This lush rainforest also includes poisonous stinging plants, plus an assortment of biting things such as snakes and spiders and scorpions. I was in unfamiliar territory, and didn’t know the land and its creatures very well at all. As the light started to fade, I started rushing, running almost, down the mountain, trying to get to the car-park before it was completely dark. I soon realised that this wasn’t going to work. For one, it was dangerous and if I injured myself, I’d be there at least overnight and maybe longer. And if I stepped on a snake, well, that might have been it.
So I let go and slowed right down. By this time it was dark in the forest, with no moonlight. I had to move in a different way. Gone was the rush to get down the mountain. Instead, I started to listen more, and started to feel my way down the mountain. I had to stop every now and then and just breathe, in order to calm my fear before taking another step and then another.
Then a miraculous thing happened. I started to notice tiny lights as I walked. The fireflies had come out for the night. At first I just noticed their presence, but then as I walked on I started to notice that the lights seemed to be always just that little way in front of me. I thought I was imagining it, but as I walked I saw that it was really happening. The fireflies were lighting my way down the mountain!
I don’t know if there is a practical explanation for this, whether there was something about the clearing of the path and the types of plants there or what. What I do know though, is that I was filled with a sense of wonder and great relief as I walked the rest of the way down. I just knew that I was going to be OK. I felt humbled and grateful and yes, very tired as I walked into the car-park at around midnight.
Your vulnerability can be your greatest ally
In our day to day lives, we often try to push through, trying to control what happens and to be in charge. And yet it is only when we acknowledge our vulnerability that we can soften and open to the mystery and our guidance and signs to reveal the way.
It is your vulnerability and non- knowing that can be your greatest allies. They can lead you to recognise moments of opportunity or new possibilities. Without the vulnerability of my situation in the forest, I might have missed the wonder of the fireflies and the realisation deep down that I was OK. It helped me develop trust.