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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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.

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

Go ‘outside’ to come back ‘within’

By going outside one goes deeper within whether it is outside in nature or outside of your comfort zone or out out into a company of people that you might never do.

Sometimes we have to challenge ourselves to ‘step out’ to come back to the core of things that matter. I took a trip recently that reaffirmed me further into myself, what I am, what I want and don’t want and most importantly what my soul needs. Solitude and quiet have become essential parts to my everyday everything. I almost feel I will not be able to survive and certainly won’t thrive in conditions other than what my soul needs. My body talks loudly to me now as over the years through a lot of work we have finally made friends and my body and soul are good pals too these days. Mind is a useful companion but it also knows when not to interfere with a voice that is always louder being it my body or my soul.

I feel I am becoming more and more inward-looking and my preferences are always away from noise, crowds and rush that happens everywhere. I feel my whole body constricts to a point I can no longer tolerate and before I could but at a high price. Switching off amidst chaos is a tough gig as everything in me absorbs things instantly and getting rid of it takes time, so I aim for minimum exposure.

Being on this trip I felt like I froze and now understand it as a defence that drowns the noise and protects my shell from being penetrated. It is protective. There’s a lot of energy and vitality on the inside yet i found this time it didn’t get affected and I became more of an observer than a participatory partner in it all. I don’t mind observer, it is my other state that somewhat helps me keep calm within, but curious on the outside. Observer state can teach us so much about ourselves, others and how we all fit. I noticed things I never had before and that’s been wonderful.

It has been a year of settling back into yourself but on a much deeper level or one might say yet another spiral downwards got revealed and reaffirmed. There are many cycles or spirals on our journeys towards what we seek. It has not been without challenges but one thing for sure is that it is much harder to know what’s really desired without it being challenged. I find the work interesting as once you know what you don’t like you immediately know what you do like very often.

I enjoyed spring this year immensely and through the years of building a relationship with the seasons I can now say it is my favourite season starting from very early spring to the end of May and beginning of heat. Now as we are building up towards Summer Solstice my retrieval into myself (more than usual) feels like an intentional preparation for my seclusion for summer, which is my least favourite season. It makes sense. I go into hiding, so to speak when the sun rises high and peaks at Litha. I learnt not to rage against it, which I had done for years but to soften instead and focus within giving myself exactly what is needed. I concentrate on early mornings and watering my plants. Enjoying bike rides in the cool evening air when the sun goes to rest. I learn to use water element when fire rises just like in nature. Nurture and compassion instead of rage and harshness, coolness instead of heat. Rather than ‘instead’, perhaps we go for ‘in addition to’ or ‘in compliment to’, as we always aim to balance elements out rather than dominate one over another. I have created a set routine for myself, it seems that neither judges or forces, but flows instead and here I am staying for now watching the year unfold further.

What if I flow…

What if I just flow…

With the wind in the wildest place

With water soft as silk the colour of silver

With green pine needles fragrant with essence

What if I become it…

The place where love is the only religion

That breathes deep nature spirit for eternity

All is well the land whispers into my soul spreading her seasons around me

Go well in my soothing presence and know your belonging in the deepest roots of all creation

In a storm

The storm rages like I rage

Eternal conflict between love and freedom

The land encapsulates both

And whenever I see destruction of nature both freedom and love die within me and

I rage like the wildest sea that despite all life’s chains can not be locked away or tamed

That is the essence of my being

I rage like the blazing sun of mid summer when rain is in hiding and the burning is in the heart that can’t be pacified

My Firy love lies in remote corners of the land where the wild heart of its core merges with mine

Whoever steps in it must be beaten with the power of wilderness, must be tested to a point of no limits

My heart bleeds for the land where wolves roam no longer yet their spirits are alive with roar against the tiny hand of humanity

Destroying land is destroying freedom like a dagger through its own mother’s heart whose love prevails no matter what

The wind, water, fire and cracking earth core are voices, fierce in their screams

Freedom and love – only in land I find they don’t conflict within me

Only here I am simultaneously consumed and released

It is the place where death lies next to me gently