Why Nature

I like to use nature to get to what is really going on with me, because it is the opposite of and the antidote to cultural conditioning. Cultural conditioning is what you grew up within your family of origin. It includes expectations that were handed to you by the overculture – school, church, commercials, peer group, etc. Our response to this pressure to conform and these very powerful multi-generational messages is operating in the unconscious, but it is repressed. That means that it has been stored away so that we can perform everyday tasks and meet the demands of our families, jobs and the overculture.

You know that your unconscious is getting stirred up when you have the following:

  1. Nightmares – Nightmares indicate that your unconscious is upset and trying to process something that does not feel right.
  2. Emotional funk. Anger, sadness, fears, all feelings really are there to help us wake up.
  3. Obsessiveness. This is the way the mind tries to “help” us not feel the pain and suffering that is below the surface.
  4. Need to control, manage or fix people, places or things. This is the inner two year old saying that if everybody would just do everything the way I say, then I’ll feel okay.
  5. Accidents. There are no accidents.
  6. Addictions and compulsions. Substances, sex, food, habits, behaviors used to self medicate the pain away.

These are all indicators that your unconscious is trying to get your attention. It wants you to pay attention because there is something that is just not right. Your body-being knows the truth of who you really are – a beautiful, loving and radiant being. However, you may have gotten the opposite impression growing up. You may have heard quite the opposite of that from parents, teachers and religious personages. Or you may have picked up the vibration of some core deficiency in your character along the way. Basically, it is that voice that tells you that you are not smart, patient, loving, helpful, hardworking, kind, or contained enough. Or you are too much – too loud, aggressive, lazy, outspoken, emotional, negative, needy, greedy, sinful, gluttonous, or sexual.

Anyway, nature offers us a fresh look at ourselves from our more natural, animalistic, instinctual, spontaneous, expressive, connected self. Nature has the capacity to offer us a direct line to our basic true selves, although we may have to use a different part of our brain that is more receptive to the information – our metaphorical mind.

I was walking with a client in nature once, encouraging this person to stop talking about his story, and, instead, pay attention and just notice whatever he noticed. Just then a flock of seagulls squawked and flapped all around us. He was somewhat perturbed because he was expecting something a little more delicate. He questioned my premise that nature offered a connection, for surely this intrusion was clearly just a distraction. The further we investigated the gift from the natural world, the more he started to realize that the experience was similar to the flock of thoughts that tend to inundate his mind every time he attempts to get quiet and get to know himself – to get close to himself.

It wasn’t nature that was distracting him. It was nature that was reminding him of his own tendency to distract himself from experiencing himself, and what was really going on – his feelings, his inner voice and knowingness.

 

Songbirds Sing of Surrender

On my walk today, I noticed how I was striving to get up the hill in my usual power walking way. My chest was tight and determined, ready to shatter all obstacles in the way.  In the noticing though there was a deep awareness that I don’t have to push so hard any more. Whether that way has served me or not is up for debate, but let’s just say that now I know another way that feels a whole lot better. I slowed down and took some giant lunges, so I was still working but not striving so hard. I used to love to wail along to those songs about “nobody done told me life was gonna be this hard.” But now I know that those are just beliefs. Statements about whether life is easy or hard are just generalities that may be true or not. The thing is – how do they make you feel?

Life just is.

As I began to slow down, I realized I had neglected to notice that it was a beautiful fullsizeoutput_88spring day. I started listening to birds singing all kinds of incredible songs. One in particular caught my attention. It was as if the bird was singing harmony with itself as it warbled up and down the scales. It reminded my of the sound rain water makes on a metal roof only more melodic. 

I found a place to lie down and dropped deep into the nothingness and started to wonder.

I have used my will to meet goals and accomplish stuff. There is nothing wrong with will. It’s a function of the 3rd chakra and supports self esteem. Only problem is I spent much of my working life in fight or flight, handling one crisis after the next as if there was some constant invisible threat. That takes a toll on the adrenal glands to say the least. Is there another way to be besides being in that typical jacked-up, intense stress state? Or the opposite – collapsed in a heap trying to recover?

“Surrender to what is,” the songbirds remind me. “Surrender to nature, to your own true nature.  It doesn’t mean you are giving in or giving up. It does mean that your scared, fragile ego will have to stop fighting, running, resisting and pushing. It will thank your in the end. It doesn’t necessarily want you to buy into it’s panic. It just needs to be reined in, and then you can loosen the reins on your soul self. You are free as a bird ~ if you let yourself be.”

Inner Visioning

I am preparing for a retreat that I am part of called “Invisioning & Renewal Retreat: A Day to Gather Strength and Wisdom in the Alchemy of Art and Nature.” I thought I would develop a mnemonic device for people to practice and reference as they are experiencing the day in nature and making art called AEIOU. Here goes…

What does Invisioning really mean?

A – Allowing. Allowing is that quality of non-grasping and at the same time not fullsizerender51resisting. We allow whatever is to be as is without having to control, manage or change it.

E- Easefulness. Easefulness is when you let go of all your agendas in the mind and tensions in the body. You go with the flow. There is no need to swim up-stream. Trust is the key word here.

I – Innocence. Innocence is what Suzuki Roshi called “beginner’s mind.” It is when you are looking through your child eyes. Everything means something. You see the world in a blade of grass. Your imagination is active and creative juices are flowing.

O – Openness. Openness is that expansive state we create when we connect to Source or The Field. We make space for our true selves and our deep feelings.

U – It’s all about you and your experience. Keep asking and observing – What is happening in me? There is no out there out there. GURU – Gee, you are you.

I hope you will consider coming to this special event. I would love to BE with you for this day of invisioning and renewal Sat. Feb. 3 at Elkus Ranch just south of Half Moon Bay, CA.

register here –> https://themusicwithinus.com/events/invisioning2018 

Ecotherapy – The Womb of Nature

I recently added Ecotherapy or Nature therapy to my website.  (Amy’s website) It reads:

Ecotherapy, an outdoor option for your therapy session, stems from the idea that people are part of the web of life, and that our psyches are not separate from our natural environment. It provides individuals with an opportunity to explore theirfullsizeoutput_20a relationship with nature and find metaphors and direct experiences that can restore well being. Studies have shown that people who engaged in the natural environment experienced improved mental health, because while we are shaped by the modern social world, our psyches have evolved and adapted to the natural environment. During an eco-therapy session, I will artfully guide you to experience a connection with the living energies of the natural world resulting in a deep and sacred sense of connection with your own spirit/soul/self.

While I have training in eco therapy, the real impetus for the offering is that I lost my office space. I was wondering what I was going to do, when a friend, who knows my love of nature, suggested it. Clients were actually eager to try ecotherapy, and it has IMG_0536been a wonderful experience. Gazing out over the Pacific Ocean, a client talked about the waves of flack that were coming her way at work, and she made an art piece to work with the energies. Another client was admitting her problems with boundaries in her life, when a hawk swooped by being chased by a very vocal smaller bird very clear about her boundaries.

When you are open to it, nature has a way of coming to our aid and holding us in just the way that our souls need.

Soul initiation is often described as a death and a second birth. Like entering a cocoon, your first ego dies and a soul-rooted ego is birthed, not from culture this time, but from the womb of nature.                  ~Bill Plotkin