In a little over a week, I’ll be heading to Oregon for the Earth Joy Writing Book Tour! I’ll be blogging here daily to share insights, discoveries, and images…
In the meantime, I thought I’d reflect on what it means to move forward on your path.
One of the stumbling blocks Earth Joy Writers come up against at a certain point in their life is what I call “path block.” This usually happens, ironically, after a big success.
I understand this block and I have experienced it myself. Nature even gave me a literal experience of this block one day many years ago when I was walking in the woods behind my house and the briars and brambles around me stopped me in my tracks. I thought to myself, “It would be so much easier if I had a path.”
I looked down and there on the ground was a hawk feather. I picked it up and realized I must make my own path.
Allow me to share with you how Earth Joy Writers can transform this insight of making your own path into action that propels them forward.
The first step comes through understanding that all the natural elements around you-- the stones and mountains and grasses and trees and creeks-- are not “things.” They are not opposed to “culture.” Instead, they have helped co-create culture and they hold the stories of culture. They even hold biological knowledge that pre-dates the human.
Look out your window at whatever is around you right now. Do you know the history of the tree closest to you? Do you know what was there before the time of humans? For me, my back yard, which is now over a hundred miles from the Atlantic Ocean, was once the edge between the land and the sea. Knowing this allows me to imagine a time, perhaps as a result of global warming, when it might be the coastline again. This knowledge changes my relationship to what is there. The land is no longer a timeless thing but rather a changing and temporary subject.
In short, it is alive.
Just as you are.
This next step is to conceptualize our creating, not as something we do by “using” nature and “applying” natural principles, but as something we do with nature. This kind of collaboration means opening to nature as an equal partner in our human practices and learning from nature as a teacher.
Go out to a place where you can sit with an element in nature surrounded by human culture. Look for nature in unlikely places, no matter how small-- it could be a tree beside a busy city street, a creek running under a bridge, or the hedge that divides your yard from your neighbor’s.
Once there, sit and listen.
I’d love to hear how you are clearing your path for your greatest work. Leave a comment below and let me know how connecting with nature and journaling through Earth Joy Writing is helping you understand how much freedom you really have and where you are going on your own path.