I was totally disconnected from nature until I was 30 years old. Up until that time, I would barely notice a bird, a tree, and found documentaries on animals or nature very boring. Though I turned vegetarian few years prior to that after feeling the soul of a sheep recently slaughtered as I was helping a family in Bosnia cut it in pieces and distribute it to the poor, I still never paid much attention to non-humans if you may. I thought of the sheep experience as very unique and personal, but I still did not reach out to animals or nature around me. All of this changed when one day I was lying down on the ground in the wilderness alone. That’s when I first felt earth’s heartbeat.
I had enrolled in a leadership retreat thinking that I would be getting lectures on leadership, only to be surprised that the whole experience was around wilderness. It entailed 24 hours of being alone in nature with nothing but a sleeping bag and a plastic sheet for cover in case it rained. After hours of restlessness, I finally started to calm down, and eventually I lay down on the ground in silence with nothing but nature surrounding me. In that silence, I felt I was listening to a tone, a rhythm, a language that I have not heard before: nature’s language. I remember hearing Angeles Arrien saying that we need to adjust our rhythm to nature’s rhythm, which is slow to medium, and that our fast rhythm is both unnatural and lacks synchronicity with nature, thus missing so much of what is being communicated around us. I honestly didn’t get that until I finally slowed down in those 24 hours and started witnessing, feeling, smelling, and hearing all that is being communicated from nature around us. That’s when I felt the mother of earth and our interconnection with each aspect of it. That’s when I realized we are all part of it, and there is no such thing as us humans and the rest of earth (nature, animals, water, all of it). We are all connected, and all it takes is us slowing down so we can learn and listen from all that is being communicated in nature around us.
Once I felt that heartbeat, I could never go back to my isolation. It’s not that I don’t find myself at times so immersed with the fast speed of modern urban life and completely disconnected from nature as that happens often especially as I live in the city. It’s just that I am more aware now. I know when I am moving so fast that I am no longer listening to all that nature and animals are communicating and teaching. I know that when I don’t slow down and take the time to spend in nature, I feel incomplete, depleted, even empty at times until the moment I can go and touch that ground and touch the earth and feel the heartbeat of Mother again.
It’s been more than 10 years since I became conscious about the importance of truly listening to nature and animals and realized it’s like a book that holds so much knowledge and is never ending. So I keep on reading and reading and listening and listening, and the more I do that the more I want to listen and read and learn from everything else besides humans that are teaching us every single day. In this spring, I found myself paying a different kind of attention to all the new emerging flowers and blossoms. I find a clarity about every plant that is emerging out of this earth in this spring, a clarity that I sometimes doubt or question when I have it about myself. Yet, I am of the same mother and the same roots. So what do I learn from what this spring is trying to teach me…. teach us…. I am not a poet, but here is what came out of my heart when I paid attention to the tulips around me in this beautiful spring.
Of the same mother
Fed from the same roots
Yet a tulip does not question its right to come out in its full beauty, but I do.
Of the same mother and from the same roots,
Yet a water spring never questions its right to come out in this spot or that spot, but I often do.
So what if I allow myself the same clarity a tree has when it blossoms in spring
What if I allow myself the same peace a water fall has in its strength
What if I spread my wings in its fullness without hesitation or fear.
How will the air feel?
Where will my heart take me to?
What if I know that I am the rose and the thorn in it as well.
What if I am OK with the best part of me and the worst part of me.
What if I see fully me and still love what I see.
What if I see fully you and truly love the full you.
What if I let the energy of my volcano erupt fully in its roar
What if I let the sweetness of my spring to nourish all
What if I let my peacock feather to open in its beauty and seductiveness
What if I am OK with the bee inside me to sting when attacked.
What if I know when my rose is cut off, it will come back again and again.
Of the same mother
Fed from the same roots
Yet I spent too many years depriving myself of what my mother has always given me: the clarity of the tulip,
strength of the water fall,
sweetness of a rose smell,
defensiveness of the bee sting,
beauty of a peacock,
and the softness of a water spring.
What if in this spring I am clear
with an open, full, strong, vulnerable, beautiful heart.
What would life be.
So let it be.