I am whole…

Isle of Mull, Scotland

An open view as far as the eye can see. I can even feel beyond that. For the first time in many years the picture is complete with every mountain sketch, rock, shoreline and bird in the sky in full view. The sun is high yet gentle and blues and greens are in perfect harmony with a splash of purple and pink in corners and edges of the land. We are approaching. A castle stands proud above the cliffs that shelter a sheer drop. It is still here. I delight in that reassurance.

When a view opens up from a living room window it is vast. You can see and feel the mountains breathe into the sea and exhales come as waves and splashes that freshen everything up. Everything is injected with life. It is overwhelming trying to take it all in. It feels like I can’t decide if there’s too much air or not enough of it. It is a sensation of possession by raw instinct that makes you want to take your shoes off and run to the edge of the vista that sprawls open in front. The end of the earth is there. Senses are both sharpened and relaxed. It is intoxicating to a point of wanting never to sober up. Silence is otherworldly.

I sit at a large kitchen table surrounded by lush green landscape with rowan and gorse, ash and oak in faithful surround. Those trees know the land intimately, they know they belong. I can’t take my eyes away from large windows in front of me, which makes it impossible to work. It takes a few days to be able to fit into this pristine environment and realise where I come from and where I am. The contrast is shockingly stark. It is a process of bedding in, acclimatising slowly and steady or you might just suffocate.

I decide to go for a walk, something I have been looking forward to for a whole year. My beloved walks in nature and here I find everything. It all is just as I left it last time. I find it reassuring and comforting. It is all here, still. When I am away I often wonder if things change when I am not there to see it, will it all still be there? Will I have another chance to live it? One never knows. Every time I find it is just as I left it and it is a relief and something beyond beautiful and soothing to know it will outlive everyone and everything.

I walk along a path and silence wraps me up in a cloud of peace. It is palpable, ethereal like nothing else on earth for me, the most precious commodity and a gift. I cherish it with every land’s breath, every leaf movement and rain drop that makes up the silent chorus that is nature being. My heart is in my mouth and I am deeply happy. There’s nothing else I need or want in that moment and if it was to be the last that would be a glorious end. I always feel that way here in those moments when there’s no past or future and the present is so perfect and complete that nothing else is needed or matters.

I continue on the path but not for long as I am a habitual off-the-path walker. I always need to go in where wild resides. I need to get close to it and it makes itself known by making scratches on my legs, sticking things to my clothes and dipping my feet in mud. I fee feral and ecstatic. Makes me feel I belong that little bit more. It is the unknown yet feels like home. I scramble up a wooded hill and it is like my own invisible circle – a place where magic is the law not just a possibility. It is all so simple and fresh. It is always there and doing its thing. It knows itself as much as anything on earth can ever know. This is a true nature of things. I want to be that way if only I never had to leave or having to do things or even think. Humans are limited through complicating things. It is never simple in our minds and we dwell in those self-imposed prisons without realising it, by habit automatically. Awareness comes not easy to us.

I wrap my arms around a silver birch trunk, wet and earth-smelling. Its smooth bark is like a touch of a loved one. My grandmother comes to mind and memories of walking in silverbirch forests in my childhood flood in. Every touch here means something, every smell is a reminder how entwined I am with nature in my body and spirit. I lose track of time. There is no time here, only life, only what you see and feel.

I am having to drag myself out back on to the path. Deer to my left startled and frozen as they pick up my scent. They look right at me before fleeting, cautious and on guard always. I smile. Fresh and clean air hits every inch of my body and I could almost be floating I feel so uplifted as happiness spreads through me. I let my hair loose and stand catching every bit of the breeze that is sweet and the most soothing thing I could ask for. I stand still for a minute hungry for more, taking each breath and there’s more coming. I can’t get enough there’s so much on offer.

I get moving again and come across some cottages by a loch-side. I always wonder what it must be like to live in such a place. I used to get envious to a point of passing out but since have learnt a lot more. At this point I am under no illusion that it is easy. My initial idealised vision has truly been grounded in reality of life on an island, in a land so wild, raw and free that one has to work at belonging. Every cottage makes me think and wonder of a possibility of a compromise. It is a symbol of a relationship between a human and nature. It offers a possibility of finding out if one is brave enough.

Stroking a thick coat of a highland coo I touch something primal. Animals bring a sense of kinship to my instinctual animalistic self. I am in love every time I touch an animal. They are warm, looking right at me with their black eyes and there is a connection no doubt. A lot can be learnt from the beasts of that land. Birds of pray are everywhere here, they are noisy one minute and gliding silently the next, barely there.

Time to turn back. I am so happy, utterly at peace and content. My body feels satisfied like it’s had the most nourishing meal. Nothing else needed. Nothing needs to be added or taken away. It is complete. I am whole.

Forest bathing

spring forest

There’s a place in North Wales where forest is like no other. Gentle yet imposing, soothing yet dark. It never fails to stir the soul within me. Air so fresh it speaks of the deepest, most nourishing sturdiness and wisdom. It compares only to the most delightful embrace where I bury myself utterly in bliss. Forest bathing is by far my favourite spiritual experience where my body comes alive in completely in tune with my soul and I feel complete, at home.

