‘It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you don’t stop.’ – Confucius
Surrounded by the 4 giants of the European Alps, these days, competitive and serious hiking is very popular in the mountainous areas we spend most of our time in.
I believe we miss so much of the magic, beauty and energy of the mountains if the path we walk becomes a competitive and serious race against time, each other and ourselves.
Equally, in life, if we are always focused on getting ahead to some “where” we think will be “better” or to accomplish a future “goal” – we can miss the valuable and perfect teachings for where we happen to be right now…
When I saunter through the mountains and on many of the old pathways in the Aosta Valley region, I find myself connecting with a very ancient and timeless part of my soul.
Whenever I am in nature, I practice the art of walking slowly and with reverence. I also believe in being open (heart) to listen, feel and connect with what or who is coming to me as a messenger. I love to make my own tracks, pause and rest, go at my own pace and usually I resist following designated pathways set out for serious mountain hikers.
∼ Butterfly Messenger ∼
On a journey in the mountains I took a few days ago, a messenger came to me in the form of a small, friendly butterfly.
I could see in her wings beautiful colours of luminescent green, gold, orange, blue and brown. These colours kept changing as she gently moved from different angles to the light of the sun. She sat on my shoulder – gently and happily – for probably close to 10 minutes before she flew off into the pine forest.
Before she flew to my shoulder, I had the feeling that I needed to pause, breathe and do a ceremony or simply give thanks before I reached Juerg, Cento and our campervan at the foot of the mountains (where my journey had begun). However, I was not quite sure what was being asked of me, until the butterfly spontaneously arrived. Before long, I realised that my interaction and connection with the butterfly messenger was my “ceremony”.
As a messenger, the teachings of butterfly
are to appreciate and see the value
in each stage of the spiritual journey
and cycles of life.
Butterfly’s life transformation shows us, we each have the possibility and capacity to be reborn by going within ourselves. Therefore, we can draw much value and learn from the cocoon of darkness, despair, doubt, confusion, tiredness and all the emotions we have been conditioned to view as “negative”.
Honouring our feelings of discomfort and disharmony in relation to where we currently are on our journey (as well as what we may see happening around us in the world), is an important part of accepting that we are forever moving through cycles of change, transformation and growth.
A natural part of growth is feeling discomfort and resistance as we move into the unknown! These are cycles of deep change and transformation, which Mother Earth is also mirroring back to us!
Rather than judge these cycles of change as something “negative” or “wrong” – can we allow what needs to occur from a deep place of trust, love and respect… like the life cycle of the butterfly shows us so beautifully?
Can we observe and learn from Mother Earth by working with the mirror she provides us, as well as primarily focusing our energy on our own inner transformational process?
∼ Balance and Patience ∼
I am learning that in order to ease our transition through these current challenging times on the earth, we need two main qualities – balance and patience.
Balance… Balance can only be found by a certain amount of detachment from the outside world and all of its noise, busyness and distractions… Slowing down to find our balance means we focus more of our attention on our inner being. This involves checking in with our authentic self – i.e paying attention to what our feelings, our center of self/solar plexus, our bodies and our heart are communicating to us. It also involves (with love and compassion) tending to the forgotten, vulnerable, shadow parts of ourselves (our inner child/children), which we may find are being triggered by the outside world and especially our relationships.
What are the unique signs of your body and emotions, which tell you – you need to slow down and reconnect with your own unique rhythm and pace?
When you know you are feeling off-balance, what is your resistance to taking the time and space you need – to come back to your center of Self?
Patience… There is nothing else like precious time spent connecting and being one with Mother Nature. Reconnecting our bodies to her natural and ancient rhythms, seasons and cycles, allows us to remember we are not separate and to be patient with ourselves and our own growth process.
I really love and savour spending time in nature with both my dog and my partner Juerg. However, grounding my energy on a solitary walk in nature and or just sitting and being alone next to a tree, with my own thoughts and feelings is essential for me to retain a sense of well-being and harmony in our shared relationship. This is the same for Juerg too.
When did you last make quality, nurturing time and space for yourself – to be alone in nature – with out any distractions?
In these times of deep transformation on the earth,
may you pause and rest when you need too…
may you find balance and patience…
so that you continue to move forward
with grace and confidence
on your own unique life path and journey.
© Jaymie Elder
Photos shared are from a 5-hour saunter I made recently, to the top of Monte Zerbion (2722m) with stunning views of the Aosta Valley and three of the Giants of the Alps – Monte Rosa (4,634 m), Monte Bianco (4,810 m), and Gran Paradiso (4,061 m).
I find sacred moments of nourishment, inspiration, quiet reverence and solitude here in the mountains of Italy… where in the world do you find your own precious and healing moments in nature? I would love to hear from you, in the comments below…
Photography and words © Jaymie Elder 2019
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