Think Like a Rock

Think Like a Rock

As soon as the mountains of North Georgia peeked over the horizon, I felt YES! The closer I got to North Carolina the bigger YES! I felt in my body. Beloved Mountains…I have heard you calling so strongly.

Even though I was headed to Asheville to stay with friends, I saw a vision of myself standing in the Qualla Art Center in Cherokee and since it was hardly out of the way, I found myself standing in the art center looking at a beautiful hand-crafted knife…a woman’s knife. The hilt was carved from antler in the shape of a bear head and as soon as I picked it up I knew it was a tool to help me cut through illusions and my own BS my mind can produce quite prolifically…it was a tool to assist in my work.

I’m pushing 60…not miles per hour. Sixty years of living in this body….well, not yet but less than a year away. For over a year I’ve been in a process of unearthing my life in preparation for the next part of my journey…stepping into the role of elder. Taking my gifts seriously and using them to help this planet…I hear It crying out for those of us willing and able to do our inner work and then be leaders. Even if we know the ecosystems are failing and hope to save them isn’t present, there’s something powerful about standing amidst the ruin or potential ruin with absolute love and devotion to this magnificent being we call Earth.

So listening to Earth is the assignment. The location is the mountains of North Carolina. That’s the new foundation being laid as I step out in faith and trust; however, the actual ‘getting there’ has not been an easy journey.

After three days of looking at property and homes I wisely scheduled a day of play in the woods. First stop, Greybeard Trail with my camera pack and trusty tripod. The pack seemed overly heavy for two lenses and a camera but I strapped it on and grabbed my tripod. There’s so much water at the beginning of the trail I didn’t have to walk far to find mind-blowing beauty. All the stress of the past few days…honestly, the past 18 months…seemed to ease although I was still angry that nothing was clear about location to move, my home selling in Alabama…all of that ‘loveliness.’

I grew snarly about the bright light. I overslept so didn’t get the soft light of dawn and had to deal with hot-spots on the water which is not a pleasant obstacle when doing exposures that are long. But I made the best of it climbing over huge fallen trees, skidding down rocks and climbing back up after photographing the rocks and water. I played….and played….and that was healing.

Finally, I needed to let go of the doing. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in photographing beauty I forget to actually be still and connect with it. So I sat on a huge rock with a perfect seat naturally carved in it. I got still in body and mind and began to listen. Birds, leaves rustling then deep listening that goes to the depths of the innards. Gradually the rock revealed a bit of wisdom that seemed to seep through it into my body and lastly found its way to a verbal message: Think. Like. A. Rock.

My mind wanted to take off….WOO HOO! New wisdom incoming….let’s take it apart and see what it means!!! But I gently resisted the mind’s urge to understand and just sat on the rock, cradled in the rock, and continued to listen…to feel my body let go and become one with the rock. And after I while I got up and thanked it and walked to the car.

I placed my expensive carbon fiber tripod on the top of the car on the padded kayak/paddleboard rack, and loaded my bag into the car. I drove into Black Mountain, parked, ate a huge and wonderful breakfast for lunch and afterwards drove to my friend’s home to play with their dog, feed her, walk in the garden with her….then drove an hour to Brevard…Dupont State Forest…and when I got out the tripod was still on top of my car. It somehow stayed there on interstate travel, on winding mountain roads and nobody stole it when it was laying there for over an hour in Black Mountain. I almost cried with relief. It’s such a wonderful tool when taking long exposures. This was a major miracle. Somehow it stayed with me.

The destination was a short hike to High Falls and even with a cloudless, bright sky I decided to carry the tripod and use dark filters so I could do longer exposures in bright sun. But then, there was this sign to Bridal Veil Falls…only 1.8 miles. That would make a nice hike…even though I was carrying a load….which I had lightened significantly by remembering my laptop was in the camera bag. Oy!

Walking on forest service gravel roads isn’t that easy, especially when carrying weight. And there were hardly any signs…so there was the issue of trusting that I was still on the right road. Finally, I looked at my watch and it indicated 6 minutes until 3pm. Okay…that’s my deadline. If I haven’t gotten some sign or assurance that I’m going in the right direction by 3pm I am turning around. And of course, two people came over the hill and they assured me it was ahead, a bit of a walk still, but not to give up. The woman said, “It would be such a shame to give up now.” Of course, she wasn’t carrying the gear. But still….

Think. Like. A. Rock.

The water rushing over the gi-normous rock was amazing but I was thinking….why did I bring the damn tripod? It wasn’t easy to relax and enjoy the beauty because I was only half-way done with my journey and had dinner plans with friends and there was no cell service so I couldn’t even tell them I might be wandering forestry roads about the time the dinner they fixed was ready.

But I made it back to the original falls I wanted to see and had a little water to spare in my bottle.  But I never made it to downtown Brevard….I wanted to check out the vibe for a potential location to live.

I was only 15 minutes late for dinner and was able to text my friends after getting to an area with cell service. And it was lovely to see them and I was grateful for delicious food after walking/hiking 7.5 miles during the day with my heavy pack….I had visited Greybeard after all…and then there was High Falls…and walking around Black Mountain.

At some point during the evening Steve started sharing his love of cave art and we had an amazing conversation about shamen as being the original artists. They were able to touch the unseen world and bring back the essence of it through their art. He talked of the connecting flow of the visible world and the world of spirit…and it reminded me of the studies I did years ago with the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and the work I do in meditation…or whatever you wish to call it…where I connect with nature through the energy that connects us all.

Our conversation was so in harmony with the work I envision doing with people…helping them connect deeper with Nature. The art that comes through me, the ideas about deepening with Nature….WOW! There was a flow of affirmation from the realm of Spirit that was incredible.

The next morning I left my friend’s home to journey back to the coast. I decided to have breakfast in Brevard to see if I could feel more of the vibe needed to confirm a destination for living. The hike in nearby Dupont had clearly shown me the water and rocks abounded and mountain biking is a huge ‘thing’ there so that was a huge smiley face on the idea of relocating there.

So breakfast and then a walk through the farmer’s market…and there I chatted with an artist about living there. She was helpful and encouraging and gave the three other pieces I needed before making a decision…community, art and music. YES! Message received. And….she knew a musician friend of mine from Alabama that had pointed me towards Brevard.

Think. Like. A. Rock.

Be still. Stop the flow of mind. Be grounded. Be still. Nothing to figure out. Be still. Allow. Be still…inside. Allow resistance to fade. Be still. Allow life to flow. Solid. Ancient.

No more striving….no more pushing the river. Time to think like a rock. Time to think like a mountain.


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