May the frames of your belonging be generous enough for your dreams.
May you arise each day with a voice of blessing whispering in your heart.
May you find a harmony between your soul and your life.
May the sanctuary of your soul never become haunted.
May you know the eternal longing that lives at the heart of time.
May there be kindness in your gaze when you look within.
May you never place walls between the light and yourself.
May you allow the wild beauty of the invisible world to gather you, mind you, and embrace you in belonging.
Walking through the woods on this Christmas Day I noticed how the trees were lit up like Christmas trees. It was so beautiful and unexpected to find Christmas out there in the forest. Breathing in the forest air a deep sense of belonging filled my heart. There were so many gifts to be discovered, like secret little hiding places which made me wonder who actually lived there and many different mushrooms and mosses glistening mysteriously, hinting at a wild world which was beckoning me to enter. I came home two and half hours later filled with so much joy and wonder.
So before this Christmas Day comes to an end, I want to wish you a “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays”!
And may the wild beauty in our hearts guide us into this new decade and New Year and allow us to broaden our sense of belonging and our part in that greater family.
Discovering a young buck lying peacefully outside my door was such a sweet surprise this morning. Peeking from behind the window I watched him for a long time just chewing his cud. It was strangely meditative observing him bring food back up into his mouth and slowly chew it before swallowing it again. Suddenly the elusive answer to a question that my mind had turned into a complex mess popped up out of nowhere. Here it was, right in front of me and so simple. Watching the buck also inspired me to finally start sorting through my boxes, full of things from the past, deciding what to let go off and what to keep.
Flashes of memories of visiting my grandmother and her people on their little farm easily came to mind as I stood by the window gazing outside. I still remember the excitement and fear I felt of helping my great-aunt “Tante Bärbchen” with the cows. We would take them out onto their pasture in the morning and bring them back in the evening. Recalling the loud sound their hooves made on the pavement, as we walked through the tiny village, I always marvelled that they didn’t just run off. Instead they listened carefully to my great-aunt and were happy to come home to the barn, which was attached to the house, to get fed and milked. I loved seeing them lie peacefully in the straw at night chewing their cud.
These memories must have prompted me years later to get my own goats. Again the joy I felt milking them and taking them on their daily walks in the wilderness is still with me. My son was just two at the time and I would take him with me on these walks. Everyone would join us: the horse, our dog Mika, our two cats Cinderella and Tinkerbell and most of the chickens and Mr. Rooster as well. It was a funny looking herd to say the least.
The goats were very protective of my little boy and wouldn’t let anyone except me get too close to him much to Mika’s irritation. After all he was supposed to protect us. Instead he had to watch out that the goats didn’t succeed in butting him if he dared to come too close. He barked with outrage at them, but they kept their tight circle around my son whenever they felt some perceived danger.
Afterwards we would hang out with the goats in their shelter for a while. It was warm and cozy as we watched them peacefully chew their cud. So grateful to have these memories…and yet there is this funny dilemma with memories when you don’t remember who you told them to already. So please forgive me if you have already heard this. These were the images that came to the surface while watching this beautiful wild animal lie so trustingly near my door step. Perhaps in a way it is me chewing my cud in the form of these vital memories from what now seems like a long time ago.
Well, of course I had to try and take a picture of this magnificent animal. It took about ten seconds for him to jump up after I opened the front door and make his way to his brother or buddy who also had been lying down nearby. It was such a powerful sight seeing these two look back at me. You just never know what unexpected gifts, messages, answers or memories are brought to your door step…
Once upon a time there was a little caterpillar who did not want to do what other caterpillars did: eat all day. Instead she wanted to see and experience the beauty of the world around her. Often you could see her sitting on the highest leaves of the tree looking at the ever-changing landscape. She loved watching all the creatures in the forest and took delight in whenever one took time to talk to her. But she didn’t get much eating done and consequently was much smaller than her peers.
The other caterpillars were too busy eating to notice. One day Grandmother Bear walked by and right away saw the scrawny caterpillar sitting on a leaf looking out at the world. She asked the caterpillar why she wasn’t eating like all the other caterpillars. “Are you sick? ” she asked. “Is this why you don’t eat as much as the others? The little caterpillar shook her head. “No!” she replied and explained that she just didn’t think all the hard work of finding food and eating constantly was what life was all about. She wanted to just experience the beauty of the forest and the world around her. The wise old bear shook her big head when she heard this and said: “You know that you are a caterpillar and eating is what all caterpillars must do, so that they can evolve to the next stage of becoming a butterfly.” After she spoke the big old bear continued on her journey and disappeared behind the trees.
The scrawny caterpillar had listened carefully to what Grandmother Bear had told her, but didn’t really understand what it meant to be a butterfly or how to even get there. After the old bear had left she sat in silence for a long while and watched all the other caterpillars in their busyness and noticed how much bigger they were. She asked one closest to her if he was happy doing what he was doing. He looked at her with a puzzled look thinking about what she had asked. He then answered slowly speaking with his mouth still full: “I am doing what my inner nature is prompting me to do. I don’t really think about if it makes me happy. I just eat, enjoy being in the moment and trust that it is what I am meant to be doing right now”. Then he took another big bite and turned to crawl to a new leaf that was beckoning him.
The little caterpillar thought about his answer and wondered if she should try this. She could always go back to doing what she loved to do: sit in nature and just be. As she took a bite off the leaf she was sitting on, she allowed herself to tune into her own inner knowing. This started taking her to the best food to eat and soon she felt very full and ready for something….
As she listened closely to her own inner guidance she found a special place where she carefully began to spin a silk chrysalis around herself. From the outside it looked like she was resting, but on the inside many transformations started taking place. Then one day when she was done all the forming and changing on the inside another prompting came. It was time to come out of her chrysalis. Slowly but surely she emerged from her cocoon as a beautiful blue butterfly. Her wings were still soft from having been in the tight enclosure. But after a rest she felt the urge to move her wings for the very first time. Blood pumped into them and soon she was flapping them vigorously. She knew when she was ready to take flight. Something inside her just knew!
In that very moment Grandmother Bear magically appeared again walking down the trail towards her. She immediately saw the beautiful blue butterfly and showed no surprise when it spoke to her: “I want to thank you Grandmother Bear for taking the time to speak to me and telling me of my destiny. I didn’t know what you meant by what you said, but I did listen and now I understand.” She then gracefully spread her beautiful blue wings and lifted effortlessly off the branch she had been sitting on. Dancing joyfully around the bear’s head before flying off to the nearest flower she drank for the first time the sweet nectar of life and never questioned again her own inner knowing and allowed herself to be guided from one beautiful flower to the next, delighting in each of them and in just being herself.
by Mary Oliver
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting over and over announcing your place in the family of things.