Summer and exposure

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As summer energy begins to spread through the land in its blooming attire we have an opportunity to come out, lay bare, expose.

Summer is a time for outer expression, exploring potential and examining inner and outer in its full spectrum. As nature steps into its blooming coat, so do we seek opening up and exploring. This is a ‘Full Moon time’ in its energetic signature, if you like, where things have built up within and without and it is time to show ourselves to the world and to ourselves, warts and all.

My trip to the island of Skomer on the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales made me see parallels between how nature comes into its full potential and how it is an opportunity for us to expose all that had been hidden, open up to a more authentic way of being. The insight came through my own experience of fully exposing parts of myself that might not seem favourable, ugly even, yet while in nature I felt it almost necessary to go with whatever was manifesting within and it felt safe. This experience was new and I suspect there will now be more chances for me to ‘show myself’ fully. I have been in ‘hiding’ during summer months for as long as I remember, yet, perhaps, the time has come to make changes in ways of expression and authenticity.

With exposure comes acceptance and an integration follows, which is an important part to bringing us back to whole, back to ourselves. Was I scared I won’t be accepted or be judged? In the moment I didn’t think, I simply was in a state I was in. I did and didn’t enjoy it, as one would expect, but with exposure and real experience comes such clarity and awareness, which is so useful. On reflection when an opportunity comes for an exposure so does fear for not being accepted for who we are. As a society certain traits and behaviours might be looked down on, but there is also a chance that people that you surround yourself with will sit through that ‘exposure’ with you and become curious about sides of you they might not have seen before. If they manage to hold the experience and still feel the same those are the people that are meant to be around you, furthermore it gives others an opportunity to do the same, i.e. becoming more ‘exposing’ of themselves, accepting of others and freer as a result. We are all dark and light, beautiful and less so, hard and soft and the ability to be present with it all makes us stronger in knowing ourselves and connecting even deeper with others. We often fear alienating others and seek to conform, hide and comply, but we all know what that feels like. Sooner or later all of our inner pieces that are yearning to be exposed will spill into an ugly mess.

I felt inspired watching nature in its most open state, in its full blooming capacity. Nature doesn’t think or waits to be exposed it just does it regardless every year. Summer is the culmination of that energy manifesting everywhere. With exposure comes danger, as beauty can be just as threatening as ugliness. On some level we are threatened not just by others’ beauty, but by our own. We often do not see or realise our own beauty and potential, so we remain hidden and silent. ‘Be brave’, summer would say, bloom anyway even when someone might step on our blooming heart or cut us down mindlessly without a second thought. The song we sing might be our last, as we take flight into the summer air, but sing anyway, the more beautiful the better. Exposure of the body, mind and spirit is so necessary and summer is a powerful time to explore ourselves in our most vulnerable, naked state. There is a potential to be fully empowered.

I learnt the only way to be authentic is just that – expose. Summer allows that space and a perfect opportunity to seek acceptance from within. If we can stand our own shadow energies, watch it unfold, manage to contain it post-exposure and still be ok, we become more whole. This process is of freeing ourselves from the thinking that is harsh and judgemental, often coming from within. Take inspiration from blooming flowers and singing birds, vulnerable, but free in knowing they are blooming even if just for a short time. Nature is accepting of itself, it is not critical, shy or seeking approval. It just is. What greater example is there of authenticity of being.

 

How a ‘no’ can be a ‘yes’ in disguise

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What are your reactions when you hear a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ from people in various life situations. It is interesting to observe how our bodies vibrate when we receive something that we ‘think’ we want to hear and how our reactions are when we are refused something.

We all seek feeling good potentially and would like to go in the direction of having a positive feedback from others. It makes us feel good. And that is just fine for as long as there is awareness of what our intentions, motivations, desires are in that moment when we ask for a ‘yes’ or we expect a ‘yes’. WE also need to be aware of what our potentially reaction might be should a ‘no’ come in. Can we handle it? Can we see the ‘gold’ in receiving a message we might not have expected. Can we decipher a message from within that ‘no’ and ultimately turn it into a ‘yes’ for ourselves without anyone or anything being attached to that decision.

