How a kernel of Corn Opened my Mind to the Spiritual World

A Simple yet powerful act of holding the space, and allowing authenticity, that made the difference in my young teenage self, to change her mind and beliefs.


At 16 I had already been on my own for two years, some of this time on the street. I had known in me someplace that life didnt have to be as hard as I had known it to be, yet it always seemed to stay that course. Good things were always the things that happened to other people, If I was to be happy in life I had to be able to be happy without any good.

I had never been raised with any form of religion or spirituality, though I found myself on my knees praying to God often asking for him to “please show me the way” or “why Me”. Perhaps I didnt ask the right questions, or understand how to pray, because it never seemed to get me anywhere.

I used alcohol, drugs and, sex as a way to drown emotional pain and seek pleasure. I would try anything once and if that didnt kill me then I would do it again. I wasn’t shy about using my body to gain attention and a moment of connection with another human being.  I just moved through life one moment to the next, grasping any tiny bit of relief or pleasure I could find.

This put me in perfect alignment with another soul equally as miserable, and together we bonded on the same idea that life was shit, and we were here to survive until we died. We called this love, we ran around the city of Tucson, party to party, in a some form of haze or another, thinking in each other we had found what we had been looking for.

We were both cynical, and judgemental, we looked in disgust to any one that seemed to breeze through life without any obstacles. As if, they were somehow better than us.  The only people we gave our attention to were those that would, give grace to our self defeating behaviours.

It had been a year of this life, together. He was partially Native American and had been invited to a gathering of a local Native Tribal group. This seemed extremely inviting, just out of curiosity alone. Not to mention it was not the traditional brick and mortar type religion we had come to rebel against. This became the beginning to a tragically beautiful journey.

We had been more than accepted, and had not expected the immediate love this group had given us. They spoke of the magic, and the creator, and I was allowed to be openly hesitant on adopting the reality of these concepts. I would ask a million questions that all seemed to try and devalue the entire idea. I was always treated with respect as well were my suspicions. It was a late evening and everyone had left the meeting house but me and the head of the group and his wife. He listened to me talk and the more he gave me audience the more open I had become, in telling him I just didnt buy any of it. I mean magic really? I dont see any magic, you say its all around me but not once have I been witness to anything magical on this earth. he gave me the patience one would to a crying baby, and asked me gently if I wanted to see the magic. I said “yes” I would love it if this world had anything magical to offer. He asked again, he said I really had to be sure, because if he allowed me to see it he couldn’t take it back, and i would be on a journey that I could not escape from. I sat in silence for a moment, mind wondering what does that mean?  So, yes I wanted to find out.

He reached into his pouch of “medicine” and pulled out four red Kernels of corn, and placed them into my hands. He said there, I give you the gift of magic. I laughed, and said “what am I supposed to do with these?” His answer confused me more than anything else. “you will just know”.

That was the last meeting I had attended, and only seen this man once since, and that was while he held a funeral ceremony for that same partner of mine that had committed suicide. Not before being the father to two of my children, and then disappearing on a life journey that didnt include me. All those years in between, I did see the magic, I felt the magic, and oh what a journey it has been.

My life didnt magically become one of ease and abundance, but that is an entirely different gift, that only I could give to myself. He opened the door for me to see, and feel things I didnt know possible, to see connections, signs, and miracles everywhere. I explored many avenues of spiritual, and religious practice since, finding truths in each one that propelled me forward in my self growth, and spirituality.

After my partner had gone in his separate way, I broken hearted, went back to the corn I kept always in a little leather pouch that hung on my bedpost. I took the four Kernels, symbolizing them in my mind of the four souls that made up our family, and knew that was no longer the case. I planted those seeds that year, in a garden I had started, and they grew wonderfully and I ate of their fruit.

I know now that it was not the man or the Kernels that allowed me to see the magic, and open my mind to spirituality. It was me making up my mind, to see those things in the world. He knew that. He knew that we create the world around us, through our beliefs or our resistance to them, and he held the space for me to change my mind, to believe in something more…..possibility.

LadyHess