Underneath pine tree mysteries

Pine tree, what do you think?

How often do we turn to a close friend and ask advice about our lives?  When something troubles us, how often do we seek a listening ear, or perhaps possible solutions to our question, concern or dilemma?

May I suggest that Nature (or the world outside our front door) can be a wonderful friend and trusted adviser?  Here’s how it worked for me today:

I felt  a question troubling me, a problem wanting to be resolved.  I won’t burden anyone by repeating it here, but would like to share the way Nature assisted with an answer to my question. 

Once outside, I attempted to clearly frame the question.  Then I walked randomly ahead, asking the question repeatedly in my inner mind.  Whenever other random thoughts threatened to disturb the concentration, I returned to the query, repeating it slowly again as a sincere question to the Universe.  (God, Spirit or other universal essences were also welcome to reply!)

Then I cast my eyes around the landscape, looking for possible answers to the question.  Some people take this too literally and think that nature will clearly speak and say, “You should go to Cancun this winter” or “You should loan your children money” but usually the advice comes from more subtle clues.

What we’re really attempting to do is to sink beneath the conscious mind’s ready surface answers.  We’re flowing deeper into the realm of spirit, of penetrating understanding.  The answers we’re seeking in nature may have existed in our minds all along, but we were perhaps too busy logically thinking to connect to a deeper level of comprehension or awareness.

Read the landscape metaphorically, not literally.  Let the birds flying in the sky offer direction.  Let the texture of bark teach.  Allow the random scattering of peacock feathers (yes, peacock feathers, courtesy of someone from the Dakotas) to gesture towards an answer that feels right at the deepest level of your being.

Lacy peacock feathers in the snow

Lacy peacock feathers in the snow

Allow nature to guide you, sometimes by bringing you to the silence deep within, or sometimes providing clues.  Let your feet determine the direction they desire to walk.  Your logical mind may want to follow a trail, but Nature might urge you beyond the pine tree, wading in the snow.

Once, a few years ago in Oregon,  I pondered aloud, “Should I be writing now?” and walked across the grass.  Lying on the ground was a small pencil sharpener.  How’s that for a quick answer?

Another time I asked for advice about the relevance of a dream while walking up our road.  Lying in the dirt was a yellow pencil with a picture of Martin Luther King and his famous words “I have a dream…”

Today’s answer proved not as clear-cut, but from within the silence of nature,  a direction began to form.  And by the time the afternoon’s exploration ended, my question was answered.  Nature had provided the backdrop for the answer to come forward to the surface of consciousness, once again.

What a wonderful friend and adviser she is!  Never hesitate to seek her advice.

shhh...listen...winter ferns tell secrets

shhh...listen...winter ferns tell secrets