Summer sun

July and August have gone by in a summery blur. Dave has been working slightly better hours (mostly), Leona and I have been out and about enjoying the summer and we’ve even had some time off together as a family.

We have spent a bit of time working on the land. Dave has been looking after the little fruit trees. I have been harvesting, drying and cooking herbs and medicinal plants. We have had our first courgettes and the pumpkins are spreading out across the land.

I built a smart-looking compost toilet over a few afternoons in July. It was such a delight to do a project on the house – I don’t think I’d done anything since Leona was born!

Dave framed out the bathroom door and started putting up plasterboard. Now his brother Dan is here and progress is being made more swiftly than we are used to. I will add some pictures at the end of his stay.

Learn & Grow

A Year of Conscious Un-doing

I feel myself at a real turning point in my healing journey. I have spent the last year trying to un-do a lot of the damage to my body – removing inflammatory foods, stopping emotional repression, and eliminating habits that didn’t serve me well. It has taken a lot of energy physically and emotionally. I really felt myself unravelling as things that I thought were part of my personality fell away, I had to wait and see what was going to be left behind, who I am at my core.

Now I can tell that I have shed my old skin I am excited about growing into a new one – one that fits me better. My old skin was a cloak that I used to fit societal norms, bend to social pressure, and respond to fear and self-doubt. My new skin will grow from love, hope and courage. It will honour my true nature and reflect my state of mind.

I have been reintroducing a few foods to my diet (nuts, seeds and dark chocolate!), walking barefoot a lot, taking dips in the cold river, and I have started to get interested in natural movement (climbing trees for fitness). I feel more alive and free than ever and most importantly I feel that my decisions are deliberate and conscious choices that spring from a place of curiosity and care.

Plant Teachers

I want to start honouring my true nature by changing the way I talk. My whole life I have rolled my eyes at anyone who talked about signs from the universe and connecting spiritually with nature. No longer! I will share what is in my heart. You don’t have to like it or agree with it but I do have to be true to myself.

A few months ago I read Braiding Sweetgrass, a collection of stories and teachings about building a relationship of reciprocity with nature. It contains examples of how humans can learn from plants and animals if we are tuned into their wisdom. I loved the idea but I couldn’t seem to garner any wisdom from the plants I encountered, I mean, it’s not like they can talk to me! How is this supposed to work?

Then the other day I was mulling on a problem – I was feeling a lot of resistance about working to establish a community association that we have been talking about for the last year or so. I kept putting off the work. After a while I realised it was because I was afraid to put myself out there, afraid to say ‘Hello world, here is a gift from my heart, what do you make of it?’ In case the answer was ‘Not much’.

So I was out picking blackberries at the edge of the village, ruminating on this problem, occasionally popping sweet juicy blackberries into my mouth. That’s when I realised – I would never tell the brambles not to bother making berries in case nobody picked them! Every year they do their best to make as many big juicy berries as they can, generously offering them to the world. Some birds eat them, some people eat them, others don’t even notice them, or don’t bother to collect them because it’s not something they like or value. The outcome has no bearing on the bramble at all. There is no judgement, no expectation, no shame in failure or even a concept of failure. The bramble would never consider rationing berries, or only producing as much as would be gratefully gobbled up! I need to be more like the bramble – work to produce the best association that I can without judgement or expectation. Thank you brambles, I value your delicious berries, your generous nature and your teachings.

I can feel myself getting more comfortable in my new skin already.

-Anna

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