Embracing Renewal Amid a Spectacular Cicada Event

Embracing Renewal

I can remember a time when I believed nature was boring. If you asked me to go on a hike or spend time outdoors, all I could think about was the fact that I would be walking in silence potentially for hours–which was something I dreaded. 

Why? You may ask. For many, hiking is far from silence as there are a myriad of sounds everywhere—rustling leaves, insects chirping, birds singing, squirrels running, you name it.

But, for me, silence was all I got. I have been profoundly deaf since birth, and even with my hearing aids, I could only hear loud sounds like an airplane flying overhead, a dog barking in the distance, or perhaps, if I am lucky, the hooting of a nearby owl. Other than that, it’s all quiet for me. This meant I was alone with myself and my thoughts, which was far from what I wanted to do. I never liked myself nor did I love myself—instead I stayed busy creating a persona that was as far from my authentic self as could be.

So, a hike in the woods? Eh. A walk in the park? Eh. How about a stroll on the beach? Again, Eh. All of it meant I had to endure what I hated most in the world—silence. 

I would rather be doing something. To me, a walk in the park or hiking in silence meant I was wasting time. It meant I was spending time doing something that could be better spent elsewhere, like watching a good movie, going out to eat, going to an amusement park, spending time with family, or going out and socializing with friends, all of which contributed a lot of noise, both mentally and physically. Avoiding the silence was my main goal. Why? Because I cherished hearing it. I wanted to hear, and being in silence meant I was broken

Or so I thought.

Because I avoided myself like the plague and unconsciously ran so far into my inauthentic self, I created a mental illness. Diagnosed with depression/anxiety at the age of 19, eventually, I quit meds and decided I would overcome it all on my own. For almost two decades, I pushed through the symptoms and shoved down the shame, until I could no longer bear the emotions. Anxiety, depression, bipolar tendencies, and fits of rage began to take their toll. Still, I stubbornly believed that I could overcome until I almost lost my life. 

By the time I finally sought help, I had truly made a mess of things, because, now, I had to deal with my shadow self, who was very strong and quite angry. I had fed her energy all these years by avoiding my true authentic self, the one who needed the silence to heal, to love, and to grow. 

I denied it all because of shame. I avoided confronting my shadow self because it was too painful to feel the shame. When I finally learned to embrace the pain instead of running from it and accepted my condition for what it was, silence became a blessing, and nature, my savior. 

Now, if you asked me to go walking in a park or hiking in the forest, my answer is an astounding “Heck Yeah!” I discovered that nature was not only healing my mental illness, it was opening my heart. I have learned more about myself while spending time in nature than I ever learned anywhere else. 

While I may not hear all the sounds of nature, I discovered I am blessed in other ways because of my observant skill set. What I lack in hearing, I make up for it in vision or smell. I am mindful of what I see and take the time to say gratitude and appreciate the beauty. 

There is something about the sweet benevolent energy I feel in the trees, the sight of a babbling creek with deer drinking from it, the sight of a hawk perched in a tree, or a flutter of butterflies flying all around me that just warms my heart. There is a whole other world in nature, just as there is a whole other world—in me.

Today, amidst the lush woodlands of South Carolina, my husband and I embarked on a tranquil stroll through a vast park, an oasis five times the size of New York City’s Central Park. Little did we know, our leisurely walk would soon transform into a mesmerizing encounter with one of nature’s most extraordinary phenomena–the emergence of periodical cicadas.

As we ventured deeper into the heart of the woods, we noticed hundreds of holes in the ground and wondered what they were. After a bit of research, we discovered that they were cicada holes. At first, we looked around and there were no cicadas to be seen. I thought to myself, I would love to see one come out of those holes. A few minutes later, we stumbled upon our first cicada, signaling the arrival of thousands of these remarkable insects. 

Brood XIII

It was truly a blessing to witness this rare spectacle. This year, nature has graced us with a unique occurrence – the simultaneous emergence of both 13-year and 17-year cicada broods. This convergence, unseen since 1998, marks a momentous event in the cicada world, offering a rare glimpse into the intricacies of their life cycle.

And yet, an even rarer event was happening in front of us. This year, there is a convergence of two distinct broods that occurs only once every 221 years. Brood XIX and XIII will co-emerge for the first time since 1803, and here we were looking at the emergence of brood XIII, also called the Pharaoh Cicada.

For those unfamiliar with these fascinating creatures, periodical cicadas spend the majority of their lives eight feet underground, feeding on the sap of tree roots. After either 13 or 17 years, 

depending on the species, they emerge en masse to molt, mate, and lay eggs before perishing shortly thereafter.

As we continued our walk, we were met with amazing sights as we caught the very beginning of the emergence of these little critters. 

When cicadas first come out of their holes, they are encased in an outer exoskeleton that is shed. They wait for some time to let their wings dry, and then they begin their notorious buzzing sounds. 

At the stage we stumbled upon, these little critters were just emerging from their exoskeletons, which they leave behind.

To me, this serves as a symbol of renewal, transformation, and rebirth, which is exactly the spiritual significance these critters hold. It was perfect timing to receive this gift, as I am in the middle of a great transformation myself. I am in the middle of reversing my hearing loss, which is a profound miracle. 

 As we stood amidst the thousands of cicadas and their shells on nearby trees, leaves, and plants, I couldn’t help but marvel at the sheer magnitude of this natural phenomenon. 

To me, the empty shells these critters leave behind represent my past self and my past in its entirety, which I choose to leave behind. Instead of carrying my past into my future, I embrace transformation and allow myself to grow wings as my new authentic self. 

For my husband and I, this encounter served as a poignant reminder of the interconnectedness of all living things. In a world often dominated by human concerns, it’s easy to forget the awe-inspiring beauty and complexity of the natural world that surrounds us. It is easy to forget what is all right here—right under our noses. 

As we bid farewell to the cicadas and made our way back home, I couldn’t help but feel gratitude for not only the opportunity to bear witness to such a rare and awe-inspiring event but also for the conscious awareness that it was even there. So many of us would walk right on by, absorbed in our thoughts, without a single awareness of what is there. 

I am finally fully aware of who I was and am immensely grateful for who I am becoming. 

Truly, life is too short to waste on the thinking mind. It’s the heart that holds all of the gold, and it is truly only accessible in silence. 

When I embraced the silence and learned to quiet my mind, I discovered that I was blessed with more than I could ever ask for. 

I finally believe my life is worth living, and I am loving every minute of it. Like the cicadas emerging from the ground, I have a purpose, which is to live in joy and spread it to others through the sharing of my experiences and what I have learned. 

The Power of a Mentor/Coach

I owe everything to my mentor, who has guided me through the toughest of times and inspired me to create a life I truly love. It would be an honor to do the same for you. 

If you would like to create a life you would love to have as I have done, consider hiring a Mindset Coach to help guide you. 

Investing in yourself will be the wisest and most prosperous thing you have ever done—I know this from experience. For more information on my coaching services or to hire me for a speaking engagement, check out my website www.iamnicolereina.com.

May we always cherish and protect the wonders of nature, for they remind us of who we are. 

Cheers to Love, Light, and Higher Truth—

Nicole 🫶

Attracting Grace

Elevating awareness for blissful living, the Attracting Grace Team is here to support you on your journey. Through our blog posts, we offer robust guidance to help you navigate life by focusing on the present moment in ways you may not have explored before. Our goal is to inspire mindfulness and well-being, transforming your everyday experiences into moments of grace and joy. Join us in discovering new perspectives for a more fulfilling life.

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