Compassion is, in the most part, about a quality of listening. The jackdaw that flew past me this morning taught me more about this. I noticed that I sensed his sound with my whole body. I was so delighted to have him visit that my heart opened out to receive him. Whilst my hearing with my ears were active, it was as if my whole body became a listening organ. The ruffle of his feathers was like the rustle of silk. A distant memory came of me of being close to a birds body (perhaps as a child) and there's an ancient knowing of what the sound is of a bird in flight. I'm becoming more familiar with the different bird flight sounds too. Wood pigeons seem to make a kind of whistling noise, and the flight of my friend the dunnock is a speedy and loud thudding.

When my marriage ended some years ago I was cast out of a certain belonging. I am cultivating this quality of listening through the softening powers of grief, and the grounding effects of gratitude. Belonging begins in our own bodies, and as I reunite myself with mine I find that the veil between me and other species is being lifted. A process of re-sensitising myself.

Oh there must have been a time when this kind of listening with and for the wild things was an integral and essential part of life. I can imagine our very survival depended upon it. And I believe that it is this kind of sensitivity that is the answer to what Anne Breytenbach calls the 'separation sickness' our culture is suffering from and from which so much violence becomes possible.

So, when the wasp comes into my house I talk to him, I tell him that this is indoors and he won't find much to eat in here. Usually I use a glass to cover his body at the window and a piece of card for him to step on. In recent days, every time I have done that, the process is so calm and they step on the card, I lift the glass and they slow down too, seem to take a breath after this shock and then take flight as if off a runway. Thank you wasp, you have such an important role to play in the pollination of plants, you have a very loud buzz and I have been conditioned to think that you are dangerous. So I will slow myself right down when you enter my home, you aren't to know this is my 'dwelling'. You and your species were here long before these bricks and mortar and I will do what I can to help you on your way and to support you in your work.

The gifts of the birds flight and the wasps buzzing becomes a blessing for me and a belonging, and supports me to pull back my energy and start close in. I offer you David Whyte's poem 'Start Close In'.

I will finish with this song from Kate Rusby 'Who now will sing me lullabies'. I wonder about peace on earth today, the earth must be experiencing so much peace and quiet and rest and healing, may it be so, and may we sing her a lullaby as she receives it. Will you join me and sing her to sleep? I love you dear earth, thank you for holding me, Clare 💛


Here is a poem 'The House Of Belonging' written and recited by David Whyte . He speaks of a nourishing 'adult aloneness'. David has family here in the UK who are front-line medical staff. He is holding what we are all holding.

What is this knot in the centre of my solar plexus? It came to life as a child, the place where the shock of the emotional and physical violence impacted and took root in my new and tender body. This knot called for love then which wasn't available from outside of me. This knot has been calling me still. It's the knot the hedgehog I spent time with sensed, and wanted to be present to, to my truth, to be with me. I sense nature and all her beings just want us to be true. Not some 'healed cleansed' version of ourselves, I sense they would like the raw truth through a shared living force of unconditional love, not just towards them, but between all of us .

During this lockdown this knot calls to me so intensely and my recent losses come marching in. And the repeated phrase in my life returns 'if not now, then when?' It's a phrase I continuously applied to my father and to others I judged as not being 'present'. I looked in the mirror and saw 'me' and said sorry for not seeing me and the amount of holding I need. Inhabiting this particular body in this particular life asks this of me. This body is connected to my ancestors and is connected to future generations . My greatest celebration today is that I am not numbing this aspect of me, abandoning it in the hope it will 'go away' and stop nagging me. I am not drowning my felt sense in alcohol, staying 'positive' or some detached spirituality. I do know the blissful feeling of relief as the warmth of alcohol reaches my body, the soothing affects of a large sugary bar of chocolate and the gift they have of making everything alright for a short while. At times I can barely hold the intensity and agony of this knot and it's cry for help. This knot is the truth of what it is like to be Clare and live in this particular body in this particular lifetime. I reach to those who have passed on to help me to hold it, including my beautiful dog Badger who comforted me in a dream last night, and when I woke, for a moment, I felt her next to me. And I reach out to those who can 'see' me and 'be' with me and encourage me to be fully me.

And so, it is now and not 'when' as I move in and out of the rhythm of pain and relief and empathy, trusting the well of creativity and wholeness that is at it's core. Trusting that this is where the greatest most precious parts of me have been tucked away until this moment, to meet the light of love in this world and to bring forth my essence to offer it outwards in whatever form may nourish myself and others. Maybe you are wondering what the point of me entering this process and then sharing it is? I'll tell you the point. I sense that me and you have something unique and precious to offer into the worlds current plight. My being with the fullness of my own incarnation is helping me to breathe in this present moment and out of that my loving creative forces find momentum. And therefore I regain my focus with the project I am designing to bring compassion into the 'work place' May my gifts be seen and heard and may they become food for life for others.

And now, the awareness of my need in this moment finds voice. Have you guessed it? It's relaxation! It's warmth too. Oh doesn't it sound so simple and yet a sense of relaxation in my body is by far and away the most distant experience for me in this incarnation. And so I am running a warm bath to support myself, with some epsom salts to nourish my body and soul.

And whoever is reading this in this moment. What are you holding in your heart? What is home to you? I pray that somewhere within you, you find a glimpse of what might nourish you in these moments and through these days that means a sense of home comes to life for you and greets you with open arms so that you can find your life's breath.

Here is a 'musing' by Anna Breytenbach, Animal Communicator. She supports me to continue to grow this sense that it all begins in the present moment and with me. Imagine what might have been the outcome for generations to come if my father