Poetry book coming out in 2020

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I am very proud and excited to present my forthcoming book. It is a devotional to the land I have had a profound relationship with for many years.

I am working with a publisher on this project and the next stage is a cover design. Below is a blurb and advanced information for the collection. Follow me on here or my Instagram feed for more updates on this project and some others #raw_nature_spirit

SOUL Land

Nature ~ Scotland ~ Love

poetry book

 

(to be published April 2020)

‘A spiritual love affair with the land’

This collection of poems is a result of the author’s spiritual journey and reveals a powerful personal account through a deep and profound connection to the land of Scotland. Both emotional and touching, with universal themes of nature and love at the centre, the author portrays a transformational effect of stunning Scottish landscapes on the soul and life as a whole. Engaging in an emotional struggle to bring spiritual and earthly together, this eloquent collection is written with devotion and reverence and offers an exploration of a spiritual identity through the land. Through the poems, the author shows how the beauty of natural places can be soothing and hopeful in times of turmoil. At its heart, this volume is a spiritual love story between the land and the author, exploring the elements of nature as they are in the wild, as well as in our souls.

“… when I first stepped upon the land my heart exploded in ecstasy. My love affair began when I first experienced this strange merging with something primal and bigger than myself.”

Signature for 2020

It has been a challenging year and at times provided no mercy or protection at all in terms of emotional, cognitive, phisycal or spiritual understanding or being with. Some structures fell apart right in front of us without giving any clues of how to get through the disappearance of some realities that had been constructed over many years. Emptiness, but in a very painful way rather than a soothing comfort, came into contact with the world we live in and again a sense of hopelessness was present during many months this year.

We are walking into 2020 with our shadow material right in front of us and it will not be a pleasant or joy filled experience. Shadow work is powerful but always hard. However resisting it is not the answer. To make it easier we must surrender. There’s no longer any hiding places. Things that we thought we had dealt with or forgotten many years ago will rear its head and slap us in the face. For some it has already started. It will feel distabilising in a way like never before. It will confuse everything we think we know. Mind will start desperately making sense of it all giving us the worst feeling and disconnecting from the body. Be mindful of not falling into traps of trying to rescue or soothe yourself in ways that are not beneficial like drugs and alcohol, e.g. Share with as many people as you can what you are going through. As this is collective you will find others inviting you in and sharing back. This is the area that will remain hopeful. Know to use it.

Self-care will be crucial if we are to stay somewhat grounded in order to deal with our ‘demons’. It will not be easy, but will be worth it as we will really have to put ourselves first and give all our parts compassion and space in which to cry, rage and transform. Patience will be needed and an ability to stay contained. Tough times. We will be faced with Shadow work like never before inviting us to accept it all completely. There will be no choice given following up on this year’s manifestations and some of us are not good with having no choice, myself included.

Spiritual will be harder to access or practice in a way that we are used to. This is due to a close connection of spiritual and earthly so both will come into question. Elements will quieten down and also will be harder to involve. A theme of silence and emptiness will continue. This will be more challenging than every before.

We will be asked to define meaning for all areas of our lives in fine detail. In that we are asked to be more focused, more productive and intentional in everything we do. The world requires order, which is not devoid of meaning. The one that will provide a solid foundation for years to come. We will also be asked to redefine security, safety for us personally and as an overall vibration.

Following on from this year things will be falling away and apart in preparation for a new foundation. Clearing space will manifest in work, personal life, beliefs and patterns. In itself this is a good thing although the way it will come about will be painful as many still struggle to let go. The focus will go further down into our past, places we never wanted to see again. The soil/foundation will need to be richer and cleaner than ever before, so a radical removal is required and furthermore, fertilisation in a way like never before, steady, patient and taking time. It will be slow. The process starting next year will go on for a while, I feel, and we will need to get used to it in a way of participating in it rather than resisting it as this is just the beginning of the next cycle.

