As I sit sipping a warm cup of what I hope to be the first rays of sunshine this morning, I realize the cloudy, foggy, weather parallels my emotions. Words of comfort begin to gently speak to my inner conscious. “Be still, be quiet. Stop thinking so deeply. Let go of everything you are holding on to, ideals, people, and plans, all of it. Let go of who you think you are, who you think you want to be. It’s time to Just Be. Release, cleanse, heal.”
“Thank you Lord.” I whisper.
Taking a deep breath, the fog lifts and dissipates into the early morning light that is peering through my butter yellow curtains.
I need to go in search of a place that will impart a sense of peace on my soul, a place that will offer me something I am missing, maybe it’s something that I lost or perhaps never actually possessed. Remembering a conversation about Innisfree Gardens with a lovely woman named Maura that I recently met, I decide this is where I will head to today.
Gathering up my thoughts along with my empty cup of sunshine, I quickly shower and dress and set out on what begins to feel like an adventure. I program my google maps and drive off in silence. The further I drive, the more relaxed I become. Sinking a little further down into my driver’s seat I think to myself, “Just Be.”
Within forty-five minutes I am turning left down a one lane dirt road. The road only allows enough room for one vehicle, making it necessary for me to pull over several times to allow other visitors who are departing the gardens to pass by; I wonder if they are leaving with something more than they arrived with.
Armed with a bottle of water, my cell phone for taking pictures, and a desire to find what I am looking for, I start down the pebble path that opens up to a lake ornamented with water lilies. Remaining still, I take in my surroundings, knowing that I have just discovered a very special place. The feeling of wisdom that lie within the landscape makes itself known as I quiet myself a bit more before accepting the invitation to continue.
Though there is a set route around the lake, I decide to veer off to explore pathways that lead up to other gardens. It’s feels as if I am traveling the world as I pass by a rain forest, an enchanted wood where I imagine fairies to live, and gorgeously manicured Chinese and Japanese gardens. There is a definite connection between myself and nature as each space transports me, evoking my senses, offering me an awareness of self and soothing my soul.
Compelled to engage a little further I begin to touch the bark of the trees, brush my hands atop the tall garden grasses, and trace my fingers along the engravings in the stones and the deep grooves within the boulders.
Spotting a mist of water kissing the blue sky, I take off feeling excited to find yet another treasure in this extraordinary place. A tall wooden shoot is offering this cool mist and I don’t hesitate to take part in what seems to be a celebration of sorts and allow it to shower over me. It sends me off with a rainbow to remind me where there is rain there is also sun. With each step my questions, self-imposed demands, anxieties, and fears begin to fade into the background of the serene scenery, “This is the place where I can, Just Be.”, I think out loud.
Finding a bit of shade, I rest myself on a stone wall overlooking the lake. Gazing out I think how the beauty and wisdom of this place did not occur overnight. It has been in constant transition, not only from the hands of men but also the elements of nature. There is a lot to be learned from these gardens. The ebb and flow of life has helped to create the very person I am. It is up to me how I allow this to affect my life. I can view my circumstances as negative and create a downward cycle, or I can choose to just sustain and exist, or become enlightened, informed and flourish. It is just as simple as that, I must choose a path which will dictate the journey I take.
Ready to press on, I follow what seems to become a more distinctive pathway leading to a bridge stretching across the lake where hundreds of water lilies have made their home. Kneeling down I sway my hand through the murky water. Being summoned to explore a little further, I gently pick up a water lily to find how firmly its roots are implanted into the bed of the lake- firmly implanted …. Another piece of wisdom offered, I think quietly.
Coming to the end of the bridge, the terrain changes to a more familiar setting as the dirt hill leads into a forest and the air begins to feel cooler from the towering trees that are shading the ground below. I sense I am no longer alone. Each one of them is gently encouraging me to continue my search, not just here in the gardens, but in life. Their pine needles feel soft beneath my feet and cover the ground in a beautiful amber color. Settling myself on a flat rock alongside the lake, I can hear the sound of a water fountain spouting and I close my eyes for just a moment. I can’t be the only one that has come here in search of something; I am certain these gardens have soothed the souls of many just as they have soothed mine. Soft hues of pink look as if they are airbrushed throughout the sky, the sun is beginning to settle and I decide it is time for me to gather up my new found sense of being and carry it back to my world.
I slowly find my way back to the car and reluctantly get in and start the ignition. I settle in for the drive back home in silence, not wanting to lose the wisdom Innisfree Gardens so generously shared with me. There is no fast forward button in life. I have the choice of fighting against the process or I can allow the ebb and flow to encourage me along my path. I can listen to that small inner voice and the beating of my heart for guidance or I can continue making the same mistakes, chasing my tail in a circle.
No, there is no fast forward button to press and skip by the challenges, victories, and destinations life has in store for me. They are all meant to prepare me for the amazing future I have in store! I need to, Just be.
Live well~ xo