This is a guest post by Lonnie Howell, a mentor to young men and a musician, who lives in Rollinsville, CO with his wife and three children.
I had an unexpected and powerful experience one day this winter. I woke up feeling like I needed to walk in the national forest, and decided to go for a hike late morning. When I arrived at an opening in the forest where I sometimes sit among large ponderosas and an aspen grove, I found a stump, took off my hat, and faced the sun. It was a warm day with little wind and I bathed in sunlight and inhaled deeply a few times. I have been reading into Earthing lately and decided to take my shoes and socks off and let my bare feet touch the ground. The dried grass was warm on my soles and the sensation warmed my soul. After sitting for a few minutes with the occasional stick toss for my dog, I decided to continue walking. A quote by a 19th century French Jesuit priest popped into my head….
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” ― Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
I started to contemplate this as I strolled through the pines. I was in the shade at first, but when I turned a corner on the path I stepped into a majestic realm. The sun’s rays engulfed my being with a loving embrace. The ground snow sparkled brilliantly and the sky was an oceanic blue. All colors, sounds, sights, and smells were enhanced as if I was having a psychedelic experience. This completely overwhelmed me. I felt so blessed to be alive, enjoying this human experience. I thought of my deceased Dad and Son, and how they were not living anymore but somehow still a part of this graceful moment. They WERE the beauty, and they WERE me. I was hit with extreme sadness and bliss all at the same time, and my eyes welled up as my brain attempted to comprehend what was happening… This led to a realization that I am where I should be, and I am not alone. We are not alone and we do not end with death. We are known and loved right now in this reality, as well as on the “other side.” This dream we call life, with all of its pains and all of its joys, is a miracle. My Father was a miracle. My Son was a miracle. I am a miracle. We are separated by breath, body, and heartbeats, but we are one. This made sense for a brief but eternal moment that day.
Lonnie Howell is a mentor to young men, as well as a musician. He tragically lost his father who was 49 years young, and more recently his son who died unexpectedly 10 days after his first birthday. Lonnie writes poems and songs as a creative outlet to cope with his grief, and frequently spends time discovering the healing powers of nature in the forests of the front range. He lives in Rollinsville, CO with his wife and three children. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.