Michael Stone answers the question:

What is the nicest thing a non-family member has ever done for you?

Well, one of the earliest things I remember was, in my age group we were really affected by Jack Kerouac and On the Road. And so when I was a teenager, I took off and started hitchhiking and ended up in Europe. And then I ended up out in a little island called Formentera in the middle, between Spain and Africa. And I actually spent about a year there. And for a while, I had an income helping someone there. And then I got into this kind of really dark place and wasn’t having any money, and I was kind of trapped on this island. And I got enough money to get off the island, and I thought, I’m going to hitchhike to Paris and get a job.

And so it was Christmas Eve Day, and I was hitchhiking in Spain. And I’m standing there on the road, with my thumb out, and here comes a cop. And I’m going, Oh my God, I’m going to spend Christmas Eve in jail. And he comes over to me, and he says, “Come with me.” And so I had my pack and my guitar, and I go off, and he takes me to a bar. And he tells the bartender to give me whatever I want, and of course, everyone’s celebrating; it’s Christmas Eve. And I thought, Wow, well, okay.

So there was hors d’oeuvres and drinks, and we were there, and then he says, “I’ll be back for you.” And he comes back for me, and he ends up taking me to his house. And these are really poor people, and they’ve got three kids, and we’re sitting at the dinner table. And of course, it’s a special time of year, so they’ve got ham and chicken and a whole spread out. And they invite me to dinner, and I sit down and just have this amazing dinner.

And at the end of dinner, they said, “Okay, let’s go,” and I thought, Is he going to put me in jail? Takes me off, and we go with his three kids. He happened to have a beautiful daughter, too, which really helped the story, but it was true. And we went to this dance, and we danced for three hours. Came home, and one of the kids gave me their bedroom, and I slept there. And I woke up, and the next morning, he had gone, and his wife — again, these are poor people — had made this basket full of food. And she gives me this basket, and Wow, I’ve got food. And I go down, and she says, “Go downstairs. My husband will get you a ride.”

So I go downstairs, and he put up a roadblock, and he’s stopping cars in this little town to see who’s going the closest to Paris and who’s going the longest distance. And so I have this basket, and this nice Peugeot, he pulls over, and they give me a ride for a number of hours. We were riding, we're talking. Then they invite me in for lunch, and I've still got this basket. And I’m on my way, I’m in a different car, and I’m getting hungry, and I open up this basket. And all this beautiful food she’s packed for us, but underneath the food was a 100-peseta note. And I cried. I was so... These were very poor people in a poor town, and 100 pesetas, at that time, to me, was a lot of money.

And I just never forget the generosity and the love that those people showed me when I expected this was going to be the worst Christmas ever. It wasn’t. It was perhaps the best Christmas I ever had.

Michael Stone is a spiritual author, mentor, shamanic practitioner, radio host, producer, and trauma integration facilitator who co-creates individual and group environments and experiences that support people in transcending the myth of separation, and experiencing deep and profound interconnection with others and all of life.

He has been teaching and leading experiential events, classes, teleseminars, and workshops on Organizational Development, Embodied Shamanism, Moving Meditation, Personal Growth, and Spiritual Fulfillment for over 40 years.

Catalyst is produced by The Shift Network to feature inspiring stories and provide information to help shift consciousness and take practical action. To receive Catalyst twice a month, sign up here.

This article appears in: 2021 Catalyst, Issue 11 - Shamanic Wisdom Summit