Friday Thoughts: The Golden Thread
The Way It Is
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
~ William Stafford
I’ve been thinking this week about this poem by William Stafford. We all have a thread — something we do, a quest, a question, an exploration, a way of being, a way of knowing — something that is central to our life and pulls us forward. It's usually not a loud part of our daily life, but it's always humming along . For most of us it’s hard to pin down. If we are lucky we, or someone we love, will discover it during our lifetime. At our death, we always see it. And it is always good. Always.
Throughout our life, there are times when this thread becomes visible. Something like this:
I bet something interesting happened to you when you were around thirty years old. It might have felt like an earthquake. It might have moved in front of you like a breeze. But it captured your attention and you’ve never forgotten it. The thread was saying, “Yoo-hoo! Remember me? I’m going to give you a little something to keep you curious about me.”
This week I’ve been struck by the number of conversations I’ve had with people about a pivotal experience that happened to them when they were thirtyish. The questions I asked each of them were the same: After the experience, what did you learn? What questions were you left with? How is it playing out in your life now?
This is your thread, probably also a dusted off version of itself from earlier days (seven? thirteen?). It’s the thread you held onto and, I suspect, vowed to make sure you had your hands on when you needed it — in a time like this, maybe.
In your travels through life, your thread has picked up barnacles, dust, muck of all kinds, and probably lots of embellishments. Time to bring out that thread and remember what it looked like then, at thirty. The wisdom you have gained since then will help you to see your thread with greater appreciation and potential.
When I was nearing thirty, I had my first big adult spiritual experience. From it, I learned two things. One, we all come to this earth with a team of helpers, and we must learn how to talk with them effectively. Two, we all have a place inside us that has never been damaged by life experiences. All healing and growth come from there. I have embellished those threads in the thirty-plus years since they came to me. And I am feeling led now to shake the detritus off my threads and reclaim their simplicity — but with added wisdom.
How about you? What happened when you were thirtyish? What memory have you carried from then to now? And, if you can’t remember thirtyish, what about when you were about six or in your adolescence?
These threads are an important part of the adventure we are all in together right now. What would happen if we all grabbed hold of our threads as if they were rope tows? Maybe we'd end up someplace satisfying.
Lots of love to you,