Have you ever really been in Nature? I'm talking been, as in to be. To be present fully. To be silent and listening intently. To notice what's unfolding all around you, and to breathe and move at the pace of this natural unfolding.
I know you’ve been outside, but have you really been in Nature?
Humans (also known as two-legged stress-bunnies) are not so skillful at this.
We’re often marauding instead of being. We stomp through Nature as a backdrop, chatting with one another, looking at our phones, stumbling through spider webs and tripping over branches.
I do this too—I live in Nature, but don’t always immerse myself in it or move at its pace.
Like the other day when I stepped out on the porch of my tiny cabin. I wasn’t wearing my glasses (because I just woke up). Suddenly a flying projectile launched within millimeters of my face and hovered, making a deep buzzing sound. I of course screamed. The projectile made a hasty retreat. But the terrifying UFO was a hummingbird—delicate, beautiful, and wondrous. It may have mistaken me for a flower, just for a second.
But I wasn’t a flower—I was a two-legged stress-bunny!
If I were more present and aware at that moment, perhaps my nervous system wouldn’t have had such a jolt. I might have seen with all my senses—even without my glasses.
We aren’t meant to be immersed in nature every moment, but we can all benefit from tuning in more often.
In a mindful, earth-based practice, we call it moving at the pace of Nature, and even the most voracious two-legged marauder can try it.
All you have to do is find a place in Nature and position yourself there. If you’re walking, try to make your footfalls gentle and quiet. Take care in the placement of your feet and gaze softly on the ground around you. How silent, how slow can you be?
Imagine yourself as stealthy as a wolf stalking prey on padded feet.
You might even stop altogether, simply giving attention to what’s happening around you. Find a tree or a rock to relax against. If you sit still and slow your breathing, you'll notice how Nature behaves. Quieten into buzzing and birdsong. Hear the whispering of the grasses and the leaves as the breeze moves over your skin. After a while, you might even allow yourself to open to the subtler energies of the Earth beneath you or the tree at your back.
You might be surprised at the sensations you pick up on.
You might journal afterward, using these prompts: What qualities did these energies have? How did they make you feel physically and emotionally?
Earth wisdom teaches that all things are ensouled, or endowed with life energy. You might even observe that a place has a noticeable mood or bhava.
The ancient Celts called this an sidhe (sounds like "on shee")—at one with the energies, the being-ness of the world.
Recently, I had the experience of sitting with one of the standing stones at Avebury, UK. The ancient stone circles are a place of ancient gathering and power. I nestled my back against one great stone, and simply sat there, holding hands with a friend.
At first my friend and I talked, but after a time, my limbs grew heavy and my jaw felt slack. I just wanted to be still. Talk about being stoned!
I have never experienced such a delicious, ponderous, slow energy as this stone shared with me. It was neither happy nor sad, nor lonely—it was simply present. Even though people moved and talked all around me, I had no desire to do anything other than sit and continue to sink into that stone's rootedness and depth. Even now, I can feel that wonderful energy in my bones, healing me and reminding me to slooowwww dowwwwnnn.
So, tell me again, have you ever been in Nature? I would love to hear how or where you practice being an sidhe, in the comments below.
Namaste – peace to the divine light in you,
K-Bhava, Kristi Corlett