Healing and Mountains
It’s been hard this winter, to write a nature post. My body has been out of sync with the season. I’ve longed for warmth. I kept thinking I should write a nature post but I haven’t wanted to write about winter.
But something happened the other week that I want to share. It was a break through moment of awareness about mountains, about their looming, vast, aliveness.
I went cross country skiing with my wise friend Maegan. When we meet our conversations go deep. Maegan attempted to ski down Mount Everest so if there’s a woman who knows mountains, it’s Maegan. Perhaps that’s why the mountains presented themselves to us that day, showing us a glimmer of themselves that eludes me normally.
We were chatting about how people talk about ‘leaning in’ to something that needs to be overcome. We talked about how the whole concept of ‘leaning in’ feels effortful. Why can’t you ‘lean back’ and be supported, and carried forwards?
In that moment it was as though the mountains came alive. I’ve never felt them like that before but it was so clear – like something that’s always been there, around the corner, just out of sight. It wasn’t a visual sense, like ‘Oh aren’t they magnificent’ – it was a full on ‘Wow, those mountains are huge and they are watching us as they tower over us, they are really watching us, and they are powerful’.
No wonder some cultures consider mountains to be gods.
Do you ever have that? A knowing, an experience that’s kind of miraculous because it’s outside of how you’ve experienced the world? I get these inconsistently and fairly frequently. I love them. I always feel delighted that there’s more than we’re conventionally taught there is. I love the feeling of expanding what’s possible.
For me the various awarenesses, the ones that have been crystal clear (not in the land of maybe, possibly I felt or saw that) seem so normal. Kind of like someone revealing something that was right there all along.
One of my osteopathic tutors taught me to watch for things on the edge of my senses that might be so subtle I could easily discount them. He told me when I notice them it’s good to follow them and see if there’s something there. More often than not I find there is something there. I’ve learnt to use my hands in this way when I treat and trust the glimmer of something that comes, right on the edge of my perception. I follow it with my senses and find the thing that needs healing. Perhaps this is a gift, it seems easy to me. If it’s a gift I’m grateful for it. And perhaps it’s something we all have, that we just need to be curious and gentle about.
Some things stick and stay, others come and go. I had a phase for a year or two where I knew, always, with complete accuracy and clarity, what sex a baby was before it was born. It was fun to know. And it felt so obvious. When I put my hands on an expectant mother’s belly to treat her I’d know I was meeting a little boy or a little girl – clear as though it were in front of me dressed in blue or pink. And then I stopped knowing. I don’t think I did anything to block my abilities. The knowing was simply no longer accessible to me. I didn’t mind that I could no longer tell. It hadn’t been of any particular benefit to know other than to remind me there is more to our lived experience than a casual glance might show.
In the novel I’m writing there’s a mountain. It’s home to a group of beings I’m calling the wise ones. Within the mountain the walls are covered in crystals that sparkle with their own light, illuminating the chambers within. I started writing about the mountain before my experience out skiing but after I’d heard stories about mountains being sentient beings. My mountain is old and wise. It chose to become home to the wise ones, making space within itself for them to live. Its entrance is covered by a waterfall that tumbles and thunders with light that rises up like mist.
I’ve spent a few meditations visiting this mountain in my mind. I can step into it in this way, and discover it, and then write about it better. The atmosphere is different within it, as though the air is more humid than ours. I imagine a main room that is like a vast library with stalactites hanging from the ceiling encrusted with crystals. There is also a room that’s completely dark. This is where my main character, Sariel, brings seeds to life. The seeds need darkness but when they spring to life they generate their own light. He plants them in tiny orbs that float in the rooms atmosphere. The room feels womb like to me, rich with love in the darkness of the great mountain.
Here's a poem to leave you with that carries a sense of nature's sentience.
"I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with
forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day blind stars
waiting with their light.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world,
and am free."
May the mountains watch over you kindly when you are near them.