Lets be real here, nature is not all butterflies and rainbows. Truth is, it can be fucking scary and sometimes gross. There, I said it.
When I started Wild Meditations I wanted to be honest, and paint a realistic picture of what it entails to connect to nature. There is a good chance that this practice is going to be confronting. Our ventures into nature, especially our own inner nature, will not always match the vision in our heads (oh hi there ticks, snakes, anger, sadness and frustration).
Most of my ventures in the garden, yard work, or explorations in the wild are punctuated by my short screams of terror, gasps, curse words, and muffled sounds of disgust. Sometimes I even find myself throwing things in outright horror.
The other day I cut some flowers from the yard. I was marveling at the beauty and the ingenuity of the flowers, when suddenly this large grey/brown spider crawled out of a blossom in that creepy spindly way that spiders move. I screamed and flung the flowers onto the concrete patio. The spider scurried away, dipping into the safety of the cracks between the cement. I waited a few moments to see if any other unknown creatures would emerge from the flowers. I went from amazement to complete terror to mild unease in a matter of seconds.
No doubt there are some of you who are reading this who may have had a much less visceral reaction to a unexpected spider coming out of a flower. We all have varying degrees of reactivity (ahem.don’t judge me)… I do think most of us however, have fears and reservations around nature. Butterflies floating across the grass, and pausing on flowers are such a sight to behold. Maggots squirming in my dogs poop on the other hand (insert muffled sound of disgust here).
The present moment has little resemblance to the glossy pages in a magazine, movies, and often our own ideas of how things should play out. I mean seriously, how often do you see flies or yellow jackets invading a picnic in a movie? Never! Better yet, how often do our own ideas of how things “should” be going versus what is actually happening in the moment interfere with our wellbeing? It is these misconceptions that bring us feelings of disappointment and frustration.
Part of reality is that we may not always “like” what is happening. We don’t have to do strange exercises in our minds to “find the positive” or search for hidden meanings. Instead, all we have to do is practice the acceptance of our negative feelings and experiences along with the positive ones. One of my favorite ways to do this is by going hiking. There will be moments of walking and peace and then there will be a strange rustle in the grass to the right…and suddenly there will be thoughts about rattlesnakes. There is even a possibility an actually snake will be spotted. There are moments of waiting for the end of a ridiculously big hill, or feeling hot and sweaty and bothered. Then suddenly a huge hawk flies overhead and you are in complete awe. All of these events along with our feelings about them flow seamlessly. We get to practice acceptance of them all. The result of these types of experiences is that we begin to train our minds to soften around expectations and practice acceptance. It will be impossible for this to NOT flow into the rest of our lives.
Just as the word "wild" implies it is not always a neat and tidy process. It can be tangled, raw, messy, and beautiful. Wild encompasses the slugs, the carrion, the creepy crawly things beneath the soil along with the majestic lion, the floating butterflies, and the towering redwood.
With Love, Nicole