(Our last post showed it is as hard for nature lovers to look at its unpleasant side, as it is for land developers to read about nature’s wonders and benefits. In the interest of balance, we follow with this ode to nature as a teacher, and a call to step out of our constructs and into the word of magic and purpose… a post we hope you will be inspired to widely post and share)
The Opening To A Vitally Realized Life
By Jesse Wolf Hardin
There is a portal, an opening, largely concealed in the misty Avalon of our unconscious. And it’s right there, too, in the natural world just outside the walls of our houses and minds. In our still wondrous souls and feeling hearts. Like a view of the stars reflected in a pulsing river, its edges are fringed with foliage that stretches and strives before us.
It’s there we go to hear the earth’s stories and heed its plaintive pleas, close to the source, on hands and knees. And it is there that we meet with the others of our kind and calling, to converse and counsel, to cocreate a reality reflective of the medicine and mysteries within and around us. We walk together through narrow openings leading out of the constricting paradigm, and through and under the foliage curtaining the shaman’s or medicine woman’s cave… consciously connecting all that has been, with all that can be.
From the very earliest manifestations of what it means to be human, we have looked to and honored the earth and the anima, the vital life force. Before turning to the stars for influence or intervention, we apprenticed to the examples of the birds and the lessons, aid and inspiration of medicinal plants and mushrooms and trees of knowledge, revealing crystal studded rock and life giving rivers, our fellow wild creatures as well as the energy or spirit that we sensed empowering them. Even now, it is the example and force we can both learn from and access from, whether approaching it as secularists and describing and testing it like scientists, as mystery reveling animists or pagans, or as Christians attributing nature and that vital force to most generous God. Regardless of one’s religion or cosmology, the natural world and our own inner intuitive natures are together the most immediate, grounding, instructing, empowering force available to the present day seeker, healer, teacher or practitioner.
It’s all too easy to listen to the current news on the television, and be overwhelmed by hopelessness or negativity. But we have only to look around for the exceptional examples of caring and consciousness, of resistance to the paradigm, the re-creation of heartful traditions and the reweaving of healthful community. Somewhere as we speak, a dance troupe choreographs their interpretation of what it means to be wounded but driven by and given to life, in their own way helping inspire needed changes in ourselves and the world. A man contacts self and planet more deeply through his sense-filled preparation of wild foods and a home-baked pie. Groups of allies are pooling their resources to buy, restore and often resacrament a piece of land where their communities can pilgrimage or homestead. A young woman is dropping out of business school to pursue her herbal studies, with plans to make a humble living on her efforts at natural healing. And a preschool teacher is helping to encourage not only the curiosity of her charges, but also their sense of adventure, mission, and bliss.
In an age of accelerating distraction and advancing destruction, each of these determined adepts pursue a heroic journey in the direction of presence and place, authenticity and response-ability, reconnection and rewilding, sensation and celebration, clarity and power, assignment and purpose, tribe and truth. Taking risks, pushing the envelope, doing all they can to help. You, like they, are one of those who refuse to numb down or look away, an empathic who dares to feel both the suffering and joy of the world in every cell of your beings. No matter how lonely your sensitivity ever makes you feel, you are not alone. You are in partnership and community with all the caring seekers experiencing the world through reawakened primal instinct and so called “6th sense,” through caring hearts, and through every inch of skin! We are the inheritors of, practitioners of, and living vehicles for a contemporary nature-informed sensibility and practice that heals, informs and excites… the welcomed apprentices of an ancient and crucial calling.
Ours is the practice of not only healers and caregivers, activists and artists, but also of sensualists and celebrants, reaping the rewards for awareness and engagement in the now, tasting every flavor, every detail of what it means to be fully, completely alive! While drawing from or sharing elements with ancient shamanism and animism, Western and Eastern herbal healing traditions, Taoism and more, our practice is more than a resurfacing and editing of historic systems, more than a return to the “old ways.” It’s accessing the same inspirited source that has informed spiritual, philosophic, magical, lifeways and healing practices throughout time.
Such conscious reconnection promises to give us back our most authentic selves, awareness of our special powers, our childlike wonder and delight! It can inspire us to follow the imploring of our enchanted hearts, rather than always blindly acquiescing to the logical mind. It brings us full circle to the responsibilities of discernment and choice, meaning and mission. It provides us with a deepened sense of place, and with a community of allies for those who have long felt alone. And to the displaced and dissatisfied, to those who never quite “fit in” anywhere else, this way of being offers us a home.
Admittedly any intentional change in consciousness is magical in its own right, but the greatest
magic may be the ways we focus and extend out our consciousness in order to actively influence the world for the better. It is this manifestation that in the long run most empowers, validates and sates. The most intense magic, the greatest miracles, will always occur when we’re aligned with and act in collusion with natural and native forces, with ongoing evolutionary processes, acting in our full capacities to remedy, create, defend, empower and deepen. This includes guarding and restoring the natural world that is affords us our inspiration and instruction. Healing who and what needs healing. Opposing injustice. Making all acts more intensely meaningful, enjoyable, beautiful and right. Helping others to make the vital shift. Noticing and savoring. Giving thanks and praise for every lesson and gift.