Three wishes for Yule

Winter Solstice

Mind is our biggest ‘prison’. There is nothing more our mind wants is to be stuck on the same track over and over, go in one direction. It doesn’t like change, it doesn’t like upgrading, it is in that sense primitive and when questioned will rebel in strong ways. However, we all want to be free, flowing, silent and not-attaching to anything that brings us worries and restlessness. Freeing yourself from thinking patterns is a way towards reclaiming some of our freedom. Thinking also causes our feelings and if you don’t like feeling a certain way and get trapped in a cycle, attend to your thinking. Challenge it, avoid engagement, refuse to listen, give yourself more than just following what the mind says. Remember, the mind doesn’t know any better, only what had been programmed and practiced, it is its familiar territory and until the course is changed, it will continue on the same track. Thoughts and feelings are entwined. If you believe or choose to think something, as it comes, you will feel a certain way every single time as a result of that thought. As you become aware of some of the ways you think, you can then choose how to proceed. Particularly with things that are ‘historical’, i.e. past-created patterns of thinking, you must be careful not to keep repeating the same way of thinking, as it will only bring the same way of feeling.

Ever since I was I was a child I remember wanting nothing more than a peace of mind.  I knew on a physical level that it is my thinking that had been causing a lot of things, yes I had to wait to become an adult to figure it out. As an adult through years of practice and healing I have understood what it does and why and have explored ways of reconciling with it, making it work for me. It has not been easy. The reason why I love Buddhism is because it shows us not just what the mind does, but how to become skilful in working with its patterns through observation and letting it be, choosing not to engage at all times. Read my post of my findings related to this Lessons from today’s meditation

The reason why I love earth-based spirituality is because it involves working and being with ‘the whole’. It includes our physical bodies, emotions and spirit and mind becomes a supportive vessel for all the other parts and vice versa. There is less struggle. Mind is not alone and other senses have great value.

This Yule I am wishing for three things:

  • A peace of mind
  • A clarity of mind
  • A quietude of mind

It is possible to ‘master’ your own thinking and there is a distinct sense of satisfaction and control when it is successful. Even if it might often be temporary the fact that it was once possible provides hope for all future attempts. Practice makes perfect. When a change in thinking is introduced, the edge is taken off patterns and beliefs. They no longer rule over everything. One way of thinking that helps is understanding that some things can’t be controlled and any worry or overthinking is futile and, for me, anything that becomes heavy to carry or be with is pointless, as it only adds to the overall hardship of existence and a state of things life often presents. We must quieten does, lighten the load and connect more often through other senses cultivating a sense of peace. Effort is always met with reward in my experience. Continuous striving is what life is and we must never give up on ourselves. We can always choose what we think and what we focus on remembering not to make it ‘heavy’, but make it easier wherever possible.

I am off to find a Yule log this week and will bear my three wishes in mind when being with the log, decorating it and then burning it for next year.

I hope you too will become aware of things you want to come more into your life during this celebratory time of welcoming back the light and go on to manifest your goals with authenticity, passion and integrity.

Blesses Yule, everyone!

New spiritual

Yule log

In the last two months I have found my new ‘spiritual’, ‘other than’ space through writing. I have loved every second of my passion and particularly how it feels when engaged in it. It feels otherworldly and like nothing else. For that I am immensely grateful and feel joyful knowing I can step into that ‘dimension’, yes, it feels like another sphere all together, when I want to. It is not, of course, as simple as just sitting down and write, but I love that complexity, a challenge, which stretches me intellectually, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

As Yule is approaching I can feel my energy shifting into 2020 goal setting, or a visual and sensory plan I like to envisage. I usually go about this by tuning into my energy and how I feel, which is around, rather than purely looking at physical needs and demands of the outside world, so to speak. What I am discovering is that I feel I would like to step more into my Fire energy. Again, this is not unusual for me with the season of winter, but I think I have forgotten how much I missed it having spent a lot of 2019 in a place that explored more soft, sensitive, quiet ‘me’. You see with writing both are required and I love that. In terms of going forward I would like to step into the Fire of my own inner qualities and run joyfully with that. In the last few days I have had a pep talk with myself, got angry with myself (in a good way) and said ‘enough is enough’ in relation to many things in my life. It felt like an existential shift where I have come to more acceptance of belonging to this earthly world, whether I want to or not, and that I don’t always have choices and neither I should have. There is less discussion, introspection and analysis needed for me at this time and more being present in the physical that I need to manifest. Winter is the perfect time for me to do that, as every year my energy escalates, my mind clears and I become very productive and active. I love it.

