nature

Journey into the Woods Alone

For the past few weeks I’ve had this inner nudge telling me to walk in the woods alone—a small wooded area only five minutes from my driveway.

Now that I did, it sounds silly to say that I had fear about doing so. But it’s the truth. When I shared this with John last night he smiled and asked, “Why?” 

His smile helped to lessen my fear a bit. It’s not like I’ve never walked in those woods before. Though each time I have it’s been with at least one of my dogs. And it’s not like it’s a huge, dense forest. And did I mention I live in the village, so there is an athletic field next to the woods, plus you can see homes along the woods edges in certain places?

But John’s smile was the extra push I needed, along with listening to some speakers recently talking about the Native American and Indigenous cultures of which I find myself leaning more and more into, that I knew I needed to take more time to connect with nature.

The small woods near my house have areas of wooden steps along the path that Boy Scout troops took the time to put in place years ago and continue to maintain. We live in a glacial area, so the wooded area has some steep inclines.

Listening to author, Tamarack Song yesterday who shared on Heartbeat of Mother Earth summit, that being in nature is vital to our well-being, was the final nudge I needed. So much does he believe this, living in Northern Wisconsin in the woods, that he does not even have indoor plumbing. That’s right…he does his business outside. Okay, that’s a bit much for me.

So around noon today, after working on an essay that I’ll be offering as a free gift soon (stay tuned), I needed a break. I bundled up in my winter coat, mittens, and boots.

And out the door I went, leaving the dogs behind and my cell phone. Even though I had the urge to turn back and get my phone for the camera in case I wanted to take a photo. Or what if I fell and needed help? And guilt wanted to walk with me for leaving the dogs behind — but neither able to navigate the snow and ice well, being one with IVDD and one with arthritis, and both seniors.

Just go! I scolded myself.

The wind bit my face, but I remembered what Tamarack said. We can’t control the weather, but we can accept it and welcome it. And so I changed my thought to ahhhhh, I’m breathing in fresh air.

Once I got to the woods entrance, it was crunchy snow, about 3 inches, covered in many places with ice. I worried I’d fall as it is a steep hill.

But no, I said I was going to do this. Keep going! I told myself. I used the trees as my anchors, holding onto a branch here, a trunk there, and slowly down the first incline I went.

I thought about how walking years ago was a hurried thing, a work out, a way to stay in shape, lose weight, stay firm, pressure to stay thin, etc. And I realized during all those years it really wasn’t fun or relaxing. Most times I couldn’t wait for it to be done and it was stressful.

Now was another chance to put that to rest. Today, right now. To connect with myself and nature. No goals. No other reason. Just be.

And so I walked in an open-minded way to whatever would unfold. I heard the rustling of leaves blowing in the wind – leaves that had turned brown and crunchy, but still held on. I saw a nuthatch bouncing along a large tree limb. I could watch them all day – such funny, energetic, little creatures.

As I climbed a small hill, the next part of the path would be another steep incline down, though wooden steps and wood railing in place to make the trek down a bit easier. But yet I could see it was covered in much ice.

Just then I glanced down and saw the perfect stick to make my walking stick – to hold in my right hand as I held onto the railing with my left. And slowly I began my decent and with each step I took I did so mindfully and as if a meditation- grateful to have my feet upon the earth.

On the final push up the last hill, the sun glistening on the snow I relished in hearing the sound of the walking stick hit the crispy snow as I took each step to the top of the hill.

Coming out of the woods I thought about discarding the stick. Would it be silly of me to walk back through my neighborhood with this stick? I wondered. But yet, I didn’t want to leave it behind. It had become my friend.

And so it made the final trek home with me. As we walked, I thought about what I’ve been learning about indigenous ways of being, and how it resonates not only as healing for ourselves, but for this planet by being more in connection with Mother Earth. And in honoring and being respectful of her.

When I got home I set my walking stick right outside my writing cottage door – to serve as a reminder that taking a break and connecting with nature is not only vital to my well-being – but to all beings.

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On Not Being Left Behind and into Awakening

On Not Being Left Behind and into Awakening

Late yesterday afternoon I saw an article on my friend’s facebook page titled, Humans are Waking Up: For First Time in Recorded History, Schumann Resonance Jumping to 36+

While I don’t completely get all the science or deep thought behind it (even though I consider myself to be a deep thinker!) what I do understand is how I relate it to how I’ve been feeling and so many others I know, too.

