There are many places that make me very happy in this world, but they each have one thing in common: They’re out in plein air.
That is, they include being outdoors, whether on a lake in the Adirondacks, or in the woods of a Finger Lakes trail, or walking the dirt road around my country home.
When life gets messy or my mind gets foggy, it’s the outdoors that can set me straight. And this morning was no different: As I was strolling my normal neighborhood loop with Banks, a Blue Heron flew above us -- actually not just one, but three.
I have only one word for the experience: Bizarre.
Completely intrigued and feeling certain that it was a sign, I came back to my desk to dig into what the Blue Heron is all about. Here’s what I found:
“If Heron has come wading across your path: It is time to look deeper into aspects of your life that will bring out innate wisdom and show you how to become self-reliant. Are you grounding yourself regularly? Heron teaches that grounding yourself in the earth and your spiritual beliefs will help you discover emotional insights more clearly and more quickly.”
“Meanings + messages: ability to stand alone, uniqueness, independence, call to balance, self-esteem, boundaries, dignity, exploration, peace, fluidity.
Great Blue Heron is a majestic bird who teaches us the wisdom of standing still, waiting patiently, while what we need comes to us. Allow the dignity of Great Heron to inspire you: practice walking with assurance and deliberation, taking your time and refusing to be hurried.”
A strong symbol -- and one I find incredibly relevant. I’ve had a few falls recently in my painting journey -- and my mind was focused heavily on them. They made me doubt my ability. I spent quite a bit of time beating myself up. Yet, on the other hand, I have a beautiful new website, I’ve gotten incredible feedback on the work I’m doing, and I have the freedom to pick up my paintbrush and express my authenticity at any given moment.
Witnessing the Blue Heron reminds me that amongst all this “busy-ness,” I’ve gotten lost. I haven’t grounded myself. I’ve seeked validation from others; I’ve tried to fit in. When really, my story is unfolding one experience at a time. It’s timed into where I am at right now. And painting is my way to bring light and healing to this world, to be independent, to explore, and to find balance.
What’s scary is that on any given day, I might’ve missed those Herons altogether.
When life steps up to teach you, open your mind and accept those lessons graciously. The only way to do that is to be present.