How do you know when you have moved through a challenge, a fear, a mind numbing phase, a sorrow, a sadness or a place where you feel someone else is responsible for your happiness? There is more than 1 answer to this question. There are actually many. Knowing is sometimes an end game we can’t sense, especially when the peace settles so slowly in the heart and soul. Sometimes we search so hard for an answer and we think it is something to overcome instead of something to accept and embrace….
As we reached the falls, everyone seemed recently lifted and in a place of recognition of themselves and those around them. Some timid, some not so much, to enter the water and feel the coolness and refreshment of another type of movement. With no guidance here each heart doing what came naturally and comfortably. Everyone and their open heart acting as a child in recognition and comfort within themselves in this place. Conversations varied from everything from the hike so far to lost loves and past memories that had left brushstrokes on their souls that were being redefined by their current experience. Even I played as a child in the falls with no fear. It was refreshing and rejuvenating. I felt like I was 8 years old without a care in the world. I felt as if the water was adding more movement to my soul and spirit, trickling down my body washing away years of worry and regret.
The Black Hole of Calcutta falls are very small. In fact, in just the months time since I had visited before to make sure this was the right place, the glacier waters flow had reduced to a gentle decent from the faster rumblings of the water before. That is what happens in nature though, isn’t it. Not unlike our lives, the ebbs and flows of the falls, they grow and become treacherous at times. At other times? Well, they become gentle and loving, embracing the moments. It is like the water needed to slow so that they could once again connect with the stone and earth, remembering the partnership that they embrace once a year for a very brief time. We practiced a bit of open heart yoga and laughed. I cried. At this point in the retreat to quote Steel Magnolias ” She cries at the drop of a hat ” , that was me. So raw, witnessing amazing hearts, feeling amazing things and watching my guests embracing everything about themselves. Humble tears. Then there was joy. Back to the banter as my guests decided to leave the hearts I had placed in the falls for them, for others to discover and wonder about.
As we began to make our way back to the beginning of the trail I could see the carefree hearts dancing within each soul around me. I was in awe of the beauty. Originally, I had intended for the group to connect with the hearts that they had found on the way up and collect them to take back. I had chosen wooden hearts, some made by me, some purchased. I did this so in case we missed some, they could become apart of what they were before and we wouldn’t be messing with nature so to speak. But not one was missed. If it wasn’t discovered by us, it was discovered by our friendly strangers along the path. I loved watching the transformation from collection to infection. I loved the talk about leaving them in places along the trail again so that more people could be influenced by the “What the? Why the hell?” reactions we had already witnessed in the 4 hours we had spent in this corner of the world. With no further ado, the forest fairies were leaving the open heart invitation for others to discover. Everyone took some back with us, but it was with full intent to take to somewhere new. A different path. The excitement grew with the possibilities, how far could we take our experience and message?
We took a detour to enjoy the North fork of the American River below. Practice again, our yoga, redefining our foundations, redefining our boundaries. They seemed to so quickly be taking in a much bigger radius. As we ascended the trail, my heart was so full it was truly overflowing with glorious love of exactly everything and everyone. An open heart, what do you know?
Do you have an open heart story? Do you hold a memory so dear that carries with it the senses of the moment, the humility to drop you to your knees? Recall those moments….relive and relish them once again. Wouldn’t it be lovely to share it, whether here or somewhere else, with someone? With eye contact, share that moment. With words of wonder, share that moment. Share, and allow your heart to open to others but more importantly allow it to open to yourself, within yourself. If you have forgotten? Maybe it’s time to go, find a path, and find an open heart, find your heart and open it.