And this section of the article helped me too:  Scientist’s report that the Earth’s magnetic field, which can affect the Schumann Resonance, has been slowly weakening for the past 2,000 years and even more so in the last few years. No one really knows why. I was told by a wise old sage from India that the magnetic field of Earth was put in place by the Ancient Ones to block our primordial memories of our true heritage. This was so that souls could learn from the experience of free-will unhampered by memories of the past. He claimed that the magnetic field changes are now loosening those memory blocks and we are raising our consciousness to greater truth. The veil is lifting. The blinders are coming off. If true, it raises even more intriguing questions.”

What makes sense for me in reading this is that humanity is beginning to awaken – to what no longer works – to helping us to see what will work. Though this means we each have to do our own inner work. Something I’ve talked about a few times on my blog.

This sent me down a path last night of wanting to know more. While the speeding up of time feels frightening sometimes, I wanted to know how I could move through this rapid time of change in a way that will help me feel more grounded. I also wanted to know what does this really all mean?

That’s part of the mystery that is being slowly revealed to us – and only if we are willing to open to it. And I can say, even though I feel frightened at times, even anxious, I don’t want to be left behind. 

I also hope you don’t feel I’ve flipped my lid and gone all “woo-woo” on you. It’s always my wish that my blog is a soft place to land for those that aren’t always sure what to make of the world…because it is where I can find myself too if I don’t work to stay centered and grounded.

The more I explored last night, the more I began to feel at ease. I also realized that I’d been so worried about keeping up with the rapid change and worried how I was going to do that, I’d lost sight of how I can more easily move through this time.

Something I’d been preparing for all along – well, at least for the last thirteen years or so as I’ve walked my own spiritual path—moving more and more into who I authentically am— and how I am fascinated by the wisdom that animals hold for us, nature, and opening to our own intuition.

And that was it! I have the tools in place to guide me through these tumultuous times – not that it’s going to always be easy as I ‘m human and fall of the wagon now and then too. But it’s vital and important to keep my practices of ritual in place. Because when I do, I move through my days in a much more peaceful way, which positively affects those around me. And I’m really beginning to understand that my own vibration of peace and continuing the work of healing myself is what this awakening is about, and what we are all being called to do.

I went to sleep last night feeling less anxious than I have in a long time. This morning, I listened to Jocelyn Mercado of Sacred Planet talk about how she believes it’s the indigenous way of being we are moving back to. Something I’ve found a fascination with also the last few years.

It’s a way of living on this earth that does not need to be learned – we already know – we just must remember – and then we must begin to live in this way – one step at a time. But we must begin to move in that direction.

Jocelyn shared ideas of how we can begin to shift toward healing, peace and love talking about shamanic journeying, meditation, and understanding what Mother Earth is trying to convey to us. And I got so excited because I realized again that I’ve been walking this path for quite some time. It was a comfort to feel that I’m moving in the right direction.

One suggestion she had was creating altars, which is something I’ve done for quite some time too. But I loved her idea of bringing in the four elements of earth, wind, fire, and water. So before I moved into my yoga practice this morning, I created this altar:

The candle represents fire, the stones, pine cone, acorn and rocks, earth. The feathers represent sky and the small container of water. What I especially enjoyed was that having this small jar of water as part of your altar is a call to remember to just be in meditation with your altar as a practice. If you return to it after a few days and the water is gone it’s a gentle reminder of remembering to incorporate these moments of sacred and stillness into your everyday life.

I decided to pick at random an animal card to go with my altar for the day. And Swan couldn’t have been more perfect (taken from Animal Spirit Guides):

  • No matter what is happening your life right now, do whatever it takes to keep your faith strong.
  • It’s important to accept your life circumstances and surrender to the will of Spirit, trusting that all will work out.
  • You’ll soon find clarity and purpose in the confusion that you’re experiencing.
  • Focus on the fact that life is a precious and sacred gift, and express your gratitude and appreciation in as many ways as possible.
  • Whatever changes you’re going through, go with the flow.

And lastly from Animal Teachings: Swan is graceful and elegant. Swan brings our intuitive gifts to the surface, balancing insight with fair-mindedness. Swan reveals how to integrate inner beauty with our outward expression, teaching us to be clear and confident about our own personality.

