I recently celebrated my 26th birthday.
If I’ve learned anything in my slightly more than a quarter-century here on earth, I’ve learned that the only constant is change.
By the time you reach 26, you’re probably not living in the same place you called home as a child, or if you are, you’ve left and returned, and neither you nor the place is the same. Maybe you were raised in the country and are now living life as one of thousands of inhabitants of a city. Perhaps you were raised in a city and are learning how to adapt to country life. Maybe you’re living in a country that’s not your own.
Life can get pretty crazy sometimes.
There are moments of joy, pain, sadness, exhilaration, hard work, fun and always, always, change.
The one thing that has kept me sane is the memory of home. Often in my meditations, I’ll imagine I’m in my favorite spot along the creek that runs by my childhood home.
Just imagining being there brings me peace.
If you’re looking for an anchor, think of a place, whether it’s a place you’ve been or one that exists only in your imagination. Think of a place that makes you feel safe, at peace and at home. Imagine the sounds, smells and sights of your place and allow yourself to be wholly transported.
I close my eyes and go to my place whenever stress begins to weigh heavily on me or anytime I just need a little boost.
Although thinking of a place may seem like such a small action, the intention and love behind the thought gives it tremendous power to improve your wellbeing. So choose your place with all the love in your heart and know it’s there for you anytime.
My place is a path behind shadowed woods.
The path behind our shadowed woods has different voices when it speaks.
The summer’s breath softens the sound as the dirt gently depresses underfoot. The gentle breeze carries pine beneath your nose and the stream keeps the rhythm of the earth in its pulse. The birds celebrate the sun and the bugs float as lazily by as the clouds.
Autumn burns to a raspy articulation, bright colors searing the sides of the mountain range. The voice is quicker, shorter, for cold is closing in. The squirrels become more frantic, preparing for the snow they know will come. The deer enjoy the cornfields before harvesting time. Families gather closer to the fireplace and fall’s voice whispers, hibernate.
Winter comes, not a care in the world for the death it brings; trees are bare and water is frozen. The woods remain silent while woodstoves roar. The longest season is the most peaceful in our shadowed woods. My intimacy with the land grows in this dark, quiet time, She and I whispering ancient secrets back and forth.
Subtly, without much fanfare, the snow begins to retreat, not hurrying but inevitable. Small buds appear on the trees in our shadowed woods and the birds begin to sing. The creek awakens, fecund with the fertilization of the melting snow. The soft ground greens again, flowers remembering the sunlight after months beneath the folds of Her primal embrace.
These shadowed woods breathe and live, wax and wane.
They are free of hurry and know not the chains of worry.
These shadowed woods have taught me how to live and how to die.
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Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock