How does engaging daily practices of wildness - like welcoming the gust of wind on your cheek as a gift of breath, like gratitude for the spark that somewhere makes possible illumination when you flip a switch, like pausing for a moment of curiosity when you make eye-contact with the pigeon huddled for warmth on the cobblestone sidewalk on your way to work - how do these practices and intentions shape who and how we are in the world?
And it’s important, I think, to recognize that the experience of profound humility and a recognition of one’s littleness is not the same as being belittled or being humiliated. In a culture where some of the most prominent figures in contemporary media thrive on belittling and humiliating others, this is an important distinction.
I know that people go to nature to experience calm and get inspiration. I know that being in the wilderness is a vulnerable experience, that it requires courage. I know that the wilderness teaches people things that they need to learn. I know that a lot of the people who would benefit the most from some time in the wilderness don’t usually have the time or the money to go to the wilderness.
As I turned to continue along the path, a pale purple butterfly flew off my left foot. Apparently, she had joined our meditation too. Her delicate levity offered perfect balance to the heron’s gravity.
Walking away, I was grateful for the invitation to pause and join the heron in stillness so fully that the mirage of our separateness dissolved completely for a moment. I was grateful for the presence of creatures who remind me that we are one. And I was grateful that these moments, though always with me and within me, come to find me when I need them most…