Summer overwhelm

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As summer begins to spread her warm embrace throughout the land for me achieving a balanced state of mind becomes challenging. I begin to feel enclosed with everything blooming into thick foliage and undergrowth. As winter is a time of spaciousness and openness for me, summer is overwhelming to my senses. It makes me withdraw slowly with each day inwards, as woodlands become overgrown and noisy with life and potential. I do welcome early mornings and late evenings gladly in summer, as during that time magic is all around. It feels like an undiscovered time and space for many and energies during that time is vibrationally very different to a summer day time. I crave cool and open spaces of the northern mountains and lakes where I feel I can stretch not just my physical body and ingest the land in its majesty, but allow my mind fly high above where there are no enclosures. My walks become infrequent, if any at all, during summer unless I get up early or go out late into the fresh and fragrant air of a day anew. Summer can be a difficult time of emotional overwhelm for me just as vegetation of the land spreads its thick green coat over everything and bursts into colour and vibrant noise of wild life. I want to be still, hidden, in-doors just like it happens for many in winter. Summer demands engagement, participation and joy. It heats up the land so many would come out to play, but not me. I feel that pull strongly yet choose to remain in a position of my choice.

This year is all about new and different yet with each day I do feel the contraction of my physical and emotional into a space of hidden safety within my home and psyche. That has not changed. Previousl I would drop into a deepd depression as heat of the land rose with each day and what made it difficult is my resistance to it, my own judgement on the season of ‘too much’. What is new this year is my outlook on ‘what is’. Resistance is less and acceptance is more, which allows further self-compassion towards my way of being without having to do anything different or throwing judgement into it. It is how it is and my awareness keeps me grounded in what each season teaches me about myself. That is invaluable.

Another post of the subject

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Getting lost in a forest

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Getting lost in a forest evokes fear that is tangible and real, but it also brings a sense of freedom, potential for adventure and exploration. It brings in hope into being that the right path will be found sooner or later. We all need to get lost sometimes and to find ourselves again.

Today was such a day when I got lost in a forest for the very first time. I couldn’t help but wonder whether that was exactly what was needed. Experience mimicked my state at the time precisely when I felt a bit lost within and struggled to obtain guidance with my inner compass in a bit of a shutdown mode. I don’t think my navigation wanted to work in that moment, come to think of it. It stayed shut down on purpose to let me get lost in order to find something.

Trees all around me spoke of potential today as I entered this particular grove. It called me this morning and without hesitation I went, as I always do. I stood amongst trees delighting in the fresh air and bird song overheard. I felt that love, connection and peace that nature brings and solitude that is so sweet to my soul. I walked off the path, like always do and it was when I had to make a ‘crossing’ that I realised I was getting lost yet that particular road I had to cross. I walked intuitively and intentionally away from places where people could be. I needed to feel through a place, its colours and textures. I needed to hear mud under my feet and feel moisture of tree bark against my face. Most of all I needed to be alone to hear my own heart beating and feelings surfacing as natural as water coming to shore and retreating back into the ocean again. I needed to walk in rhythm with my own breathing, undisturbed and aware. Never before had I got lost, but today I did, however it sprung a door open within me, the awareness of fear, doubt, worry and all those emotions that take us away from ourselves yet connect us to ourselves and inner resources at the same time.

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It was all good, all useful to feel and experience. As I spoke to myself trying to find a way back I carried the inner knowing that all would be good at the end. I had my own back, I was with myself and that was enough. It was good enough, I was good enough. Trust, faith and understanding of what something means or trying to tell us is awareness. It is all in connection all of the time. That road, trees, my feet, body, voice and emotions worked as one, inseparable, in one motion of being on one afternoon. Collaboratively it all leads to something, which is neither good nor bad, but rather both and it is all ok.

Invigorated by the experience I settled into my car with a spark in my heart and I felt complete and grateful. I felt looked after by myself and by the forest around me. A feeling of potential spread all through my body and I inhaled deeply the feeling of spring coming. New hope, growth and planting the seed of what’s to come.

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Memories in the snow

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I woke up from a dream of being back in my Siberian land. Dreams that take me there are always set in winter. Most of my childhood and youth’s significant events happened in winter and amidst snow and remain the most memorable to this day. Sledging with friends in freezing temperatures when we couldn’t feel our faces, hands and feet, yet incredibly happy and full of joys of childhood. My first kiss, awkward, yet warm and sweet. The day I let him go also took place in the middle of winter with me crying in the bright light of street lamps and snow sparkling all around us. I remember my blue mascara running down my cheek as if it was yesterday and the smell of his winter coat as he pulled me close to his chest. I remember his heart beat as we said good-bye.

