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  • Writer's pictureAshley Brown

Softening into the Unknown

Updated: Aug 24, 2020

One thing nature is teaching me (and maybe you) is that we have no control over anything except our thoughts, actions, reactions/responses, intake of information, and our words. I cannot stop the Corona Virus, massive homeless crises, starvation, natural disasters, or people's emotional reaction to these forces. I am only in charge of myself and how I can respond.

It is not an easy task to be calm within the chaos, so when I hear folks say this when I am in the heat of my emotion it makes me even more activated. Can you dig? Maybe it's my stubbornness of not wanting to be told what to do. Maybe it's my not wanting to conform to societal pressures of being "normal". Maybe it's my not wanting to have someone else hold a reflection of me in a moment where I don't want to see the reflection of my actions.

It's very easy and there are many ways to disconnect from this introspection, from our own nature. But when you immerse yourself in Her (nature) there is no way to escape the reflection and deep inner connection, whether it's the forest, desert, ocean, plains, or mountains there is a part of us that is put back together. This electronic life is very nice and convenient; we can all now work from home and not leave the comfort of our house. Without the disconnect from the matrix, and the connection to nature, we begin to suffer.


I was away for some time in July for deep inner reflection and what I learned most was that I can be comfortable in the "aloneness" within myself, because with all of my inner dialogue I am not alone, and that I am nourished and replenished by the calmness of nature.

Calmness doesn't mean being still with nothing happening; instead it is the non-attachment to the outcome of the ever evolving and continuing movement of nature itself. She is always in a perpetual cycle of birth, life, and death. Nothing and no One is free of this.

I relearned this from my original natural surrounding, the beach. I was lucky enough to go to the beach while maintaining social distant and mask protocols. The first week I went to the beach pretty frequently. The water was rough and brought in a lot of seaweed. I used to be able to read Her signs of what She would be bringing in the days to come. Before a storm the waves would look just like this. Rip currants. I forgot how to read Her signs, but I could feel Her pulling me into the water luring me with an ancient creature of my ancestors, the Selkies. (Seal-like shape shifting creatures. Watch The Secret of Roan Inish to get a romanticized understanding of these creatures.) Being called to jump into the chaotic ways it felt like it would bring promise that I too would turn into a Selkie, but alas I am only human in this life. Also Florida is the #1 place to get attacked by sharks, so even if I turned into a seal, I would probably get bitten either way.


Another time I went to a more secluded/country portion of the county. The water had calmed that day. No more danger of being taken and tossed and turned to struggle more for a transformation. I am already doing a lot of that without the element of ocean (sometimes the water is dark you cannot see what's underneath your feet, there's seaweed and in there there might be jellyfish, rocks, sharks, so many unknowns). So I took a lesson from a childhood dream and I floated. I was never really good at floating until recently. When I first started floating People would be giving me all this information "fill up your lungs", "lift your hips", stiffen like a board", "soften and ride the waves", ect. It was all overwhelming especially if you have your eyes closed and you might get water in your nose during a "bigger" wave. I learned to float from my niece. I watched in amazement of how she simply dropped into the surrender, into the calmness of ever changing moment. So I float now from time to time. This time around what I learned from floating was the softer you can make your body (the elbows, knees, breath) the higher you float. You will still be held by nature. You will still be held by the Divine. You will still be held by the Universe.

So I invite you to continue to find ways to drop into the outside world of nature as well as the inner world of your nature. Let us continue to soften to be held higher and feel lighter. Let us connect so we can sit within the chaos and be still. This is not going to be easy and it won't be achieved every single time. Some of us or our neighbors might need some help to get to a safe place to even begin to think about softening. Let's find our softness and help others to find theirs.

This is yoga.

This is dance.

This is nature.

This is our right to be soft and natural.

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