A Spiritual Journey

I’m older now—it’s funny how one’s mind starts to reminisce about the past.  I once heard that while you’re in your mother’s womb, your destiny is written upon your forehead.  Destiny is how I now understand a dream I once had with a ball rolling down a rail just like the Mousetrap game, and with a click, it drops, only to be picked up and carried up a ladder, where it continued to be carried through many twists and turns through dreams, thoughts, perfect timing, and things that appear to be coincidences.

Some of the experiences are:

  • had a dream about being drafted into the Army, but joined the Air Force the day the draft notice came in the mail.
  • was shooting photographs for a friend’s wedding when a representative from a national magazine offered me a job as a photographer.
  • had a conversation with a lady crossing a street about my need to find an apartment to rent when she told me that her friend had just moved out and that I could move into a furnished apartment.
  • had a dream about my grandparents living in a row of homes and then found out that a man who gave me a car a couple of days later lived right across the street from the same row of homes in my dream.
  • once while driving, I had a thought to take a detour and as a result of acting on my thoughts, I avoided being in a major accident.
  • while walking in a mall, a man had a seizure and as he was falling, I caught him and when he came to, he started using sign language. The man was deaf. A lady who stopped to help happened to be a sign language teacher.

The ball continued to roll in my life.

As I read the evening newspaper about a man with 39 doctorate degrees, who would be speaking that night, I was compelled to go and see him.  Unbeknownst to me, his name was Richard Buckminster Fuller.  I was waiting in a Buckys-photo.jpglong line when a lady from the event came to me and said, “Come with me, Sir, we’ve been waiting for you.”  As I followed her behind the stage, there sat Buckminster Fuller.  She introduced me to him as being from a minority newspaper.  I must say I was shocked.  When I asked if we could meet the next day, he said, "Yes, meet me at the Marriott at noon."  We shook hands and I took my seat.  When the curtains opened, little did I know that I was in for a four hour lecture.  Buckminster Fuller began telling his story with one of the lowest points in his life: losing his job, losing his baby who died at birth, and how at one point, he contemplated suicide.  He told us that while he was standing, ready to jump in the Chicago River, he had a vision of water following its path to the ocean. From that point forward, he understood his destiny.  The next day when we met  I confessed, "Bucky, I must tell you I’m not a reporter." And he said, “I know that, but I have something to give you.”  He had written two research papers, one being his interpretation of the Lord's Prayer, which was about an awesome power that created and controls all things.  The second was a research paper he did on the first three years of a child’s life.  He said to me, “It's time for your son to be born, and you need to know this.”  Three years later, my son was born.  I held in my hand the instructions Bucky had given me to start his life.  Even though my life has taken many twists and turns, I have never forgotten the things Bucky taught me.  

Life lessons and destiny continue.  A short time after I met Bucky, I experienced the lowest point in my life.  After going through a divorce, I was injured at work, which resulted in seemingly endless days spent in pain confined to my couch. This stirred a lot of anger in me so I began reading a book called Medicine Woman by Lynn Andrews to refocus my frustration.  After I finished the book, I had a dream. This dream took place in my living room. I was sitting on my L-shaped sofa. At one end of the sofa I saw an American Indian man, at the other end I saw myself. As I sat, staring into his eyes, the man started talking to me.  At times, I was laughing.  Other times, I was crying.  This went on for a while until he vanished. I awakened startled and with an urgent need to find this man.   

This vision affected me profoundly. Within a week I began searching for the man in my vision, his face and eyes calling to me.  One day, while asking an old man if he knew of this man from my dream, he said, “Don't you know?  He’s looking for you too.  Calm down.”  Two weeks later, I was tired and hungry, so later that evening I decided to go out and grab a bite to eat at this beautiful restaurant in the mountains called the Swiss Chateau. As I walked in, the waitress said, “We’re closed.”  My reply was, “Where is the cook?”  Before she could answer, the cook came out of the kitchen and said, “I knew one more person was coming in, what would you like?”  After ordering, the waitress asked if she could join me. I said yes. She then asked, “Read any good books lately?”  I said, "Yes, Medicine Woman, but I’m looking for a Medicine Man."  She said, “Let me call my girlfriend.”  She returned and handed me a piece of paper with her handwriting on it.  She said, “You asked for him and there he is.  He is coming to town next week.”  After calling the phone number, the voice on the other line said, “I haven’t advertised him.  How did you get my number?” After explaining, he said, “Send me $40 to help pay for his expenses,” then he would send the address where I can meet him.

