Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Our Connections Remain, No Matter How Far We Roam

I love experiencing new places. Especially ones I perceive as so foreign to the world I know. New sights, new sounds, new faces, new foods – an adventure waiting to happen down every turn. I held to this mindset as a few days ago I began a trip to South Korea, about 6,600 miles from home. I’ve never been to an Asian country and had no idea what to expect.

This is due in part because everything was being planned for me and my family – airfare, lodging, meals and every stop along the way. It was part of a tour designed by our Taekwondo Grand Master for a group of about 30 of his students. It’s the first time we’ve not been involved in any of the planning, and frankly, it was kind of nice (and interesting serendipity considering I’m also working on letting go and trusting more – see previous blogs).

In some respects, there were a lot of similarities: high rises, mini-malls, chain restaurants and the like. In other respects, seeing the Korean language plastered across neon signs everywhere, street food stands offering not just corn dogs but tentacles as standard fare, and all the beautiful mountains made it clear that we weren’t in Kansas anymore.

This is the path we started on to get into the lush island forest.
One of the things I’ve been most excited about is being in nature here. I love trees, creatures of all kinds and connecting with the spirit of nature whenever I can. I wanted to see if it felt different, what the leaves of trees looked like and the variety of plants and flowers. (This is usually about the time my daughters look at each other with synchronous eye rolls.)

On our fourth day here we toured a beautiful island called Jisimdo or Camellia Island. Camellia refers to a beautiful red flower of the Camellia tree, which starts blooming in December and continues well into the spring. The island is also known for its connection to the heart because the island looks like the Chinese character for heart. In fact, at the top of the island sits a statue of two giant hands forming a heart.

Walking along the many paths, what struck me was the variety of flora – pine trees, bamboo trees and what seemed like lush tropical plants – all of which sprouted from a huge mass of rock protruding from the Yellow Sea. It seemed peculiar to have all of these seemingly different plants thriving together, but it felt kind of right too. Walking beneath the canopies, you could feel the life everywhere.

Some of the life actually visited me. A black and white bird with a full white belly made itself known
My first siting
to me from a branch about 10 feet above my head. I learned afterward that the magpie is one of the most plentiful birds in Korea. It’s also a member of the crow family, which is significant to me because I have always felt a connection to crows and they often give me messages of one sort or another.

One aspect I associate with the magpie is the energy of the trickster as it’s considered a mischievous bird. So I often connect it with the lesson of Coyote in the Native American Medicine Wheel – the trickster who reminds us to not take life too seriously or we may end up repeating lessons that just make us play the fool over and over.

So when I first saw the magpie, I thought, what a beautiful bird. But later in the path I saw him again, as he landed less than 5 feet away from me on a branch. Well anytime I have a bird or animal appear to follow me, I’ll typically take this as a sign that there’s a message in it somewhere. A good rule of thumb with signs is if you see something three times, and there’s an unusual aspect to it (e.g., you see it in an odd place or something calls your attention to it in an unexpected way) then it’s a good chance it’s a sign worth deciphering. And if, as in this case, it appears in a particularly unusual way, then that’s a good indication as well.

So yes, I typically need to lighten up and realize that I’m playing the part of the fool. On this trip, I’ve had to fight back the urge to make sure everything is going right for others, herd people to the right place at the right time and generally step in when there’s absolutely no reason for me to do so.

I took the message to heart and decided to just enjoy the walk in nature. (Clearly, the message is still relevant because just as I’m writing this the song “Out of My Hands” by Jason Mraz is playing through my headphones.)

The nice thing about this is the message I received wasn’t dependent on where I was – a foreign land thousands of miles away. I’ve received similar messages in the past right at home. It’s comforting in a way, knowing that no matter where I go, I’ll always be able to connect to Spirit in a way that resonates with me. So no matter the place or the adventure ahead, I’ve got a constant connection available, just waiting for me to pay attention. 

Even if the message is to stop being a fool.

No comments:

Post a Comment