My most recent thumbs-up from Nature.
So I just finished the third an African STAR (Self-Transformation Adventure Retreat), and as always, I am gratitude soup. There’s always a new way in which Real Nature brings people home to their real nature. We all get messages from the wilderness, as soon as we begin asking for them. I just got one I want to share with y’all.
Years ago, I created a coaching system based on a model of change that was like a caterpillar’s metamorphosis. It had four stages of change we go through whenever something forces or tempts us to release the status quo. Stage 1 is death of the old order, and birth of the new. In Stages 2-4, we create new life structures and identities based on what’s been born.
In recent months, however, I’ve seen change happening so quickly there’s no time for solidity. We have to learn to live in Square 1, the least enjoyable square for most people. We need to get used to continuous death-and-rebirth.
There’s an old Taoist recommendation for surviving such a roiling river of change: “You go up when the water goes up; you go down when the water goes down.” If we’re in tune with our true nature, the times when “the water goes down” are periods of play—full of productivity, creativity, doing. Times when “the water goes up,” letting us bob to the surface for air, are the periods of rest. They’re for stillness, receiving, being.
If you can relax, this is a delightful rhythm of “do-be-d-be-do.” However, if you’re filled with fear—as your reptile brain or “inner lizard” tends to be—constant change feels like a series of horrific beatings interspersed with frustrating stagnation. Quieting those lizard-brain fears, relaxing into the flow, is the key to happiness.
I visualize this as an infinity loop—you know, the mathematical symbol for infinity, which looks like a figure “8” laid on its side. I wanted to show you this, but don’t get access to computer graphics as I write this.
Happily, Nature sends us what we visualize.
The illustration at the top of this blog is a harmless-to-humans snake who just arrived outside my bedroom door with a dead lizard in his mouth. He’s arranged himself in an infinity loop as if giving me a thumbs-up (given that he’s short a couple of thumbs). I can almost hear him saying, “Yes! An eternity of rest and play, free from useless fear, is how to thrive these days.”
In fact, it’s our true nature. And Nature wants to help.