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Nature is The Way

Prompt response

This week’s prompt immediately took me back fifteen years ago, when I knew something was changing inside. Not knowing what it was, I chose to go on a retreat.

With nothing but paper, pen and a jug of water I entered the woods for a lesson I would never forget.

After having this experience, I now take time out to walk in nature, sit with and even carry on conversations with. Now the animals speak and plant kingdoms come to my aide when answers are not obvious to me.

This was my journal entry from fifteen years ago…

At the beginning of the pilgrim’s journey he found himself searching for answers. Answers about what he learned thus far. Before accepting the path of a Warrior, he traveled many foreign lands in search of truth.

Attending church…something left him empty. Attending temple…feeling the same. Attending mosque…something still remained void. Varying institutions all saying the same, they are the only way…our pilgrim still found something missing.

On a cool fall day, he heard a whisper…I Am The way.

Ignoring this voice, he carried on his search for truth. Finding none, he humbled himself asking for truth. With sounds of the wind he heard again, “I Am The Way.” Befuddled, he again asked for truth to be revealed. Wind spoke,”I Am The Way.” Still not able to understand fully he tabled the idea fearing he might be losing his mind. Little did he know he was about to lose a lot more.

A week had transpired and our pilgrim found himself on a retreat in the middle of the woods somewhere in the Midwest of the United States. Having no food with him, he thought he would challenge Creation to receiving everything needed for his weekend in the woods.

With only a book and some water, he ventured into the woods. Hours passed…and for the first time our pilgrim felt peace within…but no idea why. A noise caught his attention, as it was a familiar sound of a doe calling out in the woods. Anxious, he looked toward the sound, only to find nothing. When he returned his attention in opposition, his friend appeared…it was a doe.

They exchanged looks, for a moment, until she began walking in a way that said “Follow Me.”

Following the doe at about 20 steps behind, our pilgrim was interrupted by an injured squirrel. Being sensitive to animals, and the fact there’s an injured squirrel, he stopped to witness the squirrel. The doe departed, leaving our friend alone with the squirrel and an overwhelming feeling. What was this feeling? Sadness. He realized his life was lacking purpose and so many injured souls remain in the world which he had not paid any attention to.

This was the first messenger to appear before our pilgrim with many more on their way. Messengers come in all shapes and sizes, from animals to humans, signs to books…all carrying a valid message for pilgrims who are ready to receive. The squirrel taught him a valuable life lesson, but his weekend was far from over.

His guide, the doe, appeared again inviting him once again to “Follow Me.”

Following his guide, he came upon a family of chipmunks. Observing them he was, again, overwhelmed with emotions. He realized that he was apart of that family and he was apart of a greater whole. Crying now, our pilgrim wept as he realized he had spat on his brothers for far too long. Looking to the heavens he vowed, from this day forward, I will extend my hand to my brothers and sisters no longer spitting in their faces.

Out of breath, his guide appeared with another invite to “Follow Me.”

Following the doe, his attention drawn to something bluish and shiny in color. Getting a close look, with guide vanishing, he noticed a bird. It was a blue jay. In wonder, he questioned the lesson that lay lifeless before him as it had just plummeted to its death. Reaching for the dead carcass as to overturn it in disbelief that he was witness to this death, he became overwhelmed by emotion. Remembering how this blue jay once caused grief with annoying calls, he once again met his emotions. Weeping, he realized this bird had just given his life to teach him another life lesson. This time he was at a loss of words, as he realized he had taken life for granted and what he once thought a nuisance now found comfort in his calls.

Continuing on with what he equated to a modern-day stations of the cross, he met his guide once more.

This time his guide took him to an ancient burial ground where a life-size statue of the cross stand erect in the center. Christ was on the cross. Falling to the cross, our pilgrim began noting names and ages of the warriors that lay before him. Ranging from 23 years of age to 92, these warrior’s bodies lay somewhere under the earth. Humbled, he thanked them for giving their lives in hopes of saving others…finally looking to Christ for the final “thank you.”

A day had passed and our pilgrim was again met by his guide, leading him to a back trail leading to the unknown. Nature was calling to our friend, as he had the urge to urinate. Knowing that their were people on a retreat, nearby, he hesitated relieving himself. He was about to be taught a lesson of humility.