As I moved through my yoga positions, standing in tree pose, my eyes locked on this bunch of pea pods hanging from our locust tree. They looked more alive than I’d ever noticed them before as if they came into a clearer view. I couldn’t help but think this is what we are being called to be – to see more fully and with greater depth the beauty around us.

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Looking to the New Year. Living a Life Uncommon.

Looking to the New Year. Living a Life Uncommon.

Looking ahead to the New Year, I’m filled with hope, excitement, and yes, some nervousness and fear. From all indications of what I’ve observed about this particular mix of emotions of the past, this signals I’m on the right path and exactly where I’m supposed to be.

With Christmas now gone, I’ve realized I moved through it much easier than in the past. I believe in part it’s because I’m much better at letting go of expectations. I also believe it is because I have a much better perspective and understanding of who I am and what is important to me. Though I know I am never complete in this process, and I am a work in progress.

In years past, I’d have to have the whole week between Christmas and New Years just to re-group and find my way back to center. Where as this morning, I was eager to get back to my writing cottage and work on details for a Women’s Creative Sacred Soul Circle I’m forming for the winter months.

This is somewhat new territory for me, but something I’ve had a vision of for many years. There are many workshops I’m giving thought to while also keeping myself in awareness mode of not filling my plate too full, like I can tend to do. But I’m feeling very called to stay in a centered, sacred space of my own, fully engaged in what I’m feeling pulled toward….even when I don’t always have a clear picture…but putting my trust into the fact that a master plan is already in the works.

While workshops for women are my main focus for this year, I also want to stay dedicated to my blog because it’s a place that I’ve really come to love. While I thought I’d continue work on writing another book, I’m feeling called to table it for the time being. Though I will simmer in it and save nuggets of wisdom I find or that run across my brain, writing them down and collecting them in a folder should the time come to write that book.

I’ve realized I was struggling with letting the book idea go for now because I had mentioned it in my latest book, Wisdom Found in the Pause that it was something for my readers to be on the lookout for. It’s always a feeling that I’ve disappointed others if I don’t finish what I said I thought I was going to do. But I’ve realized holding onto something just for the sake of not wanting to disappoint others means I only really disappoint myself and more importantly, it blocks me from moving forward.

I continue to want to lead a life uncommon. What that looks like to me is continuing to do my own inner work, encourage that in others, live a life of creativity and less stuff, take some short jaunts away in our van we are in the process of converting to a camper, collaborate with my friend Rachel on future Talking Sticks workshops, and other workshop ideas we have in mind, a possible online collaboration workshop with my friend, Dawn of Animal Voices, and also volunteering to help with geriatric miniature donkeys coming to LaValley Equine Sanctuary this spring.

The other reason I feel it is a life uncommon is that I think too often we push aside our intuition and let fear get in the way, thus losing out on doing what truly matters most to us.  Everything I’ve written about my New Year ahead feels so heart centered and is coming from a place that feels true and right…and most of all it feels incredibly meaningful to me.

And as my mom eluded to in a note to me this month that when she looks at me she still sees a little girl trying to figure everything out and get it right, but she also sees the strong individual I am letting her light shine and spreading it out into a world that can sometimes be gloomy.

And she’s right…It’s important to me to try and make a difference in this world. I’ve come to realize that it does not have to be something grand and big…it just has to come from that sacred place within me. Because when it does, it by default does make a difference…it’s that positive and bright light of following your own soul’s wish, which it desperately wants for you to do, that you begin to live a more fulfilled life…and when you do, other’s who wish for the same will see that and want it too.

So my focus for the New Year is to continue to follow that true, inner light of mine, provide a sacred space through workshops for women to help them open to their soul’s whispers and inner light and to keep writing here on my blog. I also look forward to learning more about donkeys and being open to what lessons they will no doubt have in store for me.

It’s my hope that you will continue to return to my blog time and time again and that I can provide you with inspiration and encouragement to live fully into who you are and not only seek out, but truly live a meaningful life that is right for you.

“If you trace our roots to the very essence, you find we are all connected. On a deep level I am a tree and birds perch on my arms. In the Land of the Imaginative Heart, I am connected with spirit and earth.”

~Laura Hollic, soul artist

Photo above by Kevin Thom. Makeup by Rachel Duff. Costume, model Laura Hollick.

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