I’ve just returned from a beautifully nurturing, nourishing and wonderfully held Wild Therapy taster weekend .
It was lovely to connect in the flesh with real people during what has been an often difficult and isolating period.
My main role was fire tending and water keeping – keeping people warm and with brews and holding the observer position, part of the group,yet just outside of it. Noticing.
I often take sometime to commune with the land and the space and often receive poems to share during these times. This one was the one that came during this weekend. These experiences often rekindle a deep connection to the wilderness and the other than human that many people find deeply connecting and sustaining. They remember something. They make time for stillness, pause and reflection. And the wild works its medicine through all of them.
Listen to the voices of the wind.. Its medicine, You need that
Listen to the voices of the water Its medicine You need that
Listen to the voices of the fire Its medicine You need that
Listen to the voices of the land Its medicine You need that !
Go to the forrest and speak to them They are longing for your company
That tree you love so much ? Its medicine
That plant you are being drawn to That rock , that stone, that feather , its medicine, You need that !
The beetle longs to tell you the secret of its shell , The butterfly, the squirrel, the hazel tree, the crow All are waiting for you …
I often wander the woods near my home. Its a helpful place to go when I have a dilemma. The woods has lots of useful information to share if you know how to find it, if you listen , if you learn how to look for it , if you ask and it feels like sharing with you.
Its part of how I work with people in the wild wisdom I offer. Its a way of reconnecting to our selves as part of nature and a way of remembering how we used to know.
Its often a case of paying attention and letting your self be guided by the other than human. Sometimes its a case of wandering with a question in mind and seeing what arises as you go. What you encounter as you walk, what you see that might have meaning for you. Sometimes its about sitting still and not thinking at all.
As we have time now in lockdown, as 2020 takes a turn in an unanticipated direction, amidst the chaos and crisis its really important to allow yourself to stop . To slow down . To ground.
For those who can get out into nature in a garden , for a walk – now is a great time to bring in awareness of the other around you . For those who can not go out it is still possible to pay attention and notice what is occurring around and within you at this time .
To hear what your inner-self may be asking or needing from you .
To listen and hear what the land may be saying . The birds . The insects. The rocks. What wisdom do these others have for us if we stop to pay a little more attention?
When our connection to each other is being reduced physically- what does this offer us in extending our connection to other aspects of nature ?
How can a more tactile relationship with leaves and moss and stone alleviate our lack of physical closeness?
What tiny wonders can we appreciate in our living spaces ? the warm sun through the window ; how does that feel if we let it in ?
The breeze from an open door ?
The soft touch of a favourite blanket or jumper ?
How can we invite our senses and our tactile natures to be comforted and stimulated where physical contact may not be possible for some of us ?
Can we extend our contact to the other than human and through this enter a richer , deeper sense of connectedness and wellbeing ?
What ways do we have to meet our need for comfort when the usual ways are no longer available?
I am used to not having physical contact , for numerous reasons- that doesn’t mean I don’t miss it.
I have always gone to the land for comfort from being a child – it has always been my go to place.
It is always there . It is always waiting . It is always listening.
And I wonder how many will take the opportunity in these difficult times to turn back to the earth ? How many will remember earth as kin ? How many will seek out natures comfort?
How can we remain in touch with ourselves and our connections between ourselves and other at a time of separation and social isolation?
It feels like an invitation to recognise our non human connections- to remember that we are never truly alone. That we are always held in an interconnected web of life by numerous beings .
If we can allow ourselves not to limit the notion of togetherness to only people , we can find our way through loneliness and see and feel our interconnectedness to all of life’s sentient nature.
Your home is a being – spend time with it – ask it what it needs.
Your house plants are beings – get to know them – sing to them – spend time with them.
Listen to the birds – let yourself hear their conversations- what are they saying to one another ? This can be a fun conversation to have with children . A little bit of imagination and creative play .
Allow these little bits of time connecting to the other than human to flow into inspiration for stories , poems , pictures , projects .
In such an anxious time for many its the little pockets of whimsy and curiosity, the tiny moments of fun , the little ways of letting go of the usual “rules” that open up little doors to nourishing spaces. To new energies of hope and comfort.
We may not be able to go far . But the world is always here with you .
Find small ways of letting its beauty in.
Allow its presence to be with you , to hold you , to nourish you .
You are never truly alone. Nature is with you, always.
I am sat in my garden admiring the stillness and the warm glow of the rising sun as it peers over my fence and illuminates the lemon balm.
The sky is azure blue and cloudless and I sit in my hammock as the East is ablaze with a full round sun , blinding to gaze upon.
I am sitting with polarities. The polarity between grace and rage in these turbulent times . I am aware that I am aching to connect.
