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.

She calls

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I can hear her calling. Hardly there like a whisper it is carried by gentle wind. There is no force or vigour in that call, just a brush on my being making awareness known that she is waiting, she is there. There is comfort in knowing somewhere hundreds of miles away there is a place that exists and willing to accept you just as you are. It comes as a song, as the land sings in tunes that can be heard amidst its beauty. Every time I am alone in the wilderness, particularly near water, the song comes alive on my lips. It is such a natural feeling that I can’t help but pick up a tune and carry it through the land. It is an act of participation in the land’s dreaming, in its being state just as it is. I feel belonging in a way I can’t explain. It is a modest, humble way of being present; behaving in a way that does not possess, disturb or claim any rights to it and that is how the land wants it. It opens up in ways unexpected revealing the simplest, but the most stunning corners of its soul, be it in a rain drop on a blade of grass or a blanket of mist over loch in early hours. It is truly feminine on the whole, I feel, particularly in certain places. It is so on the Isle of Mull where I am going. There is no rush or anything planned, it is in the flow of any given day that the land is there for me to participate in and there is so much to discover through being with her.

It can be overwhelming so I feel nervous once again as the day of reunion approaches. It is that feeling of meeting a lover, someone utterly dear to your heart that you’ve been separated from for a while. It is the feeling we are all familiar with when we finally step into their embrace and it is both ecstatic and overwhelming and it takes time to ground in being together in the same place. I never know what to expect and try hard not to have any ideas preconceived by past experiences. My mind creates these states due to nervousness within me, which is completely natural. It is hard not to rush into feeling either and get swept away with it before the journey even begins, but again, that is also natural when going to a place that although non-human is animate to me in every sense. It has a distinct smell to me and it sounds in a particular way. Visual alone is all consuming and touching its skin being it stones, moss, heather or a surface of a loch often threatens to swallow me up through overload of emotions. It is fully alive within me and it is no surprise containing it all within little old me is difficult, but year after year I go, I participate, I learn and will continue for as long as I hear the song distant, but loud within my heart.

Soul Land – what people say

altar
Gratitude altar in honour of my soul’s work and expression

What people say:

“Thank you. Your book is so beautiful and a lovely read. Brave, raw, honest. You’ve got to me… I can’t stop thinking about Scotland. Your words are powerful. Thank you.” Christine, UK

“I have just picked up your book and just the first poem gave me shivers. That’s powerful and emotional. I am looking forward to reading more. Great work.” Roy, UK

NeonBooks Literary Magazine review: 

Review: Soul Land by Natalia Clarke

Publisher’s website reviews: 

Being a fan of poetry and also Scotland… (I live here) I had to read Soul Land.

Perfect for anyone who is after a quick read, who wants to find some peace and tranquil and who loves poetry and nature.

by Georgi


This poetry collection really was a love letter to Scotland and how the author feels about Scotland. There was some beautiful imagery and wonderful phrases that painted a picture of the wildness and beauty of Scotland.

I did really enjoy the poems and language, but wished it was a little longer. I would have loved to read more since I did feel it was a bit short. Still, a lot of the images inspired by her words were wonderful and definitely make you feel like you can see the landscape she’s describing.

by Deanne


I have just picked up a copy of Soul Land and just the first poem gave me shivers. That’s powerful and emotional. I am looking forward to reading more. Great work.

by Roy, UK


The book was a gift and is such a beautiful and lovely read. Brave, raw, honest. It got to me… I could not stop thinking about Scotland for days after. As I also love Scotland it resonated deeply with me and touched my soul. Powerful words.

by Christine


As an avid reader of poetry, I found this collection to be completely different from anything I’d previously read. This was my first time experiencing transpersonal poetry and at the very talented hands of Natalia Clarke, I’ve found it a most enjoyable one!

by Farah


I’ve read a decent amount of poetry, especially in the last couple of months, and Soul Land was very unique from all the others I’ve read. I really enjoyed how descriptive the poems were and the beautiful picture the author painted with each poem.

by Taylor


Calming nature poetry about Scotland that will make you want to pick up a walking stick and wander through Scotland’s beautiful landscape and relax your spirit.

by Hansruedi


Thanks so much for sending me a copy of your book!

I love your introduction and I can feel how much Scotland touches your soul through your words! I’m truly honoured that my painting connects with that feeling!

I love how you write! You write the way I feel!
Congratulations on your book and your poems are simply beautiful!!

by Ann Fullerton


Soul Land spoke to me and my love of Scotland. The pictures that Natalia Clarke’s poems paint in my eye made me long for a trip out into the Highlands.

by Sandra

Goodreads reviews: 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51458263-soul-land

Leave your comments on Amazon please, that would be wonderful

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B084SV6W29…

Poetry book coming out in 2020

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I am very proud and excited to present my forthcoming book. It is a devotional to the land I have had a profound relationship with for many years.

I am working with a publisher on this project and the next stage is a cover design. Below is a blurb and advanced information for the collection. Follow me on here or my Instagram feed for more updates on this project and some others #raw_nature_spirit

SOUL Land

Nature ~ Scotland ~ Love

poetry book

 

(to be published April 2020)

‘A spiritual love affair with the land’

This collection of poems is a result of the author’s spiritual journey and reveals a powerful personal account through a deep and profound connection to the land of Scotland. Both emotional and touching, with universal themes of nature and love at the centre, the author portrays a transformational effect of stunning Scottish landscapes on the soul and life as a whole. Engaging in an emotional struggle to bring spiritual and earthly together, this eloquent collection is written with devotion and reverence and offers an exploration of a spiritual identity through the land. Through the poems, the author shows how the beauty of natural places can be soothing and hopeful in times of turmoil. At its heart, this volume is a spiritual love story between the land and the author, exploring the elements of nature as they are in the wild, as well as in our souls.

“… when I first stepped upon the land my heart exploded in ecstasy. My love affair began when I first experienced this strange merging with something primal and bigger than myself.”

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.

 

 

Collective praying

As my father was fighting for his life collective praying began in various corners of the world in ways each individual knew how, unique to them, in churches, at home, with kids, on the forest floor, at the kitchen table, in the mountains, by a river. In Siberia, Russia, Spain, Hungary, UK and Scotland the family joined forces in the collective healing ritual. We are all blood-tied therefore what each and everyone felt would transmit across land, sky, sea and any distance straight back to my father’s heart.

I walked the land and spoke to pines and forest floor so reminiscent of my birth land back in Siberian forest. Memories weaves through plants, insects and textures. Smells are the same, colours are the same, plants are the same and we joined in the language of reverence to spirit and protection for the heart so precious to us all.

I chanted ‘Dishi’ (breathe) as I planted myself firmer into the land taking deep breaths walking higher into hills and saw ancestors rising up, my grandparents, and father turning into a child, newly born. I spoke with conviction ‘not yet, not now’, Breathe, Wake up, and felt the struggle between life and death happening in my awareness and his parents standing ready.

He woke up, started breathing on his own to doctors’ amazement. And to us, it was the collective strength and praying that succeeded in the return of the spirit that is within this man. He wanted to live all along.

I will be grateful to this place forever and the fact that I was here at the time of my needing to be connected to the land that speaks the same language as my soul