A Place to Rest Your Worries

We live in a society that seems to demand an endless amount of rushing. From place to place, project to project, event to event. Where multi-tasking is seen as immensely valuable in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. Where the new, fresh, different, exciting and dramatic are exulted. Where communication is more and more conducted through devices and the way we explore the world is so often through a screen.

oakleaves

There are advantages in these things. I’m not about to advocate giving up electricity because it might burn the house down. 

I love having easy access to information. How when I’m curious about the precise meaning of a word or the song of the pygmy nuthatch or the origin of the word compassion – there it is – right at my fingertips. I value being able to learn about what’s happening around the globe and across the state. It’s a wonderful thing that I can get up on a Sunday morning, make a cup of tea, and have a long conversation with my dear friend who is sitting in her home in Germany.

I am, however, acutely aware of the trade-offs we make every day in this modern life. And I know that I need something more, or rather, something less.

I need to go outside and sit down.

I need a special place – actually, a few special places – where I can have an intimate relationship with nature.

Watching Planet Earth in HD on BBC America is fascinating and awe inspiring and beautiful.

But the path through the forest near my house is personal.

It’s a place where I can witness all the nuances of change as we move from season to season. The way it looks after a long dry winter. The lushness that seems to explode overnight in the midst of a deeply rich monsoon season. The curiosity that blossoms in me when one summer there seems to be a squirrel in every tree and the next summer there’s only a few in the entire forest.

My forest path helps me witness the seasons in myself as well. It shows me the worry that blocks out the sounds of the birds, or the striving that makes me think I better walk faster and get on to “more important” work.

Along my forest path there’s a Gamble Oak at the crest of the hill where I pause, offer my intention and ask permission to enter. Rarely do I get anything but an unequivocal welcome, but I must ask. That oak tree has witnessed buoyant joy, humble contentment, blissful Oneness, sorrow, grief and so much more.

I’ve witnessed that same oak tree in all its stages, from gangly to stately, from bare and skeletal to adorned in color, and all the subtleties in between.

While I’ve been stretching and growing, it too, has been stretching and growing.

I’m grateful for that oak tree. 

There is a reciprocal relationship that develops when we know a place intimately. A care that is given and received. A mirroring, learning, unfolding. Reliable and ever changing. 

A special place doesn’t have to be profound or grand. In fact, the less grand, the better. What makes it special is the depth of awareness we bring to it.

With attention and presence, the most ordinary place can be the most precious refuge.

Remember though, it should never be far away. While it’s great to have places to enjoy that are far from home, what I’m talking about is a place you can visit every day. Meet up with on good days and bad. Visit in any weather. Slip away to in the middle of the endless busyness of life. A place to rest your worries and celebrate your wildest dreams. One that’s intimate enough to hold you and vast enough to give space to all your changes. One you love and cherish and witness in all its moods and variations.

If you have a special place, I’d love to hear about it.

If you don’t, may you find one soon . . . and go there often.

 

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  1. A Return to Wonder and Belonging | Canyon Light Life Coaching - October 30, 2015

    […] week when I was writing about the gifts inherent in developing a close relationship with nature, I was reminded of a book by Byrd Baylor, Your Own Best Secret […]

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