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.

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.

 

 

I am home

The wilderness possesses me with its air as fresh and sharp as a blade of grass

My senses entwine with the spirit it holds

Precious, powerful, ancient

I walk the place feeling the roots grabbing at my feet

I need it, oh how I need it

Take me whole, I say,

Swaddle me in mystery and myth so I can become the voice as ancient as eternity

Wilderness feeds me with its elements as vibrant and penetrating as a gaze of a loved one

I surrender to the glory of all it is and become myself at once as a native animal at a distance and wild flowers all around

The wind slaps me in the face and I welcome its magic of removing webs of my unseeing

Immersion in the body of its water engulfs me as the loving and nurturing mother

I am home, fed, alive like never before

Beauty in a heartbreak

When a heart breaks magic happens. It reawakens qualities in us we forgot existed.

Ever since I was young I have been an advocate of feeling. Feeling deeply, openly, letting your pain spill out into the world like a cry from a place of the darkest shade. There’s beauty in suffering and sorrow and that is because something in us awakes when we are broken hearted, sometimes subtly, sometimes profoundly and we all know that nothing can be the same again and we are changed by it. It often goes unrecognised as we are programmed not to feel, shamed and punished for it from tender age and so it goes from one system into another. For as long as I remember I have been revolting against the oppression that is ‘no dark feelings are allowed’ and have been fighting against suffering in silence. It damages the soul to the extent of it being either abandoned or exiled.

Do you know what a gift it is to be able to feel to the deepest places which only soul can touch? Sorrow speaks of the depth of feeling one is capable of and most of the time it speaks of the power of love that is immeasurable and precious. Through the pain it shines like nothing else.

If only we let ourselves feel to the full open capacity, with honour and compassion not only healing occurs but a transformation that takes us to another level of being present in our authenticity. There is nothing more real than a broken hearted being. It’s raw, it’s tender, vulnerable and beautiful.

In my practice I work with feelings more than anything else. It is the work of carving the light out of a dark cave that is pain and trauma. It is hard, labour intensive, emotionally taxing yet when the break occurs and the heart turns to healing through allowing feelings to flow, results are stunning in its beauty. One touches the soul place once more and it speaks of all that’s been forgotten and suppressed. It offers gifts to us that we had always had within and now we can use them.

Feelings are wise. They live in our bodies and attempt to bring us back to who we are truly from the first moment before the world stamped its hard armour onto us. Through opening up to pain we recognise and accept and visit all the places within that had iron gates on them for what seems like eternity. It is that stepping off the predictable, lit and well-walked path into the dark woods where treasures lie and transformation back into the soul beckons.