During the second night of ceremony in the Amazon jungle on our recent trip, I had a moment outside to myself.  The jungle was glowing with the full moon light that was basking down.  As I sat there listening to the sounds and taking in the sights, I had a moment where I was able to speak with the trees.

Speak with the trees?  John, are you out of your mind?  How do you know it wasn’t just your imagination?  

Well, I don’t.  However, it’s often said that Spirit speaks to us through our imaginations.  So just roll with it, and with me, as I share how the conversation went down:

The Trees:  “Wow, you guys are a noisy bunch.”  

Me:  ”You’re right.”  (I was outside our hut where ceremony going on and there were lots of people from our group crying, screaming, and whaling as they were processing heavy emotions so that they could heal.)

The Trees:  “You know, if you guys would just grow the way that you’re meant to, then none of that crap would be necessary.”  (Referring to the healing, crying and whaling that was going on inside the hut)

I then looked around and saw how the trees had grown in just the way that nature intended.  It was a beautiful array of trees, bushes, flowers, and grass all merging with each other in the unique way that is the Amazon Rainforest.  The trees weren’t insisting that they grow a certain way.  They don’t say, ”I know what’s best and I want to grow in this specific direction”.  They allow the energy of the universe to move through them and guide their growth.  As a result, they’re happy.

It then occurred to me that I simply need to grow the way that I am meant to.  I shouldn’t hold on to a fixed way that I think I’m meant to be or how I think my work should unfold.  Instead, I should listen to the energy of the universe that is pushing me to do something or be something.

How happy are you? 

If you’re not happy with what you’re doing, then that is the barometer that measures that you’re probably not growing the way that nature intended.  But how do you grow in the way nature intends?  You tune into your instincts.  That’s how you know:  By the way that you feel.  

They trees are happy because they don’t insist they grow one way when mother nature is pushing them another way.  They don’t have “issues”.  They are born, they grow, then at some point, they die.  Along the way, they get nourished, they feed others, they provide homes for birds, insects, and other animals.  They source from both the earth and sun.  And they are happy.

So be happy, like the trees.  Grow the way nature is intending for you.  Let go of what you think you need, but you really don’t.  Move in the direction of your highest path and purpose.

It’s my intent to grow that way that nature is intending for me.  I want to tune in and listen to what the universe is bringing me, so that I can see how to meet the Universe halfway in what is meant to be created with my work and life.

Yet, I still have the question - How do I be happy more of the time?  How can I experience joy more often, especially when the stress of life gets to me?  Because I have my moments too.  When there are bills to pay, and I’m tired after a long day, and I just want to check out but I can’t because I have to do something for the children, even though I just want a beer but Spirit is telling me not to.  How do I be more happy especially in those moments?

Here’s the answer I was given in the jungle:  CONNECT your love with your joy.

Ok, so how do I do THAT?

I was shown, “You already have.  Your daughter – her middle name is Love, her last name is Leto, which means to “Come in Joy”.  So another way of saying her name is Aquiline LoveJoy.  THAT is what it looks like when you connect your love to your joy, the way that she is.”  It brought tears to my eyes to realize this.  That the same LoveJoy that exists in her also exists in me.  That I can be that same connected LoveJoy in every fiber of my being.  I feel it now, in my heart, my hands, even in my toenails.  I was shown that I simply need to be that, everyday.

Frankly, it’s been hard to do since coming back.  I returned from Peru with an empty mind, purified soul, and full heart.  There were so many lessons, so much growth, so much healing and beauty, so much advancement and transformation.

Then I got home and the stress of the world started to set in.

So what do we do when we’re challenged and squeezed?  

It’s one thing to feel enlightened and at peace when we’re on the top of the mountain.

Yet, how do we approach our lives with the same sense of consciousness when the everyday world comes crashing in?

Let me tell you what I do:

I find stillness, somewhere.  In the swirl of life, there’s a steady spot somewhere.  It’s important to find it and reside there (even if it’s in the bathroom stall at your office.)

For me, when I get stressed, I become ungrounded and disconnected.  Yet, by returning to stillness I’m able to get reconnected again.  Now, what are we “getting reconnected” to?

Well, that’s for you to answer for yourself.  For me, it’s a strong internal connection to my heart center.  The place where I’d like to reside, all the time if I can.  I may have gotten caught up in the swirl lately, but I’ve moved through that now to be back in my heart.

And that’s one of the other core lessons for me:  to simply return to the heart space, over and over again, as many times as it takes throughout the day.

May you find the strength and peace that resides in your heart so that you can be on the path of your highest joy.