Listen to the Lake
She will share the wisdom you seek
My heart is heavy. My mind is cluttered. My body is exhausted. My 20+ year relationship is being reorganized. A new chapter is waiting to begin, but the old stories have not reached completion. My upcoming surgery is weighing on me. My concern is mostly about my children and who will care for them when I’m in the hospital. And it's the holiday season. Like many, I’m going to navigate the holidays as a single mom. This is my first attempt at making the holidays feel special while being a divided family. A task that is certainly do-able, but feels daunting while recovering from surgery and reading over settlement agreements. Oh, and a career. Did I mention I need to find one of those too? Life is hard in the collective. We each have our own hard to navigate. What’s the antidote to feeling so much? For me, it’s nature.
I check the weather to see where rain storms are brewing. The literal storms. The weather tracker indicates a front is moving in from the south. I decide to head north, with hope that driving north might free me from some of the figurative storms too.
I have no plan, except to go someplace surrounded by trees. Water would be a bonus. I find a yurt on AirBNB. It’s a glamping situation. There is a lake. I click reserve. Nature is what is needed for both myself and my two daughters.
Saturday morning arrives with the sun slowly peeking in to check on me. The sun’s gentle glow reminds me all is well. The light always returns. The sun’s warm energy embraces my human vessel. I receive it as a hug.
I rise to pack the car with games, art supplies, books, and warm clothes. My daughters and I stop at the Farmers Market to gather all of the things we’ll need for our mission.
The Farmers Market is a place where I can allow myself to just be. My heart loves each farmer. My mind loses track of time. My body drops into relaxation mode as I float from vendor to vendor.
The colors are remarkable. So vibrant. The food is abundant and it exudes miracles. Growing mushrooms and arugula and apples can feel easy at times, but if we step back for a moment and think about what the Earth does in order to manifest food for our bodies, it’s a remarkable journey — both for the human growing it and the food that is doing the growing. The end result is a work of art that nourishes our systems.
Taking note of the micro moments in life, such as growing food. Paying attention and relishing in the smaller yet most precious things in life is a way to collect evidence that life is truly a beautiful and miraculous journey.
I wander over to the man selling eggs and strike up a conversation. The kids love listening to his tall tales about the pasture-raised chickens. He inserts humor at just the right time, keeping us engaged and wanting to hear more. A true Appalachian storyteller.
Next, we go to our favorite butcher to buy grass-fed / grass-finished meat, broth, jerky, and whatever else sounds good. The body often knows what it needs. I stand in front of this particular butcher with a deep need for bone broth and treat myself to 6 tubs of it. Bone broth will keep me warm, nourished, and rooted. I drink it like hot tea during the cold months. Other days, I stand in front of the butcher and crave red meat. It’s an instinctual process. Maybe an energetic one too. I trust my body knows what foods to consume and what foods to avoid. It’s subtle, but I can feel the push and pull. Listening is the challenge. Finally, we indulge in the holiday kombucha. It’s sweetened with local honey rather than cane sugar. One circle around the market and our shopping is complete.
We load back into the car, drive north a few hours snacking along the way. No screens allowed. Only music, conversation, and the occasional declaration of boredom. When the children believe they are bored on long car drives, my response is always the same, “it’s good to be bored. That is when creativity is born!”
We arrive at our destination. The yurt is surrounded by pine trees standing tall and proud. I felt the trees smiling as they looked down upon us. A warm welcome. The light on the lake nearby is dancing. And to my surprise there is a fire pit. All of the elements in a tightly woven zone to hold and maybe heal us. We’ll see.
The kids immediately run towards the water. I birthed two water babies. They always find calibration and wonder in or near water. I look up towards the trees again and tears cultivate in my eyes. There have been a lot of tears this season. As we connect with the Earth, the land opens up more fully to hold us. The sun may offer a hug, the moon will continue to shine the light during the darkness, and the trees will whisper truth. All three guide us and serve as a reminder that what we need to heal is present.
My spontaneous weekend getaway is what I had hoped for and more. The three of us together, allowing each other to just be. We talk, cook, dance, laugh, and play.
I build a fire and watch the flames as they tell stories. Stories of our ancestors. The kids watch the water as the light dances along the surface. They aim to skip rocks. I gratefully see they have also dropped into a meditative state.
We listen to the birds bidding us good-night. We breathe in the stillness and gaze up at the first stars, silently wishing.
The girls get lost in their wild imaginations. They have time and space to weave their own stories from their hearts. Then, I see myself dreaming. It feels so damn good to dream. I allow my mind to explore all corners holding beautiful images. Nature always has a way of calming the systems, so dreams can be woven. Visions can be held. I become what I think about, which is peace.
My heart is soft. My mind is clear. My body is rested.
In the yurt we huddle together in one giant bed. The girls don’t fight over the small space and the covers. They laugh instead of bicker. We are exhausted, in a good way. I believe we all share the feeling of gratitude too. It’s an unspoken knowing. A motherly instinct.
The girls fall fast asleep feeling loved, held, and safe. Just being together is enough. All in one bed, surrounded by trees who hold this bubble in place. My mind chases things to be grateful for. Instead of counting sheep, I count my gratitude list. It’s long and I’m grateful for that. I drift off to sleep in that way.
The next morning, I rise first, as usual. I step outside and get lost in nature’s beauty. I’m still chasing that gratitude list from the night before. I sit and stare at the lake.
The lake reveals her secrets in the morning. I listen. She is another source of wisdom. There is profound stillness. The stillness tells me what’s inside my heart. It’s so quiet. There is no confusion about whose voice is talking. It’s mine. I listen.
Listening to the whispers of the soul is something we are born to do. However, the loud noise our world creates gets us further and further from our truth. Go outside. Be in nature. Feel what feels true in your own heart. I promise there is something beautiful inside of you that is seeking to emerge. Only you know what it is.
Much Love ~ Grace
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Share a comment. Your words will ignite an idea for another reader. We all experience difficult phases. The challenge is accepting what is and moving forward. The way forward is unique to each of us. As Ram Dass said, “we are all just walking each other home.”
What's hard this season? How do you return to gratitude or joy in the patches of grief? Where do you find beauty when your heart feels sadness?