My brother and sister-in-law recently sent me a video called “It’s Not About the Nail”. It’s one of those viral videos, completely brilliant, that has over twelve million hits on YouTube. It is one of those videos that is so well done that you can put yourself in the position of either the man or the woman portrayed, you can identify with both places occupied in the dynamic (even if created by men for men). It is short, just over a minute long. Did I say brilliant? https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-4EDhdAHrOg
My interpretation of the point being made in this video is that we can’t often see the obvious of that which might be causing us to feel an unwanted feeling. We really don’t want anyone to tell us what we can’t see as the impediment to well being, and we don’t want to be fixed. Ultimately, that obvious thing might actually become the obvious impediment to any kind of real peace, happiness, or intimacy.
Walking the hills that characterize the landscape of this area I now call home keeps me in a constant flow of being with both peaks and valleys. Even in a twenty minute span here in these woods, it is possible to pass up down and through many many times.
I feel like I could spend a lifetime trying to describe the depth of ease and freedom I feel here. It is so dry today after a week of warm sunny days that I can smell the scent of old pine rising from the crunch underfoot. The breeze is just so, enough to caress, enough to make music in the branches above. These are just some of the bodily sensations. The next level of awareness contains the vastness of every surface the sun touches, connected, warm and alive. No matter what sadness, concern, or obsessively occupying thought I arrive with, this community of woodland spirits
permeates and transforms, until all I am left with is peace. Every single time. I don’t need to be fixed here. No nail has to be removed for me to feel better. It doesn’t feel like escape or denial. It just feels like a return to a very true place in me that I don’t want to forget about. It feels like an energy worthy of making art about, trying to capture the essence of beauty seen and unseen. It fuels my creativity.
There are so many days that I can only get myself here with a strongly willed intent. I know in my head that in minutes the transformation will begin. Most days it is just a few dozen heartbeats before the feeling of being fully and completely connected sets in. How is it that the sixteen year old girl who stood at the edge of the city she grew up in and willed herself to a live in New York City someday, could become this woman who soars in the spaces of solitude like this?
It’s taken me awhile to recognize that the feeling I would walk the streets of the city with all those years ago, of feeling connected, fearless, and completely anonymous, is almost exactly the same. The difference is that now I feel more empathically connected. Feeling anonymously connected just meant I was unconsciously invested in being seen a certain way. Feeling the truth of connection now as simply being what it is, is all that matters. Walking in the woods is my yoga mat rolling out to infinity.
It is a practice that has captured my absolute dedication.