Looking over a ravine, that led to river, he noticed a bed pan in the middle of the cliff. It was as if God himself said, “my child, are you not a part of these woods? Do you not follow the same rules as my beloved children?” Through laughter, our pilgrim learned that he needed to trust the voices spoken to him. The voice appeared in the wind, “I Am The Way.”

From laughter to tears our pilgrim fell, knowing that he was now hearing the voice of his Heavenly Father.

On cue, the deer approached him with a soft approach and once again invited him, “Follow Me.”

Walking for half a day , our pilgrim came to a crossroads and no idea which way to go. Understanding he must wait patiently as the path is revealed. Just as he learned of his inner voice, came his intuition. He noticed a beautiful sound of birds singing and immediately knew The Way. He followed the sounds to his surprise…his guide. He sat and pondered this lesson and knew that he had an internal guide with him at all times…only this time he was listening.

Led to yet another challenge, he found himself at a crossroad once more as his guide vanished.

This time overwhelmed by four options to turn down, he decided to sit. Falling asleep after sitting for an hour, he awoke to a dream-state. In his dream the jungle had come alive and was apart of it. Anxious to tell the world of his discoveries, his alarm went off. While still in dreamworld, looking at his watch it was 10:10am.

Startled by his alarm, he awoke from his sleep and his watch was exactly 10:10am. In disbelief, replaying his dream but for the first time he as awake. What was once in his dream shall become a reality. Without thought he began running down a path which led him to a darkened area of the woods. Not sure if he should enter the darkened path, his guide appeared to him inviting him, “Follow Me.”

The answer was clear to him and his fears immediately dissipated, as he marched into the darkness.

Halfway down the path was a bench…pausing for a rest. Replaying the lesson, he realized there was darkness all around him in the real world but he was no longer afraid. Trusting the lesson he stood tall, knowing his future was brighter than before. As if the wilderness had heard his thoughts, thousands of dragonflies began to swarm around him. Opening a path for him, he found himself running unafraid as the trumpets sounded and dragonflies applauded him.

It was early evening now as he saw animals running behind the pines. It was his guide running at a pace of being, as if being chased by another. His eyes did not mislead him as he saw more sets of leg…the wolves.

In fear of his guide being hurt, he ran to her rescue only to be stopped with a voice, “Thy Will Be Done.” Knowing that at times he shall know when it is God’s will and he is not to intervene…this was one of those times. As he stopped, allowing this lesson to unfold, he noted a statue to his right. It was a statue of Archangel Michael pointing to the sky…reminding him”Thy Will Be Done.”

In disbelief he retired for the second night, in hopes that he would once again see his guide. All through the night he lay attentive to the sound of his guide…but only silence.

Arising to a new day, he set out to greet whatever came his way. To his relief, his guide appeared one last time. This time the pilgrim knew it was goodbye.

The deer got to within 10 feet and he silently thought, “be still and let her come to you.” She did. Now within arms reach they locked eyes, both sharing a look of gratitude. Slowly embracing his guide and tears in his eye he uttered, “thank you” …she was gone.

For now the story concludes, but more chapters to follow. While the story sounds fictitious, I assure you it is not. This story is a depiction of many pilgrims who have lost their way. While lost, they are given a choice to follow their instincts and believe that all will return to good. Upon answering the call, these pilgrims choose to call themselves Warriors.

We can follow the path of a pilgrim, lost and scared or choose to follow the guiding-light housed in all of us. Are you ready? Will you listen to the voice within? It is your time shine…what are you waiting for?

Stepping into the Canvas once a pilgrim, only to emerge as A Warrior. We can choose to follow the path of old or we can choose a brighter path of the future, painting a brighter tomorrow.

Our emerging Warrior, when greeted by various groups, speaks Truth and fears not of what will come of it. To his surprise, he hears them speak…”you speak so truthfully, you are one of us.” To his dismay he witnesses once more the human trait of claiming someone as their own and labeling them. Smiling he replies, “thank you… I Am That.”

Thank you Diana C. for this prompt, it was nice to recall this event. As for now, I regularly walk, sit, sing in nature, allowing myself to ‘Just Be’ and recharge. I do find that nature’s song changes daily and rejoice as I am gifted a new song.

Nature has such a way in comforting, renewal and remembering we are not alone.

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𝘈𝘶𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘷𝘶𝘭𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘺, 𝘢𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 & 𝘨𝘳𝘰𝘸𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘰𝘯𝘢𝘭 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘭𝘦𝘥𝘨𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘴𝘱𝘪𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴.

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