(*Note: Something I wrote several months ago when I visited the seaside)
I’ve been searching for shells since we got here. I’d imagined that I’d find beautiful shells, lovely smoothed pebbles and silky grey driftwood just like the ones I usually find at other beaches, but instead there have been very few in sight. All I’ve found has been broken bits of seashells, tiny and smoothed.
At first I was disappointed. Then this evening I wondered…What if this is what the grand wise ocean wants me to receive right now? What if these tiny bits of seashell are a mirror of the broken bits of wildness that the great mother is returning to me – fragments of a shattered whole that needs to be put back together?
We search for beauty in wholeness, but there is beauty in broken fragments too, and the treasure in these pieces is the journey we walk when we slowly glue them back together. Maybe what we piece back together doesn’t become a perfect picture of what the original once was. But then again, maybe the point isn’t to recreate that and instead it is to find new ways to put together something new – a mosaic of wild shell pieces that represent a new way of being.
Brokenness brings growth and evolution, so when we patch ourselves back together, then it is important to allow the skins of our souls to take new form and become what it is now, not what it was once was. Not who we are told she should be.
It was 5am and I felt like I was living in a Mary Oliver poem.
Mist rose with the sun whose rays slowly climbed from the horizon. In clouds, the mist lingered over the wetland. The land was breath-taking, drenched in mystery and golden light. What hidden wildlife would we discover as we explored this piece of wildness at sunrise? The possibilities made me feel like a child again. It reminded me of waking up at sunrise some holidays while my parents still slept and sneaking off to explore the hills or watch the sun rise over the ocean. That is the side of life I’ve always loved, exploring the world that existed before everyone else woke up and then returning home changed, a heart full of wild secrets that no one else would know unless I told them.
My husband and I stood in awe of the natural beauty, and we breathed in the misty sunrise. We took it all in – the sky, the water, the colours – taking pictures of the magical scene we found ourselves immersed in. We offered gratitude prayers and did a short grounding meditation together, aligning ourselves with Mother Nature and the intuitive soul light within.
Waterfowl called from the unseen places in the reeds. Dabchicks sailed across the water. A pair of noisy Egyptian geese flew overhead, and an owl flew homeward into the forest on the other side of the water. Then we noticed something beneath the willow trees near the water’s edge. My eyes searched the shadows under the trees.
An antelope grazing…
She noticed us almost as soon as we saw her, and then bolted through the mist, making her way back to the forest. We watched her galloping, so swift and graceful. I wondered what elusive and skittish part of my ‘Self’ she mirrored. The antelope reminded me of the shy and wounded parts of me that prefer to remain in the shadows, still, quiet and invisible. I thought of the part of me that shies away from attention and that gets spooked at the first hint of being noticed, the part of me that runs fearfully for cover into the safety of the dark forest.
I wondered many things – How do I connect with that part of myself? How will I coax her out and win over her trust? How will I teach her that the past is over? That she will no longer be hunted? That she is safe now and that her wounds will heal if she trusts me enough to nurse them? I want to help the wounded antelope in me understand that sometimes the things that ruin us are meant to be, because they are also the things that help us grow, build our strength, our gifts and shape us into who we’ve become. I want to be like the golden sunlight spilling into the wetland valley and the forest so that I illuminate the shadows.
But off she ran, away from us. We took photos of the antelope running off. Through the lens, I saw a part of myself run with her. I wondered…is that who I’d been searching for on our daily forest walks these past few days? An elusive antelope-shaped part of my own essence? I must’ve been. I know that my encounters with Nature connect me more deeply with Spirit and the Divine Feminine, just as much as they bring me home to myself. But I’ve seen more clearly recently that the pieces of wildness which I collect – the feathers, the pine cones, the nature experiences and wild whispers – do more than connect me intimately with the Earth. They are a form of soul retrieval, because they re-introduce me to forgotten parts of myself, my inner pieces of wildness.
That’s the title of the new book I’m writing by the way – Pieces of Wildness…And since my writing process and spirituality are both so interwoven with the Earth, it has meant spending even more time than usual in the natural world lately. I’ve been taking more nature walks, hiking along trails and last week my husband and I took off to our favourite forest getaway spot. I felt a profound sense of having come full circle returning to the forest cabin where I wrote the last chapter of Wild Essencejust as I begin the journey of writing Pieces of Wildness. I’ll probably be blogging less frequently for the time being, while I focus more on writing my book. I don’t want to drop completely off the face of the planet, so I will share in this space when and as often as I can. if you like, you can find me on Instagram or my Facebook Page too, where I share pictures and bits of wild inspiration, probably a bit more regularly than I blog.
In the meantime, how is wild wisdom finding you today? A feather, a flower, a leaf? Each is a piece of wildness with a story. Each has divine light and wisdom within, and has something to teach you about your own true nature. Reach beyond the surface to draw out the medicine it offers. Let this wild wisdom guide, inspire you and heal you.