May 10, 2016

When Nature Speaks—3 Things I Learned on a Nature Walk.

great blue heron

Feeling the overwhelm of owning and expanding my own business on top of all the other day-to-day responsibilities and hats I wear, I knew I had to get out of the house today.

I decided to walk my dog. Following the impulse of the moment, and honestly wanting to drag out the distraction from my worries, I allowed myself to wander down a local nature path close to my home.

I followed a storm water drainage creek to a little urban wetland in my neighborhood. My two-year-old Chihuahua, Charli is quite the sniffer and led me to a little embankment just off the creek where baby lily pads are starting to grow and the air was fragrant with the damp fresh smells of spring.

I looked across the creek to the other side and spotted a beautiful great blue heron stalking its prey. While pondering its seemingly paralyzed body and admiring its patience, I intuitively knew if I chose to allow it, this was a moment the universe would use to teach me something valuable. Willing to play along, I asked Spirit (God) to impart on me what lessons it wanted to share in that moment, using the statuesque great blue heron as my teacher. Here are the three lessons the universe imparted me with:

1. Patience and Timing are Essential for Success.

I immediately realized the bird’s strategic positioning is essential in the heron’s hunting success. The bird needed to be as still as possible to blend into its surroundings, almost disappearing. It had no control over the path its pray took, only that it needed to take position, be still and wait. If it was to splash around chasing its pray like a hungry, crazy, desperate bird, it would make a mess of the situation and chase away all its food. It had to give over control of the environment, be still and wait for the perfect opportunity when all the factors were right to strike.

This moment reminded me to let go of attempting to control my environment and have trust that everything always works out.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Assess, Adapt and Reassess.

The blue heron never did actually strike. When the ideal opportunity didn’t present itself, the bird strategically moved position to allow another opportunity to align. This awareness illustrated to me the importance of assessing a situation, adapting to the environment and re-assessing. Don’t be afraid to try different tactics until one works.

3. Letting Go Gets You into the Flow.

As the bird stood completely still I became increasingly aware of all the burdens I felt bogged down with in that moment. I was trying to get out in nature and be present when really I had just taken my burdens with me with the change of scenery. As I stood there, I intuitively knew that once I let go of my burdens, the bird would move. Acutely aware I was still worrying, I thought to myself, “I have no control over any of these things that are overwhelming me. I am juggling all these balls in the air holding on tight, afraid if I drop one something awful will happen.”

I knew this bird had no clue where its next meal was coming from, it just kept showing up at the river bank, trusting its prey would cross its path. In that moment I had to give over all my burdens to a higher power. One by one I went down the list of things weighing on me and gave them over to God to manage, even if just for a moment. When I finished with my list, misty eyed, I realized I was just a woman standing creek side being present and observing nature.

I had succeeded in my original intention to let go of my worries. It was in that exact moment Spirit used the great blue heron to metaphorically show me my success of releasing resistance and getting in the flow. It was then that the beautiful bird unfroze itself from its position and began to gracefully and fearlessly cross the riverbank in front of me, imparting on me through this trust exercise with nature, that when we release resistance, it opens up the channels for Spirit (God) to work in and through us.

I felt a sense of peace and calm as I turned to walk home. Learning to trust the universe and God can be a life-long journey. It helps that with a little nudge and reassurance from nature, we remember we are on the right path and supported in more ways than we can humanly know.


Author: Erika Larsen

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Image: Stephanie Krist/UnsplashMichael McCarthy/Flickr 

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