I recall ice-skating with my father and falling into the deep snow, up to my waist, in the wilderness forest. We laughed a lot. Another kiss takes me back to a sacred place where memories stand still and not just my own, but for the whole nation. Wearing white hat and mittens in a cream coloured coat I was deeply in love.

As I walked to the window this morning I was greeted with a snow-covered garden and land beyond. Beautiful. It continued to snow all morning and I decided to go into the forest for some nature and elements communion. I always feel it is such a raw, spiritual and necessary experience to immerse yourself in the elements be it rain, snow, sunshine or wind. Each element awakens something within, touches upon places that need to be visited to remind us of what is essential and where we are in life. Crunchy under my feet I found snow and pure white landscape stretching ahead taking me further into my memories and on a journey of seeing and feeling things I hold dear to my heart. Memories flooded in like a bitter-sweet river and looking around me I smiled also feeling a smidge of sadness in my heart. He is long gone, but what he left is a place within me that is unconditional love and to this day I carry it inside and always will. Forest was noisy with splats and swooshing sounds of snow falling off branches. Many trees were bent down under the snow weight touching the ground. I stopped and breathed it all in. I miss him still and I remember everything like it was yesterday. Sadness filled my heart, but it is no longer grief or longing, it is settled and contained, warm and alive. It is love, forever.

Healing Earth

Today I took my sobbing heart to dig some earth
With each forward motion I felt my pain release into her rich and warm body
I played and felt and digged and squashed the black softness of her flesh in my hands
I caught myself smiling as I lifted some carrots off the earth bed and like orange lanterns they shone bright straight into my heart
The smell of nourishment entered my senses
I bowed all the way touching her in gratitude to the release of pain
As I was leaving my heart weighed less with sorrow and more with content

Coming back to yourself – identity and spirit

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As a psychotherapist and a transpersonal approach practitioner the aim of my work with clients is to facilitate making ‘whole’ and help clients get back to themselves, get back ‘home’.

This time of year brings me closer to my roots, to my ancestors of birth and land. I begin communicating with and seeing them more clearly. My food changes according to how they had eaten and I occupy myself with activities, music, books that had been familiar to them. Most of those traditions are closely woven with nature cycles, seasons. My home and people carry nature in their blood. It is as natural to us as mother’s milk. All traditions and customs that we undertake every season is never questioned by anyone. They are observed in a way that flows very naturally between generations, genders and ages. There is this common knowing, understanding and love of nature. We are in a very close relationship with all things nature. Spirit, emotions, intellect and physical sensations can all be linked to our expression through a relationship with nature. There are references to it in literature, poetry, music and language is filled with a variety of descriptions of moods, changes and emotion-evocative experiences. Nature is a living breathing being for my ancestors and myself.

What happened to me five years ago was a shift, a push towards ‘home’, back to myself. I needed to get back to my roots from which I also needed to cut off for some time in order to survive and fit in. I had to start a process of remembering, re-integration, re-igniting of my knowledge, resonance and love of what roots and home meant for me. This journey also connected me to the land that I currently live on and through finding striking similarities in the landscape and the emotions that it evoked in me, that remembering of ‘home’ journey became very rich and fulfilling. The process happened with nature spirit flowing through me at all times. I connected to my roots through learning and remembering about trees, weather patterns, the elements, magic, plants, my love for certain things in nature and remembering and connecting who I was then and who I am now in terms of what spirit lives within me.

I am writing this after watching a wonderful presentation on ‘Identity and spirituality’ as part of my CPD and it reminded me of my own process of connecting with my roots and establishing a solid knowing and understanding who I am now through who I was then and the process of becoming and evolving. It is the process of finding what is at the centre of my being.

In my practice I feel passionate about working with both issues, identity and spirituality, and both are closely linked in making ‘whole’.

It opens up discussion about your beliefs on whether we are spiritual beings having an experience on Earth or are we human beings with a spiritual nature. It might mean the same to some, to others there are clear differences. It would depend on your own personal experiences regarding spirit and beliefs about life on earth and afterlife. To me, spirit is an integral part of who we are along with our other aspects or functions, cognitive, emotional, physical and all operate together and ideally harmoniously. However, where there is a lack of presence or distorting in operation in one or more of these functions then a ‘whole’ is disturbed. For example, a person struggles to express their emotions or their thoughts are distorted or they manifest their difficulties rooted in the mind or heart through the body or their spirit is asleep or remains unreachable or unknown. In my work as a transpersonal therapist I aim to bring a person into balance, and to get all functions/aspects operating together and in harmony.

