I was back on the road this past summer. After a three year hiatus from touring, I was back at it. It was wonderful to be in my car, radio blasting, running down the highway. It is exhilarating to meet new people and to make a difference in their lives. How wonderful to feel an instant connection, to look into someone’s eyes for the first time, and to recognize them. What a gift when it is felt by both parties.
I had many of these experiences. I felt connected everywhere I went. My guides were in full swing, telling me what radio station to listen to and when, so I caught all my favorite songs. They guided me to the best places to stay, who to approach at events and what to say in my readings.
When lecturing or presenting a class, with absolutely nothing prepared they were there giving me the appropriate words for the audience. I was in my right place in the world, experiencing a spiritual high. We were right on. Everything was flowing.
I was having fun doing something I love, staying in various places, and I dropped my usual routines. While staying with family or friends, I just didn’t feel like practicing my usual morning meditation, affirmations, visualizations, stretches and prayers. It felt a bit awkward to do my private ceremonies in someone elses space. So I dropped the ball on all of it.
As a spiritual teacher it is an important part of my day’s work. But funny how quickly we let our sacred routines fall by the wayside, when our schedule or environment is altered. The idea of routine is to help us stay centered even in the midst of change. Isn’t it human nature to only do what is good for us when we are feeling good already?
When we need it the most is when we deny ourselves the little rituals that make a big difference. And there I was giving so much to so many, showing up and allowing Spirit to speak through me, getting in the car and allowing Spirit to guide me to the next thing, and yet not allowing myself time to be still.
In just a few weeks time I was starting to feel the effects. I was running here and there, high on adrenaline and mystical experiences, but low on physical strength and certainly not centered. I was feeling spacy and needed grounding badly.
So in true Cat RunningElk style I thought I would remedy my need to get centered with my need to keep going and would take my work to a nature trail. “I’ll do my coaching call this afternoon out at my favorite nature spot,” I thought, wanting to still pack in everything and not wanting to stop and take time for just me
in nature. I have always known that the best medicine for stress and hurry is to stop and be in nature. But I thought I would tackle two things at one time, a need to reconnect with Spirit and a desire to keep going.
Ho, ho. Spirit had other plans for me. They got me to the nature trails, and I gathered my things to prepare for my call with my client. I had my files, my tarot cards, paper and pen and a large bottle of water. I was set to go and I set up my workspace on a picnic table on what turned out to be one of the hottest days in the Midwest this summer.
I felt proud that I had thought to do my work outdoors. A few minutes of meditation and I’d be good to go, or so I thought.
The coaching call didn’t happen. My client and I had two different dates on our schedule, and so here I was at the nature trails, and no coaching call. I put my things back in the car and thought I would sit for just a few minutes before I rushed back to town to catch up on some work on the computer.
Then Spirit spoke. “Cat. You need to go on walkabout.”
“Excuse me? I’m preparing to go back to town, to get some work done. I need to catch up on my emails, and billing and newsletters…” I really did have a lot to do…
“Go on walkabout!” They spoke in a very strong tone and I realized I was spinning. I was trying to get so much done, and I had not stopped for so long, that now my Medicine Guides were ordering me to stop everything.
The term ‘Walkabout’ comes from the Aboriginal people of Australia. It is a time to go into the wilderness, to spend time awaiting some vision, or guidance from Spirit. It is a term that means one must just go, without an agenda, and to be available for Spirit and for whatever may happen.
And now I was being called to drop everything and reconnect with my own vision. I was being asked to just go, and to not have a plan for return, but instead to plan on being in nature until I received what I really needed.
I knew I needed to feel connected to Spirit on a deeper level. I knew that each time I went into nature without a plan, I had great epiphanies and awakenings and these would come from the trees, the animals, or the stream and by listening to the messages of each. Each time I allowed myself to receive from Spirit, I was blessed. I had gone too long without my personal rituals, and now I needed a strong dose of Earth Medicine.
My Guides told me what to bring; a water bottle, a blanket and a copy of “Mystic Mommy,” the book I was sharing all over the Midwest and had not read in a few years. I shrugged as I looked down at my dress, slipped off my black patent pumps and grabbed a pair of flip-flops from the trunk, then headed into the woods.
I was so engrossed in my thought process that I was startled when after less than a mile’s walk I encountered a deer. Not an unusual or mystical thing to see on a nature trail in the Midwest, but this deer came out of the woods onto the trail as I approached. Not the other way around. She wasn’t moving away from me, she was walking towards me.
So I stopped walking. I stood 20 feet away and looked into her eyes. She moved closer and stopped. I put my hand to my heart to show her my appreciation and in my mind I told her I was grateful for her appearing to me. Then I walked closer to her. And she walked closer to me.
When we were very close, she turned off the trail and invited me to join her. I went to the place where she seemed to disappear into the woods. She laid down just a few feet away from the trail, but she was almost completely concealed by the trees. I thanked her again for appearing to me and continued on my walkabout.
I continued walking until I came to a place off the trail with a small waterfall and some lovely boulders to sit upon. I re-read parts of Mystic Mommy and remembered why I do what I do. I meditated and became part of the stream. And after some time I felt refreshed and Spirit said it was time to return.
But there was more medicine for me to receive that day. Spirit told me to look once more for my deer friend. As I approached the spot on the trail where she had disappeared, I looked into the woods. She was looking straight at me, lying upon the ground less than 8 feet away.
I stepped off the trail and asked her if I could sit with her. She invited me into her world.
