The landscape of my mind has been the canvas for painting dreams into being. I’ve long focused on remaining in that creative field of my imagination and heart, as I have come to understand this being the seeding to dreams coming true. When I release ideas of time pressures, conditions, outer world scare tactics, and how I think this has to look, I open to the expansive possibilities of what is in the highest good to manifest.
And now I find a dream coming to life, which creates new landscapes to imagine and create from. This new space feels perfect and fertile for the magnitude of creations I am continuing to seed in the Cosmic landscape of my mind and heart. So grateful for this land we get to call home.
“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ~John Muir
Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer.
Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature’s darlings.
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature’s sources never fail.
Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
Hiking in the desert yesterday, or as I like to call it, intentional strolling (John Muir beautifully referred to it as sauntering, as you can read below), provided creative inspiration with messages and gifts along the way.
This lovely and nearly perfect heart stone was one of the whispers received in gratitude.
The Coachella Valley Preserve/Thousand Palms Oasis offered another experience different than the days preceding, with a more desolate desert walk and little oasis gems tucked way away.
I really liked the contrast of yesterday’s lush and water abundant trails with today’s more stark journey across the desert with expansive mountain views, until reaching small pockets of hidden green. (as seen in above photo)
The day felt even more purposeful for clarity, flowing of ideas, and for receiving very poignant and timely attention-getters, which would not have happened as they did, had not certain things took place.
The heart stone was actually the last little whisper that appeared while, for some reason, veering off-trail. But four other things came along before this.
The first was a large stone circle pile that had been deliberately put together to create a brick-like layering effect to what would be like an altar or a place to burn something. At the top was a small cairn and wedged in three or four spots were small bouquets of now-dried wild flowers.
The next thing was approaching this very open, high, flat stony terrain, but someone, or something, had created a clear sand path that created a perfectly straight and proportionate cross inside an area that was naturally like a circle. On the way back through it later, I was called to stand center, arms open to my sides, and call upon/invoke energies for the greater good.
The next was a very white, clean and smooth, pure energy-feeling stone (my white symbolism again) I saw immediately after receiving an idea and stating to myself I would do what had come to me in that inspiration.
And the next came after going off-path and wandering way past the destination, which then caused a return to retrace steps.
While retracing, the next appearance came via a Raven. The Raven flew just ahead several feet and landed on the side of the path. He began pecking at something, or placing/moving something on the ground. Then, upon arrival where he was, he flew off and I was able to look at the ground where his attention had kept him busy.
There I discovered a mini stone (about six inches in diameter) circle of black stones that fit perfectly like a puzzle, as if carved that way, and were smooth looking like black wood in a wheel shape with perfect hole at center. They were different than all other stones around them and no one would notice it unless looking for it. At the center of the black wheel were small lighter/whitish stones piled in.
That was definitely not “just” a Raven. He was very intentional and timely, and I instantly remarked that he was trying to message me and direct my attention to what he was up to.
And last, as mentioned, was seeing the large heart stone while making a “new” way back to my car.
After that, things lightened, but pretty much the whole walk was done in silence, although much was flowing through my crown and third eye in inspiration.
And upon return back for the evening to the retreat area, two little rabbits were munching on grass just outside the little hobbit dwelling. They perked up and darted in a bush when I dropped my keys on the ground, but one little brave one returned, as you can see.
“There are always some people in the mountains who are known as “hikers”. They rush over the trail at high speed and take great delight in being the first to reach camp and in covering the greatest number of miles in the least possible time. They measure the trail in terms of speed and distance. One day as I was resting in the shade Mr. Muir overtook me on the trail and began to chat in that friendly way in which he delights to talk with everyone he meets. I said to him: “Mr. Muir, someone told me you did not approve of the word ‘hike’. Is that so”? His blue eyes flashed, and with his Scotch accent he replied: “I don’t like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains – not hike”! Do you know the origin of that word ‘saunter’? It’s a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, “A la sainte terre’, ‘To the Holy Land’. And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not ‘hike’ through them”.
“Man must be made conscious of his origin as a child of Nature.
Brought into right relationship with the wilderness he would see that he was not a separate entity endowed with a divine right to subdue his fellow creatures and destroy the common heritage, but rather an integral part of a harmonious whole.
He would see that his appropriation of earth’s resources beyond his personal needs would only bring imbalance and beget ultimate loss and poverty for all.”
