Lately I've been finding new ways to communicate with my dogs, Halo and Mighty, during our daily walks in Ards Forest. When I first moved here I would call their names or Hey! Oi! or No! It always felt wrong to speak words in the forest, even gently or melodically. It changed the atmosphere immediately and disconnected me from the beautiful deep silence of the trees.
So one day, a few weeks ago, I tried to whistle. The dogs responded immediately so I knew I had found my new sound in the forest. But I tried again the next day and it just wouldn't come out. The more I tried the less I was able. Every day I tried and tried until eventually I could whimper a bit of a whistle but it was very hard work.
So I decided to let go of trying and just whistle when I needed to. No more trying. The whistle came back and now I can nearly whistle at will and have specific whistles for different dog directions. A whole world of whistling has been opened up to me. My whistle fits better with bird song and makes me feel more a part of the wilderness. I imagine the deer hearing it and getting to know me better.
So why couldn't I whistle to begin with? What was holding me back? The answer is: an old belief was blocking me.
I remember one day as a young girl being told that Mother Mary turned her back on girls who whistled. Apparently boys were OK to do it but girls just weren't. No reason, that's just the way it was. I knew inside that this was ridiculous but decided that day not to whistle again, just in case. I didn't want to risk being turned on by my favourite person.
So for years and years I held on to this belief and felt a mixture of judgement and envy when I would witness other girls or women whistling. Didn't they know? They were taking a very big risk. Maybe I should tell them. And when I did they would laugh and feel sorry for me. To be robbed of all those years of whistling!
As I have been walking in the forest and whistling freely it has been lovely to watch that belief dissolve. To trust that I know what is best for me and that any divine beings floating about will be celebrating my ability to communicate better with the dogs.
It has been even more lovely and empowering to watch the 'just in case' dissolve. That uncomfortable hedging-of-bets feeling is a heavy burden. When we second guess our inner knowing we lose ourselves completely. And when we lose ourselves we can't really connect to anything else.
A daily mindfulness meditation practice illuminates where we are limiting ourselves with old beliefs. It allows second-guessing to melt away and frees up space for new adventure and possibility.
Don't try, just meditate. It might free you up to whistle, dance, hula-hoop, have a good sleep, go on holiday, run, jump, or simply relax and have some fun...