2020’s priceless gift to me

This past year has brought the biggest insight of my whole life and from their it felt like my life finally began. It has been a missing piece for so long and I will be forever grateful for the freedom that insight brought me.
I finally became aware that My biggest need is not to meet the needs of others. That is the truest, most profound realisation that myself had to hear. Everything that hasn’t worked hinged on me being unaware and not seeing this one truth for me.
This understanding of my greatest need and the cause of so much pain and sorrow in my life brought an end to my work as a therapist. The relief was like no other I had ever experienced, which was a confirmation of claiming my personal freedom back. Manifestations that followed only amplified the important of the piece of my unconscious self needing to die and I let it go gladly and openly with compassion and care for myself and gratitude for all the hours I spent helping others all my life.


They say a wounded healer is the best healer and that is true and unsurprising. As those of us, who feel deeply into everything, dwelling in our pain and of others, especially others, comes naturally, as natural as not knowing any other way of being, as natural as breathing. But is it good for us? No. Our freedom literally is always out of reach for as long as we put others ahead of ourselves always with no conditions and with an open willingness to sacrifice, to be there no matter what. In doing so we condemn ourselves to more pain, to more suffering and never ending cycles of going backwards looking for more pain, the more the better. It crates an environment and a hunger to seek the depths of despair and almost revel in it. They call it pain addiction.


I knew there was something else, something different that screamed to be born and that was allowing for things to end and let myself live. I literary had to save myself and to do that this anomaly, this other way had to come in. The death of it came naturally in 2020 in many ways with closure of many avenues due to pandemic, due to getting ill and not functioning it was a soothing voice of the universe telling me it was time. In death I was reborn and the wings that I long lost grew back again.


They say with each ending there’s a beginning and that has been true for me over and over. We have to be brave enough to include our own needs into equation and meet them. It takes a lifetime often, but it is what’s meant to happen at the end when we start the journey of paving the road back to self, back to life of not suffering and pain, but choosing joy, peace and a simple yet the most profound pleasure of being alive.


It’s been a year of insights and transformations for so many and it gives me such hope. May this evolution continue with each coming year and with more momentum and intensity till we can all say that we vow to live our best lives and create haven on earth whatever it might mean for each of us.

If the Sun was a god… and walking in all weather

The Sun is a solar deity in nature-based spiritual practice. It is both of the Fire and Air/sky elements. Worshiping the Sun God or following its cycles, manifestations, presentations and cycles means it is looked upon as sacred energy of the earth, which plays an active role in the life of the natural world and our own.

On my walk in the rain this morning I got thinking about the Sun, as a god, and Yule celebrations that are coming up. How do we look upon the Sun when it is not shining and in darkness? How do we think of it, speak of it? Notice the language we use around darkness and no so bright weather. There are many parallels between the decline of the Sun, it being hidden, the darkness and human psyche. The main element is that we are in denial of it whether we are aware of it or not. Rejection of the darkness is an old thing, as old as humanity, but I always wonder if it has to continue quite the way it had done. The work of psychotherapy throws a lot of light on what human shadow really is, personally and collectively, and it is my strong belief that the work of integrating your darkness can be one most valuable, if not the most vital, part of the personal journey. Until one becomes of aware, first, then accepting of his/her own dark materials, not a lot will change and projections, judgements, victimhood, blaming, pretending will carry on impeding relationships, progression, understanding and acceptance of things as they are. This is where nature is the most wise, I have always believed. It is all light and all darkness naturally.

Why do we deny rain, sleet, strong winds, floods and fires? They represent emotions within ourselves, very strong ones, the ones we had always been told to fear, reject, suppress, etc. I believe this has been the biggest wounding on earth to humans via humans. Again nature is one such source that can reconnect you back to your humility and heart. It can help reawaken and let the lost emotional parts of yourself be accepted back into the whole. We are meant to be whole, both, logic and feeling, mind and heart with the body holding it all together.

The language we use around weather is a good example of yet another rejection seemingly external, but it is very much internal. Dreary, bleak, dark, miserable – are the words we hear every day whenever the sun is not shining outside. If it is not bright and warm it is not worth ‘worshiping’, yet even the Sun needs recharging, like a battery, like any of us, in order to shine bright again in a few months’ time. We continue to judge it for not shining, leaving us in darkness, nevertheless. This, I believe, is due to lack of understanding, valuing and accepting our own inner darkness.

