If i were to wish for one thing from a new year, a fresh start, it would be to become more grounded in reality, more capable of remaining aware of my breath as i move through life, more awake to the life of the world as it flows. To do that, i want to start by focusing on waking up from the dream of modern society, the consensus trance we are convinced is everyday reality.
This raises one core issue affecting us today: we are cut off at the root from nature. We are disconnected, as we wander the cities and the shopping malls, filling up on fossil fuels and alive to the 24/7 energy of the global village – but we have been doing so as if we were sleep walking. Now, it is great to see so many people waking up to the ruse – the capitalist shell game, where you never quite know where anything comes from unless you work hard to uncover the truth or make it to your local farmers market. Guiding people back to the place where everything comes from, the source – the earth and the stars, the elements and the ecosystem – is my path and my privilege.
I recently delivered the first ever Holistic Ecotherapy course and this was what we concentrated on. Reconnection. (By no coincidence this was the name of the album my post-punk art rock band Severins released last year). Sounds great, but exactly how do we reconnect, when we are trained so poorly by modern socialising forces?
We train our attention back. Back to the breath, back to the body, back to awakening to consciousness in the here and now. The mind wanders; bring it back. We practice mindfulness. But once we have that awareness back in place, we drop further down into the bodymind of this one precious life; we drop down into deep listening. This is immersive self-awareness. This is no separation between mind and body, self and nature, purpose and reality.
Now, we are nature listening to nature. We are awake to our place as a human self in a broad and living ecosystem. We are its human mind waking up to itself. There are plenty of other forms of intelligence in this ecosystem. At dawn on the morning of our final session together, a chorus of birds accompanied me down to my current favourite spot at Shark Bay and a yellow serpent coiled up in my belly, calling for some action. I felt the intelligence, the conscious awareness, of a living world breathing all around me, calling out to be heard. I felt the nervousness and responsibility of being the person who was ready to take note of this call and pass it on.
Ironically, in an online course, we were ‘together’ on separate laptops, in quiet bedrooms and lounges, all of us encased in four walls while we learnt to connect more deeply with nature. Such was life in 2021. We could still practice and everyone was given exercises to take out on their next sojourn to the great outdoors – even if this was a city park at lunch time, or a patch of grass in the backyard, or under a nearby neighbourhood tree. We vowed to take notice. Not always looking for something to attain, to receive, to be given – but to take notice, as if we were in love with our home and everything it has already given us.
To greet the place we live, to honour those who came before us, to give thanks to the earth and the elements and our kin, the other plants and animals who play their parts in maintaining a biosphere of life. If we feel called or ready to do so, to speak or sing our praise out loud, to offer gifts and service to nature, to treat it as if it was loved and to open ourselves to how that feels.
We also honoured the people and experiences that have brought deep listening into the public conversation, offered respect to the ancestors of the Country we are on, as well as our own ancestors, recalling our ancient and contemporary birthright to be here now, to feel we really belong in our bodies and our places. When we experience this level of love for our home, we don’t need to look anywhere else for a sense of accomplishment, transcendence or ecstasy.
Deep Listening, Deep Connection.
Join me for the next online Holistic Ecotherapy course here.
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