knows about one of nature’s gifts for humankind.

“No,” Dad replies with utter conviction. “You get energy from the fat in your body.” Dad sounds like an automatic recording. My heart sinks to the ground as quickly as a hawk dives for its prey.

Immediately I sense how as a kid I shut down my wisdom when other people told me “the way life is” discounting my “childish” input. I feel how bit-by-bit my spirit was squashed by loving parents, well-intended teachers and other adults who parroted to me what they had been taught.

I’m deeply moved by a dad who’s trying to educate his son. While at the same time I feel sad that the father isn’t open to learning something new from his son. I see how the father doesn’t even consider for a moment that his boy might be on to something.

Eventually, the twosome jog out of sight and sound, and I continue on my morning hike. A short time later, I arrive back at the trailhead parking lot.

Moving Beyond Self-Doubt

Usually after such an experience, I’d dismiss the conversation between the dad and his boy and go about my day. There’ve been many times in the past when I’ve overheard people talking and felt the urge to add something to the conversation. At the time I felt that I’d be butting in. Or felt helpless to do something. Or felt that my experience or point of view isn’t important. Yet today is different. Today my inner urge to do something is stronger than my self-doubts!

I want to champion the kid. I don’t want to let the boy’s wisdom be dismissed so easily. And yet I want to support dad too. I can tell he is being the best dad he knows how to be.

What can I do? Father and son are nowhere to be seen. I decide to write a note and leave it on the only other vehicle in the trailhead parking lot.

My attempt to empower both guys reads:

“Good morning! I couldn’t help but overhear your question to your son about ‘what gives you energy if you don’t have food in your tummy?’ From my experience, I’ve found that you’re both accurate. People can get energy from the fat in their bodies. And people can also get energy from nature, like from the sun and the earth. Tapping into nature’s energy is how extreme long-distance runners with very little body fat can run for many hours—or days—without food. That’s why Africans win most of the 26-mile marathons around the world. African runners have retained from their tribal past how to tap into the energy from the sun, earth, wind, rain and plants—something kids do naturally! Now, inspired by these long-distance runners, many other people are learning how to tap into the energy from nature.”

On my drive back home that morning, I felt happy. Happier than I’ve felt in quite a while. I did wish that I’d said more in my note. Been clearer. And shared more about what I knew from my personal experience about where people can get energy. But I was really glad that I took action on my inner urge to do something, be involved and communicate.

Discovering a “New” Energy Source

I will probably never know if I made a difference to the boy or his dad. But by sharing what I know, I made a difference in my own life. I freed my Spirit a little more that day—by having the courage to express it. Since that day, in other situations it’s been easier to tell the truth about what I know from my own experience. And I’ve discovered that when I share my spirit more openly, I’m tapping into yet another powerful source of energy!