What I miss is connection. Connection with depth. The rich soul depth of true contact with another being.
I swim in rich internal pools of wonder and longing , naive and guileless, full of childlike wonder and innocence. I marvel at newly spun webs on the ash , the filaments of rainbow light that appear through cracks as I squint my eyes.
I am flighty and skittish – easily spooked. A foal finding her legs. I am often clumsy in the way I take to this body and its place on the earth. I often stumble about until something clicks and I can prance and throw my head as I skip and frolick , jerkily moving more life into my body and my limbs .Free yet contained and constrained by the physical limitations, a part of me confused as to why I can only expand to fill up so much space.
I can not be everywhere as I wish to be. I cannot fully touch the all that is . I can only anchor in a small part of this universe and it feels a little … uncomfortable …uncertain.
I am not sure if I like it or care for it much . It is alien to a part of me that has been to the sun and knows the cosmos as a brother. I feel estranged and forgotten and abandoned down here – where are they ?
They have left me with friends they say;
“With the trees and with mountain, with forrest and with hill
They will look after you.
With flowers and river and ocean, they will comfort you
With wind and with rain and with fire, they will welcome you, nourish you, revive you” they say , but still i am lost and my heart aches for the stars that are my home.
In the stillness of morning before the raucus caw of gul and crow and the quiet song of the morning birds, I hear the static of the atmoshpere warming as the Sun ascends on the horizon. I hear the fizz of atoms heating up. I feel the energetic shift from cool still night to dawning day .
I hear it crackle imperceptibly all around me . It’s this invisible sound that stirs and wakes my sleeping body each new day. Its magnetic pull that lulls me from the dream of sleep to the lucidity of wakefullness.
It leaves a heaviness , a sadness , of a soul returned to its box . I try not to let this realisation dampen my day but it feels like dead weight i can not bear to carry.
I look up and remember the sun , lazily surfacing over the rooftops and feel it lighten my being . I feel the joy and energy of life in my heart. Excitement and possibilities come to my window and invite me to play.
And I sit between the ache of longing for what cannot be and the joy of what can be created.
I sit between the darkness and the dawn wishing to be lifted back into the sun
Back into the earth
Back into the world
Back into life
And i carry with me both joy and sorrow
Belonging and loss
Fire and water
Strength and tenderness
Fear and courage
Hope and hopelessness
Grace and rage
And i take each day as it comes.
Touching into painful places ;I nourish them with warmth and light, courage and conviction, acceptance of what is.
Inhaling possibility, exhaling all that is done and gone.
Spending time in nature is not only good for our mental and physical wellbeing , its good for our soul. We were created to live in harmony with the natural world not to be seperated from it.
When you reconnect to this earth you belong too , you reconnect to a lost part of your own being.
Regular time spent engaging with the wildness of nature , observing its cycles , noting the effects of the weather , learning the cycles of growth and decay – puts you in touch with a much wider circle of life – it brings a greater understanding of our own innate being.
It allows you to become aquatinted with other. That which is other than human and to see how we are deeply interconnected to a wider web of living and life .
You begin to notice the similarities and differences in being and realise how diverse this marvellous creation called Earth, really is.
Thats why I trained as a Wild Therapist.
For me there is something that happens when we take healing connection outside and allow nature to become part of the process. Something profound takes place. Sometimes obvious , sometimes much more subtle – but things always move and shift.
Perspectives change. However temporarily. Room gets made for new connections. Space is created for exploration and enquiry , curiosity and playfulness.
We allow ourselves to drop deeper , tensions abate , breathing deepens , even in our raw edges and painful places we feel held by an invisible love.
A love we may not know yet. A love we may find hard to bare. But it is there.
The love from nature. Silently waiting for us to reach out to it .
Patiently waiting for us all to come home.
If you would like to explore this healing connection with nature in a therapeutic capacity contact Alexa at firstname.lastname@example.org or look at the Wild Wisdom page for more information.
A few months ago , back in the summer , the news was filled with the stories of the fires raging in the Amazon. Considered to be the lungs of the earth.
As more of the earth is being ravaged , we are experiencing alarming rates of species decline and extinction , loss of habitat , a decrease in bio diversity and as a changing climate creates more environmental uncertainty , world leaders feel unmoved to act in any meaningful capacity.
In truth the Amazon was not the only forest burning. There were bush fires raging across the globe due to drought , bad land management and will-full and deliberate slash and burn policies to clear land for agriculture, with no thought for the consequences. The recent bush fires claiming Australia bring the reality of our current crisis into sharp focus.