~by Linnie Marsh Wolfe, describing Muir’s remedy for human misery in her book, Son of the Wilderness: The Life of John Muir
This past Saturday for the Full Moon, after a hike in the foothills here locally, a few of us went to walk the Labyrinth at St. Mark Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach. I had never visited this Labyrinth before, but I really loved it upon first seeing/feeling it. It couldn’t have been more beautifully and perfectly set, with the Full Moon directly in sight through the clearing of trees.
Once we reached center, the four of us just naturally took our places at the four directions, without premeditated direction, as we faced the Full Moon in silent meditation before making our journey back out.
It was really quite powerful, even for those with us who had never walked a Labyrinth before. For myself, I kept feeling this strong rotation like that of the Moon orbiting Earth, long after I’d completed the Labyrinth. It was as if things were very fluid and activated into motion from the intentional experience.
Every step of the journey is integral to the path of wholeness that you are on.
It is ever-changing and ever-perfect, taking you to your own sacred center and back out into the expansive reflection found there.
At times you may need to call upon your intuition and creativity, engaging receptivity and courage when deciding to enter the journey to center or not – the way in is the way out.
I’ve so been enjoying the “way in” recently, as I’ve been continually journeying deeper and deeper to my sacred center. I’m not too concerned as to how that will look on the way out, as right now I’m just immersed in the inner, knowing the outer will take care of itself by embracing that.
The Labyrinth was a common Native American Indian symbol that they used to represent life as a journey and our infinite, eternal nature. It is a way to understand that life is what you make it and the way we choose to live it, determines the degree of freedom and expansiveness we experience.
It is a portal of life evolution.
The sacred journey Saturday beneath the Full Moon has been one of many sacred experiences of late that have been facilitating the personal evolution I am ready for.
It was wonderfully serene, as being colder now, but still without snow, there was hardly anyone around. This provided a perfect opportunity to ground the energies from the evening’s Full Moon experience and open to the fresh newness.
Throughout the day seven different red-tailed hawks chimed in with their presence, one of which I watched fly in and land on a nearby tree, as she observed and listened to me talk to her. And just off in the near background I could see her large nest in the tree tops. (Click here for: Hawk Spirit Symbolism)
I can’t express how much it truly is enriching and renewing to lose yourself in nature. It provides such clarity and nurturing to any place you’re at in your life.
Again, as John Muir shares, “Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”
“Fresh beauty opens one’s eyes wherever it is really seen, but the very abundance and completeness of the common beauty that besets our steps prevents its being absorbed and appreciated. It is a good thing, therefore, to make short excursions now and then to the bottom of the sea among dulse and coral, or up among the clouds on mountain-tops, or in balloons, or even to creep like worms into dark holes and caverns underground, not only to learn something of what is going on in those out-of-the-way places, but to see better what the sun sees on our return to common everyday beauty.”
New things keep unfolding in my life by listening to my instincts and following where I’m guided. It all weaves a beautiful story and I am enjoying the creation of it more and more. It always leads me to new discoveries and hidden treasures when I allow myself to venture deeper into unfamiliar realms. The smallest things can offer the largest rewards.
One thing I’ve been finding very rewarding is a documentary series that of course connects dots with much of what is going on in my personal experience, and has been reflective and reiterating. We’ve been watching a six-episode series produced by Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan called: The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. This is a beautiful series filmed over a 6-year period that shares not only the evolutionary history of the National Parks, but weaves a story about the amazingly devoted people, from all walks of life – artists, entrepreneurs, idealists, scientists, etc. – who made a difference in their preservation. The particular episode last night focused on John Muir, considered America’s most famous and influential naturalist and conservationist, and founder of the Sierra Club. Alongside his advocacy of wilderness preservation he was also a writer, lecturer, geologist, botanist, glaciologist, explorer, school teacher, inventor, fruit rancher, husband and father.
It’s always interesting to see how visionaries of the world are so multi-faceted, extraordinarily gifted, and of course, ahead of their time. It’s like they see a whole other reality others haven’t tapped into yet, because of their direct connection to Spirit, and help lead others through that doorway they have found. They courageously forge into the unknown realms, guided by an innate calling, in order to integrate a new experience for the collective. It’s really a beautiful thing to see and hear about and is why I support visionaries in their quests and help to nurture their empowerment – because I see the value of their journeys.
John Muir is one such visionary and what I enjoyed the most in this episode last night, was not the usual historical facts you can find and read about him online or in history books, but the intimate insights from other writers and historians who shared about his mystical and beautifully unique nature. He was not just all the labels the conventional world celebrates, but he was a mystic, a natural spiritualist, a keeper of the garden of Earth, an elemental communicator, what many would closely relate to as a shaman and medicine man, and lived the concept of “as above, so below.” John Muir was a poet of life and marveled at the beauty in every miracle of nature around him, coming to know and understand their story and how it reflected his inner landscape.