This phenomenon, please notice, can also happen in reverse when the Sun is scolded for shining too much, instead of too little. It is the rejection of light instead of the darkness. Emotions of ecstasy, mania and depression come to mind and depending on what your experience is with mental health you will understand what I mean. We all heard of chronic clinical depression, but no one has of chronic clinical happiness. It is more complex than that, of course, but ‘happiness’ can be a warning sign, always wanting, moving, needing, asking for the light or pretending to be that way, can bring serious consequences to psyche when not in balance. Nature is the key to bringing things together, to demonstrate to us through weather, seasons, and elemental presentations how to be with it all without judgement.

In nature-based spirituality folk welcome both the Summer Solstice and the Winter Solstice. There is an understanding of the value of both points in nature and in life. We welcome equally the point when the Sun is at its peak and we also celebrate the Sun’s return and acknowledgement of where it has been during darkness.

I saw deer playing and chasing each other in the bush as I walked passed the hedgerows with trees up on a hill. I would not have been able to witness that was it not quiet, empty and winter time. That’s a blessing to me!

Going back to those ‘negative’ adjectives the opposite for me would be when I walk in all weather is raw, fresh, renewing and completely natural. There is no life without the rain and there is no light without the darkness. It really is simple. The rainy landscape offers refreshing perspectives, new insights. I get inspired by wintery silhouettes and transparency and vulnerability of the land. At this time of year everything is exposed and paths are clear to walk to ponder over the bare branches and bones of the natural world. The clarity of mind for me during this time is like at no other time of the year. I love vulnerability and openness in nature and internally during darker winter months.


The darkness is the conservation of energy so it can shine brighter in months to come. Yet we are in denial of any validity of the darkness externally and within while wishing for the light to shine brighter. Want it here, now, in this way and that without considering how things become one way or another or where they roots from. There’s a cycle, a very wise one, the wisest. Nature is not here to please or pacify. It does what it must and what it has always done regardless of collective preconceptions, personal projections and human storytelling.


Yule is such a time and opportunity to reflect of the meaning of light and warmth and the Sun as a God, a spiritual, astrological, seasonal phenomenon that has been here since the beginning of time and every year offers lessons for reflection and potential change of views and perspective.

Yule Blessings, everyone!

Repairing the Whole

lighted car in winding road
Photo by Kreisson on Pexels.com

Transpersonal: hope, strength, potential

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity…

William Butler Yeats

 

When all falls away what is left?

What we are experiencing is a crisis on many levels and what’s at the centre of it is a breakdown of the ‘whole’, a psycho-spiritual crisis of individual and collective. We are facing a long and dark night of the soul. When things no longer make sense, our minds race uncontrollably and feelings overwhelm our every day, fear-based behaviours flare out of control and our safety is compromised. When personal and collective fall away what and how transpersonal can help us get back to ourselves, get back ‘home’.

What are we left with? What else is there?

Transpersonal approach to psycho-spiritual work deals with the idea of human innate potential and bears witness to personal transformations through engaging with or experiencing something beyond ‘self’ when in crisis. Hope reawakens, inner potential begins to shine through and strength previously seemingly inaccessible comes back. As a therapist I have been privileged to be a witness to profound shifts in individuals when working in a transpersonal way. Working with life transitions and crisis is one of my favourite areas due to an openness and beauty of experience that can be had once transformation occurs through awareness, reflection and application. The beauty and resilience of the human spirit is profound. Transpersonal way of working for me, first and foremost, is an interconnectedness and the quality of being with another that holds the key to an effective recovery of all that matters.

When we are faced with crisis we can look at losing something as a way of gaining something else; an opportunity, a ‘welcomed’ surrender without resistance. In breaking down we break through. The crisis becomes a golden opportunity to self-actualise, a path towards what one always wanted to be. Crisis becomes a road ‘home’ towards inner wholeness.

