A few weeks ago I wrote about finding a meditation stool that had been half submerged and abandoned in the water of the pond it had been sitting next to for years. Even the word abandoned now evokes a feeling of despair, of some lingering sense of violence that underpinned this stool’s demise. I have been watching for weeks now for evidence of the stool’s presence under the water, where it might have found a peaceful resting place. But there was no sign of it, even through the sun soaked water that could show me the depths of life below.
I was sharing this story with a friend visiting for the weekend as we approached the pond on our walk. My story, and the accompanying question of, “Was it a bear or a human who threw it into the water?” hadn’t changed. She gently offered another point of view. “Maybe it just blew over into the water and drifted there?” I suppose this could be true, I said out loud. but to myself I wondered why was I still feeling the undercurrent of some violence at play here.
We went on to have a lovely stroll through these woods I have come to feel such love in the presence of.
My friend is a forest therapist.
She takes people on slow leisurely walks in the woods, laced with invitations to sink deep into where they are and simply notice. She was fascinated with the plethora of fungus life that were living in these woods surrounding my home, and was stopping frequently to take photos of them. I began to see the amazing variety and beauty of this life form through her eyes, faces and hearts and colonies of fascinating shape and color.
We were benefitting from one of the many aspects of engaging in forest therapy as an exchange, by sharing what we each experienced, creating a wider richer net of awareness for both of us.
Her observation about the stool was an invitation for me to notice the way in which I was making an assumption about what happened. To consider how easy it is to project, not from the energy of what is actually there, but from a distant, disconnected place in me. Because as I was walking the next day, as I was passing the opposite end of the pond that is now rich with green growth, I noticed a dark object. It wasn’t big, but it felt hard and foreign even from where I was on the path hundreds of yards away I knew it was the stool!! Just a sliver of the round seat that was now present above the surface of the water.
I felt my whole being align with something true in that moment. Now I believed the stool had been guided by the force of nature this whole time, indeed blown in and drifted to where I had seen it at first, then leisurely migrating to these shallows of the other end. I could now let go of whatever illusion of thought had been holding me to the feeling of impulsive anger. Considering ‘what is’ even trumps considering something as good (vs. bad). ‘What is’ simply embodies the energy of exchange. What could possibly be the point of judging that exchange?
“The world is your kaleidoscope, and the varying combinations of colors which at every succeeding moment it presents to you are the exquisitely adjusted pictures of your ever-moving thoughts.” -James Allen
I had prepared bowls of museli** for me and my friend before our walk. I had made the traditional Swiss mixture of oats, lemon, sweetened milk, a few nuts, and shredded fresh apples on a whim the week before. I had had everything on hand except the apples. I could see them forming on the trees out in the meadow but would it be wrong to try to eat them now? Thankfully, I had by-passed that judgement and went out to gather three tiny apples, two red from one tree, one green from another. I soaked the old-fashioned oats while shredding the tart apples and mixed them with the lemon juice and cinnamon. Preparing this bowl of nourishment now evoked the feeling of whole body peace I had experienced the week before when I made it for myself. The feeling became a thought. I wanted to share this feeling of peace.
The muesli was as delicious and as satisfying as the first time. I had no control over how my friend would respond. But this was a friend with whom I shared ‘parallel life experiences’ with. She was one of the people in my life who made similar lifestyle choices and I could confidently present her with this meal exactly as I would to myself, a meal that embodied energy of the fruit of the trees we communed daily with. It felt like a worthy offering.
**Museli (one serving)
1 tablespoon old-fashioned oats soaked in 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon walnuts (lightly toasted)
1 tablespoon golden raisins
1 tablespoon half & half
juice of one small lemon
1 large or 2 small grated (just picked if possible) apples with skins
maple syrup (to taste)
Soak oats while preparing apples. Mix grated apples immediately with lemon juice to prevent browning. Add cinnamon. Add apples, walnuts and raisins to oats and mix. Add half & half and maple syrup and mix again. Eat.