I arrived at the event 15 minutes late that evening. I grabbed a pillow and sat by the door.  There he was sitting in a rocking chair speaking about the Sacred Sweat Lodge.  When he removed his glasses to wipe his eyes, there for a brief second, we made eye contact. Those eyes – they were the same ones from my vision.  My heart began to rush.  He pointed at me and said, “Are you ready to sweat?”  I said yes. Later, we went to a very isolated farm – about 15 miles away.  Upon arriving, the man from my vision asked, “What’s your name?” I replied, “Ali.” Then he said, “What took you so long? My name is Robert Gopher from Great Falls, Montana. Is this your first time sweating?  You will carry the hot rocks.”  As we began to sweat, I thought about this the Sacred Ceremony that has been done for thousands of years, long before the Europeans invaded this land.  As I looked up, the Sacred Pipe was taken out of a fur pouch to ask the Spirits for help and to make a spiritual connection, a connection that I thought had been lost.  After the flap was closed to the lodge, Robert began to pray and added four splashes of water on the rocks.  The steam began to rise and after each song and prayer four more splashes were added to the rocks. The lodge got hotter and hotter, yet not unbearable.  It lasted about 3 hours.  As we got out, I lit a cigarette.  I had an extra pack to give to my new acquaintance, Robert, and when he took it he said, “This means you’re asking me to pray for you, did you know that?”  I said, "No, but please pray for me, I need help."  He then said, “I’ll be here until Saturday morning. Would you like to come back Friday night?”  1Robert.jpg

On Friday I returned.  After practicing the same ritual as before, we closed the flap door and Robert said, “This one will be done the way we sweat in Montana.”  As he began to pray and splash, singing louder and louder, singing and splashing, I knew then that I had to pray for my survival in that heat.  Through my prayers, I heard Robert say, “The hotter it gets, pray harder!”  And so I did.  I prayed so hard, I went out of my body to the other side.  I could see myself: I had long braids hanging down my face and there sitting next to me on my right side was my mother and her mother.  On my left side, I could see a face, a very large face singing me a song.  The next thing I remember was the door opening and the cool air hitting my body as I crawled out.  I couldn’t wait to share my experience with Robert. After I told him what I saw, he said, “Yes, that’s a good vision.”  We lit a cigarette and I asked him to come to my place.  He said, “Sure, the place I stay at I have to go outside and smoke.”  I said, “At my place, you can smoke all you want; and I need to talk to you.”  When we arrived at my apartment, I opened the door and said, “Welcome. My place is your place.”  He walked in and just like in my vision of him sitting on my sofa, he walked over and sat in that same spot.  I walked over and took my spot.  We began to talk and we didn't stop until 7:00 a.m. the next morning. The sun was rising and it was time for my new friend to head to the airport.  This is how I met Robert Gopher.