Our beautiful Earth is ruined. Her losses mount up day by day . The land erosion, the air & water pollution , the species extinction . By disconnecting the indigenous peoples from their lands , their cultures , their position of caretakers of the lands they were once custodians of , a great deal of important knowledge has been ignored. About maintaining balance in our world , about reciprocal relationship and interconnectedness . About taking only what we need and honouring the beings we share this Earth with for what they offer us in order for us to survive.
Capitalism took over and now we are reaping what we have sown . Whilst many cultures in all places this has happened , have been slowly re-building and re-generating their ancient wisdom and piecing together lost knowledge, adapting and seeking new ways to revive the old ways , change is slow to come. As a species , humans have lost their place in the natural world and everything has suffered as a result.
It leaves many of us overwhelmed. Anxious. Afraid for the future of our children and grand children. It leaves us numb and apathetic. It brings some of us waves of hope that we can change our current trajectory , followed by waves of despair when we realise just how much work there is yet to be done . Even if we collectively make a radical shift and did all the things we can possibly do right now to make the changes necessary – there is no guarantee it will make any difference. And I know many people , who have dedicated their lives to the cause of making positive changes to save this precious Earth , are themselves doubtful. We are facing difficult ,turbulent and challenging times ahead.
But there is always hope.
The solution for many is to fall in love again with the Earth. With our connection to each other. To land ,to place, to all the beings we live with; plant , animal , insect, fish, mountain ,river ,stone. What I call Landcestors. To remember them as kin. To re-kin-dle our relationship to life. Even if only to tend to the grieving and honouring of all that’s been lost and all that is dying. Even if only to make the most of what remains and to keep living and keep pushing for change. Because it matters and it might make a difference after all.
It was as I watched the Amazon burn and felt rather helpless to do anything useful to change things , that I felt inspired to find a creative response to share the experience. I was not the only one feeling the grief and the rage of living on a planet where people prioritise profit above life.
I wrote a single line and could write no more. I decided to share it on Facebook and Instagram and invite others to add their own verse. I collated each of them in the order I discovered them on the feeds and the result was a beautiful co -created prayer , an offering to the other than human , an acknowledgement of the situation , a healing balm.
This poem became a ritual for me for several days – each day I would offer a new verse to the world and once all contributions had been made – I went out into a wild place and performed the whole piece to the land. I offered the sorrow and the hopes.
And so here it is. With much appreciation and gratitude to the contributors – D.A.Tarot , Peter Yanowski , Soul Flower Sharon , Sarah Fay Taylor (Roots and Resonance ), Tracey Dean and Sharon Murphy.
Love song to a dying world
Today I’ll walk amongst the trees that aren’t on fire
to feel the presence of natures wisdom
and taste the charred messages
from this ancient kingdom.
Touching one tree
connecting to all
our roots go deep;
holding one another
we feel it all.
They in turn feel our love
and I allow my heart to open
and my healing love to flow
as I hold tightly to a vision
of the world remembering.
With desire to learn
and not witness humanity dissolve.
The forest cries out choked,
as feather meets ash ,fur and flesh
cleaved into the waters burning orange ,
as fire goes into spirit…
A stalking predator,
padding into the Throne Room of The Misguided,
walks beside me.
I will call out to the animals, the birds, the insects,
all the creatures who call to my soul asking… why?
what have we done?
We love you all unconditionally, can you love us this way too ?
Where the first part of this journey took place after Samhain – this second part followed naturally from it , aligned with the theme of the winter solstice – that of returning from the dissolution of death to conception – to the first spark of light and life after experiencing the transformation of ‘death’ – as I journeyed through the layers that keep me from deeply embodied presence, until I reached the ‘void’ – a timeless place where all is , and all is yet to be . In the ‘before’ state of becoming.
Imagine you are made up of a majestic hand woven tapestry- created with a unique design that is yours and yours alone. This is a living work of creation, of you, as a human being, which began to be woven long before you were born and continues to be woven every day of your life. Every experience you encounter, every disappointment you face, every set back, every victory every milestone – is woven into the fabric of your being.
Some parts of it are vibrant, richly coloured, intricately sewn from fine strong fibres – this represents the most whole aspects of your being.
Some areas are a little dusty, some of the threads are frayed or broken, some places have holes in or are threadbare and fading – these are the areas that represent the older forgotten parts of you, the bits you haven’t taken as good care of. You can still see the design in the tapestry but it’s a little dull.
And then there are the areas that have been knotted , torn , ripped , shredded, burnt , stood on , scuffed , trampled and covered in layers of dirt and mud and grime – here you can barely see the pattern to discern where one bit ends and another begins . These areas on your tapestry represent your wounding and your trauma.