My writing process so far

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I am near the end of my first-drafting a novel journey and learning, growth, inspiration and genuinely rich experiences that have come out of it so far are bursting out of me. I didn’t have specific expectations going into this process of what it is like to start and complete a work of fiction. All I knew that it was time and I needed to do it. I have written non-fiction and poetry before and writing fiction has proven to be a very different experience. Poetry was a unique, completely spiritual and intuition-based experience and non-fiction is something that I enjoy and approach with a different attitude. I enjoy experiencing and researching and putting my findings into words. I have learnt a lot about myself as a person, as a writer, as a woman undertaking a novel writing and many things have been re-affirmed for me. I have a bit longer to go and currently taking a break and reflecting on the journey so far. Many writers would relate to some of my lessons, I am sure, as I found hearing the old wisdom coming through with each experience I was having and nodding my head. I have read and listened to many authors’ lives and experiences by this point. Many nuances of the journey are my own, and unique, however, and finding a personal creative path and voice, to me, is absolutely necessary and the most exciting part of the process.

Here is a summary of things that I have learnt so far on my journey of writing long fiction:

You will hear this many times and it is a life-saver advice for sure. Do not edit as you write. Just write without going back and editing and re-writing. Keep moving forward. Editing comes later on. The first draft (there will be many) is just telling a story to yourself. This will help you progress, eliminate doubt, self-critique, etc., which is not what the first draft about.

It is possible to write anywhere, anytime and allowing for a needed process on any given day to unfold is important. Nothing should be forced. Drop preconceptions, unhelpful advice, expectations put on yourself or through others’ experiences. Do it your way. Daily I would make a decision where I wanted to write and on what device depending on how I felt. I experimented a lot and it was so interesting. For example, I asked myself or rather tuned into my feelings on the day what feels good whether it is my sofa with a laptop in the middle of afternoon or would it be on my phone while I was out for a walk or as my regular set-up at my desk in the morning. More often than not I just knew what I wanted. Intuition again is your friend no matter what you do. When I first started I wrote early in the morning every day and it worked wonderfully for me. I am productive and eager during mornings, but as time went on I allowed myself to experiment with other devices other than my desktop computer and other places. I also found the second spurt of energy or a clear space in my head often appeared between 2.00 and 3.00pm in the afternoon, so I took that. Another way for me to write that transpired was in the evening with noise going on around me, TV in the background and people in the room. I wrote on my phone a lot. At the end it was wonderful to know I could do it anywhere, at any time. I also feel that when it comes to the editing stage that is where my handwriting will come in. So far I haven’t used it in this process.

Things can’t be forced and breaks are allowed and you will know when you need a break. I went through days when I felt upset by what I was writing, or my character would hide away from a conflict that needed to happen, or towards the end I just didn’t want to think, read, write and do anything. It all happened. It took sometime before my story began living within me and characters really came forward. Then there was another period of time before they started communicating. Becoming aware of the characters was great and it helped me progress as they took over and story began to be told through their wishes and needs. I gave over control and proceeded according to what characters were saying and how they would answer questions I would ask of them.

I love, love, love intuitive downloads or inspiration flashes, as many would call it. When it comes it comes in this complete, clear form and writing is easy. This happened to me during this process too and I was glad it did.

I enjoyed setting a schedule and managing my time. It plays very well into productivity, results and increase in your writing speed over time. It is good and I found writing something every day is a great tool no matter how many words and in however many sittings. Focusing and commitment are definitely very important parts to a writing process. A balance between order, structure, routine and intuition/inspiration is a winning combo.

I learnt that I do not enjoy making things up when I intentionally do it (intuitive writing is a different thing) and prefer writing non-fiction on the whole, but this might change over time as I experience fiction writing more. I trust it will become clearer and for now it is too soon to tell.I am a visual, sensory that needs to see, touch and smell ‘a scene’, ‘an image’, etc. before I can talk about it. This is probably quite common. You can’t write what you can’t see clearly is true for me.

During my process I had a critique group going where the beginning chapters were being reviewed. I found it helpful, motivational and helped me self-reflect. Criticism is good and healthy.Reading on writing is very helpful and so is reading books in your genre. I finally understood the importance of reading in order to write and writing in order to know what your reading preferences are. Again, I came to a conclusion that I like a particular genre and prefer reading non-fiction.

