Do you allow nature to break you open, heal you, and enlighten you? These are questions Clare Dakin, founder of TreeSisters, asks in this week’s gorgeous contribution to the Healing Earth, Healing Self Forum. Sink in to Clare’s description of finding herself in nature, and nature in herself. Follow her in her realization that a sense of wholeness and integration is fundamental to our care for self and our care for nature.
How is it, that moments can break open in ways so radically unexpected, that not only is one’s breath taken away, but the so called ground of reality shifts as well?
Perhaps it is a good thing that life choreographs the mysterious unfolding of experience, because I think we might wish the extraordinary to become ordinary – and then we might look straight past each miracle.
Last Thursday I became the sky, and life changed. I was sitting on a rock staring at the sea, crying. My body was hurting and I was at my wit’s end with it. Something made me turn. I stared around at the sky above the trees behind me and suddenly broke open.
That vast blue was me – those winter naked trees were me – that osprey circling was me. It was like breathing in for the first time – only I was breathing in an immensity that was beyond me and yet unmistakably me – everything I saw was looking back at me with my own consciousness. No separation. Intimacy that I can’t wrap words around. Shocked and astonished, I sat on my rock crying all the more because my heart was broken open and the sky was pouring in.
Questions asked of me at the Ashram in India started lining up at the back of my mind – ‘do you want to become enlightened?’ being the most common. No. I wasn’t there to become enlightened, I was there to try and get better, to move beyond the past. What I did know though, was that my wildest hope was to merge with nature. ‘I want to feel myself indivisible from the living world’ was my best answer – my most enduring and deepest held hope for my life.
As the sky poured in, I found myself realizing that the bigger part of me was not sitting inside this struggling body, but was wild and alive, untamed, complex and many faced. The vast amount of attention I put upon the body and personality (which in that moment looked like a bit of discarded seaweed on the rock) suddenly felt preposterous – as if I was almost completely missing the point of myself. There I was, wanting to merge with nature without realizing that this depth of longing was really a longing to know myself – to merge with myself – because myself was nature, and what’s more, nature knew it – completely. I was just catching up.
It makes me cry to write this down, to recall the realisations that flooded in on a day when where ever I looked, the sky looked back at me with more complete love than I had ever felt, and broke me open again and again.
The strongest realisation was the clear knowing that my fastest path to myself was through the gateway of nature – that all this time indoors, tapping away on a lap top, is depriving myself of relationship with an immensity that recalibrates my world. That my fastest pathway back to health was not through focusing on what was wrong, or trying to use my limited mind or perception to try to understand – it was to open to the creativity of a living world whose intelligence and wisdom I could only bow to from a place of more authentic humility and gratitude than I know how to express.
There is so, so much more. I was gifted a day of it – and know that that could be my more common experience, rather than a wild and unexpected happening one not very special Thursday on a beach in New England – if I made opening to nature the ground of my life, rather than something fitted in around my to-do list – if I’m lucky. That could be my norm – our norm – your norm – the norm.
Try trashing our world when everything alive feels woven into the very fiber of your own soul.
Interesting to me too, that life timed this the week before we launched The Nature Process – our next course – a step by step guide of deepening intimacy with nature as a pathway to liberation, healing and wholeness. Suddenly I got it – got what’s possible.
What could be more fundamental – more ecstatic – more life changing than becoming ourselves in the green leafy, broad blue sky, rock, river and feather sense of the word?
What could be more natural?
Clare Dakin is Executive Director of TreeSisters, an initiative focused on tropical reforestation facilitated by feminine leadership. Clare is an Earth loving social entrepreneur and inspirational speaker who worked internationally for 18 years facilitating groups, coaching business leaders and creating behaviour change processes within the personal growth sector. She has been co-creating TreeSisters as an evolving system that learns as it goes and continually models itself upon the flows and forms of living systems.