Cows and Birds — From My Heart
Have you ever noticed how all of nature takes notice when you are fully present?
It’s extraordinary – the gap that normally exists between our inner resonance and all of creation, disappears and it is so obvious when it happens!
Have you taken time to close that gap and be fully present to yourself lately?
When I was up in the mountains on retreat just a couple of weeks ago I communed with the cows.
On the first evening shortly after we arrived, everyone went to Thursday mass, and I joined in. We walked down from the retreat center on our own, or in groups. It’s a beautiful walk down a gentle slope into the bottom of the valley. In the picture you can see mount Sopris to the right. The monastery itself is just to the left of the gap in the hedges.
Despite all my healing and coming to peace around organized religion – I have to say that the Catholic liturgy (the words that are said during mass) is very challenging for me. As mass was starting I found myself noticing all the ways I was getting triggered by the liturgy and in that moment I said to myself:
“Ken you’re here, why not be present and see what happens? Drop out of your head and let go of the words.”
Almost immediately I couldn’t hear the words anymore. I closed my eyes and sank in, and started sobbing. The good news is that I’ve become quite practiced at crying in session with clients, and not making any noise (happens when I’m in awe of the work they’re doing with the Divine, that I’m witnessing – and this happens all the time).
Instead of resisting whatever was coming up in me I went into it. These things that I had been suppressing and pushing down for months. I can’t even say that I know what was coming up – just lots of emotion. I lost track of everything happening around me.
A place of deep peace opened within me and spread throughout my body and my mind. By the time I opened my eyes, I was alone. Very present – more so that I’d been in a long time.
I slowly got up and walking out, and started up the dirt road (you can see the Y in the road where I stopped if you look closely at the pic above). As I walked, I could feel the deep connection to everything. The grass, the trees. The rocks and dirt under my feet, and as I cleared the trees that surround the monastery I saw a herd of cows. One by one they all stopped grazing and looked up at me. I stopped walking and we gazed at each other. In that moment I could feel the presence of the Divine witnessing me through each cow, each blade of grass in the pasture, each fencepost, each peak and ridge that surrounded this beautiful place. And I in turn was witnessing each expression of the Divine. The cows wouldn’t break the gaze. I stood there for 5 or 10 minutes – I have no idea how long it was. Eventually I thanked them for the moment and walked on – even then they followed me with their heads turning as I walked by. All because I was fully present.
Nature is a powerful reflection of how present we are in the moment.
This past weekend I had the same experience, but this time it was with the birds. I had set aside four days to write my book: Thursday through Sunday. On Saturday, I was feeling so present with what was coming through me and out my fingers on my computer.
I was sitting in the chair that I do much of my work from. It’s a tattered chair at this point – it was used when I got it 7 years ago. It’s been with me every step of the way on this extraordinary journey.
My chair was situated in front of the East wall of my office – which is nearly full of glass – with a sliding door in the middle. The door was open to welcome the fresh air, and for whatever reason I looked up.
A yellow finch had just landed on the railing of the balcony. And then another, and another. If you’ve ever watched small birds, they can look around inquisitively – or they can be on alert. These birds were curious. They all turned to look at me. And as I looked out beyond them I saw two hawks circling around together looking back towards me. That experience of oneness with nature is so powerful and beautiful.
It reminds me that the world “out there” powerfully reflects what is going on “in here” – deep inside all of us. And not just nature. Every aspect of our lives.
To begin to transform the outer, we must begin inside. For me the simple act of taking time in the mountains on retreat was enough for me to come in fully, and allow an experience of presence to deeply embody.
I saw that echoed this past weekend when I honored my soul’s invitation to set aside time, and allow this message that wants to express itself through me, to come out and be set down in words on the page.
Cows and birds. Powerful reminders of how extraordinary the presence of the Divine within is – and how what we see and experience is a reflection of what’s going on deep inside.
If you find yourself being drawn to follow resonance to a place or space that honors what is happening within you, I celebrate that opportunity with you, and encourage you to take full advantage of the moment. They are full of gifts that we will never encounter until we allow ourselves to be fully present.
That’s it for this week … From My Heart.
Ken W. Stone
The Soul Archaeologist
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