Glossary: Thongs = Flip Flops
My journey began at the bottom of the hill. The slope was steep and a choice was to be made. Were I capable of walking up bare earthed ground with only my thongs on my feet. Sure the sign said ‘proper walking shoes should be worn’, but was that a choice I wanted to make. Stuff it! I choose to experience this walk wearing thongs. So I looked up, saw where I could place my feet, a step here, a step there, three, four, and few more thrown in and I was there. I was on the walking track and about to experience my journey.
There was a familiarity about this forest. What was it that I was feeling? I looked inside myself. Took it all in. Breathed it all in. The tears began to well up. Why was I being affected? This was only going to be a short walk to get some exercise but this experience was more than that. I was the forest, the forest was me. We are one. If I was able to experience this oneness by just walking through a forest, maybe I will experience other things that were said today.
The track slowly wound it’s way through. Sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right, but always moving upwards. Much like the perceptions of our lives.
Before long I was experiencing more of the teachings in the form of choice. Do I choose to take that short cut which would be quicker and less strenuous or do I choose to stay on this path and see where it takes me. This time I chose to stay on the path and was able to experience a view of the surrounding fields that I would not otherwise have seen had I taken the short cut. Wow, I thought to myself. It is all unfolding right before my eyes. What more will I find before I return back for the next session of the workshop.
Sure enough another choice was to be made. Do I continue on this defined path which was safe, or do I take this short cut which was stepper and looser underfoot. This time I chose the ‘unsafe’ route. Six large steps later I was up and back on the track. Gee that was easy, lucky I never gave in to fear.
The path continued on ducking and weaving it’s way through the forest. But it wasn’t long before I could see a clearing. It was a grassy hill that allowed me to look down at the village below. All those buildings, which when looked at from ground level, were all so separate, now appeared as one. The cars driving on the roadways like the blood passing through our veins. How beautiful it looked.
After observing this view for about 5 minutes, I decided to continue this walk of discovery. Walking across this section I realised it symbolised the workshop itself where we have all been stripped bare of everything. Leaving behind the me that is me.
As I walked through the grassy path I saw a couple walking with their children. The woman and I exchanged smiles as we passed each other. I then looked at the man to acknowledge his presence and noticed his eyes looking down in the direction of my thongs and I could see his mind ticking over, judging my choice of footwear. I smiled to myself, enjoying the freedom of my choice.
Ahead I see that the forest started again. I wonder what else I could discover? It wasn’t long before I was able to find out. Up to this point there had been a few bridges to cross during the first section of the forest walk which I likened to being a bridge to the various stages in my life. Now in this new section of forest I was nearing yet another bridge. I thought to myself, will I now see more symbols of this new me that is awakening within? It wasn’t long before I had the answer. No more than 15m away I came to another bend where I stood before a reflection of myself. No it wasn’t a mirror, but a tree. It was about 50cm in diameter, grey, dry, with no branches to be seen in the canopy. If this was all I looked at then I could have been forgiven for thinking that this was just the remains of a dead tree. My eyes followed down the trunk to the point where the roots secured themselves in the soil. But then I noticed a tree, about 5m tall growing out of this root. It was thin, green and with branches stretching out every which way. This for me was exactly how I felt about myself. The old me, with all of my life experiences, contained within the large trunk. Whilst the new me, the new young sapling, was exploring with greater confidence and freedom.
I spent about 5 minutes just staring at this tree. Taking in all that it represented to me. But was this the end of my journey? I figured that as the track continued on, that maybe it wouldn’t be. So I continued on to find out. As I walked a little further I could sense that the trees were wishing to speak to me. The branches rattled and some even broke off and fell near me. Still more leaves waved to me as I went by and others just remained themselves.
It wasn’t long before I had another choice to make. Should I take the left hand path or should I take the right. The left it was. Minutes passed as I just walked whilst contemplating what I was actually experiencing. I then raised my sight just a little and noticed a small clearway. I decided to take a look and before I knew it I was standing on a bitumen road. Here I had reached the top. The end. What else do we perceive as the end I pondered. Ah yes, death. But it felt like it too was just another choice. I chose to continue no my journey instead of remaining here.
The journey back was a lot quicker as it was all down hill. My life had been explored and the final piece of symbology was a walking track signpost. From where I stood you could not see where the track was but I knew that if I kept walking in the direction of the sign, the track would soon become evident. This is the way we live our life when we are consciously choosing with a particular outcome in mind. Though we may not know the exact route we may be taking, we do know that we will reach it if we keep choosing with the destination as the focus.
So I had just taken what I thought was going to be a leisurely walk amongst the trees in order to unwind. What I got instead was an exploration of my life. The way it was, and the way it is now and the way it will be. It has been an amazing journey, and I feel like I have been born again.
But instead of finding God, I have found myself.
This spiritual story was written by David Garrett – to learn more about him, visit his website at http://www.choicesforyoursoul.com.