Essence of life, healing in Nature
My Trip to Africa – Recovering the essence of Life in a healing process in Nature
By Eve Hoter, Nov 6, 2016
It was not one of the best moments in my life. I felt low in energy, in a hole; my various “recovery tools” weren´t working. Everything I “knew” and learned, everything I had worked on and processed, weren´t helping to process my sadness.
My trip to Africa was a long life pending. Being an animal person, Africa was one of my Meccas I hadn´t reached yet. My friends and guides from Roam Adventures: http://www.iroamtheworld.com/Brian and Ashley McCutcheon alerted us about an opening opportunity to join them on their African Zambesi River trip and with Reub, my partner, we immediately jumped in. I knew Brian and Ashley were a guarantee for a memorable time – as all the trips we had done with them – enhancing my eagerness to see all those amazing animals.
It was planned and settled long before; but when the time came to go, it caught me in this very bad moment in my life. I was emotionally in a hole; no energy, no stamina, no enthusiasm, no courage – which I usually have on my trips. I carefully choose to travel to places I know I will love, that will enrich my experience, allow me to be in connection with Nature, that will nurture my body as much as my soul. So generally I am thrilled and 100 % into it by the moment it starts, but that wasn’t what happened this time. I “knew” (in my mind) that it was going to help, that it would be good for me, but my soul was elsewhere. I went anyway, of course, and day by day tried to “be present”, recapturing myself. But the “hole” kept dragging me down. Amazing company, amazing experiences, amazing guides, amazing group, amazing landscape, amazing animals, amazing and gracious African team… all and everything out there was for me. But it took me a while and a process to get really into it. Even though I was having a good time, knowing myself, I wasn´t the trooper I usually am, my soul was still partly hooked in darkness.
I didn´t need any adrenaline, I longed for peace, I needed to recover my center, my soul, a state of Joy. My first glimpse of change was the Devil´s pool. Just before it, I experienced an anomaly in an eye that I thought could be the start of a retinal detachment… oooops, we were already on the way. Luckily the start of the swim to the edge of the Victoria Falls was a boat next to a hotel with internet. I called my surgeon in Argentina who answered he wasn´t able to perform surgery until 10 days later anyway, so suggested me to go ahead no matter what and enjoy the trip. So I did, in that mix of concern and fear. My first glimpse of rescue from my hole came right after that! My total trust in Brian allowed me to get into the Devil´s pool at the upper edge of Victoria Falls, knowing he and our guide would hold me if I continued down… Once in, the trust and ease came back to me. They then urged me to lean over the edge with that massive amount of water dropping more than 100 meters down from where we were… they would hold me…. Hmmmm. I did and then it happened. There it was, the brightest and most intense double rainbow I had ever seen…. Lit in the most luminous colors I never imagined. And my soul blended with Beauty and Majesty…. Lost in time, I did not want to leave, drawn into that ungraspable moment where all boundaries disappear. It was a glimpse of Heaven and Light. With no fear and Trust, that got me out of the hole for a while.
After that, the challenge of the big Zambesi waters bugged me. Not having been a fearful person in general, it gave me a hint that my soul in the hole was in fear, beyond what was reasonable. As always, Brian and Ash, together with Hippo and all his guiding team made everything possible for us to have the best possible experience. And so we did, with one better moment after another.
Then the “official” trip came to an end and together with other four of our group of twenty, we took an extension to Somalisa Bush Camp in Zimbabwe´s Hwange National Park. A 4 days – 3 nights of wildlife watching were ahead… time to relax and enjoy with no adrenaline rush. Even the unexpected “visit” of an elephant at 2.30 am to our tent the first night, searching for his much appreciated soap – a taste he had acquired – was an amusing story to share. Day after day we saw elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, impalas, kudus, waterbucks, sables, steenboks, zebras, giraffes, duikers, genets, tortoises, honey badgers, a zillion birds, thermite mounds and other insects, some saw a black mamba, even rhinos on our last day at Stanley Livingston; we also had seen hyenas, cheetahs and hippos in the camps we had stayed before, and so many more species I can´t recall.
From the smallest to the largest, they all were there in their uniqueness and interdependent world, where everyone added to a unique way of supporting each other, of taking and giving, receiving and contributing in ways beyond our understanding. The vast knowledge and intuition of all our guides, special mention to Calvet at Somalisa and Africa at Stanley Livingston, opened us to even more wonder towards this amazing Life in our planet and the depths of the intricacy of its ecosystem – so threatened by us humans… What we at Estancia Peuma Hue http://www.peuma-hue.com , our Mountain Lodge in Patagonia try to open to our guests, was striking me full blast in my face and soul in a much grander way in the midst of the African wilderness.
Then came the final rescue of my soul, the full awareness of how relative and interdependent we all are. A pride of 7 lions and lionesses with 2 cubs. We had seen prides (of even 11) every day at Somalisa. That morning, at 5.30 am, the first lioness approached the waterhole next to Somalisa´s camp swimming pool, next to our breakfast table. Slowly, with the regal self-confidence of a powerful and yet calm being. Then came Mom and her 2 cubs, gloriously playful and energetic. One by one approached the water to satiate the thirst of the very dry season. Calvet quickly interrupted our breakfast and urged us into his vehicle (called Sambona, alluding to the spirit of Harmony). He wanted to intercept them once they started up the hill again to take a closer look to the cubs. We waited and one by one they all approached… less than 2 meters off the vehicle… Cubs jumping and playing, adults greeting, licking and rubbing into each other. Calm and majestic, lying under the shade. Slowly again, from afar and different directions, the rest of the pride showed up to join the family – as if there was a preset time for family reunion. Majestically beautiful and big, they all got together. That did it… I regained my fully present Joy; the awareness of the Whole. The pride pulled me out of my small and petty hole; it was a glorious day. Everything had a different Light, I could see the interdependence of all, I could feel the Wholeness, the Oneness, I could see the world from a different perspective – myself included. I was happy, I was in Bliss. Why did this happen? I still don´t fully know. If it was the joy of the cubs, the care for each other of the pride, the connection from afar… Something clicked in me. Once again I learned that the Joy of Living is when we let go, when we can trust each other. I was again able to be fully there, 100 %. I recovered myself blending into that larger Whole that includes us all. I was able to recognize once again from the heart that clinging to our petty selves only isolates us from what matters the most. Nature has always been for me one of my best teachers. But also the joy of African people, their gentle and caring ways, their laughter; their knowledge of what really matters. Our western individualistic ways so often pull us away from what Life is really about.
How can I thank enough every person, animal, tree, Nature and Beyond for everything that Is… including myself but so much more and beyond…? My deepest THANKS to my dear friends Brian and Ashley and to Reub who made this possible; to all our guides including but not only Hippo, Calvet and Africa. My thanks to the people of Zimbabwe, so gentle, hospitable, joyful and caring. Thank you to the wonderful group we were in. I had read books about how people fall in love with Africa. I did too, I´m going back! THANK YOU to ALL and EVERYTHING…!! Namaste