Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life. ~ John Muir
There are moments when we cry out for an answer – an answer that will change everything.
We’ve all been there. Especially standing at the threshold of reinvention – a career change, retirement, divorce, or major life transition. Those times when, even if you’re grieving, you feeling a strong inner nudge, a call, that there is a career or life that would better fulfill and express you. Yet the way forward isn’t clear.
However ready you are to hear an answer, it’s the listening that’s hard.
Life’s daily pace is relentless. Where is the chance to slow down enough to hear the still small voice inside? Or listen long enough to discern and follow the pull of your calling?
Demands come at you from every direction – family, boss, email, your phone… We’re surrounded by noise every moment. We even fill the small pauses with noise: entertainment, news, and Angry Birds. And our internal world is no quieter; details, plans, and worries can be a constant whirlwind.
So how to find a space to slow – a way to listen, and to find perspective? How can you make space to connect more with that place in yourself that you want to choose and create and live from?
I’m guessing you’ve found some trusted ways to slow (when you do them): meditation, prayer, exercise, pets, yoga… A daily contemplative practice is my most treasured beginning place.
But when it’s time for BIG LISTENING, these may not feel like enough.
Yet there is one underestimated place, right under our nose, that has spacious room for us to slow and listen. It is an overlooked, but extremely powerful, place for reinvention… NATURE.
Admittedly, even with grey hair, I’m a nature boy. Some of my earliest memories are of being perched high in the top branches of a pine tree, swaying with the trees’ movement and looking with wonder over the surrounding homes and woods. From that time forward, nature is where I’ve felt most at home.
If you don’t consider yourself a nature person, even if the most of nature you normally get is in transit from work to car to home, I’m guessing that you too have felt it’s power.
Remember the last time you walked or sat in nature and really stopped to see, listen, and take it in… Light illuminating the leaves overhead, the touch of sun and breeze, sounds of birds or the night sounds of crickets and frogs. Beauty.
Remember how it stopped your busy brain in its tracks – and brought you into the still beauty of the moment.
That’s nature’s magic!
A Place for Perspective
The minute you step out onto a walk it’s as if you’re saying to a higher power, ‘OK, I’m ready to listen now.’~ Julia Cameron
Reinvention is uncertain and confusing to its core. We’re questioning direction, often questioning ourselves – and searching for a new way forward.
In my own life, no matter how big the changes afoot and how uncertain, confusing, or scary the situation, nature is one sure go-to-place where I can reclaim perspective – even just for a moment. It’s where I’m reminded; life is good.
When I pause to feel nature’s touch, it evaporates my busy thoughts, calms any nagging worry, and puts all my whirling plans to rest. And, most important, something opens in me – to gratitude, aliveness, and joy.
I re-find the place in myself that knows how to listen deeply.
Where We Get Stuck
Over three decades as a career and leadership coach with a specialty supporting people to navigate major career reinventions, I’ve seen this: the one place my clients are initially most stuck – is in their heads.
I’m not knocking the practical mind! There is real value and creative power there. In the later stages of a reinvention, it’s a vital partner. Yet there is danger there – and the bigger the change, the bigger the danger.
Because that’s where we get STUCK.
I’ve certainly been there myself. It’s where our brain can spin in circles – trying to “figure it out.” And it’s where we can get mired in options, confusion, disaster scenarios, uncertainty, risk, doubt and fear. Analysis paralysis.
Yet some part of you is unwilling not to make a change. You know it’s necessary at a deep level.
It’s an internal battle – leaving you exhausted and in limbo.
We Need to Get Out
When your heart and brain are locked in this kind of tug-of-war, it’s critical, to both your happiness and sanity, to get out of your head.
Because whether your head is filled with careful plans, critical voices, or the most brilliant ideas, it’s not where real life is. (I say this as someone who spends an embarrassing amount of time in my head.)
And your head is not the place where you’ll discovery your Calling; because new aliveness is never found with our practical mind. Never.
And the same is true for clarity of purpose and direction.
Because new aliveness and new clarity germinate in our depths – our heart, gut, intuition, and our wisest most essential self.
That’s Where Nature Comes In.
While there are other ways to get out of your head, one sure place is in nature’s wild embrace. It brings you back to yourself; allows you to touch life directly, reset your rhythm, tap your spiritual core, and still the noise long enough to listen deeper.
I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. ~ John Muir
Add a Touch of Nature
The power of nature does not replace a good coach or any other kind of helpful career change support and structure. It’s not even essential to a successful reinvention. But it is an ideal environment and a powerful catalyst that can accelerate the effectiveness of your efforts and support resources.
In my own programs, whenever possible, I guide the calling discovery process immersed in nature – at a remote mountain retreat center, canoeing down a quite wilderness river… in a place free from all the daily noise & distractions – a place where nature can hold and deepen and call forth vital clarity of purpose and direction.
How about you?
- Are you feeling a need to pause for perspective and new direction?
- Is there a Calling in you that’s asking for enough of your attention to reveal itself?
Pay attention to that pull. If it’s time for BIG listening, begin to explore a big dose of nature – a retreat, a vision quest… some kind of immersion big enough for the clarity that’s needed.
In the meantime, TODAY or at-the-very-least this week, GET OUT – add a touch of nature’s slow-magic to accelerate your reinvention.
It’s just outside your door.