I recently took a retreat at the family farm in the Missouri Ozarks. I was again stunned by the silence, the beauty, the tenderness, the longing, the solitude, and the communion with nature. The pastures were lush with vividly green Spring grass. The skeletal oak trees were budding with new growth displaying the life force that births anew with every season.The grazing cattle were docile in their daily rhythms. I was awed and humbled.
A thought by Thoreau kept playing in my head and finally landed in my heart: “If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so a human.” I kept pondering what our human nature might be that we cannot live without. I kept asking why I was so moved by the natural beauty and unpretentiousness of the environment I was in. I wondered how something so ‘off the beaten path’ could be so appealing and compelling.
Everyday I would meander through the fields and forests, find a place to sit and simply listen to the sounds of the breeze blowing through the trees. The natural movement and stillness was transformative. The simple silence was audible. The vibrant verdancy was visible. The oneness was so compelling it dawned on me that this was our true nature. We’ve taken ourselves out of the natural rhythm of life and wonder why were crying.
In the world of ‘everyday running around,’ everything seems so important, so critical, so rushed, so heavy. In nature, without any schedule except that of inner being, it’s the reverse. There’s a lightheartedness to it, a natural flow with it, a sense of all rightness with the sun, wind, rain, heat, and cold. I lived that way for a time and long for it again. In that space, my computer crashing is just another cloud in the sky. Oh well . . .
As I complete the fourth week of retirement from the active professional life I’ve lived over the past forty years, I’m starting to realize that I can’t let any of the ‘unnatural’ life get me down. I must spend more time within my own divinely created nature to live each day to the fullest. I’m having the sense that this may mean I will need to let go of all the trappings of my former life. I may have to withdraw and become invisible for awhile.
As we look for better ideas, we know greater clarity comes with tranquility, withdrawal, less stimulation, and a slower pace. We may have to run away, flee, become non-social, and walk away from all the former activities to advance to where we’re being called to go. We may have to retire from public appearance to allow the waters of creativity to bubble up more profusely. We may have to walk alone for awhile to find our new way.
When we let go we also let come. When we retreat it’s to advance. When we get silent we can listen. When we die we learn to live. No matter what, we don’t let the seasons of our life get us down. We endure. We live into our true nature. We review and renew.