If Only I Had Known

 

My husband and I are walking through a section of woods that has been logged over the past year. Where once I could have followed the trail blindfolded, I have no idea where I am. Or how to get from where I am, to where I want to be. It’s disconcerting.

I find myself saying, “If only I had known this was going to happen, I would have paid attention in a different way.” The magnitude of that statement stops me cold. For how often have we all said, across all times and spaces, some version of, “If only I had known…” 

In hindsight, with the evidence already clearly laid out before us, it seems a no-brainer. As in, How could I have missed this? How could I have not seen or known?

Herein lies the great dilemma around what is within our power of observation, and what is beyond it. I think much of the time, we have no idea. Instead, we muck around in places we have no control over, while simultaneously abdicating the power we do have. We dump all of our precious attention into worries, distractions, obsessions and fears; getting so outside of ourselves and what is actually there, that we, in effect, become blind.

We do not want to see things as they are. We want other people to be other than what they are. We want the world to be other than what it is. And we want our bodies, our lives and our relationships to be other than what they are. In the meantime, we miss the Truth of the landscape that we are currently occupying, and moving through. In so doing, we become disoriented, losing our way.

The Truth is, you will never know what to do next, or how to get to where you most want to go without first knowing where you are. Whether that is in the woods, in the world, or in the forest of your own mind, body and soul. We cannot be trying to get somewhere without first knowing exactly where we are. But that requires courage, and a willingness to admit when we have no idea where we are, what we are doing, or where we are even going.

It is hard work to be with where you are in any given moment. Harder still though is to live with the unintended consequences and the lost opportunities of waiting for hindsight to give you 20/20 vision.

Waiting To Be Born

 

I know things are hard for many of us right now. I know the world feels like it is burning. And I know that many of us wish it was not so.

But it is.

I realize that sounds harsh, and maybe even heartless, but if we can see that there is meaning, or at least the possibility of meaning in all of this, than we can choose to make it so. What am I talking about? I am talking about that when everything is in ruin, when it feels like there is no way out, something is waiting to be born. Something that has never been allowed before is trying to get in.

Something is painfully wanting and seeking our attention.

I keep having an image of myself as the one giving birth to something, as well as the one being born, as well as the one in attendance. I am the birther. I am the midwife. And I am what is being born. It is all so very, very trippy. And all so very, very timely. For who could deny that the time is here. The time is NOW for everything that stands before us. There is no other time than now to address what needs our attention.

But only if we can see it as so. Only if we can understand that the excruciating pain we are all experiencing are birthing pains; the necessary signaling to us to stop, pay attention, and get ready.

I don’t know about you, but I am done. I am done squandering my life force and my happiness in my attempts to live according to some standard that does not include me. I am done pretending that what the world is doing is okay by me. I am done being part of a system that does not value Life.

And I am not the only one who is done. The Earth herself is done. She has had it. And rightly so.

I do not say this with doomsday reports. I say this in a “Way-To-Go-Mother Earth” kind of way. I say this from the perspective that she will be just fine without us. That she does not need our saving. Nor will she wait for us. Instead, we need to catch up to Her Reality, for she will most assuredly go on with, or without us.

Do you know what it is that really needs saving though? Us.

Harder than managing a climate crisis, or any other global event for that matter, is the recognition that everything that stands before us that needs doing, is an inside job. How could it be anything but? Our thoughts, behaviors and choices are what have gotten us here. So it will only be the awareness of this, and the changing of what we are doing, that will shift anything.

Quelling the onslaught of pollution or climate change, or any global issue, pales in difficulty, as great as it is, to what it takes to turn one human mind from unconsciousness to Grace.

In the end, saving the Earth is a natural outgrowth of saving ourselves. We have it all backwards whenever we begin outside of who we are and what we do. I think we flip things as a distraction, and because we have been conditioned so. For as intense as the suffering can be around all of the world’s ills, it is far easier to be with that, than changing old and outdated mindsets.

A Higher Perspective

 

Last weekend I created a self-guided retreat for myself in the mountains of New Hampshire. While I was not sure how I would spend my time overall, one thing I knew for certain: I needed to get out on the trail and into the mountains at daybreak.

So it was so interesting to watch my mind go from an intuitive certainty and excitement, to fear. It was dark. I didn’t know where I was going. I had no idea how long the hike would take, or what I would encounter. What if I got hurt?

Blah. Blah. Blah.

One of the things that I love so well about being in the woods alone, especially if it is at all a strenuous endeavor, is the way that my mind reveals itself for what it is. That being, a fear-mongering machine. And then, what I love most, is the way that the Presence of the Natural World offers me a clear reflection of reality. If I so choose.

There are so very many ways to be afraid these days. Some legitimate, but far too many exaggerated, fabricated, and even, intentionally generated.

So how are we to know? How are we to distinguish between what is real and what is made up when it comes to the fears that come out of our own minds? In modern day living, at least initially, this is a moment to moment observation of, along with a challenging of, what pops up that terrifies us. It is a commitment to discovering when it is that what frightens you, has no merit. And then making the choice to intentionally steer clear of what that is as often as you can.

For instance, I know there are many who would say that it is inherently unsafe for a woman, maybe even an older woman just coming off an injury, to be alone in the woods. To be somewhere where literally not another soul knows where she is. And perhaps they would be right on any given day. But that would just be speculation based on fear and a mindset that says the woods are a risky and dangerous place, and that a woman alone in the woods is automatically problematic.

