Part of the whole

When going somewhere beautiful it is overwhelming to think that I am part of it all and not just in a sense of sharing a living space but down to cellular level of things. Do we truly know it? All of the time? It can be grounding to realise where our ‘base’ really is. Nature reflects well just how small we are in the overall picture of life.

As we grow in consciousness and stand before the grander of nature we suddenly know our place. The way I feel when in front of it all is I feel I don’t know what to do with myself. I want to be here and there and everywhere, which tells me merging with the land is natural. I am already part of everything there is present in nature. Everything is collectively an expression of itself and one another. Life is simply wondrous and fascinating when looked at from outside in, from overall to individual and vice versa. Beauty is in the knowing, relief is in understanding, compassion is in acceptance.

Imperfect beauty

imperfectly perfect

 

A tree bent by the wind is still a tree playing with possibilities

A river still or turbulent is still a river living through flexibility of flow

A creature with a scar to its skin is still beautiful if not more so, as it speaks to us of the whole

 

Nature is the ultimate ‘whole’, because it perfectly contains ‘the beauty and the beast’ in all its expression and life cycles. It is both in order and disarray all at the same time. Nature is open to all possibilities, sunny one minute and stormy the next. Nature is the imperfectly perfect representation of how life begins and ends, how it grows, flows, fights and remains still. The beauty of it all is often beyond words. What can be more humbling and awakening than when a human heart feels it deeply and knows the sheer majesty there’s in the natural world.

Other posts on perfection 

Summer and patience

What is patience? It is allowing. When things are being as they are we stand in observance of what is. I find it deeply healing, humbling and liberating when there is no fight against what one thinks should be because there’s a discomfort present. Where there is no resistance a space opens up for observing what is being and living in that moment. Summer is a hot season, of course, it is, that’s the nature of things and when it is hot in summer things are aligning to the vibration of what summer means. It is not cold or raining all the time, although it is sometimes, it is simply being what it is.

I have experienced a high degree of tolerance towards summer this year. It happened due to conscious effort not wanting things to be something else and me desperately wanting to change it. That never works. This can be applied to so many aspects of growth and healing when we drop resistance and allow things into being there’s a release of freedom of attachment to what we think should be in order for us to be soothed. There’s a lot to be said for being uncomfortable, however if one fights it actively it will always persist and increase in its intensity.

I stood back or rather decided to travel alongside summer this year and observe everything there’s to witness about the season rather than shutting myself off from the experience and waiting for it to be over. Such a waste. By being present with summer I noticed how present I have been with everything else and everyone around me, every day, every week, every event and moment shared with those in my life. The value of everyday presence overtook my resistance and dislike of summer. I found I didn’t want to complain or participate in the fight within, which had previously been there always. Instead I lived each day and found a lot of positive aspects in the season.

I have been patient and allowing with myself and the summer to be what we are meant to be, living, moving, flowing and grateful for experiences granted.

It is not wanting to cut off a part of the whole, which can be applied to the seasonal wheel of the year, as well as parts of ourselves. We will always have preferences for certain seasons and aspects and ways of being and that is not to say that lessons and joy can’t be found in less preferable places, in fact, those aspects that we mostly resistant to carry some of the most vital and profound teachings.

Patience is a beautiful way of being in a state of non-judgement, slow flowing with energies just as they are and allowing expression of all that is necessary. It is acceptance and a silent stance of holding a space.

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

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.

Reasons we reach for food and nature’s wisdom

psychology of eating

  1. Genuine hunger – instinctual us, animal us
  2. Meeting an emotional need. Using food as something pleasurable to get away from something painful we are feeling
  3. Being stuck in a pattern, a habit, automatic behaviour associated with certain activities

This week is all about the body and I felt it would be useful to summarise some information on our relationship with food. I am reinforcing these messages for myself as much as for everyone else and I hope you will find it useful.

We all heard of binge eating, emotional eating, overeating, over-consuming on calories, mindless eating, etc. These are unhealthy patterns of behaviour, which we either do consciously with a purpose or unconsciously.

There is one way of eating, which is natural and the most helpful is to eat when you are hungry. When we are consciously aware and mindful of clues sent to us by the body, NOT our mind, indicating it is time to eat. When we know we are ready for intake of food, we need calories and there is a genuine need for nourishment on a physical level. It is when we know that if we don’t eat we might not ‘survive’, it is instinctual function for our body to sustain life through taking in some food.

The other two ways of relating to food are the ones to watch for. One is us using food as a way of making us feel ‘better’, that pleasure trap when we seek a relief from a difficult emotional state and wanting to feel pleasure and we do it through food. This is emotional eating. I know, e.g. in the past my emotional eating had been connected closely to grief. It works similarly with other habits, like smoking, e.g., which for me, again used to be a way to gain relief when I felt unsafe. Very specific emotions that I would need to release through using something else. Once you identify what it is that you are ‘running away’ from through inducing pleasure using food, then it is time to FEEL that emotion, allow it to be, having courage to be with that, as it is part of you.

One other reason we eat is through habit. Something that we keep on doing automatically to a point that we are not always conscious of, we simply do it when engaging with a certain activity. A good example is watching TV in the evening. Many would reach for food when watching movies, favourite programmes, because this is something that they have done over and over again for a long time, hence a habit is formed and the brain knows it is food time once you are on that sofa switching on your television. The first thing to do is to become aware of where you might be using food, in what situations and circumstances that you might have not realised. The only way to break that pattern is to learn to interrupt that behaviour consciously. Once you are aware, conscious then you can begin to stop it in its tracks. It is like changing a cycle, interrupting something repeatedly should rewire our habitual thinking or automatic actions into doing something else. This needs to be practiced again and again and there will be time when you will be able to watch television without overloading on calories. This would happen overtime through interruption of the cycle and engaging with activities that take you away from that pattern and from food. Do something instead for a period of time to give your brain a different message. Remove your association between watching a film and eating.

Now think of nature in all its presentations and with all its inhabitants and species. What stands out to you when you look to nature? With me it is balance, it is a beginning, a middle and the end. It is time for everything where nothing is rushed or delayed, where everything has its place. Summer doesn’t come before spring, flowers do not bloom in winter and the earth is not producing food when the ground is frozen. Nature teaches us that there is a system of elements that constantly working together to achieve an overall balance. Sometimes challenges are thrown in its way in a way of adverse weather conditions like floods and droughts, yet it recovers, it catches up and it continues to live. There is a force of survival and thriving for that equilibrium state where everything is just as it should be.

Now think of your body in the same way. Evaluate when it is the right time for you to eat, e.g. are you a morning eater? Are you more of a snacker or a bigger, more regular meal eater? What is your body’s preference and schedule for calorie intake? What feels most natural and nourishing? Do you follow your body’s natural rhythms or are you even aware of it? The goal is to bring your body into balance with your mind, your spirit and your emotional world. Is it in balance? What foods bring you joy not when you use it to avoid something else, but when you seek to give your body nourishment and enhancement in order to feel better?

My connection to nature and the earth has helped me balance out my physical and emotional enormously. Eating produce that comes from earth gives my brain a message that it is fresh, it is filled with water and sunshine and it is full of nutrients. It is good for me. Remember doing something enough times repeatedly can rewire your brain into knowing it is working and good for you. Start small with changing one or two things a week in order to increase your potential for balance in the body, add something beneficial or take away something that is not good for you. Small, steady and continuous steps.

Remember to get sunshine and rain water on your face, as well as feeling the earth with your bare feet whenever you can. Connect to the wisdom of the intelligent system that is nature, the earth and let its wisdom go into all areas of your life, your relationship with your body and food included.

Many blessings!

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.