Tag Archives: nature

Grounded & Growing

Like everyone else, I have experienced change or loss in my professional and personal life, sometimes leading to feelings of grief, pain and uncertainty.  It it is easy to be tempted to dismiss these feelings and say, “suck it up and keep going” or some other friendlier reminder like “these things happen, change is good, go on”.  But what happens when we don’t feel that way yet? When we’re still feeling puzzled, or depressed, stricken or shocked?

As a channel, I have learned to go within in times of struggle. In my last post, Feeling God When You Feel So Alone, I talked about how I found shelter when it was too difficult to “go within” by myself.

Another way I discovered was on a recent walk with a friend who silently held space for my transformative experience…

The trees provided a shady overhang, and the air was thick with dewy perfume. I was wearing inconvenient flip-flops, not realizing we would be walking on uneven terrain – and I said they were bothering me.

“Why not take them off?” I heard beside me, and without much hesitation, because that is the kind of person I am :), I did.

This may not seem like a big deal, but suddenly I was entranced as my feet touched the ground. The earth felt cool and moist, and I noticed the raw and richly packed earth making a path for me, with the odd random twig or leaf.  It felt like such a relief! But I didn’t say anything, because I was too engrossed in what I was doing to comment.

My friend, however, noticed my change in  mood, and was entranced with me and what I was doing, and so took pictures.

Here are some pics of the unfolding scene…

The silence and concentration required to watch my step, caused me to feel very grounded and to “keep going” without pausing to think about it. I had to! If I didn’t pay attention I might step on a rock, or worse a tiny frog! So I focused where I was, and enjoyed the feeling of putting one foot in front of the other – and the soft receptivity of the earth to hold onto.

It’s amazing how rubber shoes and other outer-wear implements shield us from the elements, but also from our fundamental connection to the earth and our interior nature. Even our feelings underneath. Once the shield is dropped, we are laid bare to feel vulnerable, while at the same time protected by something greater than ourselves.

Our vulnerability makes us feel raw (including the bottoms of our feet!), but our hearts can feel warmer, feel felt and seen, witnessed and heard.  Our mother is waiting for us, and we can let go and drop down to the great unseen.

What did this do for me? Well, it didn’t solve all my problems or talk back to me. It didn’t tell me where to go or what to do. But it provided a soft path to follow, and the permission to be me. 

Being grounded, literally, to the earth provided a sweet balm of healing, an inner well to draw from when the mental and emotional self feels too dry or unfathomable. Dipping down into the forest floor, feeling the world trembling with every footstep or forest critter’s movements, every wind through tree, gave me a sense of purpose and belonging. I can be here. I know how to do this. It is like I remembered a treasury from being a child who doesn’t worry about the shoes on her feet!

The world is an open door, and the ground is always there to greet you, to run across barefoot, to play on, or even to lie down upon and stair at the open sky or branches overhead and ask, “Why?” and just listen with profound innocence.

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Being grounded gave me a sense of innocence that remembers it is still a growing thing, like a seedling, totally dependent on the earth beneath her feet. I was connected to everything, not a solitary tree, but with roots expanding and touching other trees, a community of living things. And my friend, who was my usual companion, didn’t have to speak. Didn’t have to guide me. Just being there to witkrista walking smileness, and perhaps offer a hand as I walked over a fallen branch, was enough for me.

Being grounded and growing within came as a surprise to me. It didn’t come only from praying in solitude in my silent haven (though I lo
ve and rely upon that too); it didn’t come from talking to and fro about the problem; it came nestled in the trees, and down below on the ground, where I was busy, walking.

The greatest surprise in going forward came from putting one foot in front of the other, and finding there was always something there to catch me.

 

 

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5. Rebirth: The Wolf In Me Rises

Yesterday I was speaking to a friend about my identification with the Wolf,  as in Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Phd – My sense of adventure, my wild spirit and maternal protection of those I love… but the wolf  is also about life and death (being misunderstood), transcendence, and rebirth: the ability to “see again”.  In the natural world, life and death is the natural rhythm of “life” – one in the same in a cycle that never ends, even when it seems to. There is prey and predator, competition and loyalty to the pack; alliances between animal kingdoms, gifts and betrayals. Some sense of justice ensues.  Even the giving of a life, willingly, like a bird falling from the sky before its prey, or the raven signalling a wolf of its next game; these too can signal an underlying sense of cooperation, balance and renewal.

In “Mutant Message from Down Under”, author Marl Morgan journeys unwittingly with the aborigines to her own wild nature, her birthright as human. Though wild, though mixed with death and mutilation (her skin burned by the sun in many layers, the soles of her feet replaced with new skin like a snake), she sees the light in her quest, the smiles of her silent gatekeepers to the “underlife” (my word), the underbelly of the world. They teach her that things are not what they seem. Even what appears to die or be sacrificed, is just a part of the cycles we keep.

Where is our wild nature to go in a world ordered by what we perceive as warring nations, battles between life and death, good and evil?  Where do we fit in when we feel at the mercy of a world that seems at odds with its inhabitants?

We can learn a lot from nature. I know I could. I spend a lot of time in my backyard, on walks, on mini-adventures; and when I am out in the desert, or by the coast, I breathe in all that is different and mine.  My wild nature calls me to the road, to the dirt, to the sand. The heat grounds me, makes me sane, the wind blows me awake. My animal nature rises. Like the wolf, it can be suppressed, misunderstood, abandoned. But it will return.

In Del Mar, Carlos & Claudia taught me a lot about their people and rhythms. Claudia beat a drum and sang the tribal rhythms of the sea; a rich heritage from the deepest places. I felt lucky listening to her under a near full moon.

Tonight the moon is full again. And the Wolf in me howls with great clarity, great insight, great beaming pride. It is not a dangerous place to be. As with life and death, there is more than one way to see.

Tonight I howl at the moon and pray. I call my brothers to me. I laugh, frolic and play. I write. I pass the “peace pipe” (or a bottle of wine).  I stand on the grass, wet with dew and wave my hands over the pool. The night shimmers clear, the rhythm bright. There is nothing to do. The song is sung, the band has played. We huddle into the castle we made. Tomorrow there is much to do.

In this in between state, as we balance between the world we see, and the world we feel underneath our feet or through the stars, we clasp our brilliant nature, our wisest selves, our wild callings, our connectedness. The Wolf is only a symbol of this, though real; a totem to another life, an adventure, a way of calling the world into being. Not to be clichéd as an image of danger, but to be embraced as possible and purposeful, righteous behavior, balanced with attentiveness; the discipline we need to know ourselves, to give ourselves completely. To shine a light.

There is hope. There is clarity. And countless howls of possibility. And there is the den to return to when we need a rest until we are called again to rise to the great frontier of our better spirits.

P.S. I have discovered that my old way of seeing myself artistically as a “lone wolf” has changed: I am definitely a pack animal!

I'm the one smiling 🙂

P.P.S. My daughter just passed me a bag wrapped up that her father told her to give to me.  I unwrapped the bag. There were two bottles of wine, one white, one red. The white, which I rarely drink, is from South Australia. The name? WOLF BLASS!!

Happy Full Moon!  AAAAAROOOOOOOOOWH!