Walking To Let Go
This morning, I forced myself out of bed at 5:45AM for my walk. I bemoaned the loss of that hour to Daylight Savings.
Outside, the fog was thick, mimicking my state of mind. I had the usual grind going on inside my head: a flummoxing mix of disjointed thought-fragments about what irritate me, hurt me, frustrate me, worry me…
Streetlights were punctuating the murkiness, my gait was fast, and I didn’t even feel my feet touching the concrete below. It were as if the inner dialogue was removing me from sensing anything but this perplexing mish-mash sloshing through my brain.
Accompanying my thoughts on my walk was a fraying sense of injustice, anger, and anguish. For all and nothing.
Turning a corner and entering a stretch of wetlands on my way to the beach, the ubiquitous noise from morning traffic subsided, and instead a — now suddenly deafening — sound of chirping birds took over. Nature was waking up, and the sound of Mother Nature overcame me and led me into presence.
The effect on my miserable ruminations was instantaneous. It were as if these sounds, combining with the smells of moist grasses and weeds removed my brain fog. The many scattered soundbites that had been playing nonstop in my head were silenced, and in their stead was now a sense of curious, clear alertness.
The experience penetrated my being. I felt my feet connecting with the soft ground below in each step, and my awareness switched from my head to my heart. I felt joy move through — not because I did anything to bring it about — it simply appeared.
I am not someone who “speaks nature.” I am scared of snakes, mosquitos love me (it isn’t mutual), and am petrified of creepy crawlies that sting, poke, or give rashes. But in this moment, I was no longer the center of my universe. I had become a part of something expansive. This field of being had its own wisdom.
It existed and worked wondrously without me having anything to do with it.
This patch of land does not exist to give humans anything. It is simply left to its own devices. And the vibrancy of it was contagious; the way it pulsated with energy transferred nonverbally to my being.
My feelings were no longer dependent on my brain soup. They were just there, joined by a deep sense of wonder and gratitude.
Now once again home, the experience lingers and frames my actions as I move through my work.
These patches of undisturbed, wild nature are miraculous: they help humans like me remember that letting go of our need to control outcomes beyond what we can impact directly, is the ultimate control.