In July, I was blessed to spend two weeks in the South Africa bush with host and guide Sascha Krijger. Joining us were Gabriella van Rooij, director of the Seale Foundation, organizer and host of our work in the Netherlands, and supporter of our work around the world; and my husband Johnathon Pape.
Within our first few hours in Kruger Park, I felt an incredibly powerful connection to the land. It was a profound sense of returning to the source. I became even more still and centered inside. I felt grounded in my lower chakras in a way that I have never experienced. I had no desire to speak. I just wanted to be present with this source land.
All four of us quickly fell into a much quieter and slower tempo and rhythm. Out on the game drives, we rarely spoke except to point out an animal. In that moment, we would pull over to the side of the dirt road and sit with whatever animal was blessing us with its presence. Our silence was in direct response to the deep silence and stillness of our surroundings. Our morning and afternoon drives as well as hours spent at watering holes felt like sacred time – hushed communion with the primal essence of life.
In this hushed communion, I also experienced an incredible “presence” within the order and structure of the natural world. I have very few words to describe it. This communion took me farther beyond words than I have ever been. For the first time in my life, I experienced presence as “organization” and “intelligence.”
When I say “organization,” I mean organization of the whole system of being. And “being” became a cosmological concept beyond my prior conscious understanding. I could sense a deep and orderly “intelligence” driving this vast organized system. At the same time, there was such simplicity to all of it – a way of being that the un-domesticated natural world simply lives and breathes. Weeks later, it’s all still working on me.
In the middle of our trip, after days with no internet connection, this quote from American author, conservationist, and activist Terry Tempest Williams magically showed up in my inbox:
To protect what is wild is
to protect what is gentle.
Perhaps the wilderness we fear
is the pause between
our own heartbeats,
the silent space that says
we live only by grace.
Wilderness lives by this same grace.
Wild mercy is in our hands.
My time in the South African bush felt like living in the pause between heartbeats. I want more time there. Some part of me longs to drop into that liminal space where time slows down and perhaps, momentarily, even stops.
My sense is that this is where our deepest wisdom lives. Yet as I read Terry Tempest Williams’ words, I wonder is it true that we can only touch that deepest wisdom through grace? Can we only experience the natural fullness of life through grace? I want to believe that we can learn to live there by choice and intention. Or at least learn to visit there from time to time.
Wild mercy is a concept that some of us may have briefly tasted, yet I dare to say that very few of us have ever immersed ourselves in it. I certainly can’t say that I have. What might it be like to live wild mercy? What might it be like to know with every fiber of our being that, indeed, wild mercy is right here in our hands if we will only allow ourselves to feel it.
Beyond these few paragraphs, the best way that I can share my experience in the South African bush with you is through photographs. I invite you to take 7 minutes and enter into the realm of the wild and the gentle, into the wilderness between your heartbeats. Come with me to the South African bush. Come with me into the silent space of grace and wild mercy.
If you are considering a personal South African safari and are looking for a deep and powerful Transformational Presence journey to the heart of being, I highly recommend Sascha as your trip organizer, host, and guide. Sascha’s deep rootedness in Transformational Presence and 25 years of experience in Kruger Park go together to create an experience far beyond what you might have being guided by resort rangers. If some part of you longs for this experience, give yourself this gift.
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