I think there is a very clear difference between the way it feels to be drawn towards something and the way it feels to be driven to do something.
On my most picture-perfect days, now often the days I get to regroup, I spend my time being drawn here, perhaps there….no map, schedule, or fire under my ass.
Today was the first day of Autumn.
Going into this year, I thought I pretty much knew what to expect as far as changes in myself. At least in many ways. I have learned that there are so many things to uncover in ones self its impossible to know it all–just as in any facet of life. In fact, I’ve learned repeatedly that expectations are a recipe for disaster and clingy to them is painful, so its funny I even had any to start 2019.
I thought I knew my favorite season was summer. I thought that I remembered it being the best from last year. You see, this is only my second year alive as my new self. I spent 2018 shedding so many skins I was left totally transformed. A stranger in the mirror, but this time the good kind. The kind you’d like to get to know, spend sometime with and reinvent.
I’ve realized, going through this year (The Year of Listening, 2018 being The Year of Speaking), that my most comfortable, joyful seasons seem to that of change. Spring and now Fall.
You can feel the shift in the breath of the atmosphere. The weight of air seems different, everything begins to whisper of movement! I love it. In Spring, the crisp boom of bloom and in Autumn the weightlessness and release of Fall.
For my celebration of today, I went to Bernheim forest. My second, if not first, Home.
I felt the tingle of light and celebration as I gathered myself and things together for a hike. I chose an old and faithful trail–Rock Run. The trail is so full and rich, very well-rounded. The terrain changes throughout and there is a dense creek with such life immersed in the environment.
If the season is right, you’re bound to see frogs, toads, lizards, snakes, beautiful wildflowers, fun fungi and many more.
The moss glows and the birds, trees and insects sing. It is Home.
I did something I don’t often do without guidance or permission from Bernheim staff in the Naturalist Program I belong to. I went off trail. Back along the creek-bed. It was nearly totally dry from the drought.
I excitedly paused at the junction where you cross the creek to continue on the trail. I looked across the forest with shameless curiosity, wonder, excitement and mischief. My fear and the pressure of always being told “Never leave the trail” twitched in my thoughts saying ‘You shouldn’t, just go on the regular way.’ And then a Spark. I followed it. And what joy I found.
The rosey color of rocks in the creek- bed met my inner-smile as I clambered over the loose rock. I would stop to tickle at a puddle and startle some ole frog awake or heave myself over a fallen tree…Most of the frogs were so small, hoping away before I could even hope to see them. One was quite big and awkward. Though I didn’t see him, I heard him hop forward after a little one, not quite making it as far and sliding off rocks and plopping slowly into the puddle. I laughed at him. He sounded like a funny lizard the way he moved. As I rambled on, I picked up some fossils, one shaped as a heart. I have always loved the Sea Lillies since I learned about them, and often pick them up and send them to those I love through the mail or give them away.
I walked along until I caught a whiff of a ripe PawPaw fruit hanging in the wind somewhere. I looked up, excited and immediate. I scanned the line of trees searching for my prize. I found the groves on either side of the bank. A treasure in their own right. I walked over shaking their skinny trunks waiting for the humble sound of fallen fruit. Several plops would follow and some not ripe enough to fall still clung like new babies in the trees. I filled with joy, honor and gratitude. I thought to keep walking, with my PawPaws kept secure in my pack, but something told me I had won my gift for the day and to head back to finish the trail. And so I did.
As I walked back, I ran into a very tiny little frog. No bigger than the size of your fingernail. I excitedly leaned in to photograph him and he leapt away in sure, even jumps. Farther than that big, awkward guy could go and so easily and graceful.
I skipped over towards him, following his trail to the rocky bank where I fumbled after him in a crevice near the brush. I lost him. In his place, I found a snail. I smiled fondly. He was timid at first. His tentacles tucked in and slowed to a stillness which seemed hopeless and impenetrable. I began to take his picture. Gratefully, my camera and I drank in his beauty and presence. He was very cute and gentle. Snails, I think, seem quite nervous and so very innocent and sweet. When He grew warm and comfy with me, we sat together in peace. He began to move around and I collected footage of his Foot (ha-ha) until he slid under a leaf.
I glanced over and who but the frog in question sat still on a rock. Finally, I captured him with the eye of my camera and grinned, full and accepted.
I continued on and finished the trail.
I would not have found those gifts had I not followed my pull and done what I was Drawn to do.
I think so often we are driven, pushed and motivated to do most things in our life. While this has some value, for most I believe it shuts off the window we have to our inner drawings. That line of communication is ripped away and replaced with pressures and weights, sometimes violences. I know this was so long the case for me. And in one of the skins I shed was the pressure of being driven, like scarred and bullied cattle to the gate. I am still shedding that skin and still I have to look to find the pull. Or rather, stop looking all together and just breathe it in because it is just so accessible. It’s all the other stuff we have to look through and for.
I read somewhere a quote about how healthy the concept of Play is for adults and children alike. The author wrote on how someone listed the definition of play to be “to do something without purpose”. I absolutely love that. With no purpose comes everything you need and more. It all just happens to be right there. And without purpose–that fire, map or schedule, the constant search–comes the feeling of being drawn to something. The ability to communicate and manipulate and act with that. The feeling of fulfillment.
And yes, with this feeling and with its guidance, I can still pay my bills and clean my house and live the life I have to live. It happens to just be fuller and brighter and includes more joy and bliss. All those “chores” become gifts alike.
It was a good reminder to drop your shoulders and breathe. Look around the room and live in it. Take control of the energy you bring into and take out of the space and follow that pull.
You might find a PawPaw fruit or a frog. Who knows, you may even get to take a five minute video of snail crawling off a rock and under a leaf. Should you be so lucky.