Maybe you are searching among the branches
for what only appears in the roots.
~ Rumi ~
I am driving westward, towards the mountains. Behind me, the sun sears the horizon crimson and pink and gold. When I look into the rearview mirror, its light blinds my eyes.
Ahead, just to the right of me along the road embankment, the shadow of my car travels happily along, wheels spinning in the morning light.
A haiku writes itself in my head.
“Sun rises blindly / Shadow leads me into the west / The past falls behind.
I am off to a morning “Taste of EcoART” with Sherri Phibbs at the W.I.S.H. Studio an hours drive west then north of the city.
My critter mind has spent some time trying to talk me out of this foray into the mountains this morning. You’re too busy with wedding planning. You need to clean your office. Paint. Spend time with C.C. Declutter the studio. Read that report. have all danced through my head, willing me from my path.
I stay the course. Pack up my car with ‘just in case’ winter clothing, a water bottle and my sunglasses. I turn on the tunes and drive.
“What’s the level of stress in your life?” Sherri asks me as we sit sipping tea beside the fire blazing merrily inside the yurt that is her studio/consulting space on the 10 acres she and her husband moved to a couple of years ago.
I laugh. It is my shadow laugh, I know. The laugh that would have me hide within it.
“Depends on the day and circumstances,” I reply. “Right now, practically non-existent. I’m sitting here with you in this beautiful space surrounded by nature. That’s pretty divine and not stress inducing at all.”
All the truth is, my stress can vary depending upon what I’m doing, or where I’m at. When I am avoiding doing the things that feed and nurture and support and enliven my spirit, my stress is high. This I know to be true.
Why then do I spend so much time avoiding doing the things that feed and nurture and support and enliven my spirit?
A question worth living inside of, sitting with, breathing into.
I wander into the woods, find a clearing in the sun and sit at the base of a broken tree trunk. The mossy grass is dry and wintery. Snow covers the ground.
It feels safe and welcoming.
I clear a spot in the snow with my boots. The sun is warm and bright. I sit down, lean against the tree trunk and close my eyes.
I listen to the world around me. Deeply.
Before I left the yurt, Sherri provided me a drawing pad and pen and invited me to create a ‘sound map’ once I found my place in nature.
With my eyes still closed, I begin to map the sounds I hear on my drawing pad. A horse snuffling in a paddock to my left. A woodpecker drilling irratically into a tree. Far in the distance, a car hums along the main road. High above, a gentle breeze whispers through the uppermost branches. A dog barks. A bird tweets. Grass rustles.
I sit for awhile, breathing into the space, feeling, sensing, hearing, connecting with the world around me.
I stand up and wander further into the woods. A vision of a heart rock flits through my mind. I smile. What if I find one here in the woods? Dead branches, leaves, deer droppings and horse poop litter the forest floor. There are no stones.
I return to my sitting place where I have left my bag of writing and drawing supplies. As I approach, I spy something on the ground, right beside where I was sitting.
It is a heart rock.
I laugh out loud.
While I was searching in the woods, what I sought was lying right beside me, right where I was at.
Such is this journey called life. We go looking for happiness, success, wealth, fame, love, whatever it is we are seeking, out there, in other places when that which we seek is always right here, right where we’re at.
I breathe in and out, thanking nature for holding space around and within me.
The chiming of a Tibetan bowl ringing is calling me back to the studio.
I return and carry my experience within me.