I sat with my new friend. Just like many people I was meeting on my travels, when we looked into each others eyes, there was an instant connection. I felt like I knew this woman, this Deer Woman, from someplace. She had a peaceful, loving nature, as most deer do. Yet there was also something very special about this deer. As if we had known each other long ago.
We sat together for a long, long time. Something magical happened as we ‘talked.’ I felt love coming from her, similar to what I have experienced in the presence of Amma, the Saint from India. My Deer Friend and I were able to communicate quite clearly, although I would sometimes doubt and ask her if I was really hearing her thoughts. Whenever I doubted, she would look into my eyes and I felt her telling me to trust.
She ate for awhile, as she talked to me about taking better care of my body. She told me I needed more greens, as she took a mouthful of grass. She talked to me of the love that I have, and how to be more loving by being still. She told me I could do less, and love more. Then she would be still as could be and I felt only love flowing between our two hearts.
I talked to her of my Mountain Lion energy, and asked her if that frightened her. She immediately showed me how it feels to be the deer, as she shifted into the form of a mountain lion and I became a deer. Her eyes changed and her tail grew and she was the mountain lion. I learned much from this, then we switched and I was mountain lion and she was deer again. We traded off shapeshifting and she taught me many things. We did this for a good part of the afternoon. It was wonderful to have a playmate who liked to play the same kind of games that I enjoy.
And once in awhile some people would approach on the trail, and we would both freeze. I tried to blend as she did, not wanting to draw attention to our intimate exchange and not wanting the magic to end. No one noticed us, although we were only 8 feet beyond the trail.
I sensed our time was to come to an end soon, and she let me know before she stood to leave. I thanked her again and again, from my heart, letting her know how much I appreciated her time and love.
As she stood she told me she wanted to show me her babies. We had been discussing motherhood. I knew she had babies somewhere and she knew mine were safely at their father’s house in Kansas. Hers were hidden nearby and she invited me to come with her.
This time I really thought I must be making this up. But she began to walk deeper into the woods and would look back once in awhile telling me to come. I looked back at the trail, wanting to be certain there were no two-leggeds watching me who might follow.
Gingerly we made our way through the woods. At one point some people were heard on the nearby trail, and she disappeared right before my eyes. As soon as the people were out of earshot, she appeared to me again and told me to follow.
We came to a lovely place in the forest were the trees were not as many but the grass was thick and tall. It was here in this special glade that she turned her attention to two tiny fawns. They stood when they saw their mother and stretched their wobbly legs.
Upon seeing me behind their mother, one of them started to feel frightened. His tail went into the air and he was about to run. I heard his mother say to him, in a very calm and peaceful voice, “No, no.. It’s okay. This one is okay.”
I spoke to him as well, and told him not to trust other people. And then he and his sister began to eat from the ground. After their mother had given them the okay they were oblivious to their mother’s new friend she had brought home.
I spoke with her again, telling her how beautiful her children were and what a blessing to meet them. Then I reminded her of my children, “I have three.”
“I know.” She said to me. She looked at me, then behind me and said, “Turn around…”
I turned around and a third tiny deer came bounding across the trail and into the woods.
“Oh, my! What a surprise!” I was so tickled to see this little one who had wandered a bit farther than the other two. “My third was a surprise, too, just like this one is a surprise!”
My Deer Woman Friend smiled back at me. She knew. She seemed to know everything about me. It was that special feeling of knowing someone even as you meet for the first time.
It was a magical connection. And it eventually came to an end. I left her and her children and came back out into the world of man.
As I reappeared at the parking lot, a man approached me. He was on a bike and had all the appropriate gear on as well as the proper biking attire.
“Excuse me, Miss. Are you okay?”
For a moment I wondered why he was asking me this. I paused and looked at him for the answer.
“I saw you on the trail quite some time ago. But I didn’t see you when I was on my way back. And you aren’t exactly dressed like most people I see on the trail. I just was a bit concerned…”
I looked down at my now disheveled dress, felt the sweat on my brow and pushed back my bangs. I wiped beneath my eyes, wondering if my well made up face was now looking a bit like Alice Cooper’s.
“Oh, yes. Thank you. I’m fine. I just didn’t know I was going to be going on a hike today.”
“I see.” He looked thoughtful and seemed to want to tell me something. He made some small talk then he asked me if I had seen the mountain lion.
I was shocked to hear this. Was there really a mountain lion in there? To me that was thrilling.
“Really? You saw a mountain lion?”
“Yep. I see her about once a year. She sits just off the trail, watching people. Most people never see her…”
I thought about this coincidence, that I return to this trail about once a year, every summer when I’m back. I thought about the shapeshifting I did with my deer friend. I thought about the magic that happened that afternoon, as I talked with the deer and how she even trusted me with her babies. I just wondered…
“Hmmm. That’s interesting.” Was all I said. Then I introduced myself and gave him the copy of my book, the one with me and the mountain lion on the front.
As I left that day I considered the Medicine I had received. So much more than expected. The Earth has so much to give to us. But we have to make ourselves available.
When we reconnect with the Earth’s Medicine and Magic, we can learn about ourselves, we can find peace, we can feel love and we can experience a kind of magic you cannot find in your house or office.
If it has been awhile, I invite you to go on walkabout. You don’t have to spend 7 hours as I did that day. You don’t have to lose yourself, if you don’t want to, like I do when Spirit calls.
But keep in mind, that if Spirit calls and you are willing to follow that call, you may make some new friends. You may feel Spirit speaking to you through the trees, the breeze or a babbling brook. Or you may find yourself in a forest glade with some new friends.
And if you see my Deer Woman Friend, tell her I am sending her and her family my love.
Blessings on Your Journey.
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