I spend a lot of time out in nature… listening, observing, and basking in the rhythm and flow that seems to happen effortlessly.
Being in nature, in the peace and serenity of the trees, flowers, plants, wildlife, breezes, and all the other beautiful things typically can calm and soothe me because it’s a reflection of what is most natural in life. It calms and soothes all of us (if we let it) because we are most aligned with our own authentic nature when we flow with the natural rhythm of life. That is what Mother Nature represents-who we truly are. It is why, once I started to spend a lot of time in nature a few years ago, I wanted to do it more and more, all the time. I also discovered that nature speaks to us, just as horses communicate to us with their energy; they mirror us and provide us with messages and all of the natural world does that as well – it’s up to us to pay attention and tune in.
The first time I did this was last year while I was out in San Francisco. I was meditating on the balcony of my hotel room, which was right on the San Francisco Bay. As I meditated a dolphin swam by a few times. Later that day, my spiritual mentor asked me if I asked the dolphin what message it had for me. I hadn’t. I hadn’t thought to do so. She said, “they always have messages – you just have to ask and then quiet your mind to hear the response.” I’ve always been very attuned to animals and creatures of all kinds so doing this felt like a completely natural thing for me. From then on I began conversing with what showed up for me in nature. My big ones are hawks, owls, hummingbirds, and butterflies. They show up regularly for me, while hiking or sitting in my woods or by my pond. Hummingbirds buzzing right in my face, butterflies landing on me, a hawk regularly squawking and swooping all around me and owls hooting outside my bedroom window at night. I ask what their messages are and, after closing my eyes and quieting my mind for a few minutes, I always receive a message. The first thing that pops up from my heart and into my mind is always the answer. I don’t question or doubt it. I just accept it. Sometimes the answers make sense in the moment; sometimes they don’t but eventually they always make sense.
My best and most obvious example of this came a few months ago when my husband and I hit a snag building our cottage by the pond. Without getting into the gory details, the contractor we hired to build the cottage for us (who we’d known and who’d done work for us the past three years) suddenly stopped work. After almost three months of no work and a lot of bullshit excuses, we were beyond frustrated. Our beautiful, half-built cottage stood by our pond waiting to be finished so we could use it and share the awesome space and energy of our pond with others. My heart broke each time I saw it sitting there, unfinished and empty.
One day, we had family visiting and walked them down to the pond to see the half-built cottage. As we got down there everyone smelled something foul.
“Dead animal”, my nephew said.
“Yup – YUCK”, my niece chimed in.
“Where?” I asked
“I don’t know”, my sister said, “but it reeks down here”.
I was hopeful it was somewhere further in the woods and the smell was just blowing our way with the breeze. I was wrong. I was the first to spot it – a dead doe right on the edge of our pond to the left of our cottage.
“Oh no!” I said – “A baby deer!”
“WTF?” my husband said.
The girls all were distraught and we scurried by it trying not to look holding our breath. Of course my husband, nephew, and brother-in-law went to inspect further. Matt assumed a coyote or some predator got to it.
“How do we get rid of it?” I asked.
“Something will eat it quickly”, Matt said, “It’ll be gone in a few days.”
I was upset. Not only because there was a dead deer next to my pond but also because there was a dead animal next to my beautiful cottage. The cottage that was built to be all about peace and joy and love now seemed to be filled with stagnant dead energy – that of our contractor who stopped working on it and who was lying to us about why and that of a dead deer lying next to it and my pond.
The next day I went back down to the pond to meditate and write. I sat on the opposite side of the cottage, on a bench that overlooked the pond and the cottage (so as not to inhale any decaying body). As I looked up at the cottage I saw no less than 12 buzzards lining the roof with about 4-5 more hovering around the dead deer. My heart sank. Dead animals and turkey vultures were now the energy that surrounded my beautiful cottage. “Lovely” I sarcastically muttered under my breath as I turned away from the pond. I couldn’t bear to look at the vultures surrounding my cottage. And then I heard my mentor’s voice in my head from earlier in the year: “What message do they have for you, Andria?”
I asked. I quieted my mind in meditation for about 15 minutes and the message I received was, “We are clearing away all the dead stagnant energy around this cottage. We are making room for the new.” I loved that message and accepted it whole-heartedly. After all, that’s what buzzards do! They clean up all the dead stuff. They are gentle creatures that get rid of dead things! Perfect. That was just what we needed! Two days later I went back to the pond – the deer carcass was completely gone – just like Matt said. It took two days. Love those buzzards!
Within the next week Matt and I decided to fire our contractor and got two other builders out to give us a quote to finish it. Within a week we had made a decision on a new builder. We were getting ready to leave for a trip and decided we’d move forward with everything when we returned. The day before we left for our trip I was at the pond writing and meditating. As I got up to walk back up to the house, a big hawk swooped down in front of me and did three laps around the pond past me before landing himself on the perch of the cottage roof. It was the most beautiful site. He sat there for a good ten minutes. I didn’t move. We stared at each other. I closed my eyes and asked what message he had for me. What came to me was “Everything is flowing freely again – it’s time to move forward.” That was the exact feeling I had in my gut when he first swooped by me: the energy here is clear. He was the sign of that.
All the messages were accurate – when we returned from our trip we signed a new contractor and work re-started on the cottage. I have no idea why the stagnant energy arrived but that’s beside the point – the point is that nature is always communicating with us; actually, the Universe is always communicating with us (often times through nature). There are messages all around us, always. We just need to pay attention, and also, ask! Beyond the asking, we need to trust our gut with the responses we receive. I could easily disregard each response I receive when I ask a creature of nature what message they have for me and tell myself I’m making it up. But that is never the case – mostly because I’m not smart enough to come up with some of the amazing insights and messages that arise from within me. AND, the Universe speaks to us through our mind’s eye, our intuition, and our imagination. We just need to trust it.
The next time you’re outside on a calm day and a gust of wind suddenly blows up, ask it what it’s there to tell you. When you’re sitting outside in the summertime and a dragon fly lands on your lap, ask it what message it has for you. Then trust what comes to you – even if it doesn’t make sense in the moment, trust that it eventually will. I promise you, if you trust, it will!