WE ARE MISSING EVERYTHING
Yesterday I felt a deep calling to go out in nature. I’ve been going through a lot lately, not sleeping well, and my nervous system has been on the rocks. In an effort to calm myself down, I got quiet, listened to my body, and asked what I truly need to ground…. My body whispered to me, “go out into nature.” It was a clear message, but it was also clear that it was not just any nature. I had a vision of heading up into the hills behind my childhood home in Walnut Creek.
I grew up in a house tucked back near access to endless rolling hills of open space. I remember as a girl, wandering the hills with my brother, having picnics with my best friend under an oak tree, and kissing boys in hidden spots under the stars. Yesterday, the call was to go back.
So I listened and I drove back to those hills. I drove past my old house, and saw my little brother and me sitting on the front lawn as the cars went by. I saw my little girl self riding her bike down the street and meeting my friend halfway to her house for a playdate. And I also saw the grown-up part of myself that has gotten lost in all the to-do’s and over responsibility. As I drove down my old street, I remembered what freedom felt like.
I parked my car near the trailhead closest to my old house, and decided to leave my phone behind. I didn’t want any hook back to the busy world I was hoping to leave behind me. I entered the gate slowly, taking in the familiar smells of the spring grass, and the sounds of singing birds. I realized I haven’t walked these hills in almost 20 years.
I climbed a hill I know well, and realized that I still know all the paths back there, where they cross and where they end up. I know where the cows drink water, and how the little creek comes and goes with the seasons. I realized that I know this land so well because I grew up roaming the vastness like a playground.
I took a moment to sit by an old oak tree and just watch. There were no other people around. Just green grass swaying in the breeze, and rolling hills still here after all these years. I closed my eyes and all I could hear were insects and birds and leaves rustling in the wind. Nothing more. I felt my nervous system relax and let go.
I climbed to the top of another hill and found the path to wind me around and back down. I looked up for a moment, the sun shining right on my face, and realized I could see all the way out into the city of Walnut Creek. One hill after another. And then it hit me.
We are missing everything.
We are lost down there in the city, blinded by consumption and overwhelm. We keep our gaze down, moving quickly from one thing to the next. We forget to look up—forget the hills are even here. We are too caught up with new shoes and perfect purses, busy restaurants and long lines at the grocery store. We are caught obsessing about our houses and stuck in traffic heading to our next appointment. We forget that just outside the buzz is spaciousness. Just outside the pressures of being someone important, is quiet. We forget that our hearts and bodies and minds are hungry for this quiet space to just be ourselves. To just roam the hills.
We have forgotten what matters.
We keep building and consuming and losing ourselves in the quest for something—perfection? While all along, the hills, nature, the Great Mother sit quietly behind us, watching, wondering when we will return.
I haven’t walked those hills in 20 years. Yet they’re still there.
My little girl self still plays and runs and picnics in the green grass, while my grown up self races to get to the next place.
When will we return?
This is an invitation for you to go back to your playground. Find a place where all you can hear is the birds and the wind. Let your body sink into the earth, draw in her medicine, and remember.
Remember freedom and how simple it is.
Remember yourself and what matters.