When Was the Last Time You Ventured Into the Woods?


by Suzanne Hanna

When was the last time you were in the woods?

Several years ago I was at an all time low in my life. It wasn't one defining moment; it was several moments that were strung together, creating a noose around my neck. I was suffocating. Each day I could feel my energy leaking through the cracks in my mortar. I wanted more. I dreamed of more but my self-doubt and fear kept me chained to what was familiar.

There comes a time for many of us when the idea of just existing seems like a certain death. That is often when life begins. It did for me.

I soon began a three year journey traveling across the United States with my Golden Retriever in the hopes of finding clarity and facing my greatest fear. My fear of being alone. Each day we spent hours walking in the Wilderness. The pain I felt on the trail, the tears I cried, the dark shadows I faced were some of the most difficult yet illuminating days of my life. With each trailhead I got stronger, and with each step I crushed the doubt that had once consumed me.

At the time, I did not understand how a walk in the woods would transform my life.

We all fear the proverbial walk in the woods. Those moments of deep pain and fear when we are thrust into darkness. We thrash around like we are drowning, using every bit of our energy just to stay afloat. We feel cut off and alone. What we don't realize is that this walk is necessary for our growth and expansion. It is inevitable.

We are sent into the Wilderness for a very good reason. It is an act of love, not punishment. It is in the darkness of the deep woods while being confronted by all the elements in nature that we reflect on what's important. It strips us of the messages that we have become accustomed to rely on. We tend to re-evaluate our entire existence. We confront ourselves in a way that we never have before. We ask the harder questions. We purge every thought and belief. It forces us to surrender and relinquish control. At times the pain is great. The loneliness can feel unbearable. We often try to escape. It brings us to the end of life as we know it. It is a painful process but a vital one if we are ever going to grow and find our way back home to ourselves.

The Universe wants us to reach our fullest potential for which we were created. The day will come when we will be grateful for this experience. We will be able to actually SEE the hand of God in our lives. We will be able to celebrate that we were called to go through it because of the newness of life that the Wilderness creates.

Suzanne Hanna is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Holistic Health Practitioner, Spiritual Coach, writer and inspirational speaker. She has helped hundreds of men and women move through their fear and pain as a way to live a more Inspired Life. Suzanne is currently writing a spiritual memoir about her Wilderness Walk across the United States with her dog, Grace. For more on her wonderful work, visit her website, SuzanneHanna.com or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.