The Journey Within
You came because you thought nature would help your heavy heart. There has been a lot on your mind and you can’t stop the mind chatter. In fact, you believe everything your mind has been telling you. The question “Who am I?” repeats over and over in your head like a broken record. So you’ve come for some solitude and reflection.
You stand before the opening of the forest. Approaching the opening to the trail, you take a step back for a moment and just observe. “Wow it’s a beautiful opening!” Your mind begins to wonder what’s inside! Your heart is pumping a little quicker, your breath deepens and your palms become a bit wet. “Why am I feeling this excitement?” You ask yourself. Maybe its because of the way the path beckons you to come within. Maybe its the way the trees form the canopy above the path shielding it’s creatures from the afternoon sky. Either way whatever it is has you feeling excited! So you begin to walk. You hear the crunching of the dead pine needles under foot and smell the sweetness of the wet ground. You’ve now entered into the journey.
At first you walk to familiarize yourself with this path. You are looking forward just ahead becoming acquainted with the ground. “A little mud here, some small puddles there, and oops be careful of that hole.” As you roam the narrow path you find yourself quickly becoming comfortable with the lay of the land. You hear the breeze blowing the tops of the pine trees back and forth, along with crackling in the branches. You stop for a moment to breathe in this peace within the forest. You hear the silence. It’s not total and complete silence, but an unexplainable silence.
Closing your eyes to enhance your other senses you hear conversations taking place between the trees. They know you are here. The birds sing something beautiful that almost sounds like your name but you can’t quite be sure of it. The smell of nature rushes into your nostrils tickling your lungs with raw goodness, just like the earthy smell of beans and bread at Grandma’s house. You feel the slight chill in the air on your arms arising goose bumps just until the trees notice and part ways allowing the sun’s rays to beam down to warm you.
Your eyes open and you begin exploring. With every footstep and every bend on the path your mind begins narrating. “Oh look at that path carved out under the trees where deer have run through.” You begin marveling at the tightly spun webs in the trees that appear as fairy hammocks. This magical-ness warms you inside and yet at the same time you don’t know what to call it.
As you meander through the forest, all the cares and worries you brought with you on this hike have somehow vanished. In fact, you almost forgot about them until you remembered you were not troubled by them any longer. It’s amazing what nature can do for the heart and mind.
Looking to the left off in the distance, you see what appears to be a large hole comprised of rocks, leaves and water. As you approach you see that a tree has died, fallen over, roots exposed. The tree begins to share it’s journey with you. You do not hear the words of the tree in your ears as much as you hear them within your heart. The tree whispers…
“Oh dear one, it is you. I’ve known you were coming. I want to share with you the story of life. You see, we are formed up from the Earth by the Power of the Divine. Our purpose is for those around us, not just for ourselves alone. I once was a strong and beautiful tree that lived to see above others. And that I did, believing in myself. At times my branches held up others and at other times my branches would give way because of the pressure I could no longer bare. I watched those around grow and fall but my roots remained deep. Then something happened. With every winter that came I grew more tired. One by one my branches began to dry up. Soon, I too was relying on those around me to hold up my branches. Eventually though, my roots once deep no longer had strength, leading to the fall of me. But I have great news for you! After my fall, life still continued around me. See the moss that grows on my spine and the mushrooms that live within my bark, that’s life continuing on. Don’t worry your heart with the simple things or even with the difficult things for that matter. You are not those things. If you journey within yourself, you will find you not any of those things.”
You are the silence between them.