Heeding the signals of your soul's calling - from the inner and outer world.
'Wilde' -the old English spelling meaning 'in a natural state, uncultivated, untamed, undomesticated' Quote from the Etymology Dictionary
So, here we are.
Stepping over the threshold of a brand new year.
A clear piece of paper, a new beginning.
Winter is a time for hibernation, dreaming and reflecting and a wonderful time to playfully engage with our own wellbeing.
a moment to look down at our feet- where are we now...
a moment to look back- where have we been...
and a moment to consider- where to next...
This can bring overwhelm, so, if that's the case let's ground the heck out of that for a start!
The outer 'wilde'
A moment in the natural world whilst doing physical activity or 'just being' in nature, can support a huge sense of relaxation and peace making quality for our systems.
This relief is two fold
1) There are actual chemical reactions of interchange which happen between our bodies and nature, which have a direct effect on our physiology and including benefiting our emotional states.
2) Throughout human development people have looked to the natural world for meaning, found inspiration to create all kinds of useful tools, nourishing food and medicine from natural materials. Nature show us in meticulous and exquisite detail complex feats of ergonomic engineering and in my book -science and magic in the natural world are one and the same.
How being in nature benefits 'our being'
Waterways- omit negative 'ions' -molecules which encourage our physiology to create more oxygen and release serotonin (one of our happy hormones) into our systems.
Tree's and some plants- as we know turn carbon dioxide into oxygen which enables us to breath fresh air. Tree's also give off phystonicides- an airborne chemical they use to protect themselves from insects. These chemicals are anti-fungal and antibacterial in quality. The effect as we breath them in offers us increased immune capacity and an increase of white blood cell development. Just being among tree's and even just looking at pictures of the natural world has also proven to lower blood pressure and the reduction of stress hormones in our bodies.
Soil- Healthy soil contains microbes (bacterias) which have also been found to have direct links with the health of our immune systems, the health of our gut flora and also activating neurons responsible for the the production of serotonin.
(There is plenty of evidence for this and I've added some reference links below for anyone interested to read more depth on this)
Basically -get out in the wild- It is going to help
The inner 'wilde'
There has been lots of buzz on the net and in peoples writings in recent times around the concept of 're-wilding', both in relation to the land and ourselves. This has also caused some controversy in rural communities between people who manage land and people who want to let nature take the lead. Theres a debate there to be sure- and within current feelings of division post BREXIT and mid COVID- perhaps there is limited capacity to do this well.
I wonder what this idea evokes for you...
For me re-wilding is a concept of freedom and allowance.
'Allowing' nature to do what it does, 'allowing' ourselves free to be who we truly are.
Personally, I think as regards land and use, there is space for both releasing land to wild itself and work alongside it, whilst also continuing with some farming and cultivation practices- But I am not and never have been a farmer and I am open to speaking on this subject with people who are.
If we are to change our current trajectory we must face and review sustainable practices. It's a huge change of mindset and brings many difficult emotions on all sides- (again this feels like another blog, I will write at some point), but in relation to this subject I want to stay focused on the value and meaning in connecting to that which is 'wilde'- both internally and externally.
Inner wilding, for me is the capacity to listen to and receive our inner longing's or 'callings' and follow them through.
First I want to differentiate between what I experience as a 'craving' versus 'calling'
I experience 'a calling' as having a sense of longing- with a quality of grace about it, which emerges from a deep soulful response to life- rather than a surface need.
It may show itself as a 'charged' experience when encountering the very content of the calling. In shadow it may show itself as a deep envy, perhaps even grief or anger in response to witnessing someone else 'having' the very thing we deeply long for, but are not perhaps allowing ourselves.
Craving I would define more as a 'pang' for short lived respite for a need, an escape via distraction -which brings good feeling's for a short time before a further craving arises. Cravings often arise when we are suppressing other emotions which need our attention, needing to be processed but which we are currently unable to do so.
Shelve the 'shoulds'
The troublesome word 'should' can bring many challenges to these sorts of reflective processes. Let's start with an experimentation of putting any 'should's' aside for a moment- and by the way we all have those and indeed a huge part of therapy is about working with those ingested messages, acknowledging them and letting them go if they no longer serve us.