That one perspective alone would be more than enough to stop me, and if it didn’t stop me, at least enough to ruin a perfectly good walk in the woods. You see, it is all a matter of perception. We will always find exactly what it is that we are looking for. From one state of mind the woods are a perilous place filled with ticks, slippery river crossings, predators of the human kind, and wild animals seeking to harm you. Or… It can be a place of absolute solace, inspiration and Mystery.

The choice is always ours.

Sadly, many of us never even get this far because we have been trained and brainwashed into believing that we cannot trust our animal instincts. That we are separate from the woods; having been spoon-fed on outrageous and distorted images via a screen that disconnect us from our truest Nature, and leave us terrified of what we cannot control. And then, we go on to erroneously believe that holed up in our control based lives, we are safe.

Never seeing that we are only half alive.

Personal Power

 

I am on Cape Cod as a storm blows through. Thunder and lightening. Heavy rain. High winds. When I wake and hear the storm, I am compelled to go out to see the ocean before She calms. As I make my way to the bluffs I pass a man, who in our brief exchange, informs me that, “the ocean is angry today.” While I recognize that assessment is as close as he can get to something about what he has seen, I also know deep in my bones that that is not an accurate description.

The ocean is not angry. She is unleashed.

Depending on your relationship to personal power, Nature can be many things; angry, awesome, terrifying, inspiring, life-giving, life-taking. You name it. How we feel when we see Nature at her fullest says more about us than it does about Her. It says more about our relationship with raw, uninhibited, and unapologetic power than it does with any misstep on her part. How we see the natural world exactly parallels our relationship with our own experience of personal power.

For instance, if we are needing to control and manage the elements, expecting Mother Nature to get in line with our comfort levels and expectations, it means we do the same to ourselves. And to others. It means that we allow that same level of imposed and artificial containment to be done to us. One way or another.

Look at all the things we do, every single day, because we feel like we should. Because we believe, and are told, that this is what makes us a good person. I know, I know, we do it for others. We do it because this is what society expects and needs from us. That without us containing our power, society would break down. But here’s the thing that many of us never, ever, investigate: Where is the truth, and the line, around being yourself, and being a contributing member to the community? So while there is an argument to be made for the necessary and vital tension required to balance the needs of the individual and the needs of the group, is it actually true that we need to tamp down and tame ourselves in order to belong? In order to do good?

If you are interested in exploring personally where that line is for you, learn to pay attention to the conversations in your mind around what you need to do according to others. What it is that you have made to mean what good is. What you have convinced yourself of what it is that you must do in order to fit in. To be thought well of. And then, wonder to yourself, “What would the power of the ocean have to say about that?”

We are not here to acquiesce to the distorted demands of a world that has confused what real power is. We are here, instead, to express the fullness and the totality of who and what we are. To do anything less is a lie. An error of judgment. A case of mistaken identity and misplaced allegiance.

Raw power. Unleashed. Unapologetic. We interpret it as unsavory and unwanted because we have forgotten what it feels like to be free. Wild. And unencumbered by falsehoods imposed from within and without.

Universal & Natural Alignment

 

We have chickens, and at the moment blueberries, peaches, elderberry, and now apples, all ready and waiting to be picked. Every morning, I make my rounds of picking fruit, gatherings eggs, and talking to the chickens. I love this time of year for just this; a daily reason to be outside that starts my day on the right side of Life and living.

Walking barefoot in the grass, fending off mosquitoes, listening to the sounds of the birds, encountering something unexpected or beautiful, all do what nothing else can: Remind me of who and what I am, and What it is that I am connected to. Outside, in the Presence of Nature, the pettiness, the greed, and the ugliness of this world recedes and becomes right-sized. Ceasing suddenly to loom so large in my psyche and on my heart. Ceasing to be the most important show on earth.

At the very core of all our troubles, both personal and collective, is that we have forgotten we belong to Something much greater than the distortions and demands of the times. Something much greater than our personal strivings and short-comings. And we have forgotten that in our forgetting, we separate ourselves from the Guidance and Support that is available to us when we take our rightful place in the order of things.

Find a reason, every day, to start your day outside. It can be anything. A garden. A morning walk. A bird feeder. A commitment to step out your back door and take a few deep breaths. While you are there, intentionally observe and sense what is around you. Something that is both you, and so much more than you all there for the picking. How can you align with This? Humble yourself to This? Learn from This?

While we often believe that the issues we face as a people are enormous, complicated and unsolvable, I will tell you that in the Presence of the Natural and Universal Truths that play out right before our very eyes, right under our very noses and feet, and right within ear-shot, lies the answers to Everything. Sound naive? Sure. To the modern day mind this way of existing appears foolish. But I ask you, how much more foolish is it that we continue to destroy ourselves, one another and the planet as we drift further and further away from these simple Truths?

P.S. Did you know that spending time outside in the morning sets your biological clock to the natural rhythms of light and dark? Meaning that you naturally balance your hormones, shift your metabolism, while offering you innumerable benefits like a better night’s sleep. Indispensable in a world where we get too much of the wrong kind of light (screens), and not enough of the right kind of light (Sun). Yet another example of the natural healing and balancing effects offered by Nature Herself.