About 10 days later, I went out to eat at night as I had nearly two weeks before – tired and hungry – only this time I went to a local restaurant.  Upon entering, the waitress sat me in the smoking section. As I sat down, I looked around the room and there he was sitting with an old man across from me.  The Face.  The same face I had seen in the sweat lodge singing to me.  I sat nervously waiting for my food. I went to the bathroom just so I could get a better look at him.  I was so nervous I couldn’t say anything – what could I say?  Would he understand? Were we supposed to meet?  These questions raced through my mind as I rushed through my dinner.  I got up to leave, and the old man spoke to me.  He asked, "Are you an artist?"  I said no and introduced myself.  As I stood looking at him (the Face) I began to tell him of a sweat I had attended and of my vision, that he was there singing me a song. He said, “Did it go like this?” and began singing.  After the fifth song I said, “That’s the one.” He stood up and said that song is to call the Spirits.  After a big hug, he invited me to sit down and we talked until 9:00 a.m. the next morning.  I invited him to come over and sleep but he had too much work to do.  I asked if we could meet for breakfast the next day.  He said yes. That night, I dug out some old drawings and paintings that I had done years ago with no understanding of what they were.  I found an article from a magazine I wanted to show him. While having breakfast, I shared these things with him. When I asked, “What do these pictures that I’ve drawn represent?”  He said, “These are pictures of an old ceremony once done called the Ghost Dance, and these are ancient spirits.”  I showed him the article about the division of the U.S. and Alaska with a breakdown of Blacks, Whites, and Jews.  I said, “Look at this – they are talking of dividing this country.”  He said, “Oh, don’t worry, if anything happens on the surface, I’ll meet you there…” and he pointed to a spot on the map.  "Where is that," I asked? “ Home of the (Anasazi) Indians. This is Zion National Park.  Mother Earth has openings and this is one of them.”  After we finished breakfast, we walked to the car to say good-bye.

The next month we celebrated my son’s birthday with a party. Later that night, I went out to relax and shoot pool.  As I walked into the bar, I noticed one guy shooting by himself. I asked if I could play with him, Shanti2.jpgand he said, sure.  I couldn’t help noticing the intensity of our game.  Just one shot each turn. He introduced himself and said, “Where did you come from before Boulder?”  I said, “Palestine.  Do you know where that is?”  He said, "Yes, what's it like there?"  “Well, it’s very powerful and thought becomes reality there very fast.”  He said, “Oh, I’ve been to a place like that – Zion National Park.”  Suddenly I remembered the man I met at the restaurant, the old man with the face from my vision. I asked my new friend to tell me more of this place.  As he began talking of his experience there, chill bumps came on his arms and his voice trembled.  I then knew he had experienced something there that had changed his life forever.  “An experience of a lifetime” is how he described it. I couldn’t wait to see this place for myself, for I knew this was not an accident that we had met.  Our game ended and we shook hands to leave. I still remember the look in his eyes as he said, “Good luck.”

The following Monday with only $55 in my bank account, I made flight arrangements to leave for Zion the next day.  I called all of my friends to borrow their camping gear.  At the end of the day, I went to my mailbox. Much to my surprise there waiting for me was a check for $1200!  I had waited nine months for this check, and there it was, on that day, at that time.  I knew then I had stepped into the perfect time – I couldn’t explain why or how.

The next morning I flew into St George, Utah.  While on the plane, I had noticed a man across from me.  Upon arriving we spoke and he pointed out a motel to me with a car rental across the street. The following morning I left the motel, rented a car and drove to Zion. On the way I noticed how similar the mountains in this area were to Mesa Verde’s.  I arrived in Zion to see magnificent mountains touching the clouds.  I drove until dark listening to my thoughts, looking for a place to camp, and there it was – my camp site, a circle of rocks large enough for me to sleep in. After scoping out my site, I headed down the road to a restaurant, and as I walked in I thought that I should call the “Face” who told me of this place. When he answered, I said, “I’m here at Zion, is there anything special I should know?”  “Yes,” he said, “make an offering to the Spirits.  Put down some food and place one cigarette and matches at each of the four directions.”  I then left to go eat.  I ordered two dinners and ate a little of each.  After getting a container to go, I returned to my circle of stones to camp out.  After laying my sleeping bag in the circle, I said a prayer and put a cigarette and book of matches in each direction. I opened the container of food at my feet, and with a fork and spoon, I climbed into my sleeping bag as thoughts traveled through my mind. I became afraid.  After all, this was my first time ever being alone in the mountains. I began to pray and I noticed a mountain on my right with the full moon rising. This mountain reflected faces of people, animals, and strange shapes.  I watched the faces change until I finally fell asleep.  The next morning I woke up to a chill in the air and birds singing.  I noticed one cigarette was missing, and exactly half the food was missing. I thought, oh, they know I’m here.  They’ve accepted my offering. I was very scared, immediately jumped up, rolled up my sleeping bag, and left.

