Nature: Life's Intuitive Magic 8 Ball
The weather is slowly turning cooler and the leaves are spectacular. It’s the perfect time for a walk outside and a warm cup of golden goodness. I think you’ll love this problem solving technique and the soothing, creamy soup that follows.
Not long ago, I attended a retreat with Martha Beck and Boyd Varty, South African animal tracker, in Beaver Creek, Colorado. It was a gathering rich in stories and diatribes on epigenetics, and it provided time in nature. It was the kind of gathering that confirms some people vibrate on a whole different frequency. The synchronicities were numerous and powerful, the kind of get – together where you want to drink the Kool-Aid (if you get my drift).
One of the activities we did, designed by Martha Beck, was so much fun that I use it regularly and have used it with clients as well. It’s a fabulous way to get clarity on a problem that might be nagging you or seems unsolvable. It involves the juxtaposition of modern technology and the tranquility of nature and brings you into alignment with your greater purpose. The process is based on the idea that the world is full of metaphors and reflects back to us what we want or need to know – if we are willing to see it.
Nature has become my intuitive Magic 8 Ball.
First, take a walk. I call it a wander walk. As you begin your walk, bring to mind your conundrum and then let it go. Amble along with your camera and bring attention to your surroundings. Focusing on the scenery around you draws you into the present moment without distraction and calms racing thoughts. When something draws your attention, a breath-taking vista or random fallen branch, take a photo of it. Your intuition will let you know what feels photo worthy. Do this throughout your excursion with curiosity and without analysis.
When you have wandered and walked sufficiently, sit down in a quiet place and scan your photos. Pick the one that feels most compelling. Again, your intuition will guide you. A photo will jump out at you for inexplicable reasons.
Once you have identified a photo, proceed with the following steps:
Describe your photo with three adjectives.
If you could change one thing in the photo, what would it be?
How is your predicament like the photo?
How could you change your predicament in the way you would change your photo?
How would you act if you were embodying the three adjectives you listed?
*Adapted from Martha Beck
When I first tried this photo metaphor activity, I took a picture of a painting of a bear. The bear felt energetic, aggressive, and strong (my three adjectives). What I wanted to change in the picture was the perceived attacking nature of the bear. It looked too intense, too aggressive. If I were to embody the three adjectives, I would want to be strong and energetic without being aggressive.
At the time, I was in one of those parenting ruts where every interaction with my teenager seemed like a volatile, exasperating exchange. For this exercise, I thought I’d just see what came up. Interestingly, the photo and my interpretation absolutely hit the nail on the head. I was forcing conversations with my child a little too aggressively. I needed to check myself and find a way to be strong and energetic without being aggressive. It was the perfect reminder.
Then there was this one.
This photo felt sunny, hopeful, and meaningful. I wanted to rid the dog of the leash in this picture. The leash was tethering the dog and preventing it from running excitedly down the path towards light and sunshine. Without the leash, the dog could be free!
I had stalled out on a work project and I wanted a hint on what to do. It turns out the tether represented my self-doubt and limited thinking about whether or not I could even do this project. Was it worth it? If I could rid myself of the “tether,” I would be free to excitedly pursue sunny and hopeful and create meaningful work.
I love these wander walks.
They bring me back to my greater purpose and allow for answers that are so much deeper than the brain fodder I can develop by analyzing and overthinking.
Try it and let me know what you think.
If nothing else, you will have enjoyed fresh air and a nutritious midday meal.
Peace & Light,
Golden winter soup is pretty versatile and can easily accommodate the root vegetables you have on hand. Super easy and any leftovers can be frozen.
Try it here!
If you have tried this metaphor method, what was your experience?