And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul. – John Muir
We left the mountain bikes lying in the dark on the trail and walked out to the top of the waterfall. Sitting next to each other in the wide-open space of the quiet night, I hadn’t realized how the hard-to-describe sense that our lives had shrunk had crept up on me slowly during the seemingly endless week. I wonder if you’ve felt it, too? — it came upon me quite surreptitiously.
In previous weeks since the COVID lockdowns, we’d hiked hills nearby, biked local trails and admired fallen trees wearing new skirts of yellow and orange Laetiporus mushrooms. We watched iridescent bluebirds in flight, singing to their mates and building nests for their families. Being free in Nature had seemed to balance the full days of online school for the kids and working at home.
But little by little, it all shut down.
National forests barricaded their entrances. Local parks closed their gates and unscrewed basketball hoops from backboards. Yellow ‘Do Not Enter’ tape was wrapped around playgrounds. The world felt cling-wrapped without walks in the wild and the simple freedoms of daily life.
Life is Still Full of Magic
Maybe it was the fading light that flattened the world into a monochromatic scene that helped me shift from outer seeing to inner knowing. In the stillness of the evening, with only the sound of the little waterfall gurgling, held in the protective orb of someone I love, I had a realization.
The world had not shrunk.
The limiting feeling that gnawed at my sense of freedom was a trick of the mind, a shadow projected on my internal movie screen that couldn’t obscure the greater truth underneath: Life is still brimming with possibility.
I realized Mother Nature and all of her remedies still existed within myself and I can call upon Her at any moment to heal and guide body and soul—just as it was before the COVID pandemic and just as it will be after. The only thing imprisoning me was my own idea of what is possible or not. Nature was with me all the time: a portal into the beautiful unknown, a mysterious realm, the gateway to the magical — even when I felt alone.
As the waterfall flowed downward I knew I could let any thoughts of limitation go. Instead of the “what if” thoughts that seemed to predict a future of all kinds of problems, a new kind of “what if” thoughts popped into my mind, thoughts like: What if as a result of having more time I create something amazing I never imagined I could before? What if this time brings our human family closer together, realizing we’re much more alike than different? What if we come up with all kinds of new ways to support and inspire each other and the ripple effect impacts lots of people in wonderful and lasting ways?
Meditation: Into the Forest of Possibility We Go
I woke up the next morning and wrote this invitation. It’s for those who live in beautiful places and for those who don’t. It’s for those living alone, and for those living with others. It’s for everyone and anyone. It’s an invitation into the wondrous unknown, the land of fresh new ideas, and the energy to take action.
You can read this to meditation to yourself, or have someone read it for you, or perhaps record it and play it back as you listen to soothing music.
To begin, close your eyes and take a few slow breaths. Connect with the subtle energy that runs up your spine with each inhalation. If you like, invite any loving presence to support you.
Allow thoughts to pass by without giving them meaning, keeping your attention on your breathing.
As you begin to settle, sense your energy shifting into your heart center. Allow this feeling of increasing warmth to radiate like a ball of sunshine, expanding slowly outward to encompass your body and the space all around you, filling you with a brilliant peace.
Take your time and do each step in your own way, trusting your own inner compass to guide you.
Within your mind visualize your feet upon a path under a canopy of trees. Luminous rays beam through the branches and the wind rustles the leaves. Feel the muted sunshine warming your face and bare feet.
As you begin to walk down the path into your magical forest, where everything is possible, sense the pure freedom of your innermost being, the sovereign and truest part of you that can never be limited by anything, anyone or any circumstance outside of yourself. You may like to say aloud, “I am a free and sovereign being.”
Take a moment to pause.
Supported by the ground below your feet and the pure air around your body, allow these words to sink in. Take as much time as you need to feel you are a free and sovereign being. Take a few slow breaths, inhaling freedom and exhaling any remnants of the illusion of limitation.
As feelings of being blocked from living your life with passion and freedom dissipate, say aloud or to yourself, “I clearly see fresh possibilities surrounding me.”
Let that declaration rise up through you and then gently just let it be.
Add any other intention you may feel, anything you would like to get from your time in the magical forest within. Holding your intention in your heart, feel that you are supported completely.
Notice the space around you. You are made from the same substance that forms the stars and planets. You notice perfect geometry, stunning colors and light expanding in every direction.
Notice the life all around you as you walk further into the magical forest. Go as far as you like.
In the near distance, you see a magnificent tree standing over a bed of the softest green moss. A vertical pillar of light from above moves down through and around this tree that seems to beckon you.
You sit down on the moss making yourself perfectly comfortable. The same golden ray of diamond light descends over the tree, pours down through the crown of your head, through your spine, and continues down into the depths of the Earth below.
As you breathe in and out you feel the return of the life-renewing light beam coming up through the base of your spine, all the way through the crown of your head and back up into the Cosmos.
Do you notice anything else around you? What do you see? Are there any animal friends or nature spirits with you?
Take your time.
In this space of total openness, just breathe easily and notice if anything occurs to you as you hold your intention softly.
Stay in this state of ease and security for as long as you like.
As you are ready, slowly let your awareness start to return to your physical body. Take your time as you notice sensations in your fingers and toes, hands and feet and other parts of your body.
When you are ready, gently open your eyes.
You are now fully connected to your own physical body and have activated your own unique portal to the heart of Mother Earth, where you are free to explore and replenish yourself as often as your wish; to connect to your creative inspirations or just be in an atmosphere of resplendent love.
If it feels natural, you can put your palms together in the namaste prayer position and give thanks to your own higher self for guiding you through this journey within. Or simply place your hand on your heart. Write down any images or inspirations that came to you which you feel inspired by or may like to act upon.
In the woods we return to reason and faith. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
What did you discover in your magical forest? Do you see possibilities that you didn’t see before, or feel fresh inspirations? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and as always, thank you for being on this journey with us. We are so grateful and inspired by you.
Dorothy Kolomeisky is the director of the Bet Lev Foundation and a member of Team UPLIFT. Through the Foundation she facilitates classes and programming to support people in coming back to the knowing of their innate wellbeing. She is passionate about raising global consciousness and playing in Mother Nature.