After breakfast, I asked the waitress, “That mountain down the road on the right with the white flat face – what is it called?” She said, “Oh, that one, it’s called the Great White Thorn.” I relaxed and knew I was at the right place.  I left and began walking with my sweetgrass in hand, I noticed a sign that read “Angel’s Landing.”  I had to go there I thought.  I walked up a mountain with beauty all around me, steadily climbing higher and higher. Off to the side, there was a cave. I  stopped in and took out my sweetgrass to pray and ask for guidance. Back on the path, I noticed the zigzag turns as I approached the top.  Finally, I made it. There at the edge, I found the tree where I was told to go and pray to receive a gift, which I did.  As I began walking to what is called Angel’s Landing, the wind started to blow.  I came to the edge of Angel’s Landing and as I fell to the ground, I realized how small I really was – just like a leaf on a tree, the wind could blow me over at any moment.  And there all around me, such enormous size and beauty.  I felt my place in the universe –  I was no more than a blade of grass that depends on the Creator for my life.  I was not in control as I had thought.  At that moment, I felt that we are all connected to the Cycle of Life.


On my descent, I walked slowly to see the beauty and enjoy all of the smells in the midday – just as fresh as early morning.  At the bottom, I had to cross a creek where I was told to stop, walk in it, and receive a gift.  I did.  Back in my car, I started seeing the huge mountains with faces of ladies, men, and animals.  Driving up into the canyon after going through several tunnels I approached a curve in the road where I was told to stop and go to the mountain on my left.  As I approached it, it seemed as if I had stepped on an electric bolt.  I began to cry, asking the Creator, “Why did you bring me here?  Why can’t I be normal like everyone else?”  I began to pray and thank him for my experiences and for my beautiful son and family.  Again I started crying and became angry at the way people had treated me on my job and elsewhere as I had only tried to help them.  I went into a rage of crying and screaming.  I picked up a stone and began scratching on the mountain. After the rage was over, I noticed the scratches I had made on the mountain – the words WOLF BEAR.  I said, “Is that my name?  Is this why you brought me here?”  I began to calm down and wipe my eyes.  “I like it,” I said.  “So that’s my name, thank you, thank you.”  Before I left, I said a prayer and made an offering.  I returned to my car, put on my headset and played the cassette tape, ‘Flute & Heartbeat.’  I drove up the mountain in awe of this creation – this powerful creation and the people who once lived here – the (Anasazi) Indians.  After one week here and so many beautiful experiences, I knew I had completed my mission, received all my gifts.  That night, as I slept, I saw it all over again.  And all I could think was, “Why me?  Who would believe me?”

The next morning I returned to the airport, ready to return home on my 6:45 am flight.  As I boarded the plane and sat looking out the window, I remembered everything that had happened.  Shortly after takeoff, only a few minutes into the flight, the pilot announced:  “Ladies and gentlemen, we are experiencing engine problems and will have to return to the airport.”  Immediately I thought, “So what did I forget?  Why am I returning?  I must have forgotten something or we wouldn’t be going back.  I must go back to Zion again.”  As I stood in line waiting to cancel my reservation, a lady behind me asked, “Why are you cancelling your reservation?”  I said, "I don’t know, I think I must return back to Zion." She said, “What kind of book is that in your pocket?”  "Lame Deer Seeker of Visions," I replied.  “Oh,” she said, “If you’re reading that book, you must go to the valley.  Here, let me call my girlfriend.”  When she returned, she said, “Be here at the airport in the morning at 6:45 am and you’ll fly into Page, Arizona.  My girlfriend, Bonnie, will meet you there to arrange an air taxi for you to take you into Monument Valley.” I said, “Sure, thank you so much.”  For some reason, I knew this was where I had to go.  The experience was still unfolding.



The next morning I boarded the flight to Page, Arizona.  When I arrived at the airport, I saw a black woman standing inside.  I asked, “Why are you here?”  She said, “When you return from the Valley, then you’ll know why.”  As I set down my bags, Bonnie walked up to me, “Are you Ali?  Your plane is ready.”  From the window of the plane, I looked at this strange land.  I could only imagine what the moon must look like at night here.  This land was so different, this home of the Navajo Indians.  The pilot began to point out Rainbow Bridge (a natural bridge), Lake Powell, sand dunes, and mountains that just popped up out of the ground.  At the end of the dirt runway, a bus was waiting to take us on a tour.  As the tour driver was driving around this beautiful strange land he asked, “What brought you here?”  I replied, “ I don’t know.  The Spirits sent me here.”  With a look of understanding he said, “When the tour is over, we’ll go in my truck and drive until you find out why.”  That was good because I needed to see this beautiful strange land.  On the bus ride, I couldn't help but think of all of the places on the planet.  Never had I seen anything to compare to this place.  A landscape of mountains that symbolized another world with their strange shapes; sheep being mastered by a dog; goats eating brush; homes miles apart.  I remember thinking, “How can anyone or anything live here?  Where is the water, the trees, the grass?  Just all mountains, sage brushes, sand and red dirt.”

Finally the tour was over.  We had lunch and went to the bus driver's truck.  My new friend asked, “Where should we go?”  I said, “To the place you don’t take the tours.”  As we drove further into this land, there on the horizon, a storm was moving across.  I saw an image of sheep crossing the road with their master, the dog, and more mountains. The truck driver asked, “So how is it living in both worlds?”  I replied, “I think that’s why I’m here, I’m out of balance.”  As he drove further into the land, he stopped to show me a mountain called the Sun’s Eye.  At the top was the shape of an eye where the sun passes through.  At the base were ancient petroglyph drawings of symbols of sheep and etc.  He said they were over 3000 years old and that they were the story of his people.

As we drove over the land, stopping by different homes, we came to a hogan where an old lady lived.  As I walked into her hogan, I noticed this home was built from the land, a mud hut with dirt floors – very Monument-Valley-Hogan.jpgclean with a feeling of peace and calmness.  I could see a small bed on the side, beans in the corner with no refrigerator, some clothes, a candle, some unique blanket designs and other items all of which had a spiritual reason for  their design.  I remember seeing a coat in which the buttons were all dimes and quarters for decoration – to show they had no value for the material world.  These people were truly people of the land, and only dependent on the Creator for their survival.  Coming from my world, this is what I had to see and touch.  A cold chill fell on the land as the sun began to set.  The driver asked, “Where will you stay tonight?” “I’ll camp out here.”  “No,” he said, “it’s too cold out here, we’ll go into the town of Kayenta.  There you can get a room.  I think I’ll take the back road back into town.”  As we drove on this bumpy road, suddenly, a mountain came into view.  It was like I had crossed into a time warp.  My heart began to rush with a very nervous feeling the closer and closer I came to it.  It was calling me to come to it.  I asked if he could stop, and before the truck came to a halt, I jumped out and began running to the mountain.  The closer I got, the more I could see: the trails, the people, the pottery, everything.  I yelled out, “I’m at home! I’m at home!  I finally made it home!”  I began crying and laughing and crying and laughing – such different emotions I had never felt before.  I ran so fast and hard that I fell down.  I remembered that in my coat pocket was the sacred sweetgrass.  I lit it and began to smudge and pray, thanking the Creator for bringing me home.  While praying I could hear my friend’s footsteps walking up.  He said, “Where did you learn to smudge that way?  That is how we smudge.”  I said, “Don’t ask me how I know, I don’t know.”  He said, “I know how you feel – the same thing happened to me at Ship Rock.  That’s the twin to this mountain.  We call this Eagle Mountain but they call it El Capitan."  I looked up and said, “Well if you are attracted to that mountain and I am attracted to this mountain, that must mean…”  While looking at each other, we both yelled, “We’re brothers!”  and started to hug each other and jump up and down like two little kids, laughing and crying and laughing and crying and saying, “Yes, yes, yes, I understand now.” This was how I met Rolland.

