My Lavender Harvesting ZEN. An example of a Zensory Experience in Nature. ZENs – fostering spiritual development in young children and adults. Connect with me to learn more about my ZENs project and mission! Facebook: Penned by LindseyAnn, LinkedIn: LindseyAnn, Instagram @pennedbylindseyann
Several weekends ago I headed into the woods on what was to be the first stop on a local excursion to snap photos for the WPC Local (WordPress Photo Challenge), but I ended up spending hours alone, exploring the trails; immersed in nature; in solitude; in quiet.
There are three marked trails in this forested area and all three cross over and co-mingle with each other in various locations. Some are well groomed while others are more rugged. Some are even unmarked!
As I travailed through the forest all up in my head, I began to contemplate why an outing as this brings me such solace. I know myself well enough to understand that nature is a very healing place for me regardless of the season or the milieu. I am just as much a zen baby in the woods as I am at the beach. I prefer the beach in the off seasons than in summer and in early morning or evening (during the summer) as opposed to during the day. It is impossible for me to truly hear the ocean’s voice when it is drowning in the cacophony of human jabbering.
In the woods, it tends to be quieter no matter what the season. On this particular trek, I barely encountered a soul despite the beautiful day in Fall. What continued to bubble up in my mind was the sense of adventure that the forest gifts us. While many paths were manicured and marked, I tended to be attracted to the more rugged and unmarked trails I discovered. Why is this? Why do I gravitate to the path less traveled? The path unknown? What is it that I am searching for?
I’m not sure I fully understand why the more difficult trail appeals to me, but it probably has something to do with my love of solitude, and maybe even a need to prove to myself that I can navigate successfully on my own. At 54 one would think I should have this ingrained, but I guess I don’t completely, and I’m ok with that. Sometimes I actually do choose an easier route, especially so when visiting the quarry where I rock climb, but I digress.
The other realization and insight I gleaned from this hours long ambling through the wooded wonderland was the multitude of occasions upon which I ended at a crossroads. Which way did I want to go? Which path did I want to take? Which one looked less traveled? But yet, I didn’t want to miss anything hidden within the paths I chose to ignore. Now in this small forest, I can easily revisit and opt to explore the other pathways, even though they wind back around on each other. Not always so in life.
What have I missed by choosing the paths I have walked? Was there a lesson I missed? I don’t have any regrets on where I am in life or of the paths I have taken thus far. I am very grateful for what I have, what I have accomplished thus far, and for where I am headed. I like to believe that if I missed a treasure on a path I chose to ignore that maybe either I didn’t need to discover it or that it will appear on a path yet to be chosen.
So I will continue to find nuggets of inspiration and insight as I traipse through the forest, through life, and dare to go deeper into the woods. For there is where the real treasures are hidden, and maybe that is why I am so drawn to the darker, more rugged path less traveled.
Autumn. The season of harvest. The season when all of our toil throughout the year is to pay off in a beautiful and abundant yield that we pleasantly reap and celebrate throughout the season. A season to which we eagerly await not just the harvest, but also welcome the unmatched beauty of turning foliage; colors so vibrant and rustic and grounding.
A season dedicated to gathering. Families and friends gathering to give thanks. Gathering of food for the impending winter. Gathering our thoughts of gratitude. Gathering our unwanted clothing for donation. A clearing out of unnecessary clutter. Simplifying. Preparing. Sharing.
It is nearly the end of October and the leaves here in my area are beginning to change. Check out my Photo Challenge post. And I have been, and still am, approaching the season with great anticipation of an abundant harvest. My yield being the fruits of my labor in launching my writing career.
Here I am, trusting in faith, that I am on the right path. Yet I am questioning my decision. Here I am wondering if I am delusional. Yet I hold tight to the belief that I can live the life of which I dream. That I can design the life I want to live. That I am, indeed, the architect. That I am in tune with my something “special”. That I know my gifts and how to practice them. That following my passion is the solution. Yet, I cannot see my harvest. I do not see anything yet ready to reap. And so, I am waiting, waiting, waiting.
Sometimes waiting patiently and assuredly. Believing that I planted healthy seeds. Believing that I watered them, fed them, and protected them from the weeds, throughout the spring and summer. Waiting patiently for my crop to mature and yield me sustenance.
Sometimes not. Waiting is difficult. Patiently waiting, even more so. How long must I wait I ask? Will there even be a crop I ask? Will it be enough I ask? Do I just suck at gardening I ask? Do I suck at writing I ask? Is the Universe really for me and not against me I ask? Am I cut out for this I ask? Can I make it on my own? Can I have this life I imagine? Am I good enough? What do I have to hold onto if not faith in my ability? Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.
Waiting for answers. Waiting for my crops to mature. Meditating. Questioning. Meditating. Toiling still. Waiting some more. Believing is seeing I tell myself. Feeding my garden with gratitude, positivity, faith. And yet, waiting still. Is this a season of the starving writer? Is this a season of the abundant writer? Is it somewhere in between? And so I wait…wait…wait.
Cliques fill my mind; some are weeds, some are fertilizer. My timing is irrelevant I know; The Universe delivers in glorious occasion. And so I wait; sometimes patiently, sometimes not.
Nonetheless, I wait, I watch, I toil some more. The season of harvest is upon us and there will be reaping; whether it be a sustainable crop or just chaff from dead seeds remains to be seen. And so I wait….wait…wait.
What started out as the first stop on a journey of my locality to snap photos for this challenge, ended up being my final destination as well. I just cannot help myself when presented with the opportunity to spend an entire afternoon in the woods, especially in the Fall. What follows are some of the best photos of my hours long hike through the twisting trails of the wooded park. I hope you enjoy viewing them as much as I enjoyed capturing them.
The trees have just begun turning. I’ll need to revisit in a few weeks after the leaves have had a few more weeks to get their groove on.
Deeper into the woods we go now, exploring unmarked paths and stumbling onto unexpected discoveries.
Each tree a part of the collective woods, yet each tree so unique in its own beauty. The more gnarly and twisted, the more beautiful is each. In bareness, we see each’s true beauty.
And as my journey came to an end today, alas this photo post as well. Stay tuned for a MIRROR post of mindful discoveries from today’s adventurous trek.