I had an experience a few days ago when what I thought I wanted wasn’t in my best interest. I didn’t know that until I received a ‘no’ when my unconscious needs definitely wanted a ‘yes’. It is very useful to self-reflect post a situation, interaction or a turn of event and come to some sort of grounding within to ensure we are ok with what occurred and, if possible, to see alternative ways of looking at things, be fluid with our interpretations. I felt I couldn’t make a certain decision. My heart was saying one thing and my head another and I was stuck for some time, which was an uncomfortable position to be in. After weeks of holding the ongoing debate between my head and my heart I decided to ask for guidance from someone else. Another great tool I am discovering about asking for help and trusting others to lend a helping hand. As I was waiting for messages to come in and still trying to work it out for myself I went with my heart on impulse, or what transpired later, an intuitive leep in order to push things and get them moving and see what happens. I received a ‘no’ to my request, which I ‘thought’ I wanted to get a ‘yes’ to. The interesting shift that happened in my feeling body was a very pleasant relief for the first time in weeks when I heard that ‘no’. In that moment my decision was made. It was a ‘yes’ in disguise, a guiding voice of what was needed, not what I thought I wanted. My fear and anxiety subsided and for the first time in week I felt grounded and fully present in my body.

I thought of parallels of how this can present itself in nature. It is fundamentally about a contrast in energies and vibrations. It can’t be sunny all the time, right? Neither we wouldn’t want it to be, well, I wouldn’t. It is that push and pull between need and want. Nature needs sunshine and warmth just as much as it needs rainfall, frost, decay and snow cover. When I experience nature I am in the vibration of both, what we perceive positive and negative, dark and light and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I would neither avoid going for a walk if I am called if it rains. That, to me, means that there is something for me to learn from being in the rain in that moment, on that day. It might not be what I want, but it most certainly always what I need, as I often find out after my commune with nature. ‘Yes’ and ‘no’ work in a similar way and it is up to us to be able to receive it with wisdom and acceptance that it is exactly what we need in any given moment.

What I really want to zoom in on with this example is encourage an experiment with what it might be like to hear a ‘no’? Can you hold it objectively without being thrown into a space where it feels like a personal attack or rejection? Hearing a ‘no’ can tell us a lot about our thoughts, scripts and unconscious wounds we might be carrying that need a light thrown on them. We all like a ‘yes’ and there is nothing wrong with that, but a ‘yes’ can also be a trap if we are not careful. It is all in the vibration of how it is given and the felt sense when we receive it. What does it do to us? Does it feel like it lands in the right place or does it carry an unwelcome vibration? Drilling down into how it feels is helpful going from the initial impact to how energy lands, spreads and surrounds our senses and whether it goes away or stays in a way that feels good or bad.

My ‘no’ was a very strong, assertive and clear ‘no’, a ‘no’ I couldn’t argue with and it felt definite and contained. I felt so much better, as I could finally say ‘yes’ to myself after hearing a ‘no’ from outside. I turned inwards for reassurance and it was there, clear and grounded in the knowledge that a ‘no’ meant I could commit to the right path for me for now.

 

The night before Easter Sunday

The night I felt like praying was the night before Easter Sunday 2017. We are in North Wales, Snowdonia.

