Wild Soul Searching

Sometimes, I think we search much of our lives looking for a home for our hearts. The natural world intrinsically knows where it should be and why. But, we as human beings seem to be constantly looking for somewhere to belong, connect, and create 'a sense of place'. Perhaps, our hearts might remember if we turn the noise of the accepted world down, and return to the land around us. This page is about doing just that. I'll be exploring little practices of connection, journaling and writing about the Wetlands I live in. Hopefully, this will help you do the same for the place that you call home. I think you'll be surprised about how much you care about where you are once you slow down to look. And, to those that are just beginning to look or are seeking change, perhaps you'll find ideas here too.

"The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature". Joseph Campbell

Winter 2019

 

I live in the smallest house on a soft chalk hill, which tumbles down into a stream, that joins a river, that runs out into the Fens.

I live out on the 'Reach of the river' - out of reach of the everyday world of busyness and chaos. Life is slow and quiet here. The people who live here are slow and quiet too. There are no local shops, no Post Office, no school anymore... the village is too small for those luxuries now. But, there is a church, a village hall, a pub, and an organic farm and shop. In order to keep ourselves in supplies, we go to the neighboring villages and towns ten to twenty minutes away for needs we no longer can find here.

Wikipedia says: A fen is one of the main types of wetlands, the others being grassy marshes, forested swamps, and peaty bogs. Along with bogs, fens are a kind of mire. Fens are minerotrophic peatlands, usually fed by mineral-rich surface water or groundwater.

If you look closely at the photo on the right, mine is the little white cottage mid-picture, with a bay of windows on the top floor. To be honest, I came here to hide. My job at the University had become overwhelming. It was the 'too many duties, not enough money, and no means to progress story'. My husband and I were lucky enough to make a change, and so we sold up. After much searching, we found this little overgrown cottage with its old barns and beautiful garden. It seemed to us truly 'Beyond-Reach' from what we had known, but not beyond reach from what we felt we could achieve here. It is named 'Prospect House', as the Victorian landlord who built the cottage as a drover or farm worker's home felt it had a wide and beautiful view over the Fens. Many people have come and gone since the chalk blocks and brick floors were laid sometime before 1811. So many stories of country life are contained in the fabric of the walls and windows. This house definitely has a 'sense of place'... In a way, we were invited guests in a long line of owners who had to prove their worth, their courage, and their ability to make this a home. We were going to have to fight for 'our place', before we were allowed to settle in this strange little village out on the edge of Waterland.

 

Footnote: I also realise 'Wild Soul Searching' is more about a journey to 'find my own heart and remember who I am again'. This is a story about rebuilding and healing 'my sense of place inside myself'.

Spring 2020

 

How is everyone doing? It seems whether we like it or not - we are being asked to change. I grew up in Minnesota, on the border of Canada in the Northern USA. The winters there were very hard. If you were in an unlucky year - the cold and snow came in November and didn't leave until the end of March. That's almost a half year of hard living. It was a climate where you 'prepared'  from the minute you started harvesting from the summer vegetable patch and fruit trees. I remember helping my Grandmother pickle, bottle, and freeze food. My Grandfather hunted and fished - and nothing went wasted. There was vast folk knowledge on self-sufficiency and how to care for yourself. This was all before the dawn of  'Supermarkets, frozen foods, and manufactured medicines'. Think about that for a minute... I'm not saying progress is bad - it is inevitable in the human story. But, how did we allow ourselves to forget our resiliency? For the sake of conveniance - what did we give up? From the dictionary:

resilience

/rɪˈzɪlɪəns/

Learn to pronounce

noun

noun: resilience; noun: resiliency; plural noun: resiliencies

  1. 1.

    the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

    "the often remarkable resilience of so many British institutions"

  2. 2.

    the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.