Summer and exposure

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As summer energy begins to spread through the land in its blooming attire we have an opportunity to come out, lay bare, expose.

Summer is a time for outer expression, exploring potential and examining inner and outer in its full spectrum. As nature steps into its blooming coat, so do we seek opening up and exploring. This is a ‘Full Moon time’ in its energetic signature, if you like, where things have built up within and without and it is time to show ourselves to the world and to ourselves, warts and all.

My trip to the island of Skomer on the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales made me see parallels between how nature comes into its full potential and how it is an opportunity for us to expose all that had been hidden, open up to a more authentic way of being. The insight came through my own experience of fully exposing parts of myself that might not seem favourable, ugly even, yet while in nature I felt it almost necessary to go with whatever was manifesting within and it felt safe. This experience was new and I suspect there will now be more chances for me to ‘show myself’ fully. I have been in ‘hiding’ during summer months for as long as I remember, yet, perhaps, the time has come to make changes in ways of expression and authenticity.

With exposure comes acceptance and an integration follows, which is an important part to bringing us back to whole, back to ourselves. Was I scared I won’t be accepted or be judged? In the moment I didn’t think, I simply was in a state I was in. I did and didn’t enjoy it, as one would expect, but with exposure and real experience comes such clarity and awareness, which is so useful. On reflection when an opportunity comes for an exposure so does fear for not being accepted for who we are. As a society certain traits and behaviours might be looked down on, but there is also a chance that people that you surround yourself with will sit through that ‘exposure’ with you and become curious about sides of you they might not have seen before. If they manage to hold the experience and still feel the same those are the people that are meant to be around you, furthermore it gives others an opportunity to do the same, i.e. becoming more ‘exposing’ of themselves, accepting of others and freer as a result. We are all dark and light, beautiful and less so, hard and soft and the ability to be present with it all makes us stronger in knowing ourselves and connecting even deeper with others. We often fear alienating others and seek to conform, hide and comply, but we all know what that feels like. Sooner or later all of our inner pieces that are yearning to be exposed will spill into an ugly mess.

I felt inspired watching nature in its most open state, in its full blooming capacity. Nature doesn’t think or waits to be exposed it just does it regardless every year. Summer is the culmination of that energy manifesting everywhere. With exposure comes danger, as beauty can be just as threatening as ugliness. On some level we are threatened not just by others’ beauty, but by our own. We often do not see or realise our own beauty and potential, so we remain hidden and silent. ‘Be brave’, summer would say, bloom anyway even when someone might step on our blooming heart or cut us down mindlessly without a second thought. The song we sing might be our last, as we take flight into the summer air, but sing anyway, the more beautiful the better. Exposure of the body, mind and spirit is so necessary and summer is a powerful time to explore ourselves in our most vulnerable, naked state. There is a potential to be fully empowered.

I learnt the only way to be authentic is just that – expose. Summer allows that space and a perfect opportunity to seek acceptance from within. If we can stand our own shadow energies, watch it unfold, manage to contain it post-exposure and still be ok, we become more whole. This process is of freeing ourselves from the thinking that is harsh and judgemental, often coming from within. Take inspiration from blooming flowers and singing birds, vulnerable, but free in knowing they are blooming even if just for a short time. Nature is accepting of itself, it is not critical, shy or seeking approval. It just is. What greater example is there of authenticity of being.

 

Forest overdose

Images: Epping forest
copyright RawPagan

An interesting memory was triggered within me accompanied by a powerful experience when having been out in the forest all day on a workshop I felt extremely unwell.

I began feeling it was too much half way through the day as my vision got fuzzy and I felt pressure in my head. I also found it difficult to connect to others while in nature.

The experience took me back to my childhood when I remember spending long days in a forest either berries or mushroom picking and just how exhausted we all felt afterwards. I experienced the same symptoms yesterday, bright red face with a strong headache, blurred vision and feeling very tired physically. Not a pleasant state to be in. Nature overdose. I am convinced it is possible and spending long periods of time out in nature amongst trees can really alter things within us and it can be a difficult adjustment, experience.

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