I have been consumed with creative planning. Today was Day Number Three of my break obsessively working on units for my students. I am having a blast doing it — finding all the pieces that continue to connect together. But part of me knows I have got to get on to other things. I need to walk. I need to read that awesome book I started, The Invention of Wings. And I desperately need to practice my music, which has been languishing all month.
I happened to take a look at my Facebook feed around 10:30 and saw a post from Buddhist leader Joan Halifax. She had several suggestions for things to do on Black Friday. One was to “forest bathe.”
Immediately, I put away all my planning tools. I made a list of what I want to do the rest of the day that has NOTHING to do with school, and I went to Lakes Park to bathe in the forest. But what happened was unexpected.
In 1996, I was blessed to take a workshop with Danaan Perry called “Warriors of the Heart.” He has a book of the same name, which I have on my shelf and refer to quite often. I cannot even begin to explain what an influence this man had on me — perhaps I will try in another blog. But one thing he taught me is that we all need a Power Spot. The definition of a Power Spot, according to his book:
Your Power Spot is a place in nature where you can relatively easily tap back into your Aloneness. It’s a natural setting that holds for you the qualities of calm, quiet, earthy, grounded, centered. It is for you only.
I have had several Power Spots over the year. They seem to come to me when I have a decision to make. In early 2013, I used to visit a Power Spot I had found at Lakes Park. It was close to the path, but was behind some brush where no one could see me. It was a limestone rock that was fairly comfortable, and it overlooked two fountains on the lake that often sported rainbows, as well as a rookery across the way. This Power Spot was instrumental in helping me make the changes in my life I made that spring, which began with a dream I had after I found the Power Spot. I continued to visit it, often writing on the notepad in my cell phone my thoughts while I was there.
Along with some specific music (Dawes album Nothing is Wrong and the song “All Will Be Well” by the Gabe Dixon Band) and the poem “Mariposa” by Edna St. Vincent Millay, I was fortified to make the changes I needed to make, even though they were scary.
Since then, the Power Spot I visited has had the vegetation removed, leaving it wide open to the path. I figured it served its purpose, and haven’t thought much else about it.
When I arrived at Lakes today, I started walking the paved path around the lake to the woods. I noticed a mound that was covered with what I like to think of as Ft. Myers snow — little white flowers that appear this time of year:
This piece of land called to me, and I started to walk up to the top with the intention of plopping myself down when I got there. Instead, I looked down and saw a mighty nice sitting rock. I went down and found the most comfortable way to sit on this piece of limestone, and knew in an instant I had found my new Power Spot. I wasn’t even looking, but here I was, looking out across the lake, perfectly secluded from all the people walking and biking the path and visiting the Farmer’s Market. It was a beautiful feeling.
I sat for just a bit, and then walked on, knowing I would return. And right afterward, a couple pieces of the puzzle on the units I was planning came together. Just like that. And now I know there is no more planning to do — I found the questions that are the driving force in the units. The rest will come in time.
I walked on into the woods, visited along the journey by two Zebra Longwings. I walked off the path for a while and said a prayer. I heard some sirens in the distance I was in the woods, and said a prayer for whoever was involved.
When I came out, I saw a Power Tree — one of those trees that just says, “Here I am.” All of nature was alive to me, as I continued to walk.
When I left, Gladiolus Drive was all backed up. There was a five car crash that had happened while I was at the park. I said another prayer for those involved, and came home to share my story.