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

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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…

Landscapes and emotions

The first thing to do when we are overwhelmed is to recognise and acknowledge it’s there. Stop being brave and seek to suppress or control, just step into the chaos. It can be a scary concept and counterintuitive but what if we tried, as fighting it is futile.

We must admit something or someone overwhelms us in a way we are no longer in control. We are being swallowed whole by this force larger than ourselves.

I experience it with nature more and more and with particular landscapes. It has been a useful realisation as I continue on my journey of relationship with nature. Overwhelm in particular places reflect parts of myself that are extremely wild and raw, out of control, even damaging. Very damaging. Like an untameable beast it awakens ready to devour when I am in contact with places remote, derelict and moody. I always fear I won’t come back from it yet unable to stay away until this time I looked it straight in the face and admitted defeat, so to speak.

If some landscapes evoke that energy within me that don’t feel safe, sustainable or ‘in life’, there has to be other lands that tap into a gentler, softer parts that are also there. This is what I’d like to explore for the rest of this year and next. As we approach the end of the year I can already see a particular signature emerging for the collective to explore. Kindness, gentle way of being, softer voice and touch and compassion towards everything around us.

In terms of elements I am craving more earth, more sustainability, connection, rational, solid and secure. Leaving the fire season behind feels soothing to my body and soul and I realise the tiredness of fight and anxiety the wild beast awakens in me. I almost wish to be covered up, all cosy and warm in the Earth under leaves, amidst twigs and moisture of its body. I will go on a search of places that will help me connect with other sides through the body rather than a spiritual understanding of particular landscapes. I need to go in and down rather than up and outwards. In this exploration I would like to find further deeper connections with seasons and elements and what it all means in the overall relationship I continue to cultivate with nature.

Back to safety

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Sometimes what once was the centre of your world becomes exhausting, murky and isolating. This year I have opened my eyes to others’ perspectives on that very important thing I had only looked at from my own heart’s perspective. It can be hard to separate heart and mind when the love one feels is all consuming. It is very true what they say about love being blind. Grateful I am for insights and clarity on a picture, which had only ever had one presentation, nothing else compared and something I fiercely and unconditionally protected shutting eyes and ears to anything else in the process. It nearly cost me dearly and took me away in a direction I knew nothing about however much I convinced myself that I did.

Today I looked at that same picture and saw a gloomy, lonely, unwell landscape what before seemed like haven on earth, the only place to live and die. Strikingly it looked back at me as there we both were as if seeing each other for the first time. What an eye-opening experience this summer. I finally admitted and accepted that suffering does not equate eternal bliss, they are polar opposites, yet my attachment to pain, an old pattern, slowly sneaked up into this experience. Being blind was part of the game, part of the lure into a place dark and lonely. Love is a funny thing and that, I understand, relates to all sorts of love, be it for a person, behaviour, place or a certain feeling. We often get blind-sided by what we are not willing to see for the sake of preserving what we think will ultimately bring us joy. When we get out of our heads and step away from this one perspective we can see all the blind spots. The words of others would ring in our ears all at once and suddenly, for the first time, we hear their voices and see their perspective. Being trapped in a love that is projected, idealised can be dangerous, I know it now, as that kind of love will ask you to give up many things and people, who are actually meant to be in your life. Others are like mirrors into our experience, they are there to point out where we are going wrong and take us back into their arms no matter how far we might have strayed. This is a blessing, as what would happen if there was no way back, no one there to welcome us back to a safe shore?

It has been a difficult summer in particular. I found my allies in places I didn’t expect and returning to a home I long forgot provided me with much needed foundation to start rebuilding my experience, anew, in a different way, more kind and compassionate to the whole of myself, not just an isolated part.

Relationships, however, weak, strong, distant or unnoticed are valuable for us all and should be cultivated and cherished even if only for a while, but the most important thing is to notice, to hear, to allow for that hand of help stretch towards us when we don’t know what is good for us. Living in the earthly is fundamental for the spiritual to feel safe – that much is clear. One without the other is limited and it is also the most difficult integration and manifestation there is, the hardest lesson to learn while we remain in this time space reality.

Summer always feels unsafe to me with its unforgiving, merciless sun and the overwhelm of all senses with dense, unpenetrable forests’ paths. I get lost, confused and on edge all of the time, which makes me vulnerable to all sorts of experiences. They hit all at once, relentless dreams, mental states confusion, anxiety, body shutting down its communication. I don’t feel healthy or well during summer and by the end of it I am always exhausted and in a break-down mode in every way. Now with autumn coming, I am finally coming back to myself., back to safety. Relieved I can begin to breathe again. A process of recovery and reconstruction starts all over again, as it does every year. I am yet to figure out a way of working with summer, something, I suspect, is meant to be that exact way, although difficult to tolerate.

Photo: Arielle Vey ariellevey.com

When love is too much

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I said good bye to the land yesterday and this time it is indefinitely. I need to rebuild myself from, what feels like, ground up, as I am completely broken and exhausted from love. Yes, that is possible and I have been here before with another previous love, a human kind. The land has always been like a living breathing entity to me. Our relationship now needs a break and I hear everything it had ever said to me clearly. I cannot go on for the time being. My edges need softening, my rage pacified and my soul needs peace. All love eventually, I believe, leads to pain after an ecstasy of experience.

