Seeking comfort

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.

A child out of time

As I type this title, a wave of sadness flows through my right shoulder and rib cage. An anxious feeling jingles the cells in the same place. My breathing is short and shallow and my right hand begins to shake. My arm shakes. I have butterflies in my belly, my throat is tightening and I can feel tears coming and going in waves. Is this safe ?

I take a deep breath and a voice within says ‘yes’.

I wait a few moments to settle into safety and a gentle calm flows over me. An inner nurturing protector steps in to hold the fragile part of me that is afraid to let you in, that is afraid to let you know what the gentle child within me wishes you to see.

That she is here. That she is tired of being alone ‘out there’ on the edges, alone in her vulnerability and sensitivity, not knowing where to turn for comfort and reassurance. And I feel a stabbing in my heart and tears prickling the edges of my eyes but I don’t and won’t cry.

My adult self says ‘now is not the time’. There are things to do. Work to go to. Jobs to be done . Later. When there is time.
I check in with the vulnerable child and sense the disappointment. Yet again she must wait to be seen and be heard . Yet again there is no time for her. I see myself in my minds eye, with my inner child on my lap, holding her. I tell her I will be with her, I will tell her story soon but for now I need to get to work .I tell her that I love her, I haven’t forgotten her and I promise we will speak again soon .

I feel the warmth in my heart swell. I sense her again, not so disappointed, looking forward to being with me again. I sense the anxiety mixed with apprehension – wanting to believe that I will , but afraid I may forget my promise …again.
She needs to speak, to be let in.

I feel the sadness and disappointment of the birthday party that never happened .
The tears cried alone behind closed doors.
The days spent wandering the playground by myself – looking out and seeing the connection that I do not have as though I live behind an invisible wall that you cannot see beyond. Wondering why you wont come near me. Do not see me, like I am not here.  I feel invisible like a ghost but I am not a ghost. I am here.

She speaks  to me -‘ You all exist in a world beyond me and I don’t know how to reach out, to connect, to belong. I feel my brothers loss of his mother, I feel my fathers grief at losing a wife, my mother trying to keep strong and keep going even though she is dying.
I saw it in my dreams; I was with her and she was dying. I feel everything in the space around me, all you never say. I see into your eyes and know your soul but I cannot say a word of it aloud. I know. I always knew. I know you don’t see what I see. I am sad. I am alone.

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I get in the car to travel to work and she is still here, still talking, making sure I don’t forget.

I ask her why she left me – she corrects me – ‘I  didn’t leave, you left me out. You  hurt and couldn’t let me in. I am 5 and 9 and 7 and 6 but mostly 4 –and I am clever!  I teached myself to ride a bike and how to swim, I like music and dancing and winning. I am good at winning but I can’t always win but I like it. I write good stories and I am very clever.’

I nearly don’t type this part because it feels silly to my adult self, but my inner child is not happy – am I ashamed of her? This is her part of the story, why do I not want to share? I promised. So it stays.

I smile and feel a great warmth and affection for my younger self  who has waited all this time to be seen – recognised –validated. I tell her I know how clever she is .How I still like winning and remind her of all the times we won – she says she always knew when she would win and when she wouldn’t, she was sometimes a bit upset but it didn’t matter because sometimes other people have to win too. .

And I slowly let her in. I let her speak. I listen to what it is she needs my grown up self to know . I give her the recognition she never had . I give her the encouragement she never got. I tell her I know how clever she is and how brave she is and that I know she has been on her own for a very long time and I am sorry for leaving her out.

I notice a shift in my energy – she is pleased. she is happy and glad that I have listened to her. She is not sad or disappointed anymore. She is pleased I am not scared anymore to let her in. That I am not afraid to feel how she has felt. It has been so long, I had forgotten how deeply sensitive I was, how much more I used to feel, how much it ached to be in the world.

She holds that part of me that is sensitive to everyone around her – empathic and compassionate. Vulnerable and impressionable to the energy around her . She is my childhood self that knew how to be gentle, vulnerable and soft and did not try to change it , but allowed it to be felt.
She is wanting to return – to be allowed in – the protector has been keeping her out .

She says it’s the wrong way round – protector inside keeping her out- it should be her inside, protector outside keeping us all safe. I tell her she’s right …. She knows I didn’t know until now – she says its ok. In all her childhood innocence she is infinitely wise, compassionate and forgiving.

I sense there are essences I need to take to help this child part of me integrate into my adult self – to address the apprehension and anxiety and the wounds  of an abandoned, forgotten child in distress – I choose Aspen and Heather and Star of Bethlehem . 3 is a good number she adds. I was born on a 3 day .

As the day continues to pass , I feel the emotions my inner child was unable to express and feel them shift until we have become one whole person. I sense there is still some work to be done to fully integrate the gentle vulnerability that has been waiting so long to return .

There is a negotiation with the protectors to keep the child within me safe.

This child self is no longer on the edges of my being. No longer all alone.

She has returned to me. She has been seen. She has been heard. She has been nurtured and protected and she is once again a part of me.

We are together again- this part of me no longer existing as a child out of time .