Some parts of the tapestry seem to have other people’s threads tangled up in them – or there appears to be a pattern that has been locked into ours that doesn’t belong to us – as though someone snuck in and took over what was being created without our knowledge and without realising, we carried on with the design.
Some places have threads that have snagged and got so tangled up that no further design is possible until the thread is undone or cut out and rewoven.
Working with essences is like lifting the dirt off the tapestry, mending the broken threads and restoring the whole thing to its most brilliant, vibrant original form. A little bit at a time. Piece by piece. Thread by thread. Layer by layer.
They allow us to slowly piece back together the missing parts, fill in the holes, and re-weave threads of our liking and choosing to create a tapestry free of others design ideas and ill-fitting threads.
They are an amazing doorway to discovering exactly what is you and what is not you. What you need and what you don’t need. They help to uncover and clear the energetic imprint of our trauma, our limiting beliefs, the emotional and mental patterning that has formed who we are based on the energy we grew up in and around.
They do this by enabling us to return to a state of natural balance by correcting the energetic imprint or thread if you like.
Whilst training as an Essence Practitioner and using essences on a regular basis, lots of small changes have taken place. I am still who I am, but the shifts in perception and awareness of my life story and patterns of what I have experienced have subtly altered and expanded as new insights and understanding have filtered through.
There have been challenging emotions and shadow aspects of my being to confront. Boundary issues to work on, trauma to heal and release, unprocessed anger to work on in a way that puts the energy to creative rather than disruptive or destructive use.
Essences have supported me to be much more grounded in my body but not without first working through the blocks and wounding that caused me to be out of my body in the first place.
They have put me more in touch with emotions I dared not acknowledge or allow myself to feel in the past. My vulnerability and sensitivity. My inner strength and resolve.
They have helped me learn from my past mistakes, acknowledge the limits of what I can and cannot do and what is and isn’t possible. My mind is calmer, my thoughts clearer. I am more able to allow myself to follow my own natural, rhythmic flow of fullness and emptiness without constantly trying to change it.
Having essences to help us is like having a circle of really good trusted allies who will build you up, support you and encourage you but who will also call you on your bull . Let you know when you’re not being honest or truthful with yourself, in a very gentle and loving way and show you what you might not be seeing or may have missed so you can have a broader, clearer more truthful perception of yourself and the world you live in.
Learning to select essences for others has been a deeply rewarding and enlightening experience. One that has shown me without doubt that we are not alone in our human struggles and the Earth we live on is patiently waiting for us to reconnect with her and make use of the abundance of healing she has to offer, if only we would turn to her for support.
Learning to tune into nature and create essences from the plants and crystals really opens up this connection to a new level as nature connection can be a valuable mirror to our own soul.
Having the opportunity to integrate principals of Embodied Relational Therapy with flower essence consultations has deepened my capacity to connect and relate to both the client and the essences and work more deeply with issues that arise.
Not solely through talking and questioning but through tuning in to the clients energy and prescribing essences that relate to the issues the client is bringing. Some of which they may not be fully aware of.
This allows for supporting others very deeply , without necessarily needing them to say very much or for them to even know what it is they need.
It means working with people who may not be able to specifically identify an issue, or who have several issues that interlink, a little easier as a therapist and also means the client, through using essences to support where they are at that time, can begin to reach a place of clarity on their own process and identify what within them is needing most attention.
By paying attention to a client’s unfolding process through what the essences bring up to clear, support can be offered to match the shifts and transitions a client is going through and space can be held to support the integration of the new energies, insights and understanding that arises.
Seeing people blossom as a result of working with the natural energy of flowers, gems, elements and specific natural environments, seeing how much more quickly people shift through their blocks, stuck-ness and wounding to embody more of their own true soul nature has been an amazing honour to witness.
I’ve particularly enjoyed working longer term over several sessions with people who are looking for ways to find more harmony and balance between themselves and their lives as they navigate transitional periods and times of deep change.
Having an Essence Practitioner to work with allows you to be held and safely supported throughout your time taking the essences. Carefully select essences alongside you means not only are the issues you are aware of being addressed but any subtler , underlying issues can be picked up and gently woven into the healing too.
Having the expertise and skills of a trained counsellor and therapist means you are able to be supported in a deeper process of unfolding if you wish to work longer term or on longer standing , recurrent issues. and core wounding patterns.
The combination of Essences and therapeutic support means our issues can often be worked through more quickly than talking therapies alone.
This blog was first written for My Essence Practitioner Tutor Jackie Stewart and appeared on her Blog at www.Flowerspirit.co.uk as an introduction to working with essences for her Flower Essence Practitioner Training Course.