photo credit: MEG FUSSELL
What are the patterns in your world?
It could be something as simple as a chai tea every morning with breakfast or getting your hair done every six weeks like clockwork. It could be something less literal and could also be what happens when you receive good or bad news—how you react and how you feel in your body are patterns unique to you.
I began acknowledging and noticing my own patterns when I started to learn how to track animals in the wild. Unsurprisingly, it’s easy to learn habits of different species; simple knowledge of traits specific to a species can make them easy to track. For example, by knowing that beavers chop down trees with their teeth, one can identify beaver sign by a fallen tree that’s been gnawed at the base. Similarly, within each of us we have identifying and unique patterns that we often don’t even realize we are falling in to. Just like wild animals, we are very predictable.
‘dancing in the sand’ photo credit: MEG FUSSELL
Beach sand is perfect tracking substrate. Early Tuesday morning I was following a happy domestic dog along the sand. How do I know it was happy? Mostly from knowing how a domestic dog moves, I could see that it was intermittently running, skipping, then slowing down and shifting it’s weight over it’s shoulder, likely looking back at the human that was following it. This dog was showing that it was delighted to be outside by how it was moving in its body and by the tracks it was leaving behind.
I also watched a child and his mother heading along the sand, the child running, stopping to pick up shells, jumping, zig-zagging… like the dog, he was being playful and happy!
Other tracks that I followed were left by adult humans and were seemingly more direct and straight, with some slight curving and faltering, but otherwise set on a single direction. I found this interesting and noticed the relationship between how adult people move in their physical bodies and how they might navigate their personal lives.
Patterns are infamously difficult to break and can be even more difficult to identify. Without really stepping back and analyzing each detail in your habits, you will never be able to notice when you are falling into your usual repetitions.
Keeping the comparisons of the playful sand tracks left by the dog and boy to the more direct adult tracks, I started asking myself related physical and metaphorical questions.
*What track patterns are you leaving in your life?
*Is your path curvy or straight?
*Are you dancing?
*Are you following in anyone’s footsteps?
*Are you making your mark?
*Can you see the horizon when you close your eyes?
*Are you looking up and outward, or down and inward?
*Could you identify your own tracks in a crowd?
*Whom or what are you stepping through/over to get to your destination?
I like to have a dialogue going with myself, mostly ‘checking in’ to see what how my body is feeling in a given moment. Am I hungry, sad, tired, anxious, and usually followed with a ‘why?’ Part of this questioning is to start to catalogue my patterns, to better understand myself and in some aspects to learn how predictable I am. If I’ve “been there before” I can almost guarantee I will be there again, so why not recognize and learn from it?
My spirit being and guiding plant is the willow (I’ll save the long-winded story for another time!) The willow species from the Pacific Northwest grow straight and tall, but live close to water and therefore must be bendy and flexible…
…thoughts for the weekend ahead…
may your footsteps fall with love and intention,