I am feeling out of sorts with flare ups of anger and that moaning voice talking harshly to me and all those around me. It feels unpleasant and I find myself unable to control it coming out. This is not unfamiliar to me and I often feel at a loss when this happens. I have experienced this voice over and over again for many years and it comes as quickly as it leaves. I am yet to work through whether this is something within me that continues to manifest as unhealed or is this a past-life memory, vibration or personality trait mine or someone else’s.  I might say it feels like a possession of some sort when something from within is desperate to be heard and the voice of pain, bitter disappointment and cruel criticism would not be silent. It feels slightly ‘out of body’ when I can hear and see myself yet I am unable to have any say over what happens or gets said. Post-episode I always feel deep sadness and yesterday I also felt incredible guilt. What happened and what was expressed felt wrong and hurtful and I knew it wasn’t my intention. I felt shame, wanting to atone, a deep sense of feeling sorry for those around me. It was a real genuine sense of wanting to say ‘I am sorry’. It had a mixture of love in it, deep love and compassion.  I saw myself going on my knees at the edge of my bed wanting to pray, ask for forgiveness and release and the idea of God was very present. As a pagan this puzzled me but I remained opened to whatever was coming up. Pagan, of course, pray too in various ways, but this felt different to me. It was God I wanted. Something strong and new was being born in order to aid me with my troubles. I realised something within was uncontainable and I needed to be contained, held and understood. I felt confused and alone. I suggested to my husband I went to church the following day and I felt even more confused as if another part of me, the lost, loving one was seeking resolution and release of the pain caused by a cruel, angry side. I fell into mini-despair about it all and almost froze into a sleep, which was restless and broken.

The morning didn’t seem to bring much relief yet I felt stronger and more intent on understanding what was happening. It also felt joyful and light somewhat and I delighted in beautiful pictures that my parents sent me of Easter eggs and their celebratory table full of traditional food of the season. It felt warm, contained, simple and knowing. It felt like another ‘home’, my mother. The theme of Home was coming through in the mix of it all. I realised that even though I grew up in a non-religious family one holiday that was always celebrated in a traditional way was Easter. I glanced back into my past and remembered gatherings around a table full of pies and baked deliciousness with colourful eggs (real ones) prepared by my mother with the whole family partaking in a celebration I never really understood. No one ever explained its meaning or told me things I needed to do, I simply followed what others did like knocking eggs together to see whose would break first. It was like a game. We did that with each member of the family and ate a lot of eggs that day, we all loved eggs. I always felt there was something quite complete and versatile about eggs.

We decided to go to the forest for some fresh air. Magnificent old pines looked inviting bowing in their knowledge and welcome as I stepped on the path. It felt homely, fresh yet wild and still uncontained. I realised how nature can overwhelm me often and I don’t always feel safe in the space in a way I need necessarily. The idea of a church hadn’t left me still this morning. After spending a few hours wondering through the beautiful forest breathing in fresh spring air we ended up in a village and sat outside next to a church. I was drawn to it instantly and realised this Easter Sunday I must go in, I am being called into a church of a different making to stand at the altar, which is not a forest floor or the altar in my home. I went through the old door decorated in spring flowers and it hit me. I began vibrating all over with shivering sensations spreading throughout my body. I was all alone in this beautiful old church facing the altar. God is Risen! I smiled as this felt like my spirit or the spirit that I know well recognised the spirit present in this place. I knew it is one spirit, it is all the same thing, something spiritual that we all possess and know deep down and that alignment felt instantly soothing and the church felt welcoming. Another feeling I did receive was of that containment. I truly know and understand the meaning of a church being a refuge for so many, it is such a container of people’s troubles, prayers and joys. I get it. I felt contained and held, something I needed more than anything since last night. I lit a candle in honour of everyone that had passed and asked for health and happiness for all my loved ones. I walked away from it lighter, much lighter.

Altar, container, church are all various forms of sitting with the Divine whether it is one God, Goddess, Nature, Spirit or the Source, whatever it might be it is all off the same root, off the same home and it doesn’t have to have a name, face, physical form or a particular way of being. It is a feeling, an emotion, an experience.  It is recognisable when it is present in the atmosphere around whether it is in a forest or in an old village church. Spirit is present everywhere and more potent in places of worship, energy is simply more concentrated, as many desires, wishes and prayers are shared in these places and potent rituals had been performed there for centuries. Places hold that vibration. It occurred to me that whatever is being called force in any given moment, following it with curiosity and an open heart can lead to discoveries not so new, perhaps, yet surprising may be. I felt in union with all and asked for peace within myself and religions around the world whether you are pagan, Christian, Muslin or Hindu. That Spirit that unites all spiritual paths has the same message of love, the same feeling of peace and sacredness whatever religious variations in how worshipping is done. It can be in a church, in a corner of your bedroom, in the sea, on the forest floor or on top of the mountain. It is all about working with energies unseen, but deeply felt and allowing it to touch us in ways that are healing and soothing. It is about asking for guidance and seeking answers when we are at a loss and knowing we are not alone. We all come from spirit and to spirit we will return just like seasons come and go, the wheel of the year keeps on turning we continue on our journey through cycles of life and today is the day of renewal, light coming back and celebrating spring.