Rest in knowing I have given you my all without leaving much for myself, but life needs sustaining, nourishing, building and rebuilding if all is to co-exist in balance. It is hard for me to write this, yet I recognise an immense need to release it out of my being, awareness and constant swirling of it all in my mind.

The land is wise. It knows what needs balancing and often we come to realisations through hardship, illness, losses or experiences that are confusing and painful. This time the land spat me out. Like a wild animal that did not want to be domesticated. I dreamt of walking away with ravens and black roses bleeding out of the tips of my fingers and winds howling. Like a horror movie with my heart in my mouth I felt like a curse was in place and it was about to exclude me out of its working finally, for my own benefit. Too much pain and too much love. The two old friends of mine. Intensity had become difficult to bear and I am tired. Misunderstanding, confusion has occurred in this relationship. I have come to understand the reasons behind what had happened and patterns I entangled myself in. I started experiencing loses, threats to my security, family, health, financial losses and my mental stability and peace began to suffer. Confusion, grief, sadness, intensity, apprehension and fear had all been present in me for far too long with my association that rooted in this relationship. It was a warning for my own good and on reflection I am grateful for that ‘rejection’ that really stemmed from mutual love and understanding.

For now I want to be released and something inside me has broken on this last trip, which feels completely necessary. I have also gained awareness of the outside perspective and how others had viewed the situation for many years, which I had been blind to. It is as if I gained a fresh sight and overview of what’s been happening. “Love, indeed, is blind” would be the right description here. I now crave something softer, gentler and kinder like one does coming out of a storm whether in nature or from an internal emotional one. I would like peace of a different kind where loud sharp spiritual messages come as soft whispers instead and where my body feels warm and intact rather than torn to pieces. Sometimes places call us for a reason and my work is nowhere near done, but huge lessons learnt from this deep relationship of unconditional love, destruction, transformation and personal growth. For now I am ‘kicked out’ and I am glad of it, as it is exactly what is needed.

 

 

To fight or be?

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The sacrificial demands of the masculine still angers me, but it no longer sends me into submission, which then fuels guilt, shame and a deep sense of loss. This is no more, yet the signature of masculine vs soul, external vs internal, still presents itself in my reality. I have learnt to recognise it, it is hard not to, as often it takes on a form of such drama that these days I flop my arms by my sides feeling frustrated every time. Sadness is no longer there and I keep my focus and centre intact. I have learnt not to rush into that automatic reaction to what is a very old patriarchal energy running through veins of so many women for generations and centuries even now. Will it ever go? Perhaps, but it will take a long long time to renew the cycle of what is patriarchal manipulation and abuse.

It makes me angry, yes, however, that anger is not reactive, projecting or in any way abusive towards the masculine, instead it is a supportive source to myself that lets me know my own strength and containment. It is holding and steady foundation on which my awareness of my needs is built. This anger lets me see deeper into my soul, my heart and what the feminine, individual and collective, really desires. Whatever it is, we are completely and unconditionally allowed to follow. The masculine demands, however, hold on with all its might for what it considers theirs. Voice of the wells, water, and the feminine of the underworld is still a threat no matter what they would tell you in the open. Just like the response of the feminine towards demands to sacrifice herself lives within psyches of so many, so does patriarchal views and expectations continue to live within masculine. There is no getting away from it. What we have these days is that awareness of both and once we have awareness we have a choice about how we speak, behave and treat one another. It all comes down to a choice and a considered response towards another human, male or female.

I could get angry over and over, I can see myself easily going down that path, but it will only weaken me, as that voice will not be heard if we base that dynamic of the very old signature of ‘silencing the feminine’ even through killing her, as we all know. The masculine is solely responsible for a complete absence of trust in my life to a point that trust, as a concept, feeling, and behaviour is completely alien to me, yet I am more than capable of functioning successfully within all relationships. Yep, it is possible. I have never come across masculine energy that spoke to me of honour, honestly, loyalty or devotion. I have seen examples of the opposite multiple times that turned my stomach with disgust and a deep sense of pity. And no, a female doesn’t need to be a victim of abuse to witness this energy in everyday life, which, in many ways, even worse. So, you see, I can easily turn towards hatred and become a persecutor having been made a victim for centuries. This will only hurt me and other women. In many ways we don’t have to fight, as we know who and what we are. Time showed us over and over the ultimate power of the feminine. The most important thing is to remember our souls’ callings whatever they might be, are free to manifest. We are allowed to fly as high as we want and feel glorious about it. If one embraces its own containment, centres their actions around good and kind and exercise personal power daily there is a possibility of coming to a place of meeting one another in our humanness.

If you are experiencing the presentation I talk about above, consider not the why you feel this way, as this is easily recognisable for women, but what you choose to feel instead, what you become fand how you are going to grab your soul in your hands and carry it like the brightest torch in a place as dark as this world can be. Never give up on yourself no matter what voices you hear or forces that visit you when you are weak, hold on to that heart of yours with pride. It is in the softness our strength lies really.