Nature, Meditation
and a Memory

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By Heather Zollman

Today is a Wednesday afternoon, April 3, 2024.  I just returned from a walk at my cherished nature trail.  Well, it’s not mine, it is for anyone of course, but I get to be alone there often, so it feels like mine.

The sun, warm on my face.  The wind, powerful…carrying the feeling of something big coming.

Returning home, I immediately come to my favorite grassy spot in the backyard, behind our home studio to stretch out the feet and body and sit for a guided meditation.

Sitting on a green, white and black Yoga blanket, face in the sun, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the present moment.

Headphones still in from listening to a short podcast about the present Universal energy, I quickly choose a 10 minute-quided meditation for focus.  Why quickly?  Because I know if I don’t, I will get distracted with something else that “needs to get done.”

Yes, pausing is still a practice, even (and probably especially) for those of us who teach Yoga and meditation AND for yours truly who wrote a book about “The Power of Pausing.”

One hand to the heart, the other to the belly, face in the glorious sun, I listen and breathe.

All of a sudden, as can happen with meditation, I am transported back in time with a memory.

It was early spring of 2019.  I was on my deep purple Yoga mat, moving and breathing in sync with the powerful wind, on a partly cloudy day, in an isolated spot in Sibley State Park.

The present day pause, the meditation, the feeling of the wind, the sun on my face all came together in this present moment, allowing my mind to drift and remember.

Startled at first by the vivid memory, I eventually allow myself to be with it.

I go right back to that place on a hill, just me and my Yoga mat…completely off the grid.

No one knew where I was, and I wanted it that way.

Earlier that morning, I had set out to attend a Kundalini Yoga workshop at The Yoga Loft in Willmar.  This was a few months after a health crash (spiritual awakening I am so incredibly grateful for now) I was still in the midst of.

My body and mind were on many drugs I was prescribed after no one could figure out what was wrong with me.  This was the first outing I could drive myself to, and I knew people in my life were nervous about it.

I was still dealing with brain trauma, post seizure, and a list of nasty symptoms from my life quake.  I wasn’t allowed to drive or go on a walk by myself while my brain tried to figure itself out.

It was frustrating as hell.

I was glad to be back home at the Yoga Loft (where I did my 200 and 500 hour Yoga Teacher Trainings/Studies) and to see my teacher and friends.  AND I was in immense pain that included a horrible migraine.

This was a full day workshop.
As we were guided through a Yoga and breathing practice, I felt waves of something flood through my body that sent my mind into fear mode.  I now know it was energy flowing through to places that had been blocked for so long, but at the time, it scared the s*** out of me.  I was overwhelmed.

At the lunch break, I left.

I felt like a caged animal that needed to roam and not be reachable by anyone.
I followed my heart and gut and bolted, driving to the nearest state park, to find a private spot where I could move, breathe and feel…alone.

This was a new feeling, because for months I was dependent on others, at the mercy of people driving me places and watching me.  I was and still am incredibly grateful for all of their help.  And at the same time, I felt as if I wanted to scream, cry, laugh at the weirdness of it all, throw something and throw up all at the same time.

You can see why I had to get the hell out of the full room of peaceful Yogis.  I was about to explode.

I’m not sure I ever talked about that day to anyone.  Did I need to?  It was just for me.  The emotions came flooding back during this simple 10 minutes meditation.

Because I paused.

Nature knew I needed to revisit and release.  She called me to her.

I didn’t cry, laugh, scream, wonder why or anything, I just sat with it.

All releases look and feel different.  This one just…was.  It was a remembering, acknowledging and just being.  It’s not good or bad, it just is.  I have no attachment to it.  It was simply a moment in my life, that apparently wanted to be felt and remembered.  I don’t need to analyze it or wonder why it came up.

The pause I allowed myself to take at that park, on my mat, practicing Yoga in the wind, the sky a mix of sun and clouds, talking with God, connecting with nature and feeling whatever I needed to feel for hours, with no one knowing where I was…was exactly what I needed at that moment.

Nature was calling me to be with her.

Today, 5 years later I sat in my backyard, the nature elements feeling similar to that past day on the hill.  I’ve grown so much since that day. I was forced to learn about myself, choose which directions felt right to me with my health and all areas of my life.  I am wiser, a hell of a lot stronger and with so much more willingness to allow flow than I was before.

And so grateful.

I had a realization in this remembering…THIS is why I am passionate about connecting with nature and inspiring others to do the same.  God spoke to me through nature, and said “come and be.”  I listened, and you can too.  She’s always available for inspiration, healing, gratitude and just being.

She can handle anything you give to her, and she will replenish you.

You just have to pause with her and allow.

All that within a 10-minute guided meditation today.  Hmm.

It all begins with a PAUSE.

Be Inspired & Enjoy the Journey!