The Beginning of a Shaman’s Journey
It was the 80’s and my spiritual journey began in earnest with this walk in Inwood Park, New York City.
The Nature Walk
The group gathers at Dyckman Street subway station, the northwest corner of the intersection. We all approach one or two at a time and greet each other with a nod. Everyone bundled against the cold, travelers on an adventure into the park. At the right moment, Vin tells us to follow him. The walk begins. As we walk, I notice I’m relaxing.
It’s hard to describe calming down on a busy New York City sidewalk as you view the entrance to what feels like a Garden of Eden. Each step closer to the trees, I think, ”How beautiful.” We all stop before entering the park. This walk is taking on a whole new feel.
With a few words, Vin asks us to contemplate the entrance to the park and to see perhaps for the first time that creation is before us, that once we enter, we’ll immerse ourselves in another realm. I walk into the park, trying not to make a big deal about it, I feel the veil that separates the park from the noisy sidewalk. The next two hours are a blur of information, feelings, and spiritual awareness. Who knew so much lived in the city parks?
The trees are barriers to city sounds, the kind you accept every day because you must to survive, the kind of sounds that overwhelm. These two hours are an opportunity to open up to the spirit of the forest, the spirit of beings who share our planet and give us breath. The chemical exchange we share reminds us we need each other.
This is how the landscape begins to heal the travelers. It grounds them. It holds them up. It bestows on them the ancient connection to the land. Each step becomes sacred. Each beat of their heart begins to synchronize with the rhythm of the earth. It’s the call of your mother, your Creator. Each time your foot touches the ground a connection is made and rings of intention spread across the land. The message sent is simple. Our hearts are opening to creation.
Inwood Park has huge boulders and stones made of granite from the last ice age. When the ice recessed it dragged and pulled stones over the earth and left giants on the landscape. The grey color and sharp edges created nooks and crannies everywhere. The fall leaves wedge themselves in the crevices.
Vin is the leader of the walk and on the streets of New York City Vin is my height. He’s slight and possesses a hearty laugh that often trails off into a giggle. In the woods, he is magical, sometimes towering over me and other times a dark dwarf with mischief in his eyes. He stands fiercely focused on the task at hand, a nature walk in Inwood Park in upper Manhattan.
Stay tuned for part 2 of It All Started on Dyckman Street with details about the code I live by and the importance of wondering.
Read part 2 of It All Started on Dyckman Street