Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Finding Self Through Nature's Messages

Recently I gave a talk at a women's social group - My Girlfriend's Garden. My talk was about creative writing and journaling through connecting with nature. Part of the focus of my talk was on our ability to connect with ourselves and find answers to life's questions by paying attention to the messages nature has to offer.

Often when we feel stuck or mired in a problem, we stew about it and obsess over the details. For instance, how many nights have you had difficulty falling asleep because of persistent thoughts? It's easy to stay stuck when we are lying there, fighting the thoughts or sitting at our desks during the day with our minds constantly returning to the thoughts.

By contrast, the act of getting outside and walking - taking the time to disconnect from life distractions, while in forward motion, noticing what is around us, can be transformative, if we just allow ourselves to pay attention.

I have received many messages from nature. While I'm walking, I'll pose a question, then look for clues to the answer. Generally there will be a bird that suddenly shows up, or I'll notice the movement of the trees or the direction a flock of geese is flying. In that moment of noticing, I also have an answer.

Last June, my daughter was about 6 months pregnant, when doctors discovered that her baby boy - Jordan - did not have functioning kidneys. His amniotic fluid was disappearing and he was dying in the womb. My grandson to be did not make it. When I returned home following two very emotional days in San Francisco with my daughter and son-in-law I walked into my office and looked out the window. There outside my 2nd story window, was a swirling white group of what looked like little bugs, fairies, something almost mystical and magical. They were swirling and flying in a circle and as I watched them I just knew it was my grandson saying he was all right. I said thank you Jordan and watched them fly away.

This morning, for the 2nd day in a row, I've had a very large dragon fly on the inside of my office window, moving around. Yesterday I took him outside. This morning, there he was again - the same one or one of his friends. I wondered what was this about? What was the message? Here is something a friend discovered for me:

"The meaning of a dragonfly changes with each culture. The main symbolisms of the dragonfly are renewal, positive force and the power of life in general. Dragonflies can also be a symbol of the sense of self that comes with maturity. Also, as a creature of the wind, the dragonfly frequently represents change. And as a dragonfly lives a short life, it knows it must live its life to the fullest with the short time it has – which is a lesson for all of us."
From the Dragon Fly site (

Wow. I love that. Yes, I resonate with having a sense of self that comes with maturity and I'm definitely in a place to remember to live my life to the fullest right now. My daughter is pregnant again - her due date was yesterday, and yesterday I found myself being Worrying Mom - a role I usually choose not to play but every once in awhile I do. I was stressing about why he wasn't here yet despite all the signs that he was ready - lots of contractions for past 2 weeks, he's dropped, doctor swore he'd be early, etc. I was feeling 'something was wrong'. My daughter knew nothing was wrong, that her boy was just taking his time getting here.

Mother Earth talks to us constantly through all the wonders of nature. On this day to honor our Earth, take time to notice what messages are there for you, and plese feel free to share them here. Happy Earth Day!