How can transpersonal view help in a time of crisis? Transpersonal psychology ideas were birthed out of humanistic movement of the 1960s and have been widely used in psycho-spiritual work and incorporated in a field of psychotherapy. The actual term ‘transpersonal’ was first used by C Jung in 1917. I see transpersonal approach to healing and life in general as an active, purposeful engagement with ideas such as, hope, meaningful life, human innate potential, divine nature within us all – all of which create a ‘whole’ of life experience. It includes interconnectedness between earthly and spiritual, cognitive and emotional, physical and sensory, person and interpersonal, inner and outer, individual and collective. We have an opportunity to start with ourselves and extend our essential life-force and divine energy outwards. We can do so through nourishing thoughts and meaningful actions, emotional intelligence and awareness, intentional creative life, honouring of the body, practicing enchantment of life and spiritual awareness in a way that makes the most sense to us.

When all structures around us collapse, pillars that held our earthly lives in place, where do we turn for help and containment? What happens to our identity and personal concerns? Through history we have seen individuals, as well as, nations collectively ‘rising from the ashes’ when a surge in consciousness comes forth and personal diminishes. We access our strength, hope and potential in a place beyond personal. We can call it faith, spiritual awareness, experience that has no words, yet its power cannot be denied and transformations are inevitable.

Better knowing your nature one can be more effective in the world and seeing that we are not just one or the other, thoughts or feelings we are the whole experience of life in all its spectrums. In dropping into the dark we discover the light and with light taken away darkness serves as a lesson towards change.

As a result of a crisis what we ultimately look for is:

A path to consciousness through harnessing the unconscious

Inner and outer transformation (individual and collective)

Coming to awareness of the interconnected reality

Joining back in with the individual and collective ‘whole’

Spiritual connection to the divine

What we can do:

Turn within with love, compassion and trust

Have faith in knowing that our potential is limitless. Potential within us all is a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered. When all the external noise, defences, unconscious actions no longer dominate we can clearly see what really is available to us from within.

Become conscious of your unconscious through paying attention to your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Focus on your personal (with yourself), interpersonal (with others) and extra-personal (transpersonal, spiritual, divine) relationships.

Self-reflect with every step paying attention to words you speak

Be present through the body either through grounded visualizations or other activities that connects you to the physical. I find digging the earth, planting, gardening, walking or running very revelatory, cantering, meditative and often spiritual experiences.

Care-take your insights and implement into life as a way of practicing change, growth and transformation

Know what brings you joy and pleasure; what makes your passion burn; what actions make your life fulfilling and meaningful

“Everything living thrives for wholeness” (C. Jung) and it is wholeness we need to reclaim and rebuild following multiple fractures, isolation, disconnection and loss on a huge scale. Use the crisis to begin the work of rebuilding earthly and spiritual reality based on what matters to you. Spiritual to you might be finding meaning in life or creating a practice that allows you a space where you are most productive, loving, and compassionate. Through individual healing and awareness of the transpersonal, whichever way you choose to access it, use it as a helping hand, a reminder of ‘something more, something better’, we can weave threads of consciousness, however, small at first, as long as there is intention and inner belief in what we can truly do when we commit to healing and recovery.

When all falls apart what’s left is the extraordinary spirit that shines within us all, the innate natural capacities to do things unimaginable that often come force when we are faced with crisis. Through the light of consciousness step-by-step, piece-by-piece we pave the road ‘home’, back to ourselves, a road back to wholeness.

by Natalia Clarke

From Weathering the Storm by Moon Books collective

 

Control – earthly and spiritual manifestations

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Control in the earthly realm is a defence and a place of safety for when emotions feel overwhelming and ‘out of control’. If one was to relinquish control (a core belief), one would disappear for not being able to cope with the flood of feelings. Control serves a function and rightly so in some circumstances when psychological struggle is so great there is no other way. However, to describe this state as it would look externally it would appear one-sided, devoid of emotional engagement and deep sadness for not being able to ‘go there’. This can apply to controlling the environment, others, behaviour, events, structures and yourself that often goes hand-in-hand with self-harm. To decide whether to let go of the control and open up fully to life is a difficult and personal decision that involves a long recovery process.

Sometimes when earthly control becomes unmanageable and challenging one might turn to spiritual in order to feel containment. This is spiritual by-pass and manifestation of that arrival into the spiritual realm will look the same. There will be impossible to progress or be in a way that spiritual is due to that emotional disengagement. One would feel resentful and unfulfilled, as spiritual doesn’t do control. It operates differently and is accessible to everyone but depends the road you approach it from.

