“The world is a dangerous place,” I did not feel that it was really true, yet there it was in my head – a message containing fear communicated by news media and by actions and words of other people. I consciously gave myself permission to let this idea go. With my inner vision, I saw it peeling away from my head and stomach, which allowed me to relax and return to an inner feeling of safety, free of fear that bad things in the world could happen. I took a step and then waited for another one to surface.
My friends and I had hiked to a place in nature for a morning meeting. I had chosen the place- I had been drawn to it, as it pulled my attention more than any other place in the forest that day.
That morning, we shared similar experiences about the influence of the world on how we operate – how family, environment, and society condition us and teach us from an early age. Not all of these are negative. Many help us to survive, to fit in…but there are things that we take on that are not in touch with our inner truth.
What was also present for me was the question of “what is most important to me in my life?” Boiled down to its essence, it is the expression of my soul, my connection to spirit and the interconnected web of life, as well as my spiritual growth and heart connection to people. Material possessions and other people’s ideas of how life should be seemed to pale in comparison.
An area close to where we sat and discussed all this happened to be a place where the Earth expresses and supports the feeling of being unburdened and light, like a child. As a group, we felt this possibility within us, and decided to do a process together so that we could receive the full experience and benefit of being in this place, to feel deeply how this place resonates within us.
We decided to do a process of consciously entering this area, where an old tree stood, and where the Earth offered a pure expression of this lightness of being… however, we could not just walk in there- we had to arrive “naked”! Not in the no-clothing sense, but by dropping all of our conditionings that we have accumulated in this lifetime from family, peers, school, and society. This process came about as a result of our current life experience and morning discussion.
We moved at our own individual paces, with the intention of taking a step (or a few) for each aspect of our conditioned ways that we were able to release. With the release of each conditioned belief, or way of being that is not natural to us, we would move closer to the spot by the old tree.
I began my walk by turning my attention inward to feel my connection to the soul of the Earth, Source, and my own soul. I felt a calmness settle into my body as this connection strengthened. I asked for help from the Earth to arrive “naked” and knew it would not be as easy as simply walking straight to the tree. I could feel the hefty weight of my conditioned self on the periphery of my awareness.
With a willingness to participate as honestly as I could, I opened myself to whatever was presented to me. I met face to face with an all-you-can-eat buffet of conditionings: other people’s ideas I had taken on, beliefs and ways of doing things that were not the result of my soul’s motivation to do something, behaviors, and things I had been told and taken on as my own that were not my truth.
“You can’t make a living doing what you love,” My heart hurt, burning tears filled my eyes, my head hung. I slowly exhaled. Someone close to me had said something along those lines to me when I was young. They asked what I wanted to do when I grew up. When I excitedly shared what I wanted to do, I felt discouraged, like they did not believe in me, and I had to choose something different. I asked the Earth to help remove these words from my ears, my thoughts, my heart. It felt like the words were pouring out into the Earth to be transformed as I opened my hands to let go. A new thought entered my mind that said it was possible to do what I enjoy, what comes naturally to me, and make money.
“Keep your emotions inside- don’t show them. Don’t express how you really feel,” This thought showed up in my womb as a deep pain. I brought my attention there. At the same time, my throat tightened, I felt choked, shoulders tensed, my expression and my voice stifled into silence. All the times that I had ever felt those physical sensations and suppressed emotions started to come back to me. The sounds of “Shut up,” and “Be quiet,” “Be good” echoed in my head. The emotions of powerlessness, pain, and anger rose up in anguish from deep in my belly to my throat as I asked for help to release these emotions, words, and behaviors so I could take another step forward without the weight of them on my spirit. What came to me in that moment was to blow air out of my mouth. With each successive breath, my throat’s constriction released a little more. Then I felt like I was shedding a heavy layer from the space around my entire body. I envisioned it fading into the earth as it touched the ground. I took a few more steps.
The recognition of so many thoughts, words, and ideas that did not feel like my truth was much clearer to me while I was connected to Earth, Source, and my soul. One by one, they emerged from my subconscious to be heard. “Have to follow the rules!” “How to get a man!” “How to keep a man!” “Money is scarce!” “Life is a struggle!” “This is the way the world works, so don’t try to change it!” Several of these had a corresponding physical element in my body. I experienced physical pains and discomfort in my back, shoulders, head, and neck and elsewhere in my body, which demonstrated their effect energetically, emotionally, physically and spiritually in my life.
At the threshold of crossing into the area where the tree stood, still several paces away, I observed one of my friends had already finished his walk and was waiting. As I stood in anticipation of my final steps, I felt a headache emerge, the result of inner pressure to follow the same path my friend took to get there – a direct path straight in. It seemed logical. I waited to see what the next thing to let go of would be. I waited….and waited, while the headache persisted. The headache had not been there before. The thought that I should just walk straight in really bothered me. Another thought popped up, I should take the direct path, it makes sense to do that and then I will be done. I then realized the next step was to notice this voice in my head telling me what I should do. All the while, I kept looking over to my right at this delectable spot in the forest dappled with golden afternoon sunlight. I asked myself what my soul wanted to do – I so badly wanted to run, frolic, play, discover new things, touch the trees and plants, step on the crunchy brown leaves and dry twigs. I wanted to make all kind of sounds and snaps.
I debated what to do, fighting this inner urge to run and frolic. I was committed to finishing the process. I couldn’t just run away and frolic. My head throbbed. Eventually, I gave in to this inner desire and decided to at least move in that direction, take a different path, and stand closer to the sunlit area. Once I had moved to this new spot, I felt so good! The headache faded away, I felt happier and lighter in this spot that I had chosen. Energy flowed through my body more easily with an invigorating pulse of strength at my core. The headache had been a signal from my body telling me that I was resisting my natural impulse to do what felt right for me.
Two of my friends now waited by the old tree. I knew how I would enter the space a different way – a fun way! I saw a slender arched branch I planned to dip under like a small doorway and that was how I wanted to enter – playfully! I felt satisfied that I followed my inner desire to do things in a way that felt natural to me. I joined my two friends by the tree.
As we waited for our last friend to join us, we decided to connect with our inner child to support him– we held the lightness of our being in our field which served as a reflection for him. At that moment, we felt like children, free to express and feel what is true. With this lightness, we held space for our friend to help him make his final steps.
I entered my heart space to connect with my inner child; this seemed easy since I had just released so many conditioned ways of being. My inner child appeared with an abundance of love and giggles. I could feel her pure life force move throughout my entire body. I was ready to take off running. It was a challenge to stay where I was standing! I felt her essence, my essence, flow through me with laughter, lightness, curiosity, open-heartedness, exploration, and discovery. She was so active and ready for mischief, spontaneous games, creativity, questions, conversation, and she also held deep wisdom in her eyes and was naturally connected, without effort, to the natural world and to the spirit world. Her freedom was unencumbered by the weight I previously felt on my journey here. Love sparkled through my heart like sunlight.
Once all four of us were gathered at the tree, my inner child still brimming with excitement, I wanted to play and make people laugh, which was expressed with playful antics and contagious laughter. I was engaged in the lightening up of a serious feeling that rested within my colleague.
Experiencing the release of many accumulated conditionings was a temporary moment in time, with the assistance of the Earth and this special place. Although I retain the wisdom of this exercise, the imprint of conditioning still exists. The memory of feeling freedom of expression and re-connection to my soul essence and inner child fuels a desire to be more expressive and true to myself.