The last two months we got into the mindfulness practice of Shinrin –Yoku, otherwise known as Japanese Forest Bathing. We talked about the healing and restoration of balance that this experience with Mother Nature can bring. Mother Nature is known as Gaia in Greek mythology, and I introduced a play on the word guidance with the idea of Gaiadance. Sometimes guidance comes through Gaiadances.
This month’s story illustrates how Gaia dances bring health and balance when we let the unexpected lead us in the dance. Health and balance can naturally unfold when we let ourselves be danced into wholeness.
I'll Lead You On, Wherever You May Be...
Kathleen was a dissertation advisor at the U of MN and member of my spiritual community. When I started my non-hierarchical organizational chart project, she was very interested and wanted to be kept posted on my journey toward publication. I was relieved to have such a skilled friend with whom to share the endeavor. This was not to be. Within a year, she left us due to cancer
I went to her memorial service, which was led by her colleague, Steve, from the U of MN who is also a spiritual director. He did a beautiful job facilitating her service. I approached him afterwards to say how much I appreciated how he did the service. He wanted to talk about how we both knew Kathleen. He explained their years of work together sharing spiritual experiences. I explained how I knew her, and my project. I was already missing her friendly offer to coach me in my writing. Steve reached in his pocket and pulled out a card and handed it to me. I read, “Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota, and Writing Coach.” He noted he’d be happy to meet with me if I wanted. I asked his price, and he said there would be no charge.
We set up a date, and he asked me to send him some writing samples before then. I had about 10 stories I had written, so I sent those to him. When we met, I went over all the visuals of the non-hierarchical organizational chart project I had shown Kathleen. He listened very patiently. When I finished, he moved the stack of visuals to the side, saying he was not an organizational person so he likely couldn’t help me with that part. What he was really interested in was my stories. He asked if I was aware these were all ‘heart’ stories. We went over them and he made me conscious of what I was doing that was effective. He encouraged me to write more stories!
On my way home, I talked to the Universe. I noted that this was not the way I thought it would be. However, if this is what I was to focus on for now, I would work on accepting that. By the time Steve and I met several more times, I had about 40 stories written, some personal and some professional. He kept letting me know what was effective in them.
Simultaneously, I was working on my manuscript for the book. Soon it became clear why the stories were important. Each chapter needed a practical personal and professional illustration of the different holistic philosophy concepts I was weaving into them. The publishing director felt the stories were the strongest part of the manuscript.
Heart Selah: When has Gaia danced you with a knowing nod?
“Now is all there ever is.” ~ Eckhart Tolle.
“When you stay connected to the present moment, you have a sense of completion and abundance.” ~ Baptist de Pape
“Health is not only to be well, but to use well every power we have.” ~ Florence Nightingale
“The source of wisdom is whatever is going to happen to us today. The source of wisdom is whatever is happening to us right at this instant.” ~ Pema Chodron.
“Unless you actually can be out in nature and experience the birds singing in the trees and the blue sky, you are divorced from the great spiritual being that I feel is all around us. And it’s being out there in nature. Then you can become a whole human being with heart and brains and spirit all connected and whole.” ~ Jane Goodall