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HELF SELP

A JOURNEY FROM FAR TO NEAR

Prologue
At sunrise on a summer’s day
a boy was born on the African plain.

Like all new life, energetic and undeterred,
he had no choice but embrace
the possibilities that life offered.
With his time just beginning,
with so many vital instincts commanding his attention,
everyone assumed he was oblivious to the challenges he faced.
And yet, even if no one noticed,
there was something different about the boy.
He was not like you or me – even if we are not like anyone else.

If anyone had the foresight to really listen to him,
they might have heard the concern and compassion in his cries.
If they had, no doubt they would have explained it away,
a mere projection of their own feelings and nothing more.
After all, for anyone witnessing his birth,
there were many reasons to cry.

The labor was traumatic; a baby didn’t cry and then a baby cried.
The underweight boy nearly didn’t make it.
His village was poor, the poorest in one of the poorest countries.
Before the year ended, his father would succumb to tuberculosis.
More critically in the moment, his mother had died giving him life.
As his cries became forceful and clear,
hers faded then sighed away to nothing.
His grandfather, sweet and kind and well-intentioned as he was,
was also a mystic, too preoccupied to focus on responsibilities for long.
He was also too naïve about babies to be an adequate substitute.
Not for a mother’s love.

Except for the gift of life, there was little to celebrate in the moment.
So much had aligned against this boy
and any chance he’d have a good life.

But there was something in those loud and strong cries,
something that sensed what was well and not so well
about the world around him.
Those fragile first wails came from a remarkable place of mature feeling,
a place that somehow understood without knowing how it had.
No one discussed how this was possible.
Demands of the moment and their preconceptions wouldn’t let them.
And even if they could, none would have ever imagined
there was anything to make of it.
Maybe the cries of all babies are sage,
echoing the wisdom of life itself.
Birth was life in its purest, exalted form.
A new life, fresh with nature’s perfect imprint.

We can’t be sure.
That’s just the way things are.
And things are never as they seem.

As we grow, we are told such things.
So much more we tell ourselves.
Emerging patterns of life appear so clear
in light of the design and intent we learn to place on ourselves.
Self-fulfilled clarity becomes automatic;
our worldview assured, the illusion complete.
And yet, gifted with a change of perspective,
so much is discovered without ever knowing we’ve been searching.

A toddler three years later,
the same boy ran and played in a field of tall grass.
His grandfather hobbled after him,
then eagerly crouched and whispered in his ear,
“The closer you move, the more is revealed.”

The story of a boy born at sunrise
on a summer’s day is quite like that.

Just a whisper in the ear.

CLICK HERE TO READ AN EXCERPT FROM HELF SELP

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"When it all falls away, then you'll be ready."

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