There is a figure who has been a symbolic guide through the entire process of moving from a typical American lifestyle to one focused on Earth-centered living. She has emerged in guided meditations, shamanic journeys, stream of consciousness writings, and as the author of letters from my future self. She is an archetype of me at the point when I am living the life that is most fulfilling and congruent for me. I call her, Woman on the Mountain.
One of her key characteristics is her total ease in her life and in her setting. There is no tension or worry, no watchfulness or feeling of being unduly challenged by life. She is calm, confident and relaxed in her place within the natural world.
I was trained as a “problem-solver,” and for me, all of the world is a problem to be solved. I have been an “uncertainty” junky. I still sometimes define my life by what challenge or potential challenge is holding my attention at the moment. It can be in my own life, the life of someone I love or the general dis-ease in our shared experience on the planet.
To move from where I am now, to being Woman on the Mountain, will require dropping some of my old ways of seeing the world. Conditioned thought habits, based in the language and structure of my culture, have formed a cataract-like lens before my eyes. They fog over the creative flow of change and the beauty of diversity. They leave visible the shadows of self-doubt.
I have made a number of life transitions through the years. I have moved from basing my spiritual practice in Christianity, to Zen and now to Shamanic journey. With each transition, there has been the need to incorporate new rituals and language while following the deep common light that moves through them all. This transition from being uneasy to being at ease will require a similar shifting of lenses and ways of talking about the flow of my life.
For now, I am immersing myself in a new way of experiencing the world. I am focusing on what connects me with the sights, sounds and rhythms of nature. I hope to learn the wonders and wisdom of the plants, animals, streams and mountains that surround me.
To learn this new language, I am spending more time listening to all the living beings of the land where I live. I want to learn both their sounds and their interwoven connections with one another. I want to sit quietly and hear subtle difference between the sound of wind in the cedar fronds and among the pine needles. I want to sense the direction of a breeze by where it touches my face. I want to sense the seeping of water into the earth and imagine its course around rocks and into the roots of trees. I want to notice when the small birds and other creatures around me are aware of a change in their surroundings, so I too can be alert to something new.
It will take time. It will take a shift toward discovery and away from problem-solving. It will help to relax and allow many imagined troubles to float on by unnoticed. I will gradually learn the language of the land and the living beings who share it. Slowly, like the emerging light of a new day, I will sink into my appropriate place within nature. One day, I will find that in my cells and in my soul, I have become Woman of the Mountain, at ease with my place within the web of life.