What many people in the so-called mainstream world are beginning to feel now is a longing for more time to simply breathe deeply, to enjoy a peaceful morning in silence, to take a stroll — unhurried, to have an entire unscheduled day with their kids, to have chunks of time to just “be” and listen for their own inner wisdom to rise up, to visit with a friend without having to rush off, to prepare a wholesome meal at a relaxed pace and to savour it for as long as it takes to feel satisfied to the core.
Why is it, that these are the very things a dying person would make priority? Is it only in knowing that our life is going to be cut short that we finally give ourselves permission to truly live? Or is it that an early death sentence brings about the ultimate surrender of the mind, and all the useless, meaningless, and frenetic fodder that usually occupies it suddenly dissolves into the silent peace of God?
What I remember about “home”, the home of my soul, is accessing the silent peace of God through the wisdom of nature. This truth I have thankfully never forgotten, and it has remained a faithful, loving teacher who has always guided my way. This teacher is not only for a chosen few. Nature is there for all who are ready to listen to her ways, and remember her wisdom.
This truth was profoundly awakened within me when I moved to Africa as a child, (though I can still remember the peace and joy I felt even living in downtown Toronto before we moved to Africa whenever my mother would take us to a park, or a beach, or somewhere nice to feed the ducks.) Africa simply magnified the silent peace of God beyond what my little nine year old reality could take in, and at times I felt so overcome by the magnitude of her vastness and breathtaking beauty.
I’m sure that living there stirred up ancient memories of a time when life was a continual honouring of the rhythms of nature and our daily movements were guided by the sun and the moon.
I can remember school finishing at 1pm there, as beyond that time it would be too hot and we’d spend the afternoon resting, doing homework, having tea, or swimming! Most people had a garden where we grew vegetables, and in our backyard we had a pomegranate, mulberry, tangerine, mango, granadilla and papaya tree. Because of the harsh nature of the land, there was a great sense of community and camaraderie. Life was extreme in Africa, basically we were in the middle of the Kalahari dessert in Botswana, and in a moment we could be flooded by rains, ravished by drought, or bitten by a deadly snake. Life was always lived in the moment connected to the full aliveness of life and nature. We followed the rhythms of nature, no different than the animals that were most active at dawn and sunset, and I became instantly attuned to this way of living. I was remembering the wisdom of “home.”
It’s been thirty four years since I lived in Africa, yet the wisdom of her ancient rhythms still run deep within the rivers of my soul. To honour nature, to move within the natural rhythms of her daily and seasonal cycles, to feed ourselves from her bounty, to revel in her breathtaking beauty, to sing along with her sacred sounds, to dance to the beat of her thundering heart, to be washed anew by her life giving rains, to be awestruck by her kaleidoscope of colour, to listen for the wisdom in the silence — these are sacred footsteps taken on the road to freedom — to be rooted in Mother Earth’s benevolent grace.
It is possible to create this kind of reverence no matter where we live. Without it, our lives become meaningless and disconnected, and when we realize we may have separated from our First Mother, we begin to feel there must be another way. And yes, thankfully, there is
By starting to attune your life more to the rhythms of nature is a step towards aligning with your Inner Being, but how do we do that? What if we live in New York City, or Hong Kong? Does this mean a mass exodus to the countryside? Do we all start swinging from vines, wearing grass skirts, and foraging for berries?
Clearly the connection is first an internal one, where we make a conscious choice to discover our own inner nature. Many are doing this now through creativity, meditation, conscious eating, and/or time alone in nature. For others, the direction inward is being painfully forced. It’s a powerful internal calling that cannot be ignored any longer, and if we resist it, well, it just makes life harder. We are being awakened to our true inner being and many are finding out that their very nature is the silent peace of God. Any of these practices are simple to begin and can be followed whether you live in the wide open plains of the Kalahari, or the hustle and bustle of New York city, where any park, garden, or greenhouse would suffice as a piece of nature.
In the bitter cold throes of winter, I can often be found sitting in the lush greenery of the Mediterranean garden greenhouse at the nearby botanical gardens. Here I bask in the beauty of the tropical foliage, inhale the sweetness of the orange and lemon blossoms, watch the Japanese coy glide soundlessly through the pond, and listen to the silent beauty of my soul. Admission is free, and unbelievably, I often find I’m the only one there.
The step towards freedom is not a difficult one to take. We simply need to “unplug” ourselves from the illusional way of living in this world, and begin to align with our inner being. One of the easiest ways to do that is by looking in the mirror of nature who so purely reflects back to us the simple, abundant, beauty and radiant essence of a benevolent, unconditionally giving energy. At our core, that’s who we are too
Copyright 2010 Heather Fraser — http://www.sacredscribe.com You may make copies of these articles and distribute in any media as long as you change nothing, credit the author, and include this copyright notice and website address.