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Yesterday I went for a walk.

I was visiting my family in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. The sun was shining, so I decided to take a stroll down to the beach.

I have traveled this road at many different stages of my life. Whether walking or driving, it is familiar and comforting. It evokes spontaneous, sweet memories that invite wild freedom in my creative soul.

On this day, I was feeling especially reflective. The end of my eighteen-year marriage— over for three years—had finally been recognized legally with a document they call “divorce.”

My thoughts are dancing with the sights, sounds and scents of this day, the smell of freshly cut grass somehow marking new beginnings. My skin is already sweaty because the sun is burning against my black running pants, somehow tenderly encouraging me to lighten up on myself!

So I do exactly that. I look up to the light. And I see a sign.

A real sign—nailed to a telephone post. It is advertising “Well-Digging.” As an entrepreneur, I grin at the resourcefulness and intelligence of such an act. It is placed at the turn off to the beach near a familiar fishing hole.

This sign reminds me that we humans can create anything, anywhere we choose. The owner of this business was inviting relationships on a dirt road. How cool is that?

To somebody else, this might be just about well digging. But water is a powerful life force—a life-sustaining and healing element. And like a well when water is struck, I choose to be cleansed and propelled forward by the power and promise of this sign’s intention. As I move forward I look down into the roadside ditch. I see random strawberry patches placed there by Mother Nature.

The wild strawberry patches make me smile. In my mind I return when I was about twelve. I am crouched down in this ditch picking wild strawberries.

I remember my Mom handing me an ice cream container and saying, “Leona see if you can pick enough for strawberry shortcake.” And without hesitation, I grabbed the container and took off to do as she asked. I believed that those tiny strawberries would taste so yummy that the pain in my back from the tedious job of bending over to pick them in the hot sun was most certainly worth it. I never begrudged those strawberries! Strawberry shortcake is still my favorite.

Now a question pops into my head—when did this willingness to do the work without question continue to serve me as I grew? When did it not?

These memories serve to remind me of what feels tastiest in my life—now! I choose to remain curious about how, in the future, I treat my SELF.

On the way back from the beach just as dusk is falling, I listen. Perhaps in a way that I have not listened in years.

I hear crickets and birds—and frogs, I think.

Early spring sounds. Loud, but tender, magical sounds.

Interesting—it is not until you become aware of the sounds of your life that you are able to identify them. What sound is that? What does it mean? Which sounds soothe? Which ones irritate?

I notice the birds that sound like kittens. I turn toward the throaty baritone of the frog. I can almost feel the vibration in my neck.

Then the unmistakable cricket. To me he always sounds a little annoyed. Like he wants the rest of the “sounds” to be quiet so he can be heard with greater ease. And since the rest of the nature sounds never seem to comply, he just enlists the help of his cricket buddies. It is like a competition.

I recall how, as I drew near to the end of my marriage, the sounds in my world competed for my attention. The sounds of fights, the sounds of tears, or worse still, when there was no sound at all. The sound of fear is usually very quiet. Until it bursts. Then it is heard everywhere. In my body as pain, in my children as hurt, and in my family and friends as worry, protection and prayers.

I silently tell those crickets to take a deep breath. They don’t have to be quite so loud anymore. I promise to pay attention!

Paying attention is what this walk is really about. Glimpses of my life are no longer enough. I’m waking up. And I want to stay awake—fully engaged, completely alert and totally alive. I want it all!

As I continue toward home, I come across a tree—I think it is one of those amazing hurricane Juan survivors. It is almost totally uprooted. It connects to the earth by just a few of its roots on one side. Leaned way over, clinging to life with its last few roots, it survives. The side facing the sun is totally alive with color. A miracle, I think. I am feeling filled with a deep sense of belonging this day and I praise the universe for this space and time. I say thank-you for the awareness of such miracles.

I chose to view this tree through a few different lenses:

  • A testimonial of resilience and resourcefulness.
  • The intelligence of the universe to take care of its own.
  • The wisdom in remaining “rooted.”
  • The ability of nature to sustain life from every single possibility.

Yet even with these lenses, I cannot shake another feeling—the feeling of “settling.” That for this tree, life can now only ever be about surviving. For it will never again stand tall as a majestic symbol of life.

Yes, it will exist. But “…living with joy is not about merely existing.” And yes, sometimes surviving is what we do to get to another place. The trouble really begins when we start believing that surviving is true living. I must believe that bliss—and being truly alive—is about the divine seeking its fullest expression through you or me.

I decide that this tree is both a promise AND a reminder. A poignant reminder of a time in my life when I was that tree—getting through to get through. Getting by to get by. Not stepping fully into my own life. Not standing tall.

These revelations are shared without self-recrimination. This acknowledgment brings me to the awareness that the universe is unfolding as it should. In order to choose to stand tall in my life—instead of just surviving—I must remain awake, with a playful heart and courageous soul.

So I arrive at this: There is more. More experiences, more stories, more walks, more water, more tears, more giggling and more love. More strawberry shortcakes and more cricket sounds. More trees to look up to!

Remaining alert for signs of my own miracles!

Re-awakening to the power of my own vibration!

I thank the crickets. I savor the sweet taste of wild strawberries. I close my eyes and bless that tree with hope!

The next day when I take a shower, I think about well diggers.

I am cleansed!

And I smile!


Inner Beauty and Return to Self--life coach, Leona MacDougall invites you to breathe animation, humor and passion into your life! As a 24 year Beauty Image Consultant and writer, Leona is deeply rooted in self expression and energy. A Certified WEL-Systems Facilitator with 15 years as a Redken Platform Artist, Leona offers a unique invitation to call home your sensual, creative spiirt!

For more, browse the online Store for ways to accelerate your own awakening.

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