“The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.” 

~ John Muir


Chapter 11 Recap:

Phoenix engages in a dialogue with Rafiki, who encourages him to explore the roots of his behaviors and beliefs. Phoenix grapples with the realization that his actions stem from unresolved trauma from his childhood and past relationships. Through introspection and reflection on his family dynamics, Phoenix begins to understand the patterns that have shaped his interactions with others. Despite facing difficult truths about his past, Phoenix is determined to confront his inner demons and embark on a journey toward healing and self-discovery.





…My perfectionist piece kicks in again. I still screw up. I can’t do anything right no matter how hard I try.


I want to shrivel up in a ball. Disappear. Not be here anymore.


What did it matter anyway?


Rafiki’s solemn voice interrupts my thoughts, ” Do you remember the premise of the book, What Happened to You, by Oprah Winfrey and Bruce Perry, ‘Trauma is not about what’s wrong with you, but about what’s happened to you’.”


Rafiki starts walking again, leaning on his staff as he shuffles forward. I follow suit, using mine as well, our pace slow and deliberate.


That one simple comment causes my brain to fire like a pinball machine. Thoughts bounce erratically around, like the continuous clicking, dinging, and multiple lights that occur as one keeps a pinball from falling into the abyss. Why do I constantly keep my ball in play? Just imagine, for once, how peaceful, and quiet the world would be if I stopped pressing the flipper buttons and just allowed the ball to slide into the drain.


Trauma is not about what's wrong with you, but about what's happened to you. Click To Tweet


What would happen if I walked away from the machine?


Can I teach my mind to stop the desire to keep that ball, those incendiary thoughts, from continuing to dart back and forth?



Face of God


I turn my focus inward, consciously breathing deeply to help calm my overly activated nerves. I enjoy the quiet stillness of the redwood forest. The air is crisp and clean. Which surprises me since we’re so close to San Francisco. I feel as if I’ve been transported to another dimension. It’s surreal that this timeless grace has been under my nose the entire time, and yet, in 54 years, this is only the second trip I’ve taken into this beautiful sanctuary. My resentment about coming back here is subsiding.


We stop for a moment and pause for a drink. This place looks familiar.


Oh yea, it’s where my ex-girlfriend and I had stopped to do a photo shot. I find it ironic Rafiki stops at the same bridge. I recall my ex-girlfriend trying to come up with a creative pose and instead, she lifted her leg up on the handrail. A smile immediately spreads on my face. She was in her element. I loved watching her glow when she was in a nature. Not only a true tree hugger at heart, more like she was connected as one to the universe, a conduit of the natural world to the human world.


Muir Woods Bridge
© 2024, Inner Child Dimensions, LLC.


My ex-girlfriend taught me to feel the energy of a tree. How, by hugging and embracing a tree with true intent, you can feel the gentle rhythm of its life force pulsating beneath your fingertips. If you pause long enough, you’ll absorb the wisdom of a being that’s lived hundreds of years. She would close her eyes and become one with the tree. If anyone could talk to the trees it would be her. I would love to be the fly on a wall and listen to their conversations.


As I look up, I am reminded of a song a good friend played at a workshop I recently attended. The workshop was titled “Hello God” to help us learn how to deepen and strengthen our connection to that which we call a Higher Power. I had gone to this very workshop seven or eight years ago and expected this year’s event to be similar, by connecting with a God of our understanding through nature. And yet, this year, it was a much different, and an even more powerful moving experience.



Face of God

~ Karen Ducker


This song reminded me of what it was like spending time in nature with my ex-girlfriend. I can picture her documenting each adventure with numerous pictures so she could later go back and revisit those memories. And then, she’d put either her phone or expensive camera away, and stand silently absorbing the lifeblood of the universe’s energy, sometimes with closed eyes, yet always beaming with ultimate joy and serenity. She would soak in the beauty of her Higher Power. I could see the Face of God when she was connected to the earth.


It’s only been a week and I already miss her. Tears stream down my face.


I look up and notice Rafiki is sitting cross legged, back against a tree, as if lost in meditation. His staff lies on the ground neatly in front of him. I didn’t realize he had sat down. I grab the railing of the bridge and hoist myself up to straddle it. I can tell he wants to dig a little. I’m now ready for the deeper conversations…









Chapter 13

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