I feel like I've just been reborn. That's what happens when you get your connect with the Spirits of Place. And particularly when, like me, you've just moved somewhere and it's extremely magical, and you discover a path you can walk to from your new home that leads through the woods to the Sound. Living on an island, as I now do, water is an important part of the place. I knew I would be doing a lot with the water, but I didn't know I could simply walk down the lane and through the madrone and maple forest on this lovely little footpath and be immersed in a magical connection that feels timeless.
The lady at the honor farm stand on the road mentioned the path when I picked up some organic greens the other day, or I might not have noticed it. It's an easy saunter out the gravel lane, past some more horses besides mine and his two newfound friends, and across Vashon Highway, which most of the time has no cars visible upon it. The footpath then winds around through the woods, sloping gently down as the sound of the creek increases, the world falls away, and the view of the water grows more visible. Birds and water sounds lull you into an attentiveness that signals the Spirits of Place are aware of your presence. The trees begin to signal, the budding mallow and currants catch the light. Someone, as you can see in the photo, even planted daffodils near the trail by the Sound.
I'm settling in after the chaotic and strenuous labor of moving. My workroom is ready, but I was not. This morning I journeyed for myself, to connect and ground, and was told in no uncertain terms to chill and ground and go connect with the Spirits of Place. I was also advised to renew faith. So I did. I didn't know what I would find, or even if I had the strength for the walk. I've been pretty knackered, as the English say.
But the Spirits of Place fixed that. I don't even remember what the other worn-out feeling felt like now; a feeling of exhaustion I've had for weeks. Instead, I feel deeply connected to exactly where on this incredible Emerald Isle I live. I now know I have the perfect place to wander, for myself, and in which to work with clients who want to heal, train in shamanic practices, or both, to find their connect in nature and learn the ins and outs of interactions with Spirits of Place, nature spirits, water work, tree and flower lore, etc etc.
There's so much shamanic work to do in nature. It performs miracles for the human beings and the nature spirits love it too. They sure rebooted me. I'd be delighted to introduce you, and was so inspired by the trail and where you arrive at the end that I created a new service: the half day island visit. Or heck, come for a daylong intensive and build it into your studies and healing work, a fabulous dinner and deep dreaming sleep.
I wish I had a readout of my energy, happiness and groundedness levels before and after today's meeting with Spirits of Place to illustrate the power of such nature work. And it's not even work. It's a stroll with a natural heightened awareness. It's a giving and receiving of love and gratitude and beauty and delight. There's lots of oxygen involved, sun and shade and clean air, greenery and circulation. And the invisibles do their thing through the natural wonders all around.
For example, I was walking along, discovering it all for the first time, and I thought of a line that I couldn't place right away. Now the way leads to the hill... faintly recognizable, why did it pop up just then, just that little scrap? I knew it, but couldn't place it right away. The path didn't even lead to a hill, it was leading down a hill, but there was something just at that moment that popped it into my mind, so I explored. Then I got it.
It's a line from a very old Joni Mitchell song, one of her early ethereal ones. The song is called I Think I Understand, and I used to play it in my teenaged acoustic folk singer days as well as love to hear her recording. Then I got why it popped up now that I'm on the island. It was a gift from the Spirits of Place. Here's the full verse and chorus:
Now the way leads to the hill
above the steeple's chime
Below me sleepy rooftops round the harbor.
It's there I'll take my thirsty fill
of friendship over wine
Forgetting fear but never disregarding her.
I think I understand
Fear is like a wilderland
Stepping stones on sinking sand.
Feel free to hear it by clicking on the title link to a YouTube. I haven't thought of that song for decades, nor had I truly tuned into to the level of disconnect and, yes, fear that had sapped my energy for some time. As the Spirits of Place arranged for all of that to coalesce in my mind, body and spirit, the lyrics and melody came back to me and I got the reboot. Boom! Instant, delicate, gentle, complete. Aha. I don't believe that would have occurred were I not in that place.
A hummingbird is swooping and chirping and popping in agreement as I write this. it's another Spirit of Place happening. And I think I understand.
Cloud watching is almost a full-time job for me, and yesterday did not disappoint. Her Majesty, Mt. Hood, was working her magic with changing conditions from the east, and by late afternoon had created thunder, lightning, rain, and a vibrant rainbow, plus the wonderful changes in the fragrance of the air, the negative ions and ozone, all of which produced a shift in my inner state of mind. Posts from entranced friends in Oregon and Washington attested to the magical power of a summer storm on our psyches and spirits.
Living near Her Majesty for three years, I've felt her power and how she exerts it to change conditions around her. Sometimes she whips up electricity, sometimes sends alpine winds down her sides, cloaks herself in dramatic clouds, froths the river in green glacial melt on a hot day... she has a stunning repertoire. And then, I remember that when she was an active volcano, she helped create the epic Columbia Gorge over millions of years. The forests, waterfalls and sylvan glades we enjoy on weekend hikes were created through fiery explosions and lava flows which wiped out everything in their paths, over and over again, for millennia.
Major life force energies like volcanoes and floods, beautiful phenomena like snowflakes and rainbows, and every day weather like this morning's quiet cloud cover, result from conditions. Create the conditions for rain, and rain falls. You may have seen reports about Dutch artist Berndnaut Smilde, who creates clouds inside galleries as an art installation. Viewers gasp in wonder when the cloud appears, and it is quite magical. But, like creating an oil painting by applying oil paint onto a canvas with a brush until an image is completed, the artist creates the artistic expression of a cloud in a room by creating the conditions that makes clouds form, having to do with proportions of humidity and temperature. You can watch YouTubes of the artist creating a cloud in a room.
Changing conditions in the mind also changes conditions in the physical plane. Body symptoms and conditions, living environment, relationships, abundance and manifestation capabilities, happiness and inner peace are some of the areas that change when the conditions we hold in our minds as true are allowed to shift. What seems impossible, like producing a cloud in a room, or healing a longstanding condition, will continue to appear impossible if conditions do not change, because the conditions for the transformation are not in existence at that time. Wishing or worrying are not effective in creating change in conditions, although they do play a part in attracting or repelling the conditions that create change.
Maybe I love watching clouds so much because I can view nature's transformative powers and their results in real time as an ongoing master class in the ultimate mystery school. The mountain, too, seems to say, are you watching? Are you listening? I'll show you again. We too have the power to change our lives, our bodies, and our world, the whether, if you like, around our personal sphere of influence. Group mind changes conditions in society and can effect global shifts in consciousness. Working with ourself is the starting place for changing conditions: looking at our thoughts, our fears, our held emotions – what we believe to be true, or possible. And who has the power to affect conditions.
Like the mountain, we do not hold all the conditional cards: there are other elemental forces that interact to create conditions at any moment. Rather than a skirmish, it can be a dance, a graceful intermingling of energies, realizing all is an expression of the one. Working – or playing – with the interweaving of forces, in alignment with a necessary degree of internal power conditions, including knowing, intention, fearlessness, trust, detachment, nonresistance, and love, is the work of transformation. Clearing negativity, removing obstacles, repatterning thoughts, letting go of old hurts and resentments, releasing fear changes static conditions so that transformation can occur.
Sometimes it is helpful to ask for information, energetic transmission, clarity, guidance, support and practices to assist in changing mind and heart conditions so that the 'weather' within and without us can change. Each of us can cultivate our inner connect, our stillness, our intent, to transform conditions in our lives. And then, the sweet showering from the sky begins.