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Keeping It Simple

This spider web was attached one cool morning to porch railings in a Virginia farmhouse where I was attending a retreat. So much beauty and growth and openness and wonderful conversations happened inside the walls of The Big House, but nothing could match the creative art happening on the outside.

Nature has always been a quieting place for me. More than people. More than church. More than books. From those fields of clover on my grandparents farm where I lay on my back, hidden among the grasses, watching the clouds glide over my childhood confusion, nature has always invited calm, freeing me from any emotional uproar in my over-active brain. Hikes on many trails in Ohio, Arizona and New Mexico, a yearly cabin-in-the-woods personal retreat, to my current daily walks beneath clouds and sky, nature continues to serve as my spiritual GPS. It seems I cry more easily and talk with God more openly when I'm in the open air. Nature has a way of telling me, or showing me that I am enough.

Trees and grass, rocks and water, sun and moon, all that beauty that I can't control. How could a human not find peace and deep appreciation there?

On the days when you can't figure out where to go or what to do or how to feel or who to talk to, take a walk. Look around you and there will be beauty. Walking in full appreciation of a bird call coming from high in an oak tree, running your hand across the mottled bark of an American sycamore, witnessing the sun shining through the branches of a Longleaf pine, you might begin to believe you and your God are enough.

Navigating emotional ups and downs on our life's path is where so many fall short. When we encounter stress or confusion, our go-to is often negative self-talk. We say things to ourselves that we would never, ever say to a friend who asked for guidance or support. Stopping the chatter based in fear, shame, anger, or resentment becomes so much easier when we walk in the woods or in a park or by a stream. I have sat at the base of many trees in my adult life and can verify trees hold space like no other. I swear they have a language of their own.

Poet David Whyte writes about nature, love, and the mystery involved in walking our human paths. He is one of my favorite word sleuths. His poems invite readers to stop, look, listen to the silence and believe in openings.

One of his many: "Enough. These words are enough.

If not these words, this breath.

If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life

we have refused

again and again

until now.

Until now."

Hugs from Candaceland and this end of the blog.


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