Jenna Caplette migrated from California to Montana in the early 1970s, first living on the Crow Indian reservation, then moving to Bozeman where she owned a downtown retail anchor for eighteen years. These days she owns Bozeman BodyTalk & Energetic Healthcare, hosts a monthly movie night, teaches and writes about many topics.
Out recently in Sypes Canyon -- just me and my four-legged companion -- I slipped in to a rhythm of walking that a friend taught me: walk four steps with eyes closed, four with eyes open. Four with eyes closed. Four with eyes open.
That simple rhythm changes how and what I see. The longer I go, four closed, four open, the more it changes my perspective and my experience of my walk. I find myself moving from wide angle to very particular views -- tiny flowers I wouldn’t otherwise have seen. An individual tree, its branch. The earth at my feet. Rocks in the trail.
The goal of the walk is to continue for up to half an hour, then to stop and sit down with a tree or plant because it has called you there, because you felt a subtle attraction. Breathe in to that connection, hold still with it.
When I walk in this way, my experience of the places I walk changes. I am not so much walking through them but truly in them. It takes me off autopilot and wakes me in to the present moment. It is both an outward and an inward experience.
Like the walk, healing has a rhythm, a wax and wane. Eyes open. Eyes closed. Healing is about getting off autopilot and waking up. It is both outward and infinitely inward. Though it’s something others can help us with, knowing how healing looks and feels is in our own life is an individual journey.
There’s another nature exercise that is about framing the horizon. Begin by making a half-inch circle of open space between your two hands curled together in front of your eyes. Look through that and it becomes a tiny, hyper-focused lens. Breathe. Then move your hands apart to make the opening just a bit larger. Breathe and look, open the space further. What you see changes until you pull your hands apart and breathe in an entire landscape. You start with not seeing the grandeur of what is right in front of you -- and then gradually, you do.
What’s that metaphor mean to you? As a BodyTalk practitioner I notice that one of the things sessions do is to open a window in to a fresh reality. At first it may be a very small opening. Session by session, it grows. We can’t go from narrow and dark to bright and full one moment to the next but a bit at a time, we can.
-- For more self-guided nature walks, try the book: Earthwalks for Body and Spirit by James Endrey. To learn more about BodyTalk visit: www.bodytalksystems.com