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.

As I step into the woodland I am full of hope and anticipation of finding a new space where, may be, just may be the buzzing stops. I find none for quite some time going on a path and off at regular intervals trying out different spots in hope of it taking me away from the noise. Eventually I stop and a tinge of disappointment comes over me. There is no silence here, it is nowhere to be found and instantly I begin to crave places in the Highlands where air stands still and silence is ear-piercing. I become nostalgic and sad with an instinctual reaction of wanting to run away. I recognise it well, as we all want to escape sometimes, but the question remains and comes forward strongly, how can we find silence amidst all the noise of life without having to run to the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere. I stand still and tune into myself and focus on maintaining the stillness as much as I can and then slowly continue on a path holding on to a sense of ‘don’t give up’. Forest always has the answer in my experience. That I never doubt and today it is no different. I become mindful and finely aware of the details surrounding me, forest floor, most on tree trunks, crow’s calls overhead and scattering of squirrels in the fallen leaves. I touch the ground under my feet, I hold on to a tree and I smell its bark. I close my eyes and here it is – silence!

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Silence is at the heart of the earth, inside and around things within the system that is the natural world. Silence is in going off the beaten path. It is inside a tree, on the ground. Nature doesn’t rush or despair, it is as always simply being and in that it holds on to its own silence and peace, in knowing itself inside out. On contact with it all I find silence amidst the buzzing noise overhead.

I also notice often while in a forest that there’s a lot to be said for staying on the path when it feels safe and knowing. Going off the path can also serve well when the familiar is in chaos and direction is lost. Then getting lost can bring you back to what life is like and what feelings one need to acknowledge to find yourself. Nature reflects that perfectly to us wherever we are in that moment in life. It can always find a way of answering questions we carry if we are still enough and willing enough to explore and listen.

I also get an answer to why this area draws me in now and again with its elegant and classic presentation. I get to see that it is a shape of a square, which is curious, and what comes to me is the feeling of complete containment. It is orderly, strong and holding, which I deeply resonate with and often need reminding of.

And at the end of it all, of course, comes gratitude, which is the last word and a paint stroke on everything that I work on. Gratitude has an ability to transmute everything into its natural form and state. It is like the Earth that always leads to the truth of things. It always brings things back into focus and centre within.

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Announcement – Nature Spirit Walks Tarot

I am happy to announce the release of the latest project in collaboration with Cortney Cameron, whose wonderful idea and beautifully designed images materialised in this invaluable resource. It has been my absolute pleasure contributing to this project. Enjoy!

ORDER HERE

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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

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…

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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Walking into spring

Imbolc, meditation walk in nature

I went outside and was met with a cold wind on my skin and a bright sun reflected in my hair. I squinted towards the light and took in the wind’s cold embrace into my face with pleasure. I exhaled all I no longer wished to carry.

When I walk in nature I always find I begin to breathe properly, deeply, slower, more aware of each inner and outer breath. I stop, close my eyes and feel into my body, as nature surrounds me. Birds’ wild swooping above my head and a distant calling of their comrade wakes me up into my walk again. I begin slowly and steadily on my path, through some farm fields and into a wooded area. I become aware of a chant, as I carefully watch my steps and feel pressure against the earth with delight and embodied knowing. The chant becomes louder mud, sticks, stones and trees; mud, sticks, stones and trees. As I repeat the words I am completely and fully aware of where I am, who I am, what I am doing and my breath has never been more profoundly present. I close my eyes again and stand still for a minute continuing reciting the words again and again and with each in-breath I feel full of life. I also become aware of my body in a way that it carries me every day. I am grateful for my legs and feet that allow me to be in nature whenever I feel like it. A grounded walk is all I ever need to come back to myself.

It’s just passed Imbolc and the air is filled with hope and anticipation. Everything around us is waking up, yet everything is still, about to move, about to sprout, but not just yet. It is pure joy and excitement. I love early spring and begin to crave some warmth and softness of soil in my hands, as I begin to plant seeds in my garden. Every year with the arrival of copper topped trees that unveil in the landscape I see Brigit with her red hair. She is singing and calling in the birds for a dance. Young, free and beautiful she plays amidst trees in pure knowledge of her own divine force and power to bring creativity into our new spring and support us as this new cycle begins. Soon everything will explode in ecstasy of spring and with a fragrant fresh air we are reminded there will be light, warmth, harvest and bounty to be had in months to come. She stands in the middle of the woodland grove in white and green clothing cupping a white candle. She sings and bows to trees, then sits down to play a tune on her flute and writes a poem with a goose feather wand. I observe in reverence and silence and my own heart is filled with immense gratitude, peace and authentic energy of myself being here and now, in this moment and that is all there is and it is utterly beautiful. A blessing, indeed!

Coming back to the heart… always

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It saddens me to become more and more aware of the dissonance within a community that, perhaps, I saw different somehow or wanted to see different, although my own perceptions got me into trouble here. People operate on a level of collective where unconscious shadow material has been playing out in the world on a large scale over the last few years and always had done really when we think about it. It is no wonder to see it spreading into all sorts of groups whether consciously or unconsciously. What is important for me is to stay aware in that energy of what is really happening and what is ultimately important, essential to me. Troubled exchanges I have witnessed within a community reminded me strongly of other communities many others identify with. A need to belong gets us into trouble too very often when taken to an extreme. Luckily for me that is not an area I struggle with, but nevertheless one can see it happening every day and it is not wrong in and of itself it is extremities of any kind that creates a space of non-safety for many paradoxically and unconsciously. I have been a witness and stayed away from strong, open identifications yet what recent experiences reaffirmed to me is that the decision to be a solitary practitioner is what works for me. I came in as a solitary and I leave as a solitary and that is the most neutral and comfortable for me. That much has always been clear, but I did allow myself to explore and experiment mainly to test out my own choosing. It exposed the reason why I am solitary even more due to my feeling the energy rising from within the collective and witnessing it on one hand for what it is, but at the same time not wishing to add that particular pallet to my overall painting, which is my own spiritual practice. There is sadness and within that a sense of hopelessness for the overall whole yet what I can only do is to commit further to my own walking the earth with what feels aligned with my integrity and heart.

It has become apparent to me this morning I want to change names on my pages and my website not so much to dis-indentify from something, but to reaffirm something for myself and my practice. However, I also know I don’t like labels. I feel labels do not serve the heart and have an unconscious attachment to what is not always the right thing for you and the right thing for me is what it is all about as far as my practice, awareness and development goes. Coming back to the heart centre, strength point, power cup, essential space of your being or whatever you choose to call that point of safety, knowing and honour for yourself, is all that matters. It re-grounds us in our beliefs and practices and re-balances any uncertainties that naturally would come in and out of our experiences. There is no judgement on yourself or others there is only acceptance of things for what they are and how they are. Compassionate understanding for others and your own choices is all that is important.

And into the woods I go, on my own, just as it should be, and just what is needed for myself and the universe at large. My path is of the solitary Elemental witch and it is so for a reason and I hold it dear and let nature guide me as always towards my heart.