One such experience earlier this spring reaffirmed my love for the forest yet again and spoke to me loudly of a place of belonging. As I walked deeper into pine kingdom covered in emerald moss I felt myself coming alive in every cell in me. Both my skin and soul screamed for exposure, immersion into what I can only describe as the light of spirit, ancient and completely perfect

Its welcoming voice whooshed through tree tops roaring me into its body and I became as one with it. Stripping layer after layer till bearing all I gently rested on its moist floor never wanting to be anywhere else ever again. Complete bliss enveloped my senses and pure peace entered my soul. I wanted to stay in that glorious house for eternity. Such feeling is rarely replicated in life. Like a mother the earth licked my exposed feet with soft caresses and I felt myself melting into the ground. It took a while to awake myself into the world again and sorrow of separation entered me as I left the forest.

forest bathing

 

Can Nature…?

Can nature heal

Can earth bring us back to our knees and pierce its ancient dagger through the heart

Can nature teach you who you are

Can a bird song inspire, delight and speak of both sorrow and joy

Can river wash away the debris of the worldly matter

Can mountain hold you in such a way you never wobble again

Can spring flowers inject a hope into our being

Can roaming animal body remind us of the raw wilderness within

Can the falling snow cover us in sheer enchantment

Can rain drops on the skin put us in touch with our bodies

Can a flight of an eagle inspire strength and power waiting to take flight inside of us

Can God bow before its majesty and weep tears of love

What is it that nature does and doesn’t that makes our lives worth living and speaks of meaning old as centuries

Of nature we are born and to its body we return

As outside so is within

What can be more life, meaning, strength and delight all at the same time

Nature is magic and matter, spirit and body

Bones and blood, skin and intelligence

All embracing…

One place we become whole, we come home, we know what we are

The one constant

My solace, my heart

A breath of new energy needed

I find my peace and sacred space

In you and only you

My one constant, unchangable vessel that carries all that is good and desired

It calms when internal seas rise wild

It teaches when mind is lost

It embraces when sorrow wraps round my heart

It cleans when tears are plentiful

It centres when the world is lost

It grounds when things are shaky

It balances when I struggle to come back

It speaks when the voice is lost

Most of all it maintains a state of feeling and being always here, constant anchor like a faithful dog or a trusted old ship that helps me navigate life

Like a good old tree that stands against all odds and always here to welcome me whatever the weather or season or state of the world

The one constant – nature! The everlasting light and mother, a life-long friend and companion, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to know you truly, love you deeply and relate to you till the end of my days

In search of silence

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Edwardian houses line up clean streets with flower baskets hanging symmetrically on doors, as if keeping things in order. It has classic and elegant look to things. Every time I go somewhere I am taken back by just how different each place feels. It evokes particular feelings in me. This place has always drawn me in with its sophistication and class running through the theme of its buildings, streets and the overall posture of the place. It is all standing tall and proud and I find it very reassuring somehow. I am here for two reasons, to see if the feeling I get is still intact and positive, and I am also on a trip in search of silence away from the noises of planes and roads, which lately has been overwhelming me. I find myself struggling with the constant buzzing noise in the air wherever I go.

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My paradise

I am back in paradise and there is no despair, turmoil or overwhelm this time…

This year I only feel joy, pleasure and gratitude for being here. I am being very vocal in expressing my appreciation of the land. I admire a very full in red heavy berries rowan by the side of a lake and revel in beauty of purple flowers. Simple yet so exquisite in its perfection against the very green that is everywhere. Everything seems so much riper, bigger and more beautiful in comparison to other places. It reminds me of my birth place in many respects where nature had also been very rich in its presentation and a way of being. I look at the mountains and I feel still and content rather than torn and in deep yearning, which I could never explain. The smell of the land, that particular scent I can always summon wherever I am, is still here, it hasn’t changed and I am glad of that. I take pleasure in observing every little house, weed, animal, tree and wonder how people live here with curiosity. I do feel jealousy quite sharply this time for the life that I imagine goes on here in this place of beauty and such peace and quiet. Stillness of the land is intoxicating and, I believe, it is exactly this energy that I align with the most, this is what I crave. Peace, quiet, beauty and isolation.

Walking through a Celtic rainforest earlier today I can feel myself melting into its freshness and moulding into its trees’ bark, inhaling the air of the forest, breathing with it as one. Rain gently washing my face and hair brushed back I feel free. Assured, grounded and humbled, very grateful for being able to feel the way that I do when I am here in this land and in touch with all the elements. It is a true blessing in my life here on Earth.

As another day comes to an end here in paradise I am content, calm, pleasantly tired and completely in love with everything this land is and everything that is in and around me today.

Another year, another joyful experience

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One of the most magical sights of the whole year – bluebell woods, a time when deep blue, purplish coloured flowers cover the ground of ancient woods and it is magnificent. Not only it is delightful to the eye it is reviving to all senses, as bluebell fragrance is fresh and beautiful.

The forest is very pleased with itself wearing the spirit colours of green and purple. I wish I could bottle a sense of freshness and a delicate scent that spreads in the air and on the jewelled forest floor. Birds delight in spring so much so it makes me want to open my wings up and fly towards the tops of virgin foliage. Spring fills me with such joy I can’t stop smiling and breathing in the air. If I was not to be here tomorrow this is the scene I will take with me in my memories and dreams. I am grateful for having witnessed a spring bluebell forest once again, for another year…