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a nod from nature

August 27th, 2010 by

Returning from my extraordinary African trip (spent in Kenya and Rwanda), I am reflecting on some of the deeper teachings I was blessed to witness.  While in the Masai Mara, my fellow travelers and I viewed a river “crossing” made by wildebeest and zebra.  It’s a challenging time because there are crocodiles lurking around in the water and crossing literally risks one’s life.


We observed as a large group of wildebeest gathered along the river bank.  There was a lot of jostling and restless movement.  One wildebeest would start and then jump back, skittish.  Finally, seemingly out of nowhere, a baby wildebeest came bounding across the water leading what was to become a crossing of literally hundreds of wildebeest and zebra.

The words from Isaiah echoed in this moment “… and a little child will lead them.”

At the risk of sounding cliche, I have to say that, not only are children our future, they are our teachers.  They inhabit the present moment in a way that few adults are able.  They radiate lightness of being and unrestrained joy.  They are extremely honest and refreshingly unselfconscious.  They “do” for the sheer delight not for any quantifiable “gain”.  Endearingly so, they do not make sense.  I just adore them.  I sit in their church, the church of truth, joy, bubbles, and freedom.

That little wildebeest leapt straight into my heart, reminding me of what I am capable of if I’d just stop banging around the edge of what I need and want to experience.  “Going for it” is, in the end, the only way.  A child taught me that.  May I be wise enough to listen.

  1. Rachel says:

    Your writing is beautiful. Inspirational to say the least. Thank you…How do we make that leap of going from ‘banging around the edge of what we need and want to experience’? Going for it. I struggle daily with ‘Am I really where I should be’? I’ve taken on a new job that now seems to take more of my time. Which to me seems to lessen my time with my amazing son. How do I know what ‘Going for it’ really is? Where do we begin if we’re not sure where we should land? Where do we start with so many questions? How do we know how to just ‘be’?

  2. A.G.J. says:

    Hi Rachel, Thank you for writing. In answer to your questions, let me just say this: the times in my life, when I tried to do it all by myself, were some of the loneliest, scariest, and saddest ever. Our responsibility (read: response-ability) is to ourselves. How do we know what to do in any given moment?… By being honest. We spend a lot of time in our heads worrying. Worry is praying for what we don’t want. It pretends to be necessary and is not. How do we stop the racing, spinning thoughts? Get them on paper. Write them down. Only then can we be with them and question them. Remember “the mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master”. Our minds are here to serve us not the other way around. Go deeper. Listen there. Wisdom, god, spirit – none of these are located or experienced by the mind. When we seek clarity and peace, we are called to go inside the luminous space and silence beyond the mind. There are many paths (meditation, yoga, service, nature, true religion, the path of honesty, the path of love etc…). Choose the one that’s meaningful for you. All rivers lead to the sea. Trust yourself, Rachel, not your mind. You have the power and creativity to live the life you truly desire, but you must be willing to become the person your dream challenges you to be. I know you can do it. Don’t try to think your way through this. Thinking is what got you stuck. Get clear about what you really, truly want. Write it down. Put it where you can see and read it aloud each day. Then ask the universe/god/your higher power (whomever or whatever you feel a connection with) what you need to experience today in order to realize that goal. Embrace and trust in this process. You and it are golden.