'Should's' often derive from 'creative adjustments' (Gestalt term) to difficult environments when we are growing up and are powerful coping mechanisms in our psyche trying to keep us safe (believe it or not). -
But that's a whole other subject for another day, let's stick with
'shelving the should's' for a moment, we can always come back to them.
Moving barriers and invoking self-regard (self-care)
A practice in developing daily self-regard and support is literally gold dust.
'Rupaul' the famous gender fluid performer and TV personality states
"if you can't love yourself, how the hell you gonna love someone else" and I would add to that powerful statement-
'if you can't love yourself, how the hell you gonna have a happy life! '
A useful reflective tool -
If you would like to explore this can be to get the aforementioned blank sheet of paper or notebook and use two pages side by side.
Then, without prior thought and with a conscious decision to suspend judgement as much as possible, begin to write or draw if you prefer.
Page one's theme involves using the frame of a therapeutic tool called
'The miracle question' which is as follows:
'If we had a magic wand here right now -this moment and you could choose anything that would make you happy -what would that look like...
Now write or draw (free flow), just let it come through onto the page without too much thought.
After a while sit back and consider what you have expressed, observe your feelings towards this, both emotionally and as physical sensations.
Consider how it was to do this exercise.
Then, write or draw these responses onto your second page.
Sit with them a while, (you might like to pause here till another day and see what else arises)
When you are ready, see if you can distill these into statements or drawn images/symbols which may represent barriers towards making these changes in your life.
For a written example one might be
' I am too old to make this change...' or,
'I won't be any good to it'.
See if you can turn these statements around with a further response in dialogue with your 'barrier' statement. eg -
'I am too old to make this change...'
'but your never too old to give it a try, what's the worse that could happen..'
'I won't be any good to it' -
'it's always hard to try something new, but with practice I might surprise myself'
'its ok to start slowly, I can find a way to feel comfortable trying this at my own pace'
there is no time scale or pressure, taking your time to let things digest, working through these layers is a hugely important part of the journey towards change.
Listening to our inner yearning is essential
If we do not pay attention to our own real aspirations or inspirations this can be detrimental to the wellbeing of our whole system, whole being.
The way our families or influential adults in our childhood 'received us' has without a doubt formed how we responded to our own needs.
But if you desire to develop a more grounded, resilient, calm and nourished self
the yellow brick road leads all the way to:
- Accepting Self (as you are, as you have been and with compassion)
- Supporting Self (re-parenting, encouraging, guiding, validating and allowing yourself)
- Allowing Feelings (accepting your feelings, they are yours, they are valid, feeling them)
- Allowing Dreams (who says you can't, is that really true?, what is it you really want)
Connecting to that which is 'wilde'
To develop a way of being free in yourself and connecting to the 'wilde' nature of the natural world can bring happiness, health and fulfilment.
Change is possible and it can take as long as you need it to, going at your own pace allows you to build up your capacity, to reclaim yourself and be who you always have been. To develop personal boundaries to resource you from external pressures and requirements from families, communities and society.
This is not a statement of blame- just the way it is -caregivers often did the best they could for us. And- there is always a clean piece of paper waiting- to gather and process what wasn't and isn't serving us as we needed, to help define intention, hopes and dreams towards real and lasting change.
Wishing you all you need this year for a fulfilment and happiness
Blessings on your journey
If you would like to explore any of the themes engaged within this blog, including the range of therapeutic services I offer including nature therapy, wildcraft wellbeing sessions and counselling -
Click on my bookings page https://www.hazelosbornecounsellor.com/services
to see listings of everything I currently offering both face to face and online (dependant on evolving COVID-19 guidance- we can discuss this in a free 30min call)
References and resources for nature benefit studies click to link:
By Exeter University
On the benefits of nature connection for health
Many of these links came from the following in-depth collation of material as regards 'patients' and health in health care systems across the world
Many thanks to Keith Whidden and Angela Hardingham for the beautiful images used in this post.
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