I loved the stories of how he would trek off 50 miles in 2 days without a thought and with only some crackers, oatmeal and tea along with him, sit for hours or a day talking with the new species of plants and animals he discovered, ran at a bear making noise and flailing his arms to see its reaction and having the bear run off, climbed behind Yosemite Falls without any gear but nail studded shoes he had fastened for his daily adventures just to experience what it was like to “be” the water running over the edge of the cliff and rocks, saw storms as songs, excited over what an earthquake came to teach him, climbed high mountains of snow and then intentfully rolled down in with an avalanche to experience it and to arrive quickly back down where he started….the list of captivating and powerfully poignant stories is long, but they expressed a simplistic beauty that is untouchable except to experience.
John Muir was a man of no limitations and had the continuous exuberance and innocence of a child, coupled with the wisdom of a sage. Known as “The Father of our National Parks,” “Wilderness Prophet,” and “Citizen of the Universe” he is a reminder of our connection to Earth, her divinity in the cosmic order, and how valuable it is to understand her reflection of us and us of her – to come to embrace a return to natural harmony and preserve what is sacred. Having come to learn more about his unique nature, he definitely is a soul after my own heart and someone I would have loved to have spent time with lost in the magic of the universal wilderness.
I love to hear about others who approach life as I have come to. I relate to much of how Muir lived including his feeling that words were limiting in conveying a sense of the mystical power and majesty of Nature. One such reason I believe I am an artist, so I can convey things in a way more aligned with how I feel and see them. And like the ineffectiveness of words led Muir to emphasize the value of “experience” as a path to truth, I wholeheartedly agree that in order to learn, one must actively participate rather than idly watch. He naturally was engaged in a Zen-like exploration of himself and knew the meaning of life lived as a spiritual embodiment and as a daily meditation that was just in the way he embraced life, rather than as a structured discipline. His discovery of Nature led him to discover greater awareness of himself and as result, discover the Universe.
This is the meaning of his famous quote, which I love:
“I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
Harmony in life is brought about by living in union with one’s true “Nature” and John Muir’s quest for this created a personal philosophy that astoundingly would be considered close to the teachings of Zen, even though he had not studied much about eastern philosophy. One does not have to study something to live it. John Muir’s realization was to simply follow his instincts, live in constant communion with Nature, and in so doing he found his true peace and joy. His message is a beautiful reminder to each of us.
Here is an article written by Greg Haegele that shares some interesting facts about John Muir: Ten Cool Things About John Muir
And I love these beautiful and reflective quotes and sharings from John Muir. I hope you enjoy:
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.
The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.
The mountains are calling and I must go.
When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.
In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.
Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.
Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…
Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
The sun shines not on us but in us.
The power of imagination makes us infinite.
Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life.
Going to the mountains is going home.
I will follow my instincts, and be myself for good or ill.
In God’s wildness lies the hope of the world.
Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.
A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves. No wonder the hills and groves were God’s first temples, and the more they are cut down and hewn into cathedrals and churches, the farther off and dimmer seems the Lord himself.
Most people are on the world, not in it– having no conscious sympathy or relationship to anything about them– undiffused separate, and rigidly alone like marbles of polished stone, touching but separate.
Not blind opposition to progress,but opposition to blind progress…
One day’s exposure to mountains is better than a cartload of books.
Who wouldn’t be a mountaineer! Up here all the world’s prizes seem nothing.
Most people who travel look only at what they are directed to look at. Great is the power of the guidebook maker, however ignorant.
We all travel the Milky Way together, trees and men.
When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.
Anyhow we never know where we must go, nor what guides we are to get—people,storms, guardian angels, or sheep….
When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.
Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings.
I was awakened by a tremendous earthquake, and though I hadn’t ever before enjoyed a storm of this sort, the strange thrilling motion could not be mistaken, and I ran out of my cabin, both glad and frightened, shouting, “A noble earthquake! A noble earthquake” feeling sure I was going to learn something.
If for a moment you are inclined to regard these taluses as mere draggled, chaotic dumps, climb to the top of one of them, and run down without any haggling, puttering hesitation, boldly jumping from boulder to boulder with even speed. You will then find your feet playing a tune, and quickly discover the music and poetry of these magnificent rock piles — a fine lesson; and all Nature’s wildness tells the same story — the shocks and outbursts of earthquakes, volcanoes, geysers, roaring, thundering waves and floods, the silent uprush of sap in plants, storms of every sort — each and all are the orderly beauty-making love-beats of Nature’s heart.