In the spiritual there is only flow, there is no tangible experience of pain, loss, time and space. It flows and manifests. It is like the wind, not static or contained, therefore, impossible to control however hard we might try. It requires a completely openness emotionally, physically and letting go of thought structures, etc. Difficult right? Yes, but not impossible. If we manage to engage with the fleeting spiritual experience only for a minute that is already something that will never be taken away. It is moments of bliss, complete alignment with something much bigger than us, a sense of utter stillness, sweet-tasting and transparent like air. In that place we can’t work for ourselves or against the other, we have to work with it. It cannot be manipulated.

With questions come in lately about the publishing process and whether self-publishing is better or worse than a traditional route, my answer and recommendation is to look deeper into your relationship with control, your sense of self, your ability to allow for things to happen, your beliefs about how life experience comes into being. As my life is intuitive in every aspect this is something that comes as anything else natural would. My mind, body and emotions operate in a way that it has its own way of arriving at answers. Perhaps, you are similar? The route that you choose is dependent on many variables, but one thing you can look at is yourself. What are you like with control and why? Do you have faith and trust in what is right will be? Do you believe that things happen for a reason and only when all the elements are aligned something comes into fruition? Can you go with the flow? It applies to anything and this process is no exception. Writing is another process that the idea of ‘control’ amidst others can be explored. I truly believe in experience. Once you had an experience you should be able to self-reflect, analyse (if you prefer that word) and make a choice based on your awareness of your experience. So far for me, e.g. I am a traditional publishing type of person for many reasons. It is about pace, not having control is a benefit, freedom to create in the meantime and many more other factors will be clarified as I go along, I am sure. It is what it is right now and never say never, things change and turn, but what you need to know is your inner true, most fundamental make-up with how you are in the world, with others and yourself. Know yourself and you will be able to find answers to anything.

When love is too much

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I said good bye to the land yesterday and this time it is indefinitely. I need to rebuild myself from, what feels like, ground up, as I am completely broken and exhausted from love. Yes, that is possible and I have been here before with another previous love, a human kind. The land has always been like a living breathing entity to me. Our relationship now needs a break and I hear everything it had ever said to me clearly. I cannot go on for the time being. My edges need softening, my rage pacified and my soul needs peace. All love eventually, I believe, leads to pain after an ecstasy of experience.

Rest in knowing I have given you my all without leaving much for myself, but life needs sustaining, nourishing, building and rebuilding if all is to co-exist in balance. It is hard for me to write this, yet I recognise an immense need to release it out of my being, awareness and constant swirling of it all in my mind.

The land is wise. It knows what needs balancing and often we come to realisations through hardship, illness, losses or experiences that are confusing and painful. This time the land spat me out. Like a wild animal that did not want to be domesticated. I dreamt of walking away with ravens and black roses bleeding out of the tips of my fingers and winds howling. Like a horror movie with my heart in my mouth I felt like a curse was in place and it was about to exclude me out of its working finally, for my own benefit. Too much pain and too much love. The two old friends of mine. Intensity had become difficult to bear and I am tired. Misunderstanding, confusion has occurred in this relationship. I have come to understand the reasons behind what had happened and patterns I entangled myself in. I started experiencing loses, threats to my security, family, health, financial losses and my mental stability and peace began to suffer. Confusion, grief, sadness, intensity, apprehension and fear had all been present in me for far too long with my association that rooted in this relationship. It was a warning for my own good and on reflection I am grateful for that ‘rejection’ that really stemmed from mutual love and understanding.

For now I want to be released and something inside me has broken on this last trip, which feels completely necessary. I have also gained awareness of the outside perspective and how others had viewed the situation for many years, which I had been blind to. It is as if I gained a fresh sight and overview of what’s been happening. “Love, indeed, is blind” would be the right description here. I now crave something softer, gentler and kinder like one does coming out of a storm whether in nature or from an internal emotional one. I would like peace of a different kind where loud sharp spiritual messages come as soft whispers instead and where my body feels warm and intact rather than torn to pieces. Sometimes places call us for a reason and my work is nowhere near done, but huge lessons learnt from this deep relationship of unconditional love, destruction, transformation and personal growth. For now I am ‘kicked out’ and I am glad of it, as it is exactly what is needed.

