I think it may finally be time to write publicly about a profound experience I had a few years ago. This experience added clarity to my life. I have had a few related experiences since then, and I feel they are all building the narrative of my life going forward. I may share others later.
I have told certain close friends and like-minded folks about this experience, but I have never had the courage—nor felt the calling—to share it more widely, until now. It feels edgy to me, in a variety of ways, to do so. Various people I know might not feel comfortable or supportive about various parts of the story. And I do value community support, and I sometimes struggle with conflict, or having people disagree with me, so writing and sharing this is edgy for me.
But… I’ve been having a very quiet and plain time in my life for the past couple of months, since I re-settled into Portland for the winter, and especially since I fractured my foot, while the weather has also been mostly inhospitable for outdoor activity. (The good news: the fracture seems to have healed well, and I’m on my way to sunny California for a week tomorrow!) My year of travels was fairly bursting every day with joy and/or good-story-making challenges. I haven’t had much to share lately. I would like to share more.
At this new quiet, slow point of my life, I am choosing to trust that I am continually deepening my connection to my life’s calling. And I now believe that part of that includes stepping more fully and visibly into my truth.
So… here is the story.
About four or five years ago, I was taking my annual winter mini-vacation in San Diego, to exchange the Portland rain and cold for some warmth and sunshine. For about ten years, I did some version of this three- or four-day trip, sometimes taking the train one way and flying back, other times maximizing my “away time” by flying both ways, despite my dislike of flying on multiple levels.
Often, when I would travel there, I would instantly arrive in “vacation mode,” loving the weather and surroundings, meeting up with friends, enjoying Balboa Park and vegan restaurants, and maybe spending some time enjoying the Pacific out at Ocean Beach or Encinitas.
Part of this vacation mode often included jumping onto Tinder, because the idea of a winter SoCal fling always felt exciting, like it would just kick the whole vacation up another notch.
However, for the previous few years when I had tried that in San Diego, I had never found any Tinder matches. I always felt a bit disappointed about that.
In this particular case, I was staying in a room at an Airbnb in a woman’s house. The woman had a housemate, and we had all three had some nice chats.
I wanted to get on Tinder again. Could this be the year when I would finally find someone to have some fun with?
I fired up the app and started swiping.
Nope, nope, nope, nope… I started to feel the familiar “Tinder malaise.” The feeling of, Ugh, who are these people?
No one stood out to me.
Then I kind of caught myself, and had a sudden epiphany.
Something felt wrong about my own energy. My own approach to this “mission.”
I wasn’t being present enough. I wasn’t holding a vision of what I actually was seeking, but rather just mindlessly swiping. I suddenly felt myself giving myself some direction:
“Maren, what you need to do is put down the phone for a few minutes. Really think about what you’re seeking here. Visualize a face—and an energy—that is what you would really, optimally like to find to connect with. Swipe through the faces more consciously. And only swipe right if you see one that feels right like that.”
I was struck by my own wisdom. (Was it even my own, or was I tapping into something larger?) This seemed like good advice. I followed it. I spent about five or ten minutes with the phone down, and my eyes closed, feeling into the sort of face and energy I was looking for, to have a satisfying connection with, if only briefly.
After this, I felt at peace, but also energized. I was ready to pick up the phone again.
When I reopened Tinder, I swiped more intentionally through the first few faces I saw. And lo and behold! It was only the third or fourth of the men I saw who struck me as a match with what I had envisioned.
I swiped right.
And he matched with me!
This was rather unusual. Normally on dating apps, I had found very few I was willing to swipe right on. And when I did, probably only half of them swiped right on me.
But here was this match.
I messaged him immediately, and he messaged me right back. We seemed a very good energetic fit.
Was he available right now? Sadly, no, he had plans that evening. But the next night was open for both of us.
The next day I looked forward to the date all day. We met for a drink after dinner, at a cool tiki dive bar in the neighborhood that he suggested. We sank into a huge booth in a dark corner, and each ordered a drink, which we proceeded to nurse for the next two to three hours.
Our conversation was wonderful! The chemistry seemed to be flowing, as we flirted and talked about sexuality, but also about spirituality, some paranormal experiences he had had, music, art, and a variety of other topics.
We were clearly vibing. This was exactly what I had set out to manifest.
We decided to leave the bar and head out into the warm night. We were near Balboa Park, and we walked toward it for a few blocks, arriving under some trees in the lamplight.
This turned into an awkward moment, as we kissed, and then discovered that neither of us had a private residence to invite the other back to. Each of us had assumed the other did.
We couldn’t waste this vibe, though, could we?
After a moment, he smirked and said, “Well… I’ve got my car…”
I laughed, and then decided, Why not? I never really had a misspent youth with “car experiences,” so why not try it now, in my late 40s?
I’ll spare you the details, but we had a kind-of-fun, also-rather-awkward caper in his car on a quiet street.
