Everything in nature has a language. In order to learn that language we need to sit with each element and watch it through our hearts.
I learnt this wisdom as I walked the beautiful terrain of the Sacred Valley, Peru in a powerful and transformative pilgrimage to Apu Salkantay and Machu Picchu with Valerio Sasari of Runa Ñan, Peru Healing Travel.
There is something truly magical about Peru. It’s probably a cliché thing to say these days, but it is true! The mountains come to life and literally speak to you. There are so many faces and animal shapes that undulate the surface of the rock. There is a stillness and reverence for being that draws you into an ancient call of the wild, yet paradoxically keeps you firmly grounded in the present.
I felt very ‘held’ and safe in Peru. The trek was challenging, don’t get me wrong. I was not physically prepared for the altitude or the steep inclines and uneven surfaces! At times my faith was tested, especially those moments when every step was mindfully crafted as I traversed a ravine and tiptoed across what looked like the precipice of death – literally walking on the edge of the mountain, no harness, narrow path, huge backpack and nothing but sharp rocks below and evidence of landslides above…Yet I felt more alive and more connected than ever in my life. There was a language being spoken and in the stillness I could feel the messages being transmuted.
What fascinated me most was the microcosmic worlds I saw throughout the pilgrimage. The tiny cacti growing out of the cracks in the rocks, the yellow sun flowers forming a type of yellow brick road, the moss and algae forming crystalline shapes on the rocks- oh and the river stones, so majestic in the sunlight. I spent a lot of time with the rocks building towers that represented the body in Andean tradition, and giving thanks to the glory of mother nature.
Spending time with the rocks taught me so much about how the notion of ‘impossibility’ is merely a projection of the mind. The process reminded me of Andy Goldsworthy’s earth art installations and became a way of entering each place to show gratitude and ask for healing.
The rocks spoke of strength and courage. They spoke of balance and a willingness to be flexible. Their language was that of power and persistence and the importance of humility. The most beautiful stones were those that had been softened by the elements, sun and water, the most exquisite shapes were those that had been rubbed against the other in a dance choreographed by the ebb and flow of the rivers.
There were so many times that the smallest of rocks collapsed the tower I was building and other times where a large rock at the top would hold it all together. These were life lessons – transmissions of Ancient knowledge! How often do we sweat the small stuff only to see our world crashing down? How often do we hide away diminishing our greatness from seemingly impossible ‘big stones’ only to discover they are very thing that holds the roof up?
I am so grateful for my immersion in the Sacred Valley and the time spent with Valerio and my brother who journeyed with me. I am so blessed. I live a privileged life, waking up to the most extraordinary palette of colours as the sun rises through my bedroom window in the Hawkesbury Valley, Sydney. There is so much beauty, wisdom and the most Ancient of knowledge in this amazing country we call Australia. I have been watching spring unfold through the lens of my heart these past few weeks and all I can say is wow! I will be spending more time with the rocks of Colo River and the Hawkesbury River, calling in inspiration for my next series of works to unfold.