“What does a life of total dedication to the truth mean? It means, first of all, a life of continuous and never ending stringent self-examination. We know the world only through our relationship to it. Therefore, to know the world, we must not only examine it but we must simultaneously examine the examiner.” (M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled, Openness to Challenge chapter) Duncan has been my guide on just this path of self-examination and ever expanding openness, bringing forth my inner child to help heal the woman of today. On one beautiful hot summer day he proclaimed that the next step on my road was to get in touch with Mother Nature and to root myself into the earth herself. Water sloshed from side to side in the back of Duncan’s Jeep. The many rubber made crates he had filled that morning from the hose were longing to make their break as we had to firmly come to a stop and turn a corner onto a dirt road in a small farming district. As I gazed out of the window that sunny Texas afternoon, my eyes took in acre after acre of corn crop and sunflowers. The road had many dips and swayed to one side or the other causing the interior of the car to sound like the rushing water of a river rapping up against the sides. Dust and rocks sprayed out from beneath the Jeeps’s tires as we rounded yet another turn on the dirt road, finally we came to what looked like a “T”. Duncan smiled at me as he went straight ahead onto a dried up muddy road that quickly became lined with different kinds of bushes, field flowers and trees. As we approached a road block my teacher brought the car to a stop, proclaiming that we had arrived at our desired destination. What was a muddy farm road a few short days before was now all dried up from the 90 plus degree days we had had. Duncan grabbed a crate of water and dumped it into a rut along the path, then slipped his shoes off and started massaging the dirt to turn it into mud. Before I knew it he decided that the adventure was on its way and it was time to disrobe and dis-armor my fleshy being. I closed my eyes as he brought my shirt up over my head. I could feel the afternoon sun flickering across my breasts and shoulders as it danced through the branches of the trees. My denim skirt was loosened from my waist and guided toward the ground for me to step out of. He then guided me to a bathtub sized rubber made container, half full of warm water. Grabbing a pitcher he slowly cleansed my flesh and prepared me for the earthy bath that was to come. As I stood in the mud, breathing deeply the warm, humid air I could hear the calls of multiple birds as they watch the crazy humans playing in the dirt. Duncan’s hands slithered up my legs and across my abdomen. Gliding upwardly to my chest with the smooth lather of mud. Then caressingly across my shoulders and down my arms. Making sure that there was not a bare location on my being. As he plastered my body with the earth he focused my breathing, brought my thoughts to mother earth and the deep rooting and foundation that I was to take from this experience. Feeling my internal universe expand and merge with her Divine body as if it were my own. Once covered in the thickness I found myself posed in traditional yoga/Namaste forms. Each position deepening my merger with the spirit of nature. The sun scrapped through the trees that lined our path and slowly began to dry parts of my being. Duncan guided me down to a seated location where he applied more mud. The feelings of the earth were now pouring up into my very energy being and I quickly felt a longing to fully submerge myself in her pudding. Laying there, breathing in the rich earthy soil I felt an almost animalistic call in my soul longing to be heard. The road called to me as we listened to the distant clicking of a train rushing on its tracks. A warm summer breeze whipped around me with each step I took as I now was walking down this less traveled path toward a marshy looking area where snakes slithered through the murky waters and grasshoppers and frogs raced each other to the dancing grasses that grew from the shore line. A dense aroma of earth and moss gathered at the front of this place. With each step I felt my body sink into the penetrating mud. Deeper and deeper, feeling as if I might lose my footing and be captured by the ponds grasp. As my feet, knees, thighs and stomach felt the cool waters ripple around my skin I was reminded of the beautiful story of the lotus flower. Duncan asked me to slowly crawl out of this place, to feel the transformation of the earth and of myself as we were now one. The mud that once covered my inner arms now had been partially washed away and revealed the lotus flower tattoos that were beneath. Again the tale of the lotus’s climb up through the muddy murky waters to reveal itself as the beautiful flower that it is came to my mind. I too was like the lotus, being birthed into a new world as I fully submerged myself on this playful exploration of self and environment, blooming clean and full in the sunlight and fresh air. Each step back to our shady mud was quickly becoming a bit more difficult as the dirt on my flesh was now hardening into a full body mask. Once again Duncan gently poured cool fresh water over me, loosening the magnetized pull of the caked on mud. The wind danced while the birds sang, it was as if Mother Nature, the Universe herself was celebrating with us this beautiful grounding exercise and birth. I felt like a butterfly being released from its harnessing cocoon with the water cascading down across my naked body.
Duncan with soap in hand cleansed each part of me, revealing my whole being in the setting sun. With a deep breath I could feel a catapulting awakening inside and Robert Frosts words came to mind, “I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I– I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” Thank you Duncan Knight for walking this incredible path with me. You are a true blessing in my life and all those you touch with your Divine spirit!