Soul Land review

From a Druid, writer and poet, Nimue Brown, the author of many wonderful books on nature-based spirituality, comes a review of my poetry collection. I am so pleased she enjoyed it.

I love how she framed them as Bardic songs, letters. So interesting, which makes it even more significant for me.

https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2020/07/19/soul-land-a-review/

Hidden

Hidden

Unreachable, beyond awareness

Dead to the world

Alive to myself

Linked with the animal and land

And no more

Rejoiced in not found and lost

Until I call for it… if ever

I remain in a way of spirit

Like a ghost to the living

Like a flesh to natural

I am a flower petal as pink as the sky falling beyond the sea

A blade of grass the same colour as ancient hills beyond

I hide in small to become aware of the giant infinity of being

And out there I disappear, as angry feet stamp out all that’s soulful

Away from view yet looking through the brightest biggest window

Hidden away yet fully alive

Three wishes for Yule

Winter Solstice

Mind is our biggest ‘prison’. There is nothing more our mind wants is to be stuck on the same track over and over, go in one direction. It doesn’t like change, it doesn’t like upgrading, it is in that sense primitive and when questioned will rebel in strong ways. However, we all want to be free, flowing, silent and not-attaching to anything that brings us worries and restlessness. Freeing yourself from thinking patterns is a way towards reclaiming some of our freedom. Thinking also causes our feelings and if you don’t like feeling a certain way and get trapped in a cycle, attend to your thinking. Challenge it, avoid engagement, refuse to listen, give yourself more than just following what the mind says. Remember, the mind doesn’t know any better, only what had been programmed and practiced, it is its familiar territory and until the course is changed, it will continue on the same track. Thoughts and feelings are entwined. If you believe or choose to think something, as it comes, you will feel a certain way every single time as a result of that thought. As you become aware of some of the ways you think, you can then choose how to proceed. Particularly with things that are ‘historical’, i.e. past-created patterns of thinking, you must be careful not to keep repeating the same way of thinking, as it will only bring the same way of feeling.

Ever since I was I was a child I remember wanting nothing more than a peace of mind.  I knew on a physical level that it is my thinking that had been causing a lot of things, yes I had to wait to become an adult to figure it out. As an adult through years of practice and healing I have understood what it does and why and have explored ways of reconciling with it, making it work for me. It has not been easy. The reason why I love Buddhism is because it shows us not just what the mind does, but how to become skilful in working with its patterns through observation and letting it be, choosing not to engage at all times. Read my post of my findings related to this Lessons from today’s meditation

The reason why I love earth-based spirituality is because it involves working and being with ‘the whole’. It includes our physical bodies, emotions and spirit and mind becomes a supportive vessel for all the other parts and vice versa. There is less struggle. Mind is not alone and other senses have great value.

This Yule I am wishing for three things:

  • A peace of mind
  • A clarity of mind
  • A quietude of mind

It is possible to ‘master’ your own thinking and there is a distinct sense of satisfaction and control when it is successful. Even if it might often be temporary the fact that it was once possible provides hope for all future attempts. Practice makes perfect. When a change in thinking is introduced, the edge is taken off patterns and beliefs. They no longer rule over everything. One way of thinking that helps is understanding that some things can’t be controlled and any worry or overthinking is futile and, for me, anything that becomes heavy to carry or be with is pointless, as it only adds to the overall hardship of existence and a state of things life often presents. We must quieten does, lighten the load and connect more often through other senses cultivating a sense of peace. Effort is always met with reward in my experience. Continuous striving is what life is and we must never give up on ourselves. We can always choose what we think and what we focus on remembering not to make it ‘heavy’, but make it easier wherever possible.

I am off to find a Yule log this week and will bear my three wishes in mind when being with the log, decorating it and then burning it for next year.

I hope you too will become aware of things you want to come more into your life during this celebratory time of welcoming back the light and go on to manifest your goals with authenticity, passion and integrity.

Blesses Yule, everyone!

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

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