 

 

The Element of winter

water element magic

My way is the Elemental way. I see the world through the five elements and work with them the most in my nature communication, magical weaving and spells and when relating to others. I have a power and a shadow element and the world makes sense to me in a way it is made of the elements all around me.

The season of winter has always been a Fire element season for me, full of creativity, drive, focus, enthusiasm and passion. It has always been a time when my inspiration would be present and my mind clear and full of ideas. I would complete a lot of projects during winter usually. Many writers report the same thing. This year it is different. This time it feels softer, smoother, slower accompanied by quiet, silence and a peaceful retreat into inner spaces.. In dreams I am met with a lot of shadow material and crying physical tears. The season feels closer to the element of Water. As water here doesn’t freeze in winter it is very much present, but in a state of quiet still standing. Perhaps, it depends on where we are at any given point and what our intentions are and currently my preferred state is of slow motion in silence and solitude with no need for many words or interactions. It is a very relaxed state of being with nothing to do and nowhere to go, quite the opposite energy of my usual winters. Water element is in this year’s signature I also feel regardless of what the season is now and yet to come, as we are in the feminine rising energy, but not for the first time. The archetypal flow is quite advanced this time and more powerful than ever. It is very consious and knowing ready to share its wisdom with us all. What would be interesting to explore this year is that contact with water whether we like it or not. Like for many water is my shadow element and a lot of us have grown up with supression of our emotional states (water energy). If we decide to engage with the element purposefully tt will sure take us on a transformational and insightful journey, no doubt about it. There is that opportunity this year in abundance. I am going to embrace it and put some water magic into my practice more. For the moment, stillness and calm are the energies of the month for me and it feels just how it should be.

What’s your element for the season of winter?

When pain finds a home within your soul

painful emotions

In psychological circles this is referred to as pain addiction. This is real, lived experience for many. It is a state of being where separating pain from anything that we encounter in life becomes impossible. It merges with our being in a way that becomes familiar, safe, even sweet and impossible to imagine not feeling it. It becomes one of the personal signature of an individual, which brings all sorts of distortions with it. The process of unravelling is needed, deep diving into dark places, but mostly reintroduction of the light into a personal experience, as the light often goes into a personal shadow.

This is what it looks like when I tap into that part of myself still present although it no longer affects my life in ways it used to. It is now fully in my awareness and I know this character well, hence able to communicate with it and meet its needs if and when.

Ugly, dripping poison from its finger tips, so wrapped in its own pain it is second nature. This creature outgrown the most excruciating suffering that it feels at home with it, it’s learnt not just to be with it, it is inseparable from her being. It is very old, with bent and crooked limbs, long nails and grey hair or is it fur – both. It is animal-like with human eyes and deep intelligence. There is kindness somewhere there, but it is not apparent. It wants to be bad, it thinks it is a good thing, as it will fill up the cup of pain even more. It seeks the ritual and any opportunity to refill it. Like an addict it is constantly in search of the next fix.

Grown into my flesh it wears deer-skins and smells of wet mud and berries. Like an animal it claws into me holding on with a scowl scary and disturbing. 

I know it well and these days all that is needed of me is the acknowledgement it is there when I begin to feel its warm breath on the back of my neck. It is often present around my shoulder/neck area. It is very warm, sometimes feeling like a burn, but it also shows me some compassion these days and often sweeps away mud and moss pieces when it feels it made a mess. It is a child and an old creature all at the same time. It is deeply broken, but not unlovable and it likes to spread itself on rocks (I love rocks) and roll off them into a wet grass.

I often work with clients in ways of looking at different parts of them. I would ask when they begin to describe an energy that takes over them and affects their life. I seek to bring it to life with my client in a way of seeing what it looks like, what it sounds like and what is its behaviour before moving to what that part of us need. Many find this very useful and become curious about what else is within them that affects their everyday behaviour. When we make those characters real it is easier to relate whether we choose an object representing it, or we do a drawing or find a drawing that most reminds us of them or we relate to them through colours, sounds. However we connect with parts of ourselves it is about becoming conscious/aware of what takes place within our psyches and why.