Time for Intent by Michelle Katz
Intention is one of the important and valuable elements of rites-of-passage and nature-based healing. Intent is the ability to deliberately give our conscious attention to a specific life purpose. This is a powerful practice. It could be this one thing that distinguishes if we are simply going for a walk or having a nature-based healing experience. Intention setting helps us walk in a purposeful manner. Bringing our big questions or our greatest hope to the forefront in order to best reveal our true Self, and then allowing nature to guide the rest.
In the experience of many challenges, I have been challenged to walk my practice. However hard it may be in the moment that depression or anxiety take hold, I recall all the elements of a rite-of-passage and recognize what is needed. And when I am ready, I sit in the knowing of myself and I name my intention. Then, I take it to the threshold.
This week, after yet, another great battle within myself, I found myself in the landscape of Abiquiu, NM. In a small cabin surrounded by red earth and white rock, a pinon and juniper forest with roots going deep and wide, canyons carved into the earth to reveal beauty in the passage of time, and mesa tops offering views and perspective of all directions. The night sky moves from blues to pinks and yellows to indigos and violets, and the moon makes the landscape clear and walkable, though the stars still show themselves as guiding the way of the soul in the darkness.
We all have times in our lives when we fall into a deep slumber. A time of being unconscious, of not doing the work our psyche craves in times of initiation. A time of avoiding the initiation. A time of just getting through or a time of being naïve. When we wake up, there is grief, for we have failed to acknowledge what was true and possible within us. And then the invitation for initiation shows itself.
Ready to begin my work, I walk out of the land. My intent at the moment is to find myself healthy, strong and lovable. I sit on rock at mesa top, overlooking canyon and riverbed. I ask myself, what is it that needs to be released? I sit. I go inward. I feel. The naïve unconsciousness, the self-judgement and victimhood have always been a formidable force. I weep for the ways I have known them. And I walk the land, collecting things. A beautiful rock for my victimhood for it has served me well, even for generation before my birth. A gray and white sandstone, crumbling if not touched delicately, for the self-judgement that leaves me so fragile. And a magnificent piece of petrified wood, for that part of me that is naïvely unconscious in not knowing what I truly am, wood or rock or both? Back to the cliffs edge, I hold these pieces of self, thankful for the purpose they have served in my life.
Then, I sit. Go inward. Feel. Into the question of what is needed, what can I invite in or remember of my true Self? My health. My dedication to this practice with nature. Forgiveness and loving myself. And, again, I raise to walk the land, collecting things. It was more effort to find these things, wandering from Juniper to Juniper, looking beneath rocks and branches, eyes scanning from sand to tree tops. First to reveal itself to me was a golden ball of sap with small twigs clung and embedded within it to speak to me of my dedication to this practice with nature and how deeply connected we are. Then a small stick with intricate detail in its fibers, told me of the movement of the body and my health. And then, another sap dropping, this one, more red and heart shaped with the whisper of forgiveness and the throbbing of being lovable. Back at the cliffs edge, I arrange all these pieces of me around myself.
I sit. Go inward. Feel. I rise from my seat, ready, and one by one, I pick up those part of myself I am ready to let go. Naming them in the release and throwing them into the depth of the canyon with all the force inside me, May this practice wake me up! And tenderly, I pick up those parts of myself, held with the depth of my intent for: my health, my strength in my practice, and my lovability. And I walked them over to a beloved knurled tree beside the cabin, and with the three objects delicate in one palm, and in the other a gripped white rock digging into the earth. Naming each object, one by one, as I place them in the earth, planting them like seeds, covering them over to grow with earth and elements, in time, May I feel them grow in me.
This is a powerful practice of intent. I will carry it in me as the land does as it does to these part of Self and may it inform my purpose and passage at this time.