“I am worthy!” I exclaimed to no one but myself, as I tightened my fists into two roundly-knit balls at my sides.
Shouting with all of my might, with all 120 pounds of my being, I yell again “I am worthy!”
At this, I felt as though I was almost starting to believe this ridiculous line. But then again, my rational mind told me that I am in a ridiculous situation in the first place: shouting and yelling at no one but the empty backdrop of Lake Superior on a cool Saturday morning.
What is worse to my agitated logical brain is the notion that I’ve not only been shouting at this great body of water, but that I’ve actually been conversing with her as well. I feared that I might be slipping into madness, but it is also in this madness that I felt the stirrings of someone who I had lost a while back—myself.
Nature has always spoken to me. Whenever I’ve needed someone to talk to about my problems, whenever I needed to work through the anxious tape recorder that is my mind, I lace up my hiking boots, or, if I am really feeling a need for connectivity and presence, I’ll explore the wonders of Mother Nature through the bare soles of my feet.
Through the many hours and countless excursions that I have spent wandering her curves, crevices, and creations, I have come to find not only parts of myself that I had lost, but I’ve also found the answers to the many questions that I had been asking of myself and my place in this world.
A lot of us are confused about who we are as well as our roles and where we fit in. Whether this be related to our roles in society, family, career, or others. The truth is, most of us have no idea what is going on; we are all confused about what is the “right” path for us and where we should go, as well as who we should turn to for guidance.
Our modern world has also made this hard by alienating us to just our core families instead of a whole tribe or community of people to show us the ways and wonders of life.
I have often asked myself the question, “Where are my elders?”
Most of my elders did not have elders to show them the way and their place in this world. This is no one’s fault, just the sad conclusion of a loss of cultural roots, ties, and stories that would normally help guide us through the ups and downs on our journeys.
Luckily, we have the wisdom of Mother Earth to offer us insight and guidance. You may be wondering how plants, animals, stones, and rivers could offer us any amount of wisdom that the internet cannot. I am here to tell you that just by spending a few moments under the shade of a tree or by the current of a stream, we can learn a great deal about what it means to be alive.
For example, by looking at the seasons we can see the cycles of death, birth, and growth. This is perfectly natural and even beautiful to some of us, yet a lot of us are afraid of this part of being human. Like the fish swimming upstream, we are trying to fight the current of life. We are trying to fight the path we are on, the path that is meant for us. Yet nature will nudge us in the right direction, whether we like it or not.
The wonderful thing is that she is always there to nature us when we fall. To hold us when we need to rest on a bed of pines, and to move us along when we need to take action! Like the passing of a storm, we can take this lesson and know that nothing is permanent. Perhaps this will give some us comfort in knowing that the bad times won’t last forever and that the bliss that we feel now will soon give way for another type of feeling.
Like the ebb and flow of the waves in the ocean, we are at times riding high and on top of the world, and at times we are sinking low, so low that we do not know how we will rise again.
But by spending time beneath the limbs of the trees and on the peaks of mountains we know that we are not alone at any part of our journey on this earth. We know that we are not separate from what is happening to us, but instead we are a part of everything that is happening, for we are everything that is happening.
At the edge of the shore, when I felt crazy and alone for speaking to a body of water, I realized here that I was not alone at all. For the rocks below my feet carried me to this shore and will carry me forward when I depart. It was at this point in my life, when I decided to break open and welcome in the wisdom of the natural world, I opened up something that I had long suppressed: the natural part of myself.
I had traded her for a more civilized version that I thought I had to be to fit in. What I did not realize is that I was trying to “fit” myself into a container that my wild and beautiful self was never meant to be in.
As I shouted at the water I awoke to another version of myself, a truer version of myself.
As I awoke to my true self, I realized that I was not going mad, I was finally becoming sane in our world that encourages us to mold ourselves into something that we are not. To me, this is actually what is insane!
When we decide to take the path less traveled (aka the one that is meant for us), we invite in more creativity, spontaneity, love, and compassion into our lives. We know what it means to climb the highest mountain, even when we are tired and want to turn back. We know what it means to feel like we are drowning in the depths of our fears from leaping into the unknown, but jumping anyway!
This is what it means to reconnect with our wild and natural selves. To wander the path and see where it leads. To be curious to and open to the many possibilities that await us, for our life does not have to be the scripted version that we have been fed. Like nature, we are all inherently creative. We can design and make our own reality, whenever we want.
When we form a close relationship with our inner world, we form a close relationship to the natural world. When we feel the excited beat of our heart below our chest at the thought of making our wildest dreams a reality, we are close to the heart beat that runs through us all. Aligned with the giant drum of creation, we move with the rhythm instead of running away from it.
The greatest lesson that I have been given from nature is that we are all one and are all connected. When I follow my own path, it opens one up for someone else. When I say yes to my wildest self, I say no to what is not meant for me. Yet this no could be a yes for someone else.
I invite you to open yourself up to the possibilities of the natural world and what she has to offer us all. She is not just a lifeless entity that our western world imagines her to be.
She is full of life, and more importantly she is full of wisdom. The wisdom that I believe all of us can benefit from. She is always here to guide us back to our truest and wildest selves, for she is within us.
If we take a moment to connect and listen, we will have much to gain from her.