Afterward, we felt like talking, so after he drove me back to my Airbnb, we stayed in the car and chatted for another half hour or so.
We said goodnight and he drove off, and I returned indoors, giddy from the evening’s unfoldings. This is what I had been wanting every year! I felt so grateful to have had the wonderful conversation and connection, and to believe that my own new, energetically guided and focused approach, had led me to this.
Surely I could apply this approach to various other aspects of my life as well…
The next morning, I was set to meet up with a friend who lived north of town, who would drive down to meet me at the Hillcrest Farmers Market. We would shop a bit there—she was vegan too, and I understood there were various vegan stalls at the market—and then we would go to a new vegan brunch spot nearby to check it out.
I was excited to see her, and especially to share the exciting story of my previous night! I knew she would appreciate the story.
I set out on foot for the farmers market, but sadly it was raining, which was really annoying to me since I had explicitly planned this trip to escape Portland’s rain.
At least I had a rain jacket, though, and the temperature was mild.
But before I reached the market, I got a text from her saying that traffic on the freeway would delay her by about half an hour.
I felt my emotions instantly doing a 180, changing my excitement and anticipation into anger and frustration. Why was traffic ruining our plan?? I had timed everything out to work just right!
I noticed what was happening to me, though, and tried to reframe it:
“Maren, take a deep breath. She’s still coming. You’ll still have brunch. You’re on vacation, you’re not at work… just go with the flow! You know what you love? Parks! Why don’t you look at the map on your phone and see if there is a nearby neighborhood park?”
Dutifully, I whipped out Google Maps.
And what should I discover, much to my surprise, but that there was a little “spur” of Balboa Park within a five-minute walk.
I love that park. It’s one of my favorite city parks. The cactus garden, in particular, is a special spiritual place for me. Every time I visit San Diego, I make a point to go and sit there for a spell, to meditate on my life, where I am, where I want to go, etc.
I had done so, just a day or two before.
But this was a whole other section of the park. I had looked at the map of the park many times over the years, noticing its large square shape, but often overlooking this small spur on the northwestern corner.
But here it was, calling to me. I could go over there right now.
When I arrived, I found this section to be unlike most other sections of the (admittedly quite varied) park. It was rather hilly/canyon-like, and looked a bit messy in the mud from the rain. It was forested, with eucalyptus and other trees, and a muddy pathway along the side of a hill. The topography, mud, and cloudy skies lent the whole place a vaguely otherworldly air, as did its desolation: aside from one couple I saw briefly walking through, I had this section of the natural area all to myself.
I began walking the path, enjoying the feel of the place, and reminiscing about the powerful and inspiring conversation from my date the previous night. One of the things we had talked about was my sexuality, and how I feel it is an important part of my power in the world, even though it’s not always clear—to me or others—exactly how. But it felt like an important realization to speak and be witnessed about.
I thought about this again as I walked the path, and it felt profound.
As I continued along the hillside, I suddenly had a vision that stopped me in my tracks. The vision was unrelated to my sexuality, but felt equally profound.
I had been thinking about politics, and social media, and the polarization of cultural dialogue. It was—and remains—a painful topic for me. I have always believed in standing up for one’s beliefs, and for what is “right” and just in various ways. At the same time, I have always recoiled from conflict. This growing cultural zeitgeist of fighting on social media about political and cultural issues had been gnawing and tearing at me for some months and years.
As I stood there on the path, I suddenly got a visual, of myself as a Christmas light bulb. Like the traditional-shaped ones from my ‘70s and ‘80s childhood. Specifically, a dark green one.
I visualized my heart, and also my entire energetic being, as a slowly, softly glowing green Christmas light bulb. Radiating light and love. Not fighting.
I felt some tears beginning to well up. This felt really powerful. I felt that my role in life was to glow softly but powerfully as a Christmas light bulb. To lead with my heart. To lead with love. To care about and speak in favor of justice, yes, but to mainly—for my own part—glow my love and light.
I sensed/reflected that people are all different. Perhaps archetypes are a good way to describe it. Some people live as warriors. Their highest and best calling includes openly, and frequently, fighting for their beliefs. This is necessary in a society, a culture. These folks are an essential part of the ecosystem.
And… in that moment, I grokked and accepted that I am not a warrior, and that I should not allow myself to be shamed—internally nor externally—into believing that living as a warrior was the only righteous path, nor that it was the optimal path for me.
Mine was to shine and glow, as a being of light and love, and a beacon of such for others.
The tears started falling.
I soaked all this in.
I could feel how deeply powerful this message was for me. I made a point to stand still in that spot, taking it in for as long as I thought I needed for it to stick.
After a few moments, I felt ready to walk on. I basked in this glowing-light visual as I continued along the path.
And when I rounded the next bend—and found myself on the other edge of the spur, and recognized this edge as one I actually had walked a few times over the years—another, equally powerful, visual struck me.