In terms of my spiritual practice I would like to implement the elements I am referring to above, e.g. creating more of a routine, consistency and commitment to things I need to be doing. Arriving at what that might be will, of course, be done intuitively, as it is my most natural way of discerning things. The rest will be done in a clean, precise, organised manner. At least I would like to try. Many things have sort of disappeared into the background in terms of practice and I would like raise my awareness more and bring things back into practice, but with a new vigour, in a new way.

My plans are a lot about writing in 2020. That includes literary fiction and poetry and non-fiction on subjects related to earth-based spirituality. I feel excited to have a few projects in the pipe-line. My poetry book ‘Soul Land’ is coming out next year and I am extremely touched and passionate about that collection and in awe of how it came about all together. It was meant to be, the only way I can describe it.

My first step on the way to reawakening traditions will be searching for my Yule log and decorating it for the 21st December celebrations. I love Yule and I love darkness, which always feels super nourishing and comforting to my soul and my body adores cold temperatures. I hope you all have a wonderful time celebrating Nature and all her beautiful gifts.

Blessed Yule!

Poetry book coming out in 2020

img_6982

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.”

Signature for 2020

It has been a challenging year and at times provided no mercy or protection at all in terms of emotional, cognitive, phisycal or spiritual understanding or being with. Some structures fell apart right in front of us without giving any clues of how to get through the disappearance of some realities that had been constructed over many years. Emptiness, but in a very painful way rather than a soothing comfort, came into contact with the world we live in and again a sense of hopelessness was present during many months this year.

We are walking into 2020 with our shadow material right in front of us and it will not be a pleasant or joy filled experience. Shadow work is powerful but always hard. However resisting it is not the answer. To make it easier we must surrender. There’s no longer any hiding places. Things that we thought we had dealt with or forgotten many years ago will rear its head and slap us in the face. For some it has already started. It will feel distabilising in a way like never before. It will confuse everything we think we know. Mind will start desperately making sense of it all giving us the worst feeling and disconnecting from the body. Be mindful of not falling into traps of trying to rescue or soothe yourself in ways that are not beneficial like drugs and alcohol, e.g. Share with as many people as you can what you are going through. As this is collective you will find others inviting you in and sharing back. This is the area that will remain hopeful. Know to use it.

Self-care will be crucial if we are to stay somewhat grounded in order to deal with our ‘demons’. It will not be easy, but will be worth it as we will really have to put ourselves first and give all our parts compassion and space in which to cry, rage and transform. Patience will be needed and an ability to stay contained. Tough times. We will be faced with Shadow work like never before inviting us to accept it all completely. There will be no choice given following up on this year’s manifestations and some of us are not good with having no choice, myself included.

Spiritual will be harder to access or practice in a way that we are used to. This is due to a close connection of spiritual and earthly so both will come into question. Elements will quieten down and also will be harder to involve. A theme of silence and emptiness will continue. This will be more challenging than every before.

We will be asked to define meaning for all areas of our lives in fine detail. In that we are asked to be more focused, more productive and intentional in everything we do. The world requires order, which is not devoid of meaning. The one that will provide a solid foundation for years to come. We will also be asked to redefine security, safety for us personally and as an overall vibration.

Following on from this year things will be falling away and apart in preparation for a new foundation. Clearing space will manifest in work, personal life, beliefs and patterns. In itself this is a good thing although the way it will come about will be painful as many still struggle to let go. The focus will go further down into our past, places we never wanted to see again. The soil/foundation will need to be richer and cleaner than ever before, so a radical removal is required and furthermore, fertilisation in a way like never before, steady, patient and taking time. It will be slow. The process starting next year will go on for a while, I feel, and we will need to get used to it in a way of participating in it rather than resisting it as this is just the beginning of the next cycle.

