Right Path Photo by Pia Post 2013
Walking along the beach I saw this feather right at my feet. It brought back a saying that my mother always used when spying a feather on our path during walks in the woods. “We’re on the right path” she would say. I would ask her how she knew we were on the right path and she replied that she was told by a Native American long ago that in his world a feather was a message…in this case the right path could have many meanings. Not only would you have chosen the right trail to follow but that your actions in the land of humans was correct and in line with spirits that looked over you.
I’ve thought a lot about this phrase growing up and realized that the natural world speaks to us all the time and that the voice at times is very faint due to our path of civilization. This listening to what is right in front of us however has become a lost art. What messages do we choose to hear? What messages are lost in the din of our preoccupied thoughts? In paying attention to our path we may hear the whispers that guide us.
In looking for messages from the natural world I seem to be really searching for myself. Looking for a direction to follow that aligns with the map I’m making as I continue my journey in living. When I see a feather in my path now I stop and ask myself…am I going in the right direction? I consult my inner compass, which I believe is my conscience, and see if there is resonance there. The feather may not be able to tell me to turn right or left, but it gives me the pause I need to evaluate my actions of late and decide if I need to change course.
I leave the feathers where they are now, I take photos instead of collecting them. But I always hear my mother’s voice saying “We’re on the right path.”
Photo by Pia Post 2013
In late spring and early summer it may be odd to think of patience. Greenery is springing up and branching out all over and faster than we can keep up with. The sun is working overtime, it’s life-force flooding our world with energy. We take up pastimes like spring cleaning, closet wardrobe changing and planning gatherings for family and friends to celebrate the warmer weather. We are in a rush to keep up with Mother Nature!
Island life springs up as fast as the dandelions…our community swells with the long awaited friends and visitors that come our way each year. We rush to prepare, we hurry to plant, we quickly fill the calendar…and occasionally find we have misplaced our patience! While I like to think of myself as a patient person, it’s amazing how often I catch myself at this time of year practicing impatience! Reminders do help, so I pluck my patience rock from it’s winter resting place, (next to the sun deprived bamboo and pile of bills),and place it right outside my door next to the walkway that leads to the outside world.
Patience as a practice deliberately places our attention on the here and now. It’s much different than waiting. With waiting you put your impatience on pause to be taken up again after an interval of time. Patience differs by letting you be aware while you are in the midst of your discomfort. Patience is exhibiting the capacity to accept as opposed to the ability to tolerate. Eventually, if we practice diligently, patience is unnoticeable in our minds. We just exhibit it in our behavior.
However, I’m very human and consequently very fallible, and I like reminders all around me. I looked around and noticed how many I actually have in my immediate space. Even the books on yoga speaking to me from the shelf! All this reminders for a supposedly “patient” person!
Patience though, knows no season. I endeavor to recognize it when I see it in others and to practice it through all my reminders. When stepping past my patience rock as I step out into the world, I will enjoy all the distractions that this new season brings me. Patiently!
Photo by Pia Post 2013
Branching out. Two short words bursting with powerful images. Immediately we may see a tree branch in our minds laden with spring buds ready to begin their journey in an exuberance of flowering. Or we may conjure up a scene of our own growth…going from one life phase to the next. This time of year we are surrounded by graduation ceremonies full of young lives stepping away into new directions. The visual barrage of the vivid green of springtime carries our thoughts away from the tightly wound cocoon of our inner lives and into to the promise of a fresh new existence.
Branching out happens in many ways. Tentatively or with alacrity. Blindly or with a clear goal. By instinct or design. With confidence or with faith only. By any definition or approach the way of branching out is clear…one of outward attention and sustained focus. When the intention is clear the fullness of growth follows. I think of the tendrils of vines that seem to call each other, find each other and entwine with each other to increase strength and therefore growth. We human beings do this when we gather in groups with like minded purpose or belief. Our attention is outwardly focused and releases our individual energy to be shared. This outer focused direction is very much like the buds on a spring branch…the flow of direction leads to the flowering of potential.
I think of this cyclical renewal as I watch spring unfold, with flowers bursting forth from plump buds. What potential is within me that I haven’t nourished with an outward focus? What within me would like to see the light of day this year and have a chance at growth? Each year this question calls, and each year I add another small bud that I hope will flower. Some have blossomed, and some have not. As on a tree branch though I can see the evidence of past attempts and can only try again this year.
Branching out is happening all around me…and as my thoughts coalesce into a sustained focus, I join in with all of springtime and dream of the fragrance of fruition.