Have you seen those Christmas-light nets that you stretch over a bush, so that it kind of makes the bush appear to glow? I have seen them over the years, mostly with the small, more modern white lights that are more common these days.
The first time I had ever seen a net like this, though, was in December of 1995. I was visiting Salt Lake City for my first—and as of this writing, only—time. It was the Christmas season, of course, and one night I found myself walking within visual range of the Mormon tabernacle at the center of town.
The Christmas lights in the garden grounds around the temple mesmerized me. At the time, I had never seen anything like them; as of 1995, I think most Christmas displays around the US were more modest. Or if not modest, more gaudy than this. These garden lights were multicolored, and at once staggeringly lavish yet somehow subtle. I don’t know how well I can trust my memory, but my sense is that I saw several bushes fairly shimmering and glowing purple.
The scene was breathtaking.
Flash forward to Balboa Park again.
I stood there, frozen in my path again from this new vantage, with a new visual taking shape in my mind: A glowing network of multicolored Christmas lights forming a net around the orb that is Planet Earth.
Where were these lights? How far up, off the ground?
I struggled to recall my high school science to find the right descriptive terminology.
Was it the troposphere? The place where weather is formed?
That felt right somehow…
I visualized that this rainbow network encircled the earth somewhere around the troposphere.
Of course it wasn’t anything measurable by human instruments.
It was energetic.
Yet somehow deeply real.
I was one of these lights.
And there were many more of them.
Each light represented someone living on the earth who had the capacity to turn into one of these colorful lights.
But none of us were necessarily already doing so.
We were going about our dreary, earthly lives, doing mostly boring and non-meaningful activities. We were failing to use our precious, limited time and energy for its highest purpose.
I further felt a message come to me that I was to activate my own Christmas light. This was an important part of my life’s purpose.
The other part of my purpose was to identify other not-yet-lit Christmas lights from among the human population, and network with them. Help them to ignite their own glowing lights of love and hope, and help to hook us all up together into a network, all around and above the surface of the earth, which would then glow in a way it hasn’t been able to glow yet.
When a certain critical mass of glowing lights joined the network, the whole thing would glow, in a way that was energetically greater than the sum of its parts. This glow would be powerful enough to bring about some sort of non-linear and profound healing of humanity, and the earth and all its inhabitants.
This felt so real, and so powerful to me in the moment, that again I forced myself to stand still for about ten minutes while I visualized and felt the whole thing strongly enough that it would seep into my mind completely enough that I wouldn’t forget it.
I thought of how I might go about meeting these other light-bulb folks, and making connections with them and among them.
I thought of things like my sexuality—meeting aligned people on Tinder or in other ways, similarly to how I had done it the previous night—as well as other, seemingly very mundane ways, such as talking to people at bus stops or on public transit, whether city buses or long-distance trains. I also thought about various events I had organized over the years, such as gatherings I had hosted called MindTrust meetings, or later, Dream Into Change Salons. The purpose of these gatherings had been to pull people together to talk about their dreams and projects for making the world a better place, with the understanding that when people talk about such ideas in a small, supportive group, everyone benefits, and each idea or project gets amplified and more likely to come to fruition.
I was sure there were more ways of meeting and connecting these folks, too; these were just some initial thoughts.
What was clear to me was that this was my life’s purpose.
I didn’t have to understand it. I didn’t have to explain or justify it to anyone else.
It was just my “assignment.” It was what I was to do with my life energy.
So I’ve been doing this, as much as I have been able, ever since.
When I have talked or written about wanting to meet “magical people,” that can have various flavors of meaning, but mostly it means meeting people who feel aligned with this vision in some way. Fellow members of the rainbow network. I can usually feel it when I meet them.
A big part of my vision for my yearlong counterclockwise loop around the US was based on this vision as well.
So have been the “magical meetings” I have held with many people—all around the world—by phone or video chat.
I have spoken and written somewhat openly about these desires in the past few years, but I have kept the underlying structure relatively quiet until now.
It sounds kinda crazy. Very woo-woo. Perhaps, to some people, laughable.
I didn’t want any sort of negative feedback to flow back to me, possibly causing me to doubt myself or my vision. I know that for much of my life I have been very sensitive to others’ perceptions of me, and that can hold me back.
But now, it seems ever more important to me to keep moving powerfully into this mission. And I think an important part of that is to strengthen my own core and sense of self by allowing myself to be more visible about it.
I want to share more openly what it is that I am doing with my life.
This is it.
I expect I will share more later, as more unfolds.
But for now, thank you for reading this, and for witnessing me and my vision.
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2 thoughts on “The rainbow network”
Hi Maren – I love your vision of the Christmas lights. And that we need warriors and also peace-keepers, people who hold the peace and connection – and it’s so freeing to give oneself permission to embrace what they actually are!
Thank you, Erin! Yes, I agree!