WORDS OF EMPOWERMENT - Kathy Bourquin
- Category: WORDS OF EMPOWERMENT
- Published on Thursday, 02 August 2012 10:14
AN ADVENTURE AWAITS OUTSIDE YOUR DOOR
I have always been a lover of the great outdoors. The woman who babysat me, beginning at my tender age of 3 months, was a real lover of nature. She was older, past retirement age and grey-haired from the day I met her. Once I was old enough to accompany her, she would take me several times a week across a field behind her house and into the woods for the day. After making sure I was protected from poison ivy, she would put a walking stick in my hand and lead me on a day’s adventure of fun and learning. I remember copying how she used her walking stick with each step. I remember the feeling of complete trust that she’d keep me protected, guide me and teach me something new.
In this wooded area there were ravines, creeks, streams and ponds. There wasn’t a carved path so we climbed up and over brush and fallen limbs, ducked under low hanging branches, and balanced on rocks to cross the streams. On some adventures we even took bamboo fishing poles and earth worms as bait. The collection of bait had been the goal of one of our evening adventures. I can still see her digging her bare hands in the dirt and placing the dirt - full of worms - into a large container where they would live until we went on our fishing expedition.
As we strolled through the woods and over the streams she gently, but with great knowledge, talked about life and used examples in nature to demonstrate life lessons. She would stop frequently to tell me about every bush, inform me which berries were edible and which ones would make me very sick. The plants that bore edible fruits - like raspberries and blackberries or gooseberries and wild grapes, were treats during the walk. She taught me the name of every tree. She explained how trees lose their leaves in winter because these kind of trees needed a rest in order to live. She showed me every new bud in the spring and told me to remember it well because when we returned in the next weeks we would watch it change into something else entirely. When a tree had fallen, she would make me look at it closely on the ground. She pointed out the rings in its trunk and told me to count how old it lived to be. I felt and observed its bark and learned it served as the tree’s protection while it lived - just like our skin. Now, since its life was over, she’d explain it would become food and a haven for other living things so they might survive. She told me - just like this tree - we will someday look like we died, but what we leave behind lives on in ways that also nourishes other lives.
The lessons in nature and there parallel with Life were abundant in number - far too many to write in one article. It was not only the particular lessons that were valuable to me. In great part it was the love, wonder and awe with which she spoke them that most affected me. No matter the number of times we had encountered a nature creature or plant, her joy at its discovery was palatable and contagious. She told the story - even the ones she’d repeated many times, with a reverent pleasure that emanated from her Soul.
The days were not to be only pleasure for the moments they existed. I now know she was planting seeds for an understanding and appreciation that would greatly assist me in fulfilling the designed plan for my life. Just as she taught me how the seeds of a blossomed milk weed plant would be blown by the wind to land and start new plants in other places, she was planting seeds from her mind into mine that would spread out and bloom in me as inspired ideas and an appreciation for the wonder of life.
Her loving Spirit was an extension of the loving Spirit of the Creator who made all of nature - AND each one of us. Spring is one of the richest times for us to notice and connect with the Truth of the existence of the magnificent Creator or all life, which I name as God. I know from very real personal experience there is no greater joy or peace than when we become aware of God’s existence. If you take the time to ponder and focus on the awesome miracles of nature - especially evident in the Spring - you will most undoubtedly be uplifted. You can know in these moments many Truths of life. You can feel and know that there is a Power that creates, provides for and sustains all life with Its perfect plan.
What I have written thus far sounds as if it is an article about Nature. It is more aptly about the close observation of Nature used as a tool for our enlightenment, upliftment and increased sense of well-being. The human being becomes so focused on the manmade things of the world. We are taken away from what is real. Our attention is honed in on our dilemmas, our goals, our finances, our relationships, etc. In and through all of them we are seeking our good. Whether aware of this or not, we are always seeking a sense of belonging, a sense of purpose, affirmation that we are safe and the feeling of assurance that all is well. In everything we think do and say, what we are seeking is actually something spiritual. Even when we lash out in anger, strive for material wealth, plan a date or take a nap - we are seeking peace, contentment, joy and reassurance within ourselves. Intent time spent closely observing and interacting with Nature can take us to what we seek.
No matter what is going on in your life - no matter if you call it challenging or if you call it wonderful - I am strongly suggesting that you decide to go out into Nature and experience it. I mean really EXPERIENCE it. Decide that for at least 30 minutes several times a week, you will take a walk. Take a walk in a park or head out to the country and find woods in which to roam. If that is somehow not possible, go out into your yard and perch yourself by a budding tree or blooming flower. Wherever you choose to get out into nature, do so with the intent to be very present with it. Do not talk to the neighbors. Do not think about the tasks of your daily life. Do not focus on anything but the nature surrounding you. Stare into the center of a flower, stand back and take in the full view of a newly blossomed tree, note the smells in the air, listen to the sounds. Lie on the ground and stare up into the sky - fully focused on the blue and the floating clouds. Watch the life of ants or other insects going about their instinctual business. Watch with total interest the birds as they fly, build their nest, or feed their young. Listen to the sounds of the birds’ song, notice the caterpillar who will soon turn into a totally different creature, smell the flowers in bloom, feel the sun on your skin and the breeze brush across your face. Let your time in Nature be a meditation. As you become more and more present with only the sound, sight and feel of Nature, your mind will automatically become more still. As it does, your heart begins to open and the messages you need on that day - in that moment - will flow to you. I cannot predict exactly what your experience will be. I CAN predict with certainty, however, that if you do this you will return from it much more at peace and happy than before you began. This can be simply a peaceful experience or it can be also a time of significant revelation. The more you practice being tuned into the surroundings of nature, the more impactful the experience becomes.
From noticing the tiniest seed’s potential to become a tall stand of trees to witnessing a nest of eggs turn into a bed of chirping chicks, our earth reveals the infinite expression of Life and the Intelligence of Creation. Each of us is also a part of that Creation. As we notice and take in deeply the grand design of nature, a deep appreciation of our own grand design begins to surge from within. We begin to "get" that the same energy and plan behind the changing of the seasons, the growth of plants, the blossoming of plant life and the regeneration of all living things is also within us. The love and life of God is abundantly on display and we become aware we are one with it. To connect with the knowledge that there does exist an answer to all questions, a solution to all problems, the potential within you to bloom into something bigger and brighter than you can now see...take a nature adventure regularly.
Without nature, I would not be doing what I do today. I would not understand the things necessary for me to know in order to lead and teach others. I would not have my understanding of life and God. I would not have the peace within that remains even during the challenging times if I had not been taken as a little girl into the depths of Nature by my dear and loving guide. And if she had not done so with the childlike awe and intentional focus on the wonder of it all, my life would be less rich. Now, I take myself on these adventures. They fill me with appreciation for life - its irrepressible power to restore and regenerate its beauty and rhythmic balance. I often come back with fresh new ideas and a renewed sense of assurance which arrives from a broader vision of myself and life. And I always - ALWAYS - feel deep appreciation for having been sent that dear woman years ago. She was planting the first seeds within me for these most significant flowers of understanding to later blossom in my life.
Have a wonderful Spring 2012. Savor it. Spend time appreciating it close-up and personal. And, as you do, allow it to bloom within and change you.
- Kathy Bourquin
If you are interested in having Kathy write an article for your publication or speak at an event, please contact her at the link above.