Writing as a therapeutic process. I started this project with the intention of it being for myself, as a process of learning the craft, releasing a story that had been waiting for many years to be told and putting something to rest. I did just that through my heroine’s voice and her intentions she re-defined her journey and told me a different ending to the one I conceptualised before. Changing the ending of something is very powerful I can tell you. At the moment though, as she is very satisfied with how things ended and she loves it she doesn’t want to go back and look over parts of the story that still need her attention. So partly, I wait and partly I employ some tools to convince her to tell me more. Writing a novel is a great opportunity to re-write the ending of whatever story you might have been holding on to for whatever reason. It is also therapeutic because you are finding and using your own voice either as a narrator or through your characters. You hear yourself for the first time, as I did. It was revelatory and strange, but again, powerful.

Alternating writing with a physical activity, walking in my case, always walking, works for me. I would write for two hours and then I need to get out. Switching up activities kept the routine going and just felt containing and balanced.

This one is more for the future, as I plan my next step and it is beginning to write as ideas come through, not putting it off. Writing continuously is important in order to improve the craft and define your voice more with each book or a project.

I found the process incredibly rich, fascinating and so inspiring on many levels that I can say I am in love with the process, not necessarily with my book or the idea, but the process itself. It opens up so many avenues for growth and improvement and makes self-awareness and aspirations for the future clear. It is an organic and alive process too, which, if allowed to unfold and live, will bring a lot more insights.

Image: a mock cover for my novel that I created with a few others and found it helpful in my creative process. Goes back to the point about seeing things in images. 

Post-Samhain and the end of 2019

It has been such exciting times here at my headquaters of Raw Nature Spirit. All through September, October and now November, my time has been filled with writing a novel. More exciting news is that my book of poetry SOUL LAND is being published and released at the end of April 2020. I have been busy editing, writing and creating.

Samhain just gone was a beautiful day and very different from previous years. Very grounding and calm times for me. I feel there has been growth, maturity, releasing more of residual non-essentials and creating space for all that nourishes us and will continue to nourish us in 2020. This year has really been a foundation for what’s to come in 2020 where we will be embracing ourselves fully and stepping into our gifts and purpose once and for all. We have really come into our own at this point in time and now further unfolding begins towards more subtle layers of wisdom. Nature speaks to us louder than ever and our senses are sharper than ever, so letl’s use it all to create heaven on earth.

Pay attention to unconscious rumblings through feelings and behaviours, materials coming up in dreams and insights that might come in daily.

Happy New Year, nature folk around the world. Many blessings!

Follow my journay and frequent updates on instagram #raw_nature_spirit

Scotland – a way forward

My relationship with Scotland has been profound over the years, as many of you will know. I have travelled north, south, through central parts and inner and outer isles and in each place I discovered a part of myself that showed me various truths about what life and love means to me, reminded me of profound grief and loss and soothes me into a sense of peace and quiet. Most of all nature understanding within and without is something I will always see as a priceless gift I was given in this lifetime.

This year things have broken down literary on this path of my relating to the land and lessons have been huge. I felt as if the land spat me out all ragged and wounded with a sense of self lost and disintegrated. My heart broke and I disconnected from everything and everyone as a result. I left the land exhausted and ill not wanting to look back.

Now the storm is over and I have grounded into the earthly quality of autumn once again I am beginning to reflect on my journey so far and clear a way forward in this profound connection I feel to the land and to myself subsequently. I am setting an intention to redefine this connection, fine-tune it. I am evaluating and comparing my experiences and looking at various sides of myself that have come forward as a result of my journey through the land. Where the wild North torn me to pieces and stripped me of the ground beneath my feet, isles got me in touch with a quiet of my internal possibilities and the central part always held me steady I am clearly defining places that I want to engage with going forward. It is almost like I am creating healthy boundaries for myself like with any other relationship. I know where to go and what not to engage with necessarily for my own peace and vitality as well as for maintaining balanced relationships with significant others in my life. In terms of the elements I know that woodland (Earth) vibrates on the closest level to what I am deep down, whereas the sea is quite far from my essence, although lakes and rivers (water but on a gentler scale) are singing the song my soul recognises. It’s natural. Mountains are incredibly supportive and holding to me and with their spaciousness (Air) I find the balance in my breath (this took time).

