Many indigenous cultures and spiritual traditions recognize four natural sanctuaries where we can remember and come home to who we are: the desert, the mountains, the waters, and the woods. Nature comes from the Latin ‘natus,’ ‘to be born.’ Native peoples look to these places for remembrance, soul retrieval work, and to be reborn or renewed. Because we are made from the natural elements- fire (our energy), air (our breath), water (our blood), and earth (our bones),- we are always drawn to come into harmony with the beauty of nature around us. It nourishes the soul and opens us to be born into the mysterious presence and promptings of our own vast inner world.
Most of us unknowingly go through life with a tight grip in our inner core. this inner psychological grip corresponds to an outer physiological one. The mind is designed to grasp ideas, and the hands and arms are made to grasp objects. Each form of grasping is an attempt to be in control. Grasping ideas of ourselves and the world – virtual models of reality – allows us to plan, which provides a sense of control, however illusory this control may be. In times of stress we may believe that we need to get a stronger grip on ourselves. In truth, we need to relax it. Our main stress comes from being too tightly wound. When I explain this principle to clients I will sometimes use the metaphor of driving a car: if our grip on the steering wheel is too tense we become a less safe driver. We need to be both alert and relaxed to gracefully navigate the road, as well as life
John J. Prendergast, In Touch: How to Tune In to the Inner Guidance of Your Body and Trust Yourself
People are afraid to forget their minds, fearing to fall through the void with nothing to break their fall.
They do not know that the Void is not really void, but the place of the real dharma
Huángbò Xīyùn, died 850, Chinese Chan(Zen) Buddhist master
We cannot live in a world that is interpreted for us by others.
An interpreted world is not a home.
Part of the terror is to take back our own listening.
To use our own voice. To see our own light
Hildegard of Bingen, 1098 – 1179
Recall the way mere mortals are overwhelmed
by circumstance, how great reputations
dissolve with infirmity and how you,
in particular, stand a hairsbreadth from losing
everyone you hold dear.
Then, look back down the path to the north,
the way you came, as if seeing
your entire past and then south
over the hazy blue coast as if present
to a broad future.
Recall the way you are all possibilities
you can see and how you live best
as an appreciator of horizons
whether you reach them or not.
David Whyte, Mameen (extract)
There’s a kind of white moth, I don’t know
what kind, that glimmers
in the forest, just
as the pink mocassin flowers
If you notice anything,
it leads you to notice
I was so full of energy.
I was always running around, looking
at this and that….
Finally, I noticed enough.
All around me in the forest
the white moths floated.
How long do they live, fluttering
in and out of the shadows?
You aren’t much, I said
one day to my reflection
in a green pond,
Mary Oliver, Moths (extracts)