It was the final session before his solo wilderness rite-of-passage ceremony next week. He will cross the threshold and mark what is alive, what is calling, what is waiting to be heard.
But for now, we were in a redwood and bay forest along a creek and Opening to the East. East was the last of the four shields (School of Lost Borders) or four facets of the psyche (Bill Plotkin) that we’d been diving into over several sessions among the trees, along the river, on the rugged wild coast.
That meant today we were Being, much more than Doing: Spaciousness, Lightness, Play.
We have all the other parts of ourselves and our lives, for the all the Doing.
East signifies the Dawn after the long night, the New, the Spring after the long winter.
Its Archetypes include the Innocent/the Sage/the Sacred Fool/the Trickster, and abounds in Paradox, favoring both/and over either/or thinking.
It’s living from Joy, lightening up, finding the humor in things, making fun of our ever-so-serious selves: “Hey, we’re out here in/with nature talking about wholeness and doing activities, we’re going to conduct a fasting ceremony in the wilderness, how freaking weird!””
It is Beginner’s Mind, fresh eyes, a young heart. The East is living with Mystery, knowing we don’t know and Living that largest Non-ego Transpersonal narrative, Belonging to Universe, Belonging AS the universe. Expressing and Embracing Spirit and spiritual love.
It is relinquishing attachment to outcome, it’s accepting—maybe even reveling in—being thwarted in getting what we think we want. It WON’T turn out how you think.
The trickster energy means things get turned on their head, Rules get ignored or overturned. It’s also being spontaneous, so we find ourselves picking up rocks and sticks and drumming rhythmically without a why, climbing trees, and splashing our feet and faces with creek water.
We Imagine our colorful robed-mountaintop sacred fool selves reacting to our mundane take-every-little-thing-so-serious selves.
We simply rest on a boulder with the flow of the water.
Yes, this is East. This is a rounding out. How miraculous and amazing it is to be alive!
It’s always great when nature connection gets some media attention. Redwood News covered a part of our Healing the Healers with Nature as Ally workshop earlier this month.
After our sense walks, when the cameras stopped rolling, we dove into the deeper stuff, including sharing the things that sometimes keep us from self-care and listening to our own advice that we give others, participated in a truth mandala ritual for expressing eco-grief and other difficult emotions, and solo time on the land to deeply listen to our Inner Guides, with nature as mirror.
We ended with gratitude and some spontaneous and beautiful nature art from the heart for integration.
We will host a similar workshop for LMFTs, social workers, massage therapists, nurses, and others in the helping professions in September.
The Article: Healing With Nature Brings Out the Other Senses
Last night at dusk a group of us gathered on the shore to honor the whales, dolphins, and other animals that have been dying in extraordinary numbers, as well as to honor our pain and other emotions.
After earth poetry and grounding, we shared a Truth Mandala in which participants take turns stepping into the center of a ritual circle we created in the sand, divided into four quadrants, each containing an object through which they can speak their pain for the world. The objects (dry leaves, a stone, a stick, and an empty bowl) are picked up and used to express the emotions of fear, sorrow, anger, and emptiness or hunger for what is missing.
Sometimes the circle itself is considered to represent hope. We added feathers found on the beach to symbolize hope (as in Emily Dickinson’s “Hope is the thing with feathers…”).
Then we told the hard truth—about the state of the world, about the state of our emotions. Thanks everyone who came out and shared their selves in vulnerability and honesty.
Describing this practice in her book Coming Back to Life Joanna says: “Truth-telling is like oxygen: it enlivens us. Without it we grow confused and numb. It is also a homecoming, bringing us back to powerful connection and basic authority.”
We’re happy to announce Wild Nature Heart Academy’s 6-class series called Reclaim Your Wild Nature Heart for people transitioning or ready to transition to a deeper earth-centered life and eager to cultivate a deeper belonging to place and purpose.
(This is the in-person course in Humboldt County — An online version is also coming soon.)
This course is for you if any of the following describes you:
THROUGH 6 CLASSES (Meeting Thursdays September 5-October 17 (no class Sept. 19), we’ll explore conceptually and through practice these topics:
Participants will learn various tools and concepts for re-connecting to nature, their soul callings, and each other.
There will be Sense-based and soul-based exercises that help re-connect us to inner and outer wild nature and help us drop deeper into our bodies, senses, and aspects of our wholeness.
Participants will have the opportunity to do a solo overnight on the land ceremony. (This component is more deeply explored in the Immersion course)
Participants will have the opportunity to share an offering and/or service project. (This component is more deeply explored in the Immersion course)
In addition, ALL participants in ANY Wild Nature Heart course series receives:
In the first gathering, we’ll do introductions and beginning digging into the themes of Re-Belonging, Deep Listening, Council Circle, and the Sacred Pause and Love Affair with the World.
When: Thursdays, Sept. 5-Oct. 11 (no class September 19)
Where: McKinleyville (Various places: Mad River Bluffs, Hiller Park, Pierson Park)
(When possible and as light allows, we will be outside. We will meet indoors as it gets darker and colder/wetter)
Cost: $180 (Or Only $120 IF YOU REGISTER BEFORE AUGUST 1 – just $20 a class)
To Register: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your interest & send registration fee to PayPal.Me/WildNatureHeart.
(Note: Class limited to 10 participants)
Conversations with wild nature. Leading with our noses. Body wisdom. Learning from our more-than-human elders. Trusting. Sense-walking. Becoming elders. Meeting new plant neighbors. Play and innocence. Stillness. Just Being.
These were a few of the things we did and themes that were evoked in today’s Allying with Nature’s Wisdom gathering in the Redwoods.
Gratitude to all the beings of the forest and for everyone who came out for a sacred pause and reconnecting this morning 🌲
And thank you to author, biologist, teacher, painter Lorrie Klosterman for bringing your heart presence, thoughtfulness, and skills in leading us in our wild conversations walk.