“This I Believe”
If I am quiet, the answer will come
As a young reporter in England, author and listener Christopher Foster was torn between an urge to make a new life in Canada and the challenge of leaving his family and friends. He turned to inner guidance for help.
By Christopher Foster
I believe that I came into this world with an internal guidance system already in place that knows what I am here to do and will help me find my way if I am still – and willing to listen.
In 1955, as a young reporter with the Daily Express in London, I had a good job and a good future, but I felt something important was missing in my life. Perhaps that well-known subversive, Walt Whitman, had something to do with it, because I had been carrying a battered copy of his poems in my pocket for nearly two years.
In any case, I began dreaming about a new life in British Columbia. I dreamed of freedom and wide open spaces. I dreamed of giant forests and mountains. Canada called to me every day even as I became more and more frustrated by the busy streets of London and what I saw as the limitations of my English middle-class existence.
The trouble with this dream was that my parents were very unhappy about it, concerned at losing their only child but also worried for my future. All the rest of my family and my girlfriend were unhappy too. I didn’t know a soul in Canada and I had no prospects waiting for me there.
One day a voice inside me said, Spend a little while by the sea and you’ll know what to do.
And so, on a beautiful May morning, I took a train to the Sussex coast. The green grass of the Downs stretched before me and the sea was a shining blue carpet as I walked along huge cliffs gleaming white in the sun. Skylarks soared high in the air singing songs of freedom and happiness and suddenly I was singing a song of freedom and happiness too and there was no problem at all.
I danced on the bright green grass and did some fancy yoga moves. Of course I would go to Canada. It was what life wanted me to do, and it was as simple as that.
Fifty years have passed since that day when a wisdom greater than mine took me by the hand and said, “It’s all-right. Go for it.” But the guidance and love that led me to Canada – and later, brought me to America, home of my hero, Walt Whitman – is with me still.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.