A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Go out in the woods, go out. If you don’t go out in the woods nothing will ever happen and your life will never begin.
~Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
NC Museum of Art walking trails, Raleigh, NC – photo by Viki Atkinson
Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it…Thus if one keeps on walking, everything will be alright.
Walking is also an ambulation of mind.
Every walker is a guard on patrol to protect the ineffable.
~Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking
The quotes above describe pretty well the way I’ve come to feel about walking lately. I’ve done a lot of walking in the last month, more than usual, primarily because I’ve found a beautiful place to walk that allows me to surround myself with nature, minus the cars and sidewalks of my neighborhood. The trails at the North Carolina Museum of Art (a 10-minute drive from my house) are well-designed and offer both paved and gravel paths that wind through gently rolling hills and woodland glens. They’re varied enough that I can choose a route based on my mood and energy level, as well as how much time I have.
The move back to North Carolina has been a good one, but it has also come with some challenges, and walking the museum trails has become a meditative, centering activity for me. Continue reading
I trust the mystery. I trust what comes in silence and what comes in nature where there’s no diversion. I think the lack of stimulation allows us to hear and experience a deeper river that’s constant, still, vibrant, and real. And the process of deep listening with attention and intention catalyzes and mobilizes exactly what’s needed at that time.
One winter morning I awoke to see magnificent lines of frost stretching across my window panes. They seemed to rise with the sunshine and the bitter cold outside. They looked like little miracles that had been formed in the dark of night. I watched them in sheer amazement and marveled that such beautiful forms could be born during such a winter-cold night. Yet, as I pondered them, I thought of how life is so like that. We live our long, worn days in the shadows, in what often feels like barren, cold winter, so unaware of the miracles that are being created in our spirits. It takes the sudden daylight, some unexpected surprise of life, to cause our gaze to look upon a simple, stunning growth that has happened quietly inside us. Like frost designs on a winter window, they bring us beyond life’s fragmentation and remind us that we are not nearly as lost as we thought we were, that all the time we thought we were dead inside, beautiful things were being born in us.
~Joyce Rupp, Praying Our Goodbyes
I know well that heaven and earth and all creation are great, generous and beautiful and good…God’s goodness fills all his creatures and all his blessed works full, and endlessly overflows in them…God is everything which is good, as I see it, and the goodness which everything has is God.
~Julian of Norwich
Photo by Lisa Tate
I see or hear
that more or less
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack
It was what I was born for –
to look, to listen, Continue reading
It is the child that sees the primordial secret in nature, and it is the child of ourselves we return to. The child within us is simple and daring enough to live the secret.
To lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.
~Sir John Lubbock
Photo by Lisa Tate
One look at this photo by my friend Lisa, and I was catapulted back through time, years flying by like so many roadside fenceposts. I landed decades in the past at my Granny Rogers’ house at the edge of a small North Carolina town named Creedmoor. The property to the south side of the house sloped down towards a wooded area, and at the bottom of the slope was an old woodshed. Continue reading
Photo by Lisa Tate
I don’t know who God is exactly.
But I’ll tell you this.
I was sitting in the river named Clarion, on a
water splashed stone
and all afternoon I listened to the voices
of the river talking….
And slowly, very slowly, it became clear to me
what they were saying.
Said the river I am part of holiness.
And I too, said the stone. And I too, whispered
the moss beneath the water.
I’d been to the river before, Continue reading
People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child…our own two eyes. All is a miracle.
~Thich Nhat Hanh