Also known as: officially coming out of the Closet
It is pretty well known that I do not really “like” nature. It’s dirty, there are bugs out there, and above all, the temperature is usually all wrong. Camping is akin to torture for me, because there are few things I want to do less than hang around outside, especially if sweating or discomfort is involved in any way.
It’s funny, then, that I’ve been drawn out into nature lately. I’ve been walking for hours outside in the summer heat of Texas. Why in the world would I want to torture myself by wandering around outside in the hottest part of the year, sweating like a pig because it’s hot as balls?
Well, there are a few answers to that ridiculous question.
First, because it keeps paying off. The first time I followed that weird tug to go walking around the neighborhood when the heat index was over 100 degrees, I wandered into a grove of trees and wound my way past some small, muddy ponds to a bigger, only slightly less muddy pond with a beautiful fountain in the middle.
I’d visited this pond before (although, admittedly, not when it was quite so hot outside). But I had never noticed a little bridge that serves as a walkway over the pond and the creek running from it.
As I walked over it, I saw a praying mantis on the bridge railing, which I consider a sacred symbol.
I didn’t know then that praying mantises actually live in Texas, and that they are fairly common and a friend of many a gardener. All I knew was that the praying mantis is a symbol for the sacred, the shaman, for God, the inner knowing. To me, that praying mantis was a big, freaking deal. It meant that not only was I in the right place, but that the place I was in was holy, divine, and special. That I was supposed to be here.
Since then, I continue to see amazing things on my walk. For instance, that muddy water is actually full of life, of fish and turtles and tadpoles, but you have to be still and watch before you can see any of that beneath the fine layer of muck. I often run into squirrels or cottontail bunnies or ducks. I’m learning to tell the difference between the call of the Cardinal and the call of the Mockingbird. And I now know what a Mississippi Kite looks like (in addition to the fact that it eats large bugs). Every time I take that walk, I see something new or exciting or vibrant and energetic.
Second, and on a related note, it’s my church.
Most people I know, whether they are religious or not, believe in a higher power of some sort. So do I. While I do not exactly believe in the vengeful God of the Old Testament or the all-powerful God of the New, I do believe that at the center of the Universe lies a divine, powerful love that connects us all.
I also believe that we all have guides who have chosen to join us in this lifetime to help us learn the lessons we came here to learn and to live the biggest lives we possibly can. Some people call them spirit guides, guardian angels, the higher self, the ancestors, or God/Jesus/the Holy Spirit. I call mine the Board of Directors or, sometimes, “the committee,” and I think they are all of the above.
When I’m quiet, or in trouble, I often hear them speaking to me. (No, not like voices in my head, although sometimes it probably appears that way.) I hear a voice that sounds just like another thought, but I can tell that it’s not coming from what I consider “me.”
Lots of people have had this experience when scared, or lost somewhere, or just trying to make a big decision. They get an insight, or a thought from somewhere else, and they follow it because it just feels right. Sometimes this happens to me when I’m driving, and I know that car on my left-hand-side is going to try to move into my lane while I’m still in it. Or when I’m trying to locate a new address, and my GPS isn’t updating fast enough; somehow, I know where to turn and when.
The first time I took that walk out to the bridge, I heard that same voice as I approached the grove of trees. It indicated that this was a sanctuary. (It also indicated that I should NOT WALK SO FAST, DAMNIT. SLOW DOWN.) Perhaps it didn’t use those exact words, but I got the picture.
NO, REALLY, SLOW DOWN. YOU WALK FAST NATURALLY. WE DON’T MEAN SLOW FOR YOU. WE MEAN SLOW. THIS IS A SACRED PLACE. SLOW DOWN AND PAY ATTENTION.
Okay, so maybe I didn’t get the picture immediately, but I got it eventually.
I slow down when I enter the sanctuary, and keep that pace as I approach the bridge, which I consider the Holiest of Holies.
And third, it helps me deepen my intuition.
Many gurus say the same thing: if you want to hear that voice more often, you should go out in nature. You should meditate. You should feed your body only the things it wants. You should stop and take breaks in your day to listen.
It appears that I am moving on all of those fronts (more on that some other time), and the trips out into nature are just one step in a journey of many. They aren’t the first steps, but they wouldn’t be possible without all those before it.
And they are more important to me now, as I think using my intuition, my ability to read people and hear the truth that lies 10 layers underneath what’s being said, will be key in what lies ahead for me where my career is concerned.
So as I finish my highly analytical MBA, I’m also beginning to turn within and to listen more often, more reliably. I’m working to strengthen my Right brain in addition to my high-functioning Left. I think most of you knew I was pretty woo already, but it was time to start the process of coming out of the closet.
After all, everyone has a sixth sense, so tuning in to mine is really only natural.