After the excitement was over, Rolland said, “Come sit in the truck, it’s cold out here.”  We sat in the truck and he turned on the radio.  There playing on the radio was Déjà Vu. My heart rushed even faster because I knew I had reached perfection in time as it had come so perfectly together.  As I stared at the mountain, an image of a man and a small boy came through.  I got out of the truck to see it, Rolland got out too.  As I pointed at the top of the mountain, coming down the center was a man holding a pouch with the four-direction design on it and behind him was a small boy.  Rolland said, “Ali, that is you and your son.  It even looks like you.  I’ve been out here all my life and I’ve never seen that before.  You’re right.  This is your mountain.”  I can’t begin to describe the massive explosion I felt going on in my brain and body – as if I was experiencing the birth of the Universe.

We got back into the truck and I could not speak.  I could hear Rolland saying something about a cup of coffee and soon after we were sitting at a restaurant having coffee. I had a vision of a little boy coming up to me asking if I wanted to meet his father.  Within seconds, a little boy did walk up to me and asked if I wanted to meet his dad who was the owner of the restaurant.  I did. As his father walked out smiling to shake my hand, I said, “Yes, I understand, I understand.”

I was still in shock when Rolland said, “I’ll drop you off at the hotel.  You can get a room there.”  After checking into the hotel, I walked into my room. The heat felt good and there on the wall was a huge picture of a colorful blanket with each thread going out to a flower to make each color.  It was so beautiful I couldn’t resist taking a picture of it. As I lay on the bed staring at the picture, my mind was rushing faster than the speed of light about everything I had seen and done until finally I fell asleep.  The next morning, there was an early knock at the door.  There was Rolland.  “Ready for breakfast?” he asked.  I said sure.  "After breakfast," I said, "I must go out to the mountain again."  We did, and as I approached my mountain I asked the spirits if I could have a rock.  As I started running up the mountain, my mind said, “Stop and look down.”  I looked down – there it was – the most beautiful and unique rock I had ever seen.  Strange colors.  I said thank you and held it in both hands and I stared at the mountain for one last time before leaving and saying a prayer.



As I walked back to the truck, I asked Rolland to take a picture of me and my mountain and asked if a plane was coming today.  He said, “Yes, in 45 minutes.”  I asked him to take me there. I knew I had gotten what I needed.  We looked at each other with tears in our eyes, before I boarded the plane back to Page.  As I arrived and walked into the airport, there she was.  The same lady I saw before I left was looking at me and smiling.  I said, “Yes! I understand!”  “The next flight is leaving in ten minutes for Flagstaff.  You want to catch it?”  “Sure,” I said.  “I have never been there before and I could get a bus and take my time going back to Boulder.”

I arrived in Flagstaff, Arizona with my mind still roaring like  an ocean of thoughts.  One thought dominated, “I need some time to think.”  I decided to take the bus back to Denver which was a seven hour wait.

I put my bags in the locker while I toured the town of Flagstaff to think on this life-changing experience. I walked from street to street looking at the different shops, until I came across one shop with bars on the doors and windows.  Not being able to see inside, I felt compelled to go in.  There were shelves and shelves of jars in portholes all filled with various roots and herbs. The clerk said, “You see my daughter over there? She’s eighteen.  I brought her up on these herbs.  I’m preserving these things from the Navajo Indians.” I turned looking around and saw her with her back to me, Brooke Medicine Eagle. Flagstaff-Brooks-Medicine-Eagle.jpg

