I think I've discovered a new type of therapy. Waterfalls Therapy. Not the Niagara Falls kind..........the hidden in the woods, away from the world kind. It's like finding treasure and serenity all rolled into one gift.
Sometimes it takes a bit of exploring to find the falls, nestled secretly in the woods, out of view unless you know where to look. But the journey is a part of the thrill of finding one of these treasures. And in turn the first glimpse is guaranteed to put a smile on your face as well as the kind of child excitement that tickles you from your toes on up.
Our trek took us down a dirt road. Initially, we walked too far because we were talking too much and missed the sounds we were supposed to be listening for. When we turned back, we began to hear the rushing of water. Though we couldn't see the waterfalls from that angle, we took a chance and headed down a steep decline through the woods........taking it slowly and using the tree roots as footholds and branches as hand security. As we made our way down, the view of the waterfalls came into sight. It was gloriously cascading through a gorge which cut through the granite rock like a precision instrument and showered into an accumulating pool of cool, cool water. The site was enough to take your breath away.
We made it down to the bottom of the falls, surrounded by the cliff gorge resplendent in pine and greenery ..... every single shade of green was present. The sunlight filtered through the trees landing in patterns of its own making........ lighting various plants and ferns......... touching down on the moving water with a kiss of goodness. With not another soul in sight, we had this little piece of heaven all to ourselves. To say it was magical doesn't do it justice.
A line from a Van Morrison song came to mind........ "This must be what paradise is like........it's so peaceful in here..."
The irish have a term for that feeling when an acute sensory awareness of body, mind and soul merge into one.........when you feel that you are lifted up out of an ordinary life into an aura of enlightenment. They refer to it as a "thin place." You feel more alive and energized, but it is combined with an inner sense of calm that I can only describe as bliss. When you reach this place the air is refreshingly oxygenated. The more breaths you take, the more bouyant you feel. As your pores open up to receiving the happiness and hope floating all around you, it seems as though you reach a point where you believe anything is possible. Anything is possible because you have been given the gift of inner completeness.
The feeling is fleeting......bliss never lasts. But, the long term impact is life changing. You enter a thin place, body mind and soul, and you are never the same again. How can you be? If you've tasted, touched, seen, heard and inhaled beauty, the lens with which you use to see your own world has shifted. It reinforces one's belief in a Higher Power. It offers you the best opportunity to slip a prayer into God's mailbox.
You never ever forget the moment. It is gratefully etched in memory.
On Canada Day, I quietly sat on a large rock in the middle of the woods halfway up a small gorge created by the flow of one river. In front of me was an eternally cascading waterfall dropping down into a pool of water glistening in the morning sun. Right beside me the water rushed past in rapid churning down to the bottom of the gorge where converged with another river forming swirling pools of water.
The welcoming rumble tones soothed as well as exhilarated the thin air.........it's constant sound echoed off the granite walls in lullaby fashion, similar to the rolling in of tides. I had no desire to move. In fact the whole multi-sensory experience allowed me to relax into a meditative repose of being placed right in the moment where time releases itself.
Unburdened by all of the responsibilities and constraints of daily life, I sat in bliss. In front of nature's altar, beside the rushing water, bliss kissed me. And all the air went thin......... leaving me in a place of awakening I will return to in mind and body as often as I can this summer.
Herman Hesse wrote, "Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself." When you've experienced, JUST ONCE, the holiness of thinness, you have been given the key to finding that inner retreat again.
The moments when you are captured inside a thin place may be fleeting, the sense of wonder nestles deep into our hearts where they glisten like prayerful gems, which reflect a dawning comprehension only felt when we are touched by God's grace. Our lives are far more enriched when we are receptive to the possibility of this experience because I truly believe these may be our best attempt at understanding the mystery.