Last weekend we experimented in growing the offerings of Wild Dream Walks with an overnight walking experience to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve during the full moon here in Colorado. It was experiential in nature, intentionally designed as an opportunity for participants to be in community while using minimal material tools all while holding space for each person to actually experience “owning their own journey”. Under the moons expansive glow walkers set out on foot by themselves up into the Dunes, returning back to our meeting spot when they were ready, some not until well past midnight. It was wonderful to hear each persons reflections from their solo excursions. A common one was the realization that they could dig down into the warm sand to escape the cold night air, I imagine for some this was the first time experiencing trust in nature. Our youngest walker, 12 year old Jakob, recalled his journey this way, “When I reached the top (of the dunes) and just sat down and breathed I felt a weight lifted from me, I felt lighter, I think that’s called bliss but I can’t be certain…“. We couldn’t have said it better.
We’ll be experimenting with this type of overnight walking experience again in October with our walking partner, Walk2Connect. Along with our ongoing weekly and monthly walks in and around Denver we are also leading a full day of nature walks at the 3rd annual Peace in the Park festival at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco as well as curating another global 21-Day Mindful Walking Challenge with our friends at Kindspring. We offer all of these experiences as a means for people to walk towards their hearts callings and we hope you consider joining us on one or many of them.
It’s exciting to know that the simple act of walking, of putting one step in front of the other leads to new insights into what matters most to people and thus more dreams gifted to the world. While the benefits of walking together has become more and more obvious over the past two years our work surrounding people’s dreams has fuzzy, at best. By focusing on one step at a time though, that path has been naturally emerging within the community rather than through the force of one person. That’s been harder to do than one would think within a larger society that travels at the pace of a car (if not faster) and values ideas that can be validated quickly and then replicated for a quick financial return, often at the expense of personal balance and health. It’s been a slow process of unlearning, relearning, and sitting in many unanswered questions. I like to say we are growing at the pace of a tree. If our roots are that of love and friendship, then walking is our tree trunk, and the few sapling branches that have started to grow this summer is our work in partnering with people and their dreams.
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” –Lao Tzu
For example, earlier this summer I was introduced to Ann, Winter Pilgrim. It won’t be a surprise that our first meeting was a walk at the Denver Botanic Gardens. While she shared with me enthralling stories from her pilgrimages over the past eight years I heard, in between her words, a bigger vision of which I asked to hear more about. Over the past 9 months this has become a common practice amongst many of the people in our community, listening for the bigger vision, often spoken through nonverbal language, and then offering to help in some way, purely for the sake of being a friend. Since that first walk with Ann in June, myself and various other people in our community have met 1-2 times a week, as partners, on her quest to form a Society of Servant Pilgrims that will encourage, support, and engage people in spiritual foot pilgrimages across the world.
Through the act of partnering with people like Ann we’ve learned what’s it’s like to grow and dream together, as nature as our teacher and friend.
First, it’s allowed for her vision to grow beyond her, beyond me or any other person involved and into a gift for the world, offered with no strings attached. It’s purely just a gift that will live for as long as it is meant to serve in the world. Gandhi talks of this when he says,
“Detachment is not indifference. It is the prerequisite for effective involvement. Often what we think is best for others is distorted by our attachment to our opinions: we want others to be happy in the way we think they should be happy. It is only when we want nothing for ourselves that we are able to see clearly into others needs and understand how to serve them.”
We envision a world where more dreams are harvested in this way, as gifts that span lifetimes and detached from our ego’s.
This also allows us to honor and accept change and to flow through and with it. It’s inevitable that seasons will change, as it is inevitable that the the things individuals care about change too. This is particularly poignant in Ann’s case, as she walks on old ancient paths with nothing but a small pack for 5-11 months out of each year. There’s no way for her to stay committed to her life as a mendicant pilgrim while also running the global organization that she’s dreamt about on those very walks. In our act of partnering with her we’ve planted the seeds for others to move in, when she’s moving out. It’s a design much like the flow of water. How fitting that just now, an email popped in describing this much more eloquently than I,
“Water in its clear softness fills whatever hole it finds. It is not skeptical or distrusting. It does not say this gully is too deep or that field is too open.” -Mark Nepo
We hope that our dreams and the people called to them flow freely, sustaining the natural order of things, as they follow the path they were meant to follow and fill the hole’s they were meant to fill.
It’s been a remarkable summer together. Ann’s dream is just one of many we’ve encountered as we’ve walked. As we grow, we take pause to thank those of you that are walking with us and harvesting your own dreams amongst us. There’s still a lot to learn, many questions to be asked, and many more fruits to harvest down the line. Good thing some of my favorite trees are Sequoia’s, that means we have a solid 300-400 years to get things done, right?
In the wildest of dreaming and with a deep smile of thanks,
Nicole, Founder and Chief Dream Architect