I now know that after surrendering to the utterly wild side of myself and the land where there is no mercy on soul or body I now seek balance, warmth and gentleness instead. I want to feel safe and contained. Those are the qualities I want to cultivate further and one particular place I feel can support me in that. Interestingly enough it is a place where I visited Scotland first. So I have come a full circle, one might say, and returned to the understanding of myself on a much deeper level and what truly matters to me in this life.

I am publishing my poetry collection Soul Land soon as a tribute to my spiritual love affair with the land over the last few years. Watch the space.

Much love

All things must come to an end

autumn in Scotland, Perthshire

The energy of Mabon is upon us and it feels immensely nourishing. The time is truly reflective of things dying off, competing projects, merging with the earth in a way that goes back to its original state, a state of emptiness and darkness. It is not about dying, but leaving the light behind and withdrawing into the darkness of all things till light returns. All must come to an end. Looking back on the year we can think of what needs to die, what we struggled with that we now must accept as the ultimate release, ending and conclusion.

For me this Mabon I am letting go of something that had proved futile after years of struggling to keep it alive. Acceptance of an end is not easy yet energies are asking me to come to terms with the door that is now closing. In fact it had been locked for many years and this autumn I am finally letting it go. We must turn around and walk away knowing we tried, fought and didn’t win. It is the time for the struggle to end, to release attachments to what is not to be, not now and possibly not ever. This time of year teaches us to come back to ourselves as if we are to be born again, not reliving old scripts, holding on to perceived desires and going against the current.

“Walk away, leave it to die completely,” it says. Release resistance to what must dissipate into dust.

Deep sadness is present during this time yet there is a promise of being free of struggles once I shed what is destined to dissipate into dust. It is important I give gratitude for the experiences that are offered to me daily, some profound and some simple. All of it is wrapped up as one gift of life, learning, pain and joy, all as one sacred experience of life and who we are. Counting your blessings at this time can work as a relief that weary souls are in need of this time of year.

Last night’s vision

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Black creatures flew over the loch at dusk that planted me in watchful anticipation. They had bodies of herons, bat wings and a sense of ravens about them. They swirled beautifully over the water with their sharp-edged wings, circling in perfect harmony and then settled along the shore edge. The sky shone pink and grey and water sparked in approaching darkness. I held my breath waiting for something else to come out of this picturesque scenario. Out of a flock of this bird-like creatures a leader seemed to appear and as it unfolded its elegant, perfectly structured wings it grew in size and I sensed its leadership. It did not feel malevolent or threatening although there was a sense of caution in what was about to come. The creature’s movements were gentle and carefully placed. It was in no rush to reveal its message to me. I felt I had to really listen, but noticed resistance in my body straight away. What part of me was going to defy this creature’s message? Was I crazy? I watched in awe. I could clearly see bright light seeping from under its black feathery cloak. It was well protected and hidden and there was more darkness than light. I felt a stab of sadness remaining mesmerised by this creature’s beauty. It spoke:

“This is not the place for you, not yet, not now. Go towards the light, not darkness and embrace all that your life has to offer. This is not the place, as it drags you into the land’s wounds and you lose yourself. It is not what is meant for you, not at this point. Draw the light from within and move towards it. We are the guardians of the lake and there is darkness that is familiar to us, but it is not for you to dwel in, not yet. See your own light and take the cloak of what sorrows you off your shoulders. Do not come, do not wait, you are not one of us, not yet, may be not ever.”

I suddenly became aware of the amount of light within myself and a huge part just dying to throw itself forward in its rejection. It made sense yet it didn’t. Sadness entered me once more.

The queen bird took her slender body off the shore and into a graceful flight with her flock following in perfect formation over the lake. I didn’t feel relief. I stood bereft watching them fly away still not quite in possession of the insight, resisting it with all I have. This is going to be a continuous struggle and part of me wants it that way. Sad, hopeless, in chains…