My writing process so far

copyright protected mock cover

I am near the end of my first-drafting a novel journey and learning, growth, inspiration and genuinely rich experiences that have come out of it so far are bursting out of me. I didn’t have specific expectations going into this process of what it is like to start and complete a work of fiction. All I knew that it was time and I needed to do it. I have written non-fiction and poetry before and writing fiction has proven to be a very different experience. Poetry was a unique, completely spiritual and intuition-based experience and non-fiction is something that I enjoy and approach with a different attitude. I enjoy experiencing and researching and putting my findings into words. I have learnt a lot about myself as a person, as a writer, as a woman undertaking a novel writing and many things have been re-affirmed for me. I have a bit longer to go and currently taking a break and reflecting on the journey so far. Many writers would relate to some of my lessons, I am sure, as I found hearing the old wisdom coming through with each experience I was having and nodding my head. I have read and listened to many authors’ lives and experiences by this point. Many nuances of the journey are my own, and unique, however, and finding a personal creative path and voice, to me, is absolutely necessary and the most exciting part of the process.

Here is a summary of things that I have learnt so far on my journey of writing long fiction:

You will hear this many times and it is a life-saver advice for sure. Do not edit as you write. Just write without going back and editing and re-writing. Keep moving forward. Editing comes later on. The first draft (there will be many) is just telling a story to yourself. This will help you progress, eliminate doubt, self-critique, etc., which is not what the first draft about.

It is possible to write anywhere, anytime and allowing for a needed process on any given day to unfold is important. Nothing should be forced. Drop preconceptions, unhelpful advice, expectations put on yourself or through others’ experiences. Do it your way. Daily I would make a decision where I wanted to write and on what device depending on how I felt. I experimented a lot and it was so interesting. For example, I asked myself or rather tuned into my feelings on the day what feels good whether it is my sofa with a laptop in the middle of afternoon or would it be on my phone while I was out for a walk or as my regular set-up at my desk in the morning. More often than not I just knew what I wanted. Intuition again is your friend no matter what you do. When I first started I wrote early in the morning every day and it worked wonderfully for me. I am productive and eager during mornings, but as time went on I allowed myself to experiment with other devices other than my desktop computer and other places. I also found the second spurt of energy or a clear space in my head often appeared between 2.00 and 3.00pm in the afternoon, so I took that. Another way for me to write that transpired was in the evening with noise going on around me, TV in the background and people in the room. I wrote on my phone a lot. At the end it was wonderful to know I could do it anywhere, at any time. I also feel that when it comes to the editing stage that is where my handwriting will come in. So far I haven’t used it in this process.

Things can’t be forced and breaks are allowed and you will know when you need a break. I went through days when I felt upset by what I was writing, or my character would hide away from a conflict that needed to happen, or towards the end I just didn’t want to think, read, write and do anything. It all happened. It took sometime before my story began living within me and characters really came forward. Then there was another period of time before they started communicating. Becoming aware of the characters was great and it helped me progress as they took over and story began to be told through their wishes and needs. I gave over control and proceeded according to what characters were saying and how they would answer questions I would ask of them.

I love, love, love intuitive downloads or inspiration flashes, as many would call it. When it comes it comes in this complete, clear form and writing is easy. This happened to me during this process too and I was glad it did.

I enjoyed setting a schedule and managing my time. It plays very well into productivity, results and increase in your writing speed over time. It is good and I found writing something every day is a great tool no matter how many words and in however many sittings. Focusing and commitment are definitely very important parts to a writing process. A balance between order, structure, routine and intuition/inspiration is a winning combo.

I learnt that I do not enjoy making things up when I intentionally do it (intuitive writing is a different thing) and prefer writing non-fiction on the whole, but this might change over time as I experience fiction writing more. I trust it will become clearer and for now it is too soon to tell.I am a visual, sensory that needs to see, touch and smell ‘a scene’, ‘an image’, etc. before I can talk about it. This is probably quite common. You can’t write what you can’t see clearly is true for me.

During my process I had a critique group going where the beginning chapters were being reviewed. I found it helpful, motivational and helped me self-reflect. Criticism is good and healthy.Reading on writing is very helpful and so is reading books in your genre. I finally understood the importance of reading in order to write and writing in order to know what your reading preferences are. Again, I came to a conclusion that I like a particular genre and prefer reading non-fiction.

Writing as a therapeutic process. I started this project with the intention of it being for myself, as a process of learning the craft, releasing a story that had been waiting for many years to be told and putting something to rest. I did just that through my heroine’s voice and her intentions she re-defined her journey and told me a different ending to the one I conceptualised before. Changing the ending of something is very powerful I can tell you. At the moment though, as she is very satisfied with how things ended and she loves it she doesn’t want to go back and look over parts of the story that still need her attention. So partly, I wait and partly I employ some tools to convince her to tell me more. Writing a novel is a great opportunity to re-write the ending of whatever story you might have been holding on to for whatever reason. It is also therapeutic because you are finding and using your own voice either as a narrator or through your characters. You hear yourself for the first time, as I did. It was revelatory and strange, but again, powerful.

Alternating writing with a physical activity, walking in my case, always walking, works for me. I would write for two hours and then I need to get out. Switching up activities kept the routine going and just felt containing and balanced.

This one is more for the future, as I plan my next step and it is beginning to write as ideas come through, not putting it off. Writing continuously is important in order to improve the craft and define your voice more with each book or a project.

I found the process incredibly rich, fascinating and so inspiring on many levels that I can say I am in love with the process, not necessarily with my book or the idea, but the process itself. It opens up so many avenues for growth and improvement and makes self-awareness and aspirations for the future clear. It is an organic and alive process too, which, if allowed to unfold and live, will bring a lot more insights.

Image: a mock cover for my novel that I created with a few others and found it helpful in my creative process. Goes back to the point about seeing things in images. 

Post-Samhain and the end of 2019

It has been such exciting times here at my headquaters of Raw Nature Spirit. All through September, October and now November, my time has been filled with writing a novel. More exciting news is that my book of poetry SOUL LAND is being published and released at the end of April 2020. I have been busy editing, writing and creating.

Samhain just gone was a beautiful day and very different from previous years. Very grounding and calm times for me. I feel there has been growth, maturity, releasing more of residual non-essentials and creating space for all that nourishes us and will continue to nourish us in 2020. This year has really been a foundation for what’s to come in 2020 where we will be embracing ourselves fully and stepping into our gifts and purpose once and for all. We have really come into our own at this point in time and now further unfolding begins towards more subtle layers of wisdom. Nature speaks to us louder than ever and our senses are sharper than ever, so letl’s use it all to create heaven on earth.

Pay attention to unconscious rumblings through feelings and behaviours, materials coming up in dreams and insights that might come in daily.

Happy New Year, nature folk around the world. Many blessings!

Follow my journay and frequent updates on instagram #raw_nature_spirit

Scotland – a way forward

My relationship with Scotland has been profound over the years, as many of you will know. I have travelled north, south, through central parts and inner and outer isles and in each place I discovered a part of myself that showed me various truths about what life and love means to me, reminded me of profound grief and loss and soothes me into a sense of peace and quiet. Most of all nature understanding within and without is something I will always see as a priceless gift I was given in this lifetime.

This year things have broken down literary on this path of my relating to the land and lessons have been huge. I felt as if the land spat me out all ragged and wounded with a sense of self lost and disintegrated. My heart broke and I disconnected from everything and everyone as a result. I left the land exhausted and ill not wanting to look back.

Now the storm is over and I have grounded into the earthly quality of autumn once again I am beginning to reflect on my journey so far and clear a way forward in this profound connection I feel to the land and to myself subsequently. I am setting an intention to redefine this connection, fine-tune it. I am evaluating and comparing my experiences and looking at various sides of myself that have come forward as a result of my journey through the land. Where the wild North torn me to pieces and stripped me of the ground beneath my feet, isles got me in touch with a quiet of my internal possibilities and the central part always held me steady I am clearly defining places that I want to engage with going forward. It is almost like I am creating healthy boundaries for myself like with any other relationship. I know where to go and what not to engage with necessarily for my own peace and vitality as well as for maintaining balanced relationships with significant others in my life. In terms of the elements I know that woodland (Earth) vibrates on the closest level to what I am deep down, whereas the sea is quite far from my essence, although lakes and rivers (water but on a gentler scale) are singing the song my soul recognises. It’s natural. Mountains are incredibly supportive and holding to me and with their spaciousness (Air) I find the balance in my breath (this took time).

I now know that after surrendering to the utterly wild side of myself and the land where there is no mercy on soul or body I now seek balance, warmth and gentleness instead. I want to feel safe and contained. Those are the qualities I want to cultivate further and one particular place I feel can support me in that. Interestingly enough it is a place where I visited Scotland first. So I have come a full circle, one might say, and returned to the understanding of myself on a much deeper level and what truly matters to me in this life.

I am publishing my poetry collection Soul Land soon as a tribute to my spiritual love affair with the land over the last few years. Watch the space.

Much love