I remain curious to exploring my connection to Easter, some Christian elements and what it all means for my spiritual path. I remain open and allowing. It is valid and important to give it space and consideration and allow experiences touch me. This year, as I go through the cycles in nature I am even more intent to explore what each season, cycle, festival mean to me and  I am already beginning to see some elements, that will be included in my future, which hadn’t been considered before. I am creating my own version of the wheel of the year, if you like, and it feels exciting and very personal. I am also grateful for these spiritual experiences and new insights that happen when I am travelling away from home in lands steeped in history and stunning landscape. I love how the Land never fails to facilitate my growth.

Will I be praying again and asking for forgiveness and restoration of peace within? I am pretty sure I will. This experience felt deeply important on the night before Easter, divine timing, one might say, and the feeling afterwards was even more profound. Who will I be praying to and in what form? Will it be in the forest, my bedroom or the church, who knows, but whatever I am called I will follow. It is a fascinating journey of piecing things together, it seems. Another thing to remember, of course, is that there is a constant change, an evolution that occurs. I found nothing is completely static in a spiritual practice and that is what is wonderful about this personal journey. It is like reading a book, which offers more and more possibilities with a promise of always adding mystery and wonderment to my experience.

 

My sacred woodland

Across the road from my house there lies a woodland. It is a short pleasant walk into what is a sacred place to me. At first sight it might seem like nothing particularly special, big or of any significance, yet to me it means everything. It is a sacred crucible, which has been holding my pain and joy, ecstasy and turmoil and provided a solid presence and acceptance for many years now.

The way I would describe it in a way of imagery is a circle of greenery, it is a round shape, not too big, positioned slightly more to the left off the path although it stretches to the right too with a path running all the way round it and across it. It inhibits the lives of many oaks, holly trees, silver birches and smooth-skinned beeches. There are many hidden groves within the woodland where one cannot be seen from any of the paths and it feels like one is in a safe hold of the forest floor, trees above and plants all around. I often feel hugged by my guardian trees and most of them I can climb in between, as they stand in clusters. There is a brook running through the middle, small, narrow, but very alive with vibrancy of the crystal clear water.

In spring the woods change its flooring to vibrant purple of bluebells and the smell stretches all senses in a delicious dance of delirium. The joy is indescribable and it takes my breath away every time. In summer it is near to impossible to go off the path due to overgrowth of ferns and brambles and the air is so still I can hear my heart beat. I hold my breath in surrender to the cooling shelter that it provides amidst the heat of summer days.

In autumn it is very pleasant and paths yet again begin to open up for accessing all the hidden little groves, beginning to invite us slowly into the heart of the woods and our inner worlds. Here I cocoon myself for an hour or so doing magic or simply lying on the floor merging with the earth. There is a notable chill in the air, but so refreshing and, of course, the golden attire of trees never fails to get me to the floor kneeling before its majesty. In winter it is bare in all its glory and I can see the most intricate silhouettes of trees entwining their branches and huddling together against the wind. Stunning in their nakedness they stand strong in their vulnerability.

This woodland has been in my heart for many years and witnessed my process intimately holding all my secret heart desires and painful experiences. I never once left this place without a resolution, an answer or a transformation of some kind. It works every time. It is my trusted teacher, friend, guardian, counsellor, mother/father, the divine. It is something I can’t imagine my life without and its vibration has been aligning with my own for many moons whether it was performing my nature spells, meditating, talking to trees or spending time in close embrace with the earth smelling and feeling the glory of its body and soul. It might be a simple woodland, yet to me it is sacred and precious.