I could not believe it.  I had gone to her workshop in Boulder four years ago.  I said, “Do you remember me?”  She said, “Yes, of course.  What brings you to Flagstaff?”  I asked her to sit while I told her the story.  As I talked, she took out her weaving and began weaving a hairpiece of many colors.  I came to the part of my story in Zion when I was looking for the opening into the Mother Earth, she said, “Stop! I’m hearing that I should call my sister.”  When she returned she said, “Last night my sister had a dream that she had entered Mother Earth through her vagina in a pool of water.  Does that make sense?”  I said, “Yes – I don’t believe it; look at this picture in this book about Zion that I had purchased.”  And there it was – a picture in black and white of the Narrow’s at its closest point.  It extended a few feet high in a shape of a woman’s legs with a pool at the bottom.  When I was there, I was unable to reach this place because of a flood of water coming through it.  She looked at it and said, “You’re right, that’s it.  Just like her dream.”  I finished telling her the story, we exchanged phone numbers and promised to keep in touch.  We hugged to say good-bye, but I knew I would see her again.  She said, “Remember – my prayers are with you.”  I felt secure knowing that I was not insane, and that she too understood that there is another reality out there.

It was a very interesting trip, riding the bus back, trying to calm down and absorb all that I had learned and experienced.  Several people tried talking to me but I was unable to relate to their conversation.  So I sat back in my seat, looked out the window while listening to the tires roll, and with this constant sound, I fell into a trance of meditation.  The most profound question in my mind was, “Why me?  Did I ask for this? Or, was it just my time to learn?” As I recalled the experience and how perfect it was, I could remember my mother and grandfather and the prayers they both had done for me starting from a very young age.  Prayers that I would one day understand.  Suddenly, I remembered the night I woke up to my grandfather screaming at 2:00 a.m..  I asked him what was wrong and he replied, “Do you want to go with me?”  I said yes.  We left the house and started walking in the summer night mist.  After walking for about half an hour, we approached a well lit area of buildings with large glass windows, the wind was blowing very strong in a circular motion.  Up ahead I could see a tornado of wind with paper and trash caught in the middle of it.  As we walked into the mini-tornado, it moved further down the street.  While still walking a few steps, my grandfather looked down and said, “There it is!”  He reached down just as I saw it at the bottom of the glass window, there, being held by wind against it, was a $50 bill.  He reached down and pulled the money off the window and said, “All right, we can go back home now.”  I remember asking, “Big Daddy, how did you know that?”  He said, “Just serve the Creator and one day you’ll understand.”  Why did I now think of that? Did he have a hand in my experience? Was he still helping me? I was ten years old when that happened. I felt his presence and knew he was still with me.

As I returned to Boulder, it was a beautiful day.  I couldn’t wait to develop the many rolls of film I had shot.  I had to see it all again.  At the local photo shop, I ran into a friend I had not seen in many years.  I told him about my trip, and he offered to develop the films himself, for he wanted to see why I was so excited.  That evening with a forecast of snow, I sat home holding my rock and going through commercial books I had purchased from the area and remembering I had been there, remembering all of the many faces I had met along the way.  They were guides to assist me through a delicate transition of time.  

Suddenly the phone rang – it was Robert.  “Hi… I’m in Boulder with some friends; can we camp out with you tonight?”  Sure, I said. I didn’t know we were in the middle of a snowstorm.  I went to pick them Robert-Gopher-in-Boulder.jpgup. After we returned to my house and everyone was comfortable, Robert asked what had I been doing?  I said, “I just returned from a trip out of this world and I would like to share it with you all.”  As they settled back, I began telling the story of what had happened since the last sweat lodge.  When I finished, I showed Robert the rock.  As he looked at it he asked me to smudge and he began talking about this rock and what it meant.

