This essay was written after our return from South Africa in the summer of 2019. It is about divine timing and the soul's mission to heal us from past trauma.
May healing find us all.
Our game drive started as any other. Bundled together in our Range Rover as the morning breeze held winter in its wake, my heart lifted in anticipation of the animal sightings awaiting us.
This day held other plans.
We detoured to a remote clearing and rolled to a stop. We tumbled from our lofty seat perches and filed into a circle; legs folded beneath us resting into the comfort of the earth. Scanning the faces of my circle-mates, my being relaxed into this shared experience. In the span of less than a week, as part of the Self-Transformation Adventure Retreat (STAR), this group had become a family. A family open to a shift in perspective. One that held healing. One that made any pain of the past a welcomed agent of change.
One that freed our souls of limits.
These unspoken truths were known to us and to our fearless STAR leaders.
Boyd Varty, master tracker, storyteller and steward of the great Londolozi bushveld, began to speak. A hush deep and wide descended upon our unofficial group of wayfinders.
I have felt stillness before but never to this depth. The air squeezed my lungs to the point of discomfort and pressure from inside my sinus cavities began to build. Londolozi used this intensity to advantage. It chipped away at my guarded sense of self. Its all-consuming power floated over me like heat rising from baking asphalt. Once I accepted the trees and the swishing grass were speaking to me through Boyd, the uncomfortable physical sensations eased a notch.
Destiny communicates in all forms until it knows you are listening.
All that stood between me and this destiny was a story.
And, what a story it was.
Boyd shared how his father and uncle, at young ages, unexpectedly came into possession of the Londolozi Game Reserve. Eager but naïve, they crashed and burned as they stayed the course of their inherited paradigm of hunting the game that populated this domain. The more passionately they pursued these endeavors, the more scorched and desolate Londolozi became.
They dropped farther into debt with each passing season. It took courage to question the old ways and open their minds to new possibilities. Through tremendous trial and error, they began the gradual process of partnering with the land, the surrounding community and ultimately, with the animals that called Londolozi home.
The transformation was not immediate. This is true of all soul-deep healing. As they labored away under this new guise of renewal and peace-making, Londolozi began to respond. Barren tree sprouted their approval. Water flowed in contented simplicity as it snaked its way through the land it had long ago denied. The animals began to migrate where this freedom-water flowed and the first inklings of trust were established between man and beast.
As the intentions of the Londolozi leadership and staff remained symbiotic with its inhabitants, this trust flourished. The animals returned to a natural way of being safe in their instinctual knowledge that ancient ideals had been restored. Encounters with leopards, once rare, became a ubiquitous symbol of peace on game drives.
Londolozi had become the best version of itself. Given permission to return to its untamed state, it began to fulfill its purpose. As myth would have it, Londolozi’s mission is to heal its ecosystem and offer that same healing to anyone who ventures a visit.
At this point in Boyd’s story, tears involuntarily streamed from my eyes. When your soul recognizes itself outside of you, whether in words or actions, your whole body responds.
I had traveled thousands of miles across the globe to sit in this exact spot and experience this exact moment as Boyd told me what I already knew.
My time to heal had arrived.
As the story ended my husband offered me his hand to help lift me to my feet. Concern creased his brow as his eyes washed over my tear-stained face.
“Are you okay?”
“No,” was all I managed to say.
For the first time in decades a glimmer of hope caught the edges of my heart.
Today I was not okay. Maybe not tomorrow or the one after that.
But thanks to Londolozi and the magic of storytelling, I finally understood I would be.
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