I now intend to take other people on soul quests through this wonderful place where I hope they, like myself, will find resolution, understanding, healing and transformation. I offer OUTDOOR therapy for clients in the UK, Uxbridge area.

Spring forest bathing

My heart is overflowing with gratitude for the spring air filling my lungs and the sun caressing my face as gentle as a feather.

The birdsong is wondrous and exquisite in its multi-tonal spiral of a whistle.

I melt into the earth’s awakening feeling and see the mother welcoming me into her embrace.

Trees are smiling with warmth inside their trunks and wave branches about in ecstatic spring dance.

Spring, oh so gentle and soft in colours yellow, white and purple. Delightful energy of calmness and tranquility.

I love how everything stops when I lie on the ground looking up to the sky through delighted tree tops and birdsong accompanies me into deep relaxation.

 

‘Get back on that road’ Nature said…

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Following on from my post on 2017 signature this is my experience, as reflected back to me by nature perfectly. This is an aspect of my spirituality, which is deeply rooted in knowing that nature always gets where I am, where I need and want to be and where I should be in any given moment. It is non-directional in a traditional sense and neutral, however once I learnt to hear its unique voice I learnt to understand what it means by its often very subtle pointers. She does speak through trees, ground under my feet, through bird song and rustle in bushes. It always speaks and there is always something worth listening to especially when I come for guidance and advice.

The woods this morning stood uninviting. Saying it out loud sounds somewhat strange, which, to me, means there is mystery to be discovered. Things are not always what they seem, I learnt that a long time ago. I hear bird song and follow its music into the woods, yet in the next moment it is drowned by the sound of traffic and air noise followed by loud dog barking and figures walking close by. I can’t settle and I am walking on the paved path unlike my usual choice of places to walk. I notice that. I want to see and smell pines. I know that’s what I seek and I turn off the paved path. I come towards green fluffiness of pines standing beautiful in the rain. I pick a branch from the forest floor to smell it yet it is missing the fragrance I expect. It is dull, it is not felt and I begin to feel like the forest pushes me out, back to the paved path.
The noise of traffic and air doesn’t subside, it is constant and the bird song is no longer present. I look beneath my feet, it is muddy and soggy. It is cold. I feel disjointed and my vision is very obscured by irritating fog in my eyes. I sense anger and disappointment and decide  to walk back to my car.
What was that about? What does it say about where I am right now? Drowned by noise, people, traffic. Chaotic. I feel the woods pushing me towards what is in the moment. I must be amidst it, trees say, not in solitude walking in the rain but in connection with human, mundane and noisy. This is not the first time I hear this message and I recognise it as s lesson of not trying to escape something but fully staying with what is. It is about the Earthly, grounded dimension being rather than spiritual and detached when not in connection with the earthly. This is actually the most important lesson of the spiritual, which I am reminded of again and again. I start the car and as I drive back home I feel anticipation in my heart growing to see my boys and get stuck in my life again. I feel renewed, seen and understood yet again.

Nature

 

Nature is an intelligence system of the Source manifesting through rivers, trees, seasons, mountains. They each represent a side of the spirit with unique qualities and purpose to make ‘whole’.

Nature has much to teach us, most of all about ourselves. One might say it is the only teacher we will ever need. It will always lead us back to ourselves.

As we cut off from nature, we cut off from the Source itself and separate further from ourselves.

What is life without soul? Unconscious dwelling, never wondering what else is there? Many often reach the question is this it? Is there more we wonder? You are it, all that u seek is already within. Natures’ elements are parts of you and as you learn to be with her, you learn to be with yourself.

 

Oh how soul craves the Earth bare, moist and deep

The calling drenched in sweetest voice directs oneself to thee 

You are the stars, the Moon, the Sun, the flowers on forest floor

You are the fallen leaves that fly surrendering to her

The Earth’s warmth and calm embrace gives power to soul

To rest, to be, to sing and dance in circle of the coil 

One whole, one complete within, at peace with one’s soul

 

RawPagan