As Robert held the rock he said, “Remember in the lodge we spoke of the rock as the body of our ancestors, of this floating planet in space, and also the offering we make to those who have passed on?”  I said, yes.  “Well this is it.  Can you see the flesh and blood in it?”  It was like looking at the rock for the first time.  Below the gray hard surface was a flesh color preserved in time and below it were red lines resembling veins in the body.  It all started to make sense to me now.  So why had they, the spirits, given it to me?  Was this a reminder of the past and the future to come?  I held it tightly in both hands as we prayed to give thanks for this experience. Only minutes after the prayer, the phone rang.  It was Brooke Medicine Eagle.  “Ali, I’m in town until tomorrow – can we meet for breakfast?”  “Brooke,” I said, “I would love to – and your timing is perfect again.  Guess who is here? Robert.  Can I bring him with me?”  “By all means!”  I could feel the excitement in her voice.  “I would love to meet him.  Please do.”  As I hung up the phone, I was reminded again of such perfect timing.  What timing!  What perfect timing!  The two most important people in the world to me were going to meet.  I was so excited to tell Robert.  He said, “That’s great. I’ve heard lots of good things about her.”  As we ended the night, I could hear the cold wind blowing outside.  As I lay in my bed with flashes of everything going off in my mind, I thought – this must be the lesson I had to learn, the answers to the age old questions – Why was I born? And what is my purpose? As I pondered the levels of growth, I thought – so I’ve experienced sexuality, ego, and accomplishment.  And my dreams had become a reality.   I also understood that energy, or karma as it is called, was the effects of my thoughts.  And now I’ve experienced timing; perfect Universal Timing.  The only question I had left was​, what is the One Will?  What is it that I want to do and that the Creator wants me to do?  As I fell asleep, I knew the answer would come.  

The next morning while the three of us were having breakfast, I noticed the storm had passed.  It was a beautiful clear day, and in saying our farewells, I promised to see Robert for my birthday.  I left in awe of how perfect the meeting with these two remarkable people - Robert and Brooke Medicine Eagle – went.

In the coming days and weeks my dreams increased tenfold.  The first of which was about a Mesa below the Flatirons in Boulder, Colorado, where I was watching clouds turn to images of different spirits moving northward. After searching for three weeks, I did in fact stand on the Mesa where it all happened to smudge and have prayer.  This, in fact, verified that I was in the right place.

I can now say that the answer to the mystery of One Will is to share the knowledge and experiences I have learned with everyone. That is My Will and Creator’s Will…….One Will.

The following year, I went to visit Robert. He said, “Today, we’ll go and meet your brother. He is soft spoken like you, Ali.” We then drove to Fort Belknap Reservation in Montana and I was introduced to Joe Meeting-Joe-Azure.jpgAzure. After spending several hours talking, we drove around the reservation to meet with people affected by gold mining owned by Pegasus Mining Company. I was totally shocked by the devastation and affect of the mining to their land and water system. Robert said, “Ali, you will be the connection between My World and Your World.” At the end of our visit we did a sacred sweat lodge. I returned to Boulder knowing that this was the reason for my transformation and that Spirit had chosen my destiny.

Upon returning to Boulder, I went to my favorite coffee shop to meet with a friend to share my experience at Fort Belknap. As fate would have it, a lady sitting across from us overheard our conversation and said, "Excuse me, but I couldn't help overhearing your story. You should contact the LAW Fund  (Land and Water Fund) and Environmental Law for help with this problem." I immediately went to the LAW Fund office where I met with the director,  Kelly Green. After telling her my story, she assigned a young lawyer to assist me pro bono. His name was Paul Zogg.  After hearing my story, he became very concerned with the situation and said, "We have to expose Pegasus." 

I then sold my sports car and purchased a camera with the money.  I began making several trips to Fort Belknap Reservation filming many stories from the residents and hiking up the mountain to get shots of the mine at work. At every visit, I also did sweat lodges and prayers asking for Guidance from the Creator.

After three years of hard work and help from the Creator giving me many dreams from the subconscious world, the documentary film, Indian Tears of Love, was finally completed. The premier screening of the film was held in Boulder and then in Great Falls. We presented the documentary to the Tribal Council at Fort Belknap where it helped make a monumental legal settlement against Pegasus.

Robert and I went on to make many more films together until his death in 1998.

View all of the images from Ali Zaid's journey in the photo gallery.

[ Pictured above post: Robert Gopher and Ali Zaid, Fort Belknap Indian Reservation, 1987 ]

[ Pictured below: Robert Gopher and Ali Zaid and Ali's gift rock ]







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