Most of us struggle to be at home in the Universe. To feel our interconnectedness, and to recognize the messages coming to support us on our path. The first step towards shifting comes from recognizing our interconnection via Mother Nature.
As we canoed across the water, with each stroke we chanted in unison. My canoe partner and I evoking the name of the Divine with each stroke. The water sang with us with each woosh of the paddle.
The air was cool, but the sun was bright shining down on us. It was a lush summer morning and midway through our 10-day silent retreat, save chanting and praying out loud. When we reached the shore, our beloved teacher, an Algerian scholar with a soft voice and serene demeanor invited us to follow him in silence. We walked through winding trails as he stopped at different trees, plants, flowers, he invited us to meditate on what messages they each had for us. After reaching a clearing we split up and sat alone in the forest for several hours. In our hands were notebooks and pens, in our hearts...curiosity.
I chose a spot facing the water. At the top of a small hill in between several trees and sat down. As I stared at the water, I noticed her almost glasslike surface. Smooth, without any ripples. Perfect. It captivated me how quiet the surface of the water was with the forest around me. After some time of watching the water, I heard a noise approaching in the distance. A small boat came around the corner and as it approached, small ripples started forming, brushing up against the shore. The waves grew larger and as the boat passed, the water thrashed and crashed violently against the shore. This once still pool was now disturbed, stirred, and changed.
I watched the thrashing for some time. Eventually, the water began to settle, but what surprised me was how long it took the water to return to her still, glassy state. I picked up my pen.
I felt annoyed when the boat entered my serene scene. How loud it felt in the deafening silence around me. How I felt the crashing of the water, like people trying to appreciate their favorite band and elbowed by those trying to push to the front of the stage.
As I watched the water return to equilibrium, I heard Nature’s teaching. Attuned to watch for signs and sitting still, Nature spoke. “The water is your heart...the boat is your reckless mind at times. Unaware, your mind barrels through your steady heart….your peace, and leaves ripples behind. Ripples that last longer than you think.” I sat staring at the water in disbelief. Of course. How could I have missed signs like this all along? Messages to unlocking my deepest inner self.
This opening of clarity shifted something huge inside of me. Suddenly I started seeing signs, messages, question marks whispering back to me through nature all around me. Tree roots hugged and embraced the ground underneath them in gratitude for support. I saw ferns pointing upwards reaching towards the light as if to say “look up and reach towards the light…that is how you grow.” All invitations to more deeply understand myself. All serving as this profound mirror reflecting back.
Suddenly the forest didn’t feel like a piece of land I was just visiting, but rather a familiar room. A friend’s home, of the closet kind that makes you feel welcome and as if you’ve lived there all along.
I’ve always felt connected to nature. As a little girl I wrote stories about “the wilderness girl.” A young girl who lived wild in nature by herself. She’d hunt for vegetables, fruit, and herbs. She was deeply connected to the animals. In elementary school one of my favorite memories was on a nature walk with a native woman who taught us how to “be like trees” when moving among animals.
Despite my intuitive connection to nature as a child, as an adult I found myself swept up by the responsibilities of adulthood, whizzing through life, working through to do lists, moving fast, and missing Her signs...Her messages.
It wasn’t until that day on the tree-filled hill by water that ancient knowing started to awaken in my heart. I didn’t even know it at the time, but now, many years later, it all makes complete sense. A knowing that Mother Nature was not just beautiful to admire, but a Great Teacher bringing me into the inner landscapes of my very own Being.
Fall has arrived for many of us. The season brings more air and movement energy into our lives and because we are connected to Mother Nature and the cosmos, we’ll feel it. It’s a time where it’s common to feel ungrounded, overwhelmed, emotional, unfocused, flighty, and agitated. This is normal. Beautiful. All of our “feels” carry unique medicine if we are open to it, it just takes some decoding.
For this week’s Joy Tip Wednesday, I want to invite us to start seeing the home we have in the Universe through Mother Nature. Here’s how:
Take a meditative walk outdoors.
Bring your notebook and pen. Wander. Notice what you notice around you. What colors do you see? What elements of nature call your attention? What smells do you smell? What sensations do you feel? Use all of your senses to take in what Mother Nature is transmitting to you right now.
Find a cozy spot that’s calling out to you.
The first place where you have the thought, maybe I’ll sit here! Sit there. It’s perfect and take in this scene. Take in this “snapshot” of your walk through your senses.
Write what calls out to you. Write what you see. Write what you feel. Reflect on what it all may be teaching you about your very own self. For example, do you see leaves falling from a tree? What are you ready to let go of like the wise trees around you ahead of deep winter reflection?
Trust whatever you write is your’s to write. Trust whatever you feel is your’s to feel. Trust whatever you see is your’s to see. Trust whatever wisdom you hear is your’s to hear.
This meditative walk and reflection in nature is powerful. Magic. Transformative. If you allow it to be. The subtle practice of paying attention to nature will change you.
When we plug back into our recognition of our interconnection with Mother Nature we start to feel more at home in our surroundings.
We recognize that we are being supported in mysterious, subtle ways, if we slow down to notice. We see the magic of life happening all around us and the miracles in the ordinary. Most of all, our life becomes alive exactly as it is and perhaps have missed...all along.
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