The physical landscape offers us waymarkers to follow. Waymarkers are a symbol, or signpost marking the route of a path, an object serving as a guide. The journey inward to our inscape has no physical waymarkers and we must learn to recognise the new signs that mark the way. I’m a guide in both the stunning landscape of the Wairarapa foothills and mountains, and that inward journey to self.
Our inward journey often takes us into darker places before the light shines through, illuminating the way ahead. We have learnt over many centuries of disconnect from the natural world, to no longer see or recognise the markers of the way. In the world of today we are discouraged to find silence to switch of the internal voice, even briefly, we only need our mobile phone and its access to the internet to feel falsely connected and satisfied. As Boris Pasternak reminds us – “When a great moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is very easy to miss it.”
The more I get to take others or just myself out into the ngahere (forest), the more aware I am of the conversation between the soul of the landscape and my inscape soul. Its not heard in the mind, it is more a warm filling of the hollow inside, a feeling of being at ease, of being known and knowing.
I find in poets and their poems a guide to the inward journey. Here is some of the wisdom I return to often if I find myself doubting the path I’m on, or the path no longer visible.
“Some things cannot be spoken or discovered until we have been stuck, incapacitated, or blown off course for awhile. Plain sailing is pleasant, but you are not going to explore many unknown realms that way.” David Whyte
“Lost. Stand still. The trees ahead and the bushes beside you are not lost. wherever you are is called Here, and you must treat as a powerful stranger, must ask permission to know and be known.” David Wagoner – opening lines from the poem Lost.
“Awaken your spirit to adventure. Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk. Soon you will be home in a new rhythm, for your soul senses the world that awaits you.” John O’Donohue – from, For a New beginning.
Just beyond yourself. Its where you need to be. Half a step into self-forgetting and the rest restored by what you’ll meet. David Whyte – The opening of – Just beyond yourself.