I got kicked out of a town once (actually twice, but that’s another story).
Many years ago, we lived in a tiny town of 400 residents in the Cascade Mountains in Washington State. The town had been a thriving coal-mining town in the 1800s with a surfeit of bars, bordellos, and churches. But when we moved there, the coal days were long past, and the town had a bit of the look of a ghost town with lots of the old miner’s wooden clapboards sitting empty. We loved living in this historic town with the crisp mountain air, deer in the backyard, and pine trees as far as the eye could see.
However, whiffs of trouble began one day when I was in the front yard and a young girl riding by on her bicycle stopped to chat. She was a friend of our daughter Meadow (who was also young at the time.)
“Is it true what folks in town say about you?” she innocently asked.
“Umm, I don’t know… what do folks say?” I answered.
“They say that you’re a devil-worshipper.”
“What!!!” I sputtered in shock as the blood drained from my face. This was anything but the truth! On a daily basis I prayed, meditated, and talked to my guardian angels. Why would anyone think this about me?
Trying to keep my composure, I asked, “Why do they say that?”
“It’s your horns.”
“What?!!” I was totally baffled
“People say that you own so many animal horns and antlers, that you must be into the devil.”
It was true that I had lots of horns. On the porch there were a couple of antique Western chairs made of horns, which I loved to sit on and watch the world go by. We also had a light fixture made from antlers that my husband David had found in the woods during the annual shedding. And, in a place of honor on our mantel there were also a few antlers that I used when leading sweat lodges. (I’m of Cherokee heritage, and I believe that my love of antlers comes through my bloodline.) I used antlers as decoration through our small home. When I looked at them I felt connected to my Native American heritage as my ancestors used antlers for tools, decoration, ceremony and for so many things. I was shocked that folks would think such things of me because of horns. I told the young girl that what they said wasn’t true, but she still looked a bit dubious because she knew how many antlers I had.
Later, I reasoned with myself that it was a small town and it was inevitable that there would be a few superstitious folks. I let the whole thing rest, until a few weeks later we received a letter from the city stating that I had violated a city ordinance that stated unrelated women couldn’t stay in the same house. (At that time in my life, a couple times a year, I invited a small group of women to stay with us for a week at our mountain home to meditate and commune with nature . . . and it was true that we were unrelated. However, evidently from the old coal-mining days, an ordinance—that was still on the books—had been passed to stop prostitution. It stated that only women that were related by blood or marriage could stay in one house.)
Darn! They were trying to use an outdated ordinance to get the “antler lady” out of town. It felt so unfair, but I believe that when one door closes, rather than try to kick the door down to pry it open, it’s often better to look for other doors. Of course, there are exceptions to this. There are times in your life to stand up for yourself fight like a mama bear protecting her cubs, rather than turn a blind eye to injustice. There are times to keep going forward and not give up, even amidst opposition . . . but this wasn’t one of those times.
Of course, we could have fought it. I’m sure that once folks knew that the antlers were a product of my Native American heritage and part of our Western décor, not for weird rituals, we might have been accepted back in the town . . . but watching the signs and tuning in to my inner voice, it seemed time to say farewell to our sweet home and sail into unknown waters.
So, we sold “Star House” (at night sitting on the front porch the night sky was amassed with stars, hence the name) and bought Summerhill Ranch on the central coast of California. It was the best move for us, we have loved living here for this last decade . . . and it wouldn’t have happened, except that some folks judged me unfairly.
There may be times in your life when you are treated unfairly or judged. There may be times when it seems that a door closed, a relationship is severed, a job is lost, or a project fails. However, if you’ve bashed yourself a few times against a closed door until you are bruised and weary, maybe it’s a message from Spirit that it’s time to look for other relationships, other jobs, other projects . . . and other doors.
At the time, I was devastated that we were selling our cabin in the mountains . . . but if that wouldn’t have happened, we wouldn’t have made the move to our wonderful ranch in California where the weather is stunning, wild animals abound, and our garden flourishes . . . and where we’ve been very happy.
When a door closes in your life:
- Acknowledge the truth of the situation. Honor and accept the emotions that you have at the time. It’s okay to feel angry, sad, hurt, or betrayed. Your soul loves the truth and denial slows down the healing process.
- Once you are sure that the door is closed, turn away and don’t look back. Looking back is like trying to drive your car forward by looking in the rearview mirror.
- Be open to new opportunities, new relationships, and new ways of viewing the world. And knock on a few doors; you may be pleasantly surprised what’s on the other side.