Do you ever feel a presence, though physically it would appear you are alone? Experience a sequence of events play out in perfect order? Or have a chance meeting open up an opportunity or refocus you on what is important? I am sure anyone reading this can relate to these kinds of experiences. Initially, these moments seem incredible. Then our mind tries to filter and file them into a format it can recognise. Commonly, this means we dismiss the experience as our senses playing tricks on us, coincidence, or something similar. There is an element of fear and judgment in the process of putting significance in something that cannot be revealed or proven. It seems rather whimsical, foolish, or insane to do so. But what happens if we choose to trust that there is a force guiding and supporting us? What happens when we open up and become aware that something real is happening, even if we cannot give it an explanation. There is the possibility that we have a connection to something we are not able to conceive with our minds.
We could say trusting this takes a leap of faith. Could it be an invitation to connecting with the ultimate universal force? Call this force God, Nature, Universal Energy, Source, or whatever it is you relate to, I do not believe the label matters. It is about an interaction with something we cannot easily put into words, yet it can be felt with all the fullness of our hearts. We become one with this force once we begin to recognise it.
I have written in my blogs about feeling this presence greatly when walking on the local moors. A feeling of love and belonging, gifting me with strength and inner peace. This Universal Force flows through everything, whilst also knowing us in an intimate way. Our needs, our fears, the bigger picture of our lives. It has been a teacher, a nurturer, a comedian, and an inspiration. I am going to share in this blog a walk where this force seemed to be playing with me, in a gentle way, like that supportive friend that brings you out of yourself with humour.
I will try my best to capture this experience, I must however note, as this walk progressed, I had an overwhelming feeling that I should not waste energy fretting over things I have no control over. That the universe is supporting me, and I have no need to fear. Whilst there will be challenges, there will be learning and growing, and this is part of a process that moves me from one point in time to another, and it is safe to trust that it knows the way.
For a couple of days, I had experienced a migraine that affected my sensory perception, particularly my sensitivity to light. It had faded greatly, and more than anything, I wanted to be out in the fresh air. A walk on new ground, filling in the gap between previous walks.
It began with a path, just shy of two kilometres, in a direction called ‘up’! I hit the open moor at the top with relief and a recovery pause – which I tell myself is to take in the view! I was greeted by surprising brightness, as the wispy clouds generously allowed the sunlight to reach the barren land.
It was at this point I realised my sunglasses were still tucked in my dry shoes back in the footwell of the car. Anyone who has experienced migraines will know how my heart sank at this moment. Every atom in my body wanted to walk the moor before me. I feared the bright light would reignite the head clinching pain I had spent a couple days riding out, whist a second never-ending climb up the steep ascent behind me risked a fatigue that would end my adventure. Was this ‘game over’?
The forecast was for changeable weather and the moor had a tenancy to provide this. With visible thicker clouds tracking across the moor ahead. I decided to proceed, keeping my gaze low, following a path only glancing up intermittently to check my location. I was disappointed by the restricted view but had a tenacious will to proceed.
The first item on today’s plan was a standing stone named The Hanger Stone. Named because of its stance not because of any sinister folklore! I found this stone with ease, even though it was away from the track. It was like it made itself known to me. This and the dense cloud gathering above caused a switch from tension to gratitude.
I took a break here and confirmed the direction of my next landmark before beginning the gentle ascent, directly under the thick column of cloud. The higher I climbed the more I was immersed in the mist of it.
From the north, wild ponies graciously galloped in my direction. I stood motionless. Admiring the freedom they seemed to emanate. In the briefest of moments, I was encased in their group. They were aware of my presence but seemed undisturbed, continuing in their interaction with each other. One rolling ‘Happy Baby’ style on the ground before me. Another young pony fed from his mother. I watch in wonderment. Temporarily transported into a wild enchanted bubble.
I left the group relaxing, seemingly appreciating the view. I gave thanks for the magical feeling now alive in my heart and commenced on my way.
The cloud was growing thicker, darker, and seemed to be lining up over the tor ahead. I presumed this was related to the attitude, and as the cloud banked at the peak, it was clear rain would be imminent. I giggled at this, secure in the knowledge that unlike the sunglasses, I had my waterproofs.
As I reach the summit of the hill, the clouds released their weight. As I began pulling on protective layers, the rain became hard heavy sleet. I was exhilarated as this became a frenzy of action. Today, I preferred the skin tingling ice to the brightness of the Sun.
I debated whether to go deeper onto the moor, as was the plan. The strip of ominous black cloud hung from the sky. But I was only heading to a nearby triangulation point before return to the tor where I stood. A faint track was visible in the land from the footsteps of others, making the navigation simple.
On the outward trek my left foot sank into the wet muddy ground. It did not reach my ankle, which in good walking boots would have been insignificant. However, after walking wet ground throughout the Winter, mine were not terribly efficient at keeping water out. Yet, feeling rather chipper, my thoughts commented ‘at least the right foot is dry, right foot forward’.
Ironically, despite my best care, the right foot sank in almost the exact spot on my return. The humour of this was inescapable. And with wet feet the realisation that I needed new boots!
It was at the Trig that I noticed the tor now had blue sky above it, “well that blows the altitude theory”, I thought. The black cloud seemed to once again be above me.
It was only back at the tor that I observed how this cloud was once more above it! I giggled and joked with myself about how it was following me. I was heading to the next peak, so my destination was clearly visible, basking in sunlight. Wanting to be sure I did not have a black cloud hanging over my head, I briskly, no nonsense paced it to my destination.
Somewhat satisfied to have reached the Beacon in sunshine. I had found a sheltered spot to enjoy a cuppa in the warmth, when I noticed my dark companion had caught up! I was still in waterproofs and smiled at its presence, as I drank my coffee in the drizzle.
This cloud had shielded me from the bright light I had initially fear, for over three hours. I invited it along for the final stage of my walk and it duly followed. I gave a heartfelt thanks to the cloud that seems to have known my very soul. We parted ways at the point of the steep descent back to the car. I felt like it had passed its care of me onto the tree canopy, that now gave me shade.
I did not relish the walk back to the car. The steep downhill rough gravel path was unforgiving upon my tired legs. As a final reminder to have faith. I spotted this tiny fellow on the path…
He was no bigger than my thumbnail and I have no idea what drew my attention to him. But I was beginning to get the message.
The paths we are on, the conditions we are exposed to, can be tough and demanding. They can cause our hearts to sink and feel defeated. Black clouds come with negative connotations and yet on this walk this was not the case. Reminding me of the power of perception and the restriction that comes from assumption. There is a purpose to events, which we are not often privileged to know, but that does not deny its existence. If we are able to capture the subtle signals of that very real presence, before our mind rationalizes it away, we can realise that we are never alone. If we are brave enough, we could even ask for help. Although, we should accept with openness our response, understand that we may not always be able to see the destination ahead, so we need to trust. This force, however you recognise it, will guide you and gift you with the resources and support you require for your journey. You truly never walk alone!