Spending time in nature really brings me back to my true nature of peace and connection to the earth and to myself.
That connection happened this morning as I was sipping on a cappuccino reading a book on my verandah and my hope is that by writing it down you will take a moment to remember your true self.
The book I was reading, “Healing Self, Healing Earth,” by Roy Holman, invited me to sit in stillness and become quiet. This is what happened next...
I looked up from the book and took a long, deep, deliberate breath in through my nose and noticed for the first time that morning our small but beautifully formed Mango tree growing quietly a few meters away from where I sat. As I let out an extended, conscious exhale through my mouth I couldn't look away and I knew the tree wanted me to sit with it and share its truth.
I placed the book down on the table next to my empty coffee cup and slowly stood up becoming aware of the movement of my body, the calmness of my breath, and the vibration of my soul increasing in frequency.
Barefoot, I made my feet feel my meditation as I stepped down from the solid, sun scorched, concrete surface to cool, damp, living, green grass. Step by step I mindlessly made my way to the tree. I say mindlessly because as I rooted myself to my breath and the present moment my thoughts lessened and all I was aware of was the blades of grass tickling my toes, the soil shifting to support my weight, the muscles in my body swaying in a slow-dance of contraction and release to help my soul surrender to the Mango tree. Nothing else mattered except this moment. I was no longer a body but a spirit.
I reached the shelter of my still not yet fully matured tree companion and sat down on the ground next to its solid trunk. I rested my hand on its gnarly, twisted, brown body and thanked it for letting me in. I felt privileged to share this moment. I believed that magic was about to begin.
As I was about to lean against the trunk I noticed an orderly line of ants carrying their eggs up and down the surface. As much as I was enjoying the feeling of union with nature I didn't love the idea of ants crawling over my skin so I moved away a little from my new friend. I then realised I had become my own support, my own trunk and I imagined roots growing down from me towards the centre of the earth. I then waited...for something...for nothing...for an undoing of self?
I watched the ants. I watched them running toward me and I watched as they found me and crawled over my skin and I felt the sharp sting as they occasionally bit me. Fly after pesky fly buzzed around my head and landed on my limbs. This was not peace. This was not shelter. Where was the comfort and connection?
I tried to stay still but felt an anger rise in my chest as I swatted at ever increasing numbers of flies, sure enough I got to the point where I'd completely forgotten my breath. The ants launched a full on attack on my paper, hands and legs and I tried really hard not to kill them with my reaction. I had wanted connection, not destruction!!
Still I stayed. I returned my focus to my breath, long breaths in and long breaths out. Breaths that reached all the way to my belly and filled it like a balloon and made me feel a little less heavy. Slowly the flies left me alone and the ants again changed their direction and departed.
I looked around me, gaining an awareness and appreciation of the life living all around me that I am so often unaware of. The grass growing underneath me in various shades of green, the ants moving home, a delicate, paper like, purple flower just to the left of me which appeared to spring up from nowhere. I turned my gaze skywards and I felt gratitude for the shelter of the leaves and I saw the beauty of the sunlight dappling through the branches and felt joy as it caressed and warmed my face. I looked at the clear blue sky and I found my peace. My soul found its bliss. I smiled and closed my eyes and became one with the fly who returned to my arm and tickled my skin reminding me of a lover exploring my body with his fingers and I thanked the fly as it left me. I let the occasional sharp sting of an ant bite remind me that I have this human body and sometimes it hurts. As I rubbed the area of pain I felt the relief that comes from self soothing and I was aware that it is ok to comfort yourself when you are in pain. I felt the grass breathing beside me and I thanked it for the sense of unity.
I looked back at the Mango tree and reconnected my hand to its bark and it felt as though the tree was laughing with delight as a quote appeared in my mind from a book I had read a while ago... “There is never anything to do, but always action to take,” (“The Magician's Way,” William Whitecloud,) I then thanked the tree for its art of stillness and sense of doing nothing while it takes action to shelter me from the weather and produces the oxygen I need to breathe. I thanked it for being home to the birds and insects and for producing delicious fruit for us which will be ready to eat in a month or so.
I closed my eyes and laughed out loud at the beauty of bliss that I had been blessed enough to witness.
When I opened my eyes my gaze fell to a little yellow butterfly that was fluttering around the grass by my verandah and I knew that there was a significance, one last lesson to learn. When I returned to the verandah and picked up my book I flicked back a few pages until I rested upon this, “The day I sat down to write this book, a delicate yellow butterfly landed lightly on my shoulder...A couple of years later on the very morning I finished the first draft of this book, I went outside to sit on the grass. Again, a yellow butterfly landed next to me, and we sat together.” I sat there in awe knowing that everything is connected, there is nothing but energy that doesn't conform to mankind’s man made concept of time, space or distance. We are the entire universe and the entire universe is us. In the moments of undoing ego, of dissolving the self, we become complete and realise that we are more than we could even begin to comprehend.
There is magic in moments of stillness.
Take a moment, right now, to sit in stillness, as long as it takes for you to find your peace, your yellow butterfly, mango tree kind of moment.