The Tracks We Follow
It’s 5 am my alarm sounds. I consider hitting snooze, as one does. And then, I hear it.
The sounds of the lions calling—literally from the other side of the screen.
All I can think is, “Will we find the lions today?! How fast can I get dressed? Can I go to the Land Rover, yet?”
The night before, the lions had evaded us. We could hear them and find tracks of them but couldn’t locate them. They eluded us.
I no longer notice the time or the chill of the tile in the bathroom.
I slurp my morning tea and head to the Land Rover as the sun rises across the bush.
The excitement crackles in the air as the guides and trackers discuss what animals are alarming and which direction they think we should head out in to find the lions.
We all fall silent as we prepare to set off.
Our game drives each morning are silent, except for the pantomime between the trackers and guides. It’s a silent, moving meditation.
We head out and quickly come across a small herd of elephants crossing the road, slowing down only for a moment to navigate safely around them.
We hear the lions calling.
Sersant, our tracker, points in a direction, and Andreas, our guide, accelerates in the direction indicated. He’s determined to find the lions.
The tracks in the road are fresh, he speeds up as we continue to hear the lion roaring.
We come to the airstrip— Andreas throws his arms up in the air pumping them wildly. He’s as excited as a kid at Christmas! At the end of the airstrip, majestically perched on the top of a mound, sits our lion.
We watch him as the sun continues to rise.
In the distance, we hear more lions calling. Andreas pantomimes that we are to go and find them. This lion won’t call again because the other lions are much bigger, and there are more of them.
We track the lions for over an hour, following the alarm calls of monkeys, zebra, and impala.
Never once during the game drive did I think — I wonder what’s happening on Instagram, or what’s in my Inbox or on Basecamp — I was truly present. Invested in each moment.
We drive through the bush as the sun continues to rise. Enjoying the beauty of the surroundings, even as we continue to track the lions.
We come to the border with the neighboring game preserve, and there they are—3 majestic lions walking through the bushveld.
They slowly cross the road and settle for their morning nap after a long night of hunting. Completely oblivious to the fact that we’ve been searching for them.
What does this have to do with your business? Everything and nothing.
Before I went to Londolozi, I hadn’t been on a real, don’t check work email or Basecamp notifications kind of vacation in okay, honestly, never.
I always told myself the same story — if I don’t check them, I’ll return to a mountain of emails. What if someone NEEDS me? My business will dissolve if I’m not there to answer everything immediately.
This time, I was under strict orders from Martha and the rest of our team at Martha Beck, Inc NOT to work while I was in Africa.
I expected to relax and unwind while on vacation, but I didn’t expect the magic that happened when I not just slowed down but actually stopped working.
Things went wrong while I was away. Yep, they did. And the world didn’t crumble.
The situations were all handled beautifully, even without me there. AND people didn’t then somehow decide, oh we don’t need you anymore (does this fear/story sound familiar to anyone else? No, just me?! Okay, carry on).
Ideas started happening — everywhere! In dreams, on game drives, on walks, and while watching the elephants meander just beside my deck. Notepads by the bed, quick notes on my phone all at hand to help capture it all.
The space of stopping the incessant doing allowed for the presence of being to open up and expand my vision and dreams of what is possible.
It allowed me to find the golden threads that weave through the wild and into our hearts to create a future we can’t see when we are so entrenched in the incessant doing.
Unfortunately, we can’t always fly to a restored game preserve to find our moment of zen. Although I do highly recommend following their Instagram @londolozi to dip into their magic from afar.
So how can you connect to the wild, and resource your creativity and spirit?
If you aren’t sure where to begin, I suggest carving out 30 minutes a week where there are no to do lists, no agendas, just you. During that time, open your heart and mind to the curiosity of what’s possible when we welcome in the magic of not having the next step planned out.
You never know what tracks will appear for you to follow.
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