    "nylon is excellent in wearability, abrasion resistance and resilience"

If anything, the crisis of Covid 19 has brought people back to their humanity. I'm choosing to look at all the good reports. Families are setting up online 'well check' meetings. There has been community action on helping parents with 'home schooling' children. Parents are working from home - and getting time together. People are talking to and helping their neighbors. 'Time' has slowed down again. And, 'time' has always been there - waiting for us to remember. We were just convinced that it wasn't. Another pause for thought... Could this be the start of something very good?

Let's take a big deep breathe. How many times have we heard "It takes a crisis to build a people"? Let's stay in our best selves and help each other through this. This is where we should be. Don't let fear overwhelm you. Do what you can to stay well and help others. Get outside in Nature and let her bring great calm and groundedness to you. Hearing the Spring birdsong is one of the most powerful medicines of all. You can almost hear things growing again if you listen hard enough. Sending you love.

Summer 2020

How did you do over the last few months of what will forever be remembered as the 'Great Lockdown' ? Despite, the waves of disbelief, fear, and doubt, did you find your resilience? In trying to spell that word, a happy coincidence just happened. I spelled 're - silence'. Do we find our resilience by rediscovering our silence, our soul, our core of forgotten strength? I have witnessed so many good things happening around the world at this time, I believe it to be so. Without the noise 'of having to make a living - we remembered how to live'. And, if we found ourselves lost or in a relationship or place we didn't belong, the Lockdown gifted us with clarity and a memory of purpose. What do you think? Did an 'awakening' happen for you?

Here we are in Summer - and halfway through the passage of another year. In nature, the wonder of what was seeded into the cold wet soil of Autumn, and put to sleep over the Winter comes bursting through in greens and rainbow colours. We are graced with the true beauty of our Earth. I have never felt the Spring and Summer so richly... The sounds of the birds, the sightings of wild animals, the depth of colours, and the scent of plants have played out to me like a movie I once watched as a child, but put away to join the world of responsible adulthood. My own garden has become the 'heaven on earth' I once designed, but thought might never happen. I have noticed all this wonder because ...

'I stopped, I listened, I silenced, I witnessed'.

 

I found two beautiful quotes on 'deep listening' I'd like to share. One comes from a Native American site I follow on Facebook,

"The Dakota 38 +2 Family":

“The faces of our future generations are looking up to us from the earth and we step with great care not to disturb our grandchildren.”
–Traditional Circle of Elders

 

The leaves, when they are finished with their life on the trees, will return to the Earth. The leaves that return to the Earth are the future trees. So inside the Mother Earth are the future forests. The human, when finished with its life on the Earth, will return to the Earth. So in the Earth are our future grandchildren. Knowing this, we should be respectful of the place where our future generations live. Only take from the Earth what you need. Every time you pick a plant or Medicine, leave an offering and leave a prayer. Be respectful and walk in a sacred way.

 

Great Spirit, teach me to respect the place of future generations.

 

Copied with the permission of Don L. Coyhis, from the book Meditations with Native American Elders: The Four Seasons
If anyone would like to purchase the book is can be found at: Coyhis Publishing at: www.coyhispublishing.com
Or Amazon at: www.amazon.com

 

Another from "Midwives of the Soul", a Facebook Group Page:

 

Listening as an art form awakens profound experiences of the self and soul, offering a portal that can awaken a transformational experience of connection to others and the world. Listen for the emotional meanings conveyed by others. Listen for what is not being said. Listen inside of the space between words.

 

Dr Arielle Schwartz (from her book, The Complex PTSD Workbook.)

These quotes have been dancing in my head for quite a while. I hope they help you reflect a bit more on what we've been through with the Virus - and on how we can go on into the future. 'Let's walk in wonder' and be our own best caretaker of ourselves, each other, and the future Earth we wish and want for our children. Thank you for your gifts 'Great Lockdown'.

 

Autumn Equinox 2020

 

I hope everyone is feeling this wonderful Equinox time of year. Between the light and the dark - between the last of summer's warmth and the breath of cold in the autumn air. My favorite season. The sun is the colour of honey, and the berries and fruits are waiting to be gathered.

Have you had time to reflect on the harvest of your year? Did you feel your 'growth cycle'? When you look through the eyeglass did you follow your plans, or were you surprised? Now, is the time of sacred consideration. Breathe deep, look at your cupboards. What needs replenishing? What needs cleaning and polishing fresh again for setting new plans and ideas during the winter darkness? And, in all this tidying, remember to touch with grace all that you have and all that you are. It is important to say thank you. Happy Equinox to you all.

Winter 2020

"If you have one hundred people who live together, and if each one cares for the rest, there is One Mind." 
--Shining Arrows, CROW


One of the principles of Community is Unity. The alignment of thoughts in groups of people will cause One Mind to form. One Mind is Unity. Each individual in the community must align their thoughts with what other members are thinking. If all the people think of helping one another, then the community will be service oriented and powerful results will be enjoyed. Having our thoughts aligned within a group will cause our children to experience a positive environment. When they have children, the grandchildren will automatically experience these results also.

My Creator, help me to contribute to positive group thought.

Copied with the permission of Don L. Coyhis, from the book Meditations with Native American Elders:  The Four Seasons

I think it would be fair to describe the year of 2020 as being 'Wild', and a time where everyone's Soul has been and is being challenged. It is a time of change. Although, the seasons of this year passed and I can remember the flowers and leafs, what was truly missing from the experience of the year was the ability to have shared it with others. And, without each other, life didn't feel fully experienced and loved. Was that the lesson we were suppose to learn?... I am a self-proclaimed Hermit, but I love people. I love being around people, sharing stories, listening, laughing and crying, and most importantly making memories. This essential ingredient of 'connection' makes life worthwhile. Have we learned /remembered we need each other this year? I think that we have... The 'bubble' of being with my family became a life line of strength and hope. We have become a small tribe of Unity.

 

Sadly, I lost my father this autumn. He became ill soon after the New Year, and never really recovered. It wasn't Covid that claimed him, but without him the whole family lost our compass and courage. He had been a central part of our 'planetary alignment', and we are now in the process of grieving and resetting our constellation. Through this all, nature has been the warm blanket that has wrapped around us and held us through our troubles and sadness. There is such healing in stepping onto the ground, hearing the wind, catching the scent of water and feeling her flow, and being warmed and graced by the fire of the sun. I feel without Nature, my 'Wild Soul' may have perished this year. She has held my heart tenderly... My Christmas and New Year wish is to let Nature more fully into your life. I think you will find the coming days and year will not be so hard. And, she might just take you to a better understanding of yourself. Merry Solstice, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
 

 

"The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature". Joseph Campbell

Imbolc 2021

Time seems to be blending one season to the next far too quickly. I acknowledge that Winter really did arrive. We've even had a few days of snow in the Waterland. But, somehow the cold hasn't really penetrated deeply enough to make me believe it is time for Spring. I've been steadily working in the garden, trimming the trees and bushes, and raking summers last burst from the beds. And, maybe what I'm slowly beginning to feel is hope rising with the sap and snowdrops. The birds have been singing, the horses have been dancing at the beginning and end of days, and most importantly 'the light lingers a little longer' each day. I believe I can smell green growth in the air. And, my heart is wanting to join in all of this joy.

Perhaps, it is time to let go of weight of last year? Let go of fear, let go of anxiety, and really let go of the need to try and plan. In order to create 'new growth you have to prune back the old' and clip to the healthy part of trees and plants. I think that is what I want to do. Let go, breathe in the Spring air, and just really be present in each day's beginning and thankful for its ending in peace. Spring has come - amidst all the noise and sadness of the outer world. New beginnings are a wondrous, magical thing. Thank you Mother Earth for the reminder and letting me make my home with you. Wishing you all a joyful Spring - maybe the thought of celebrating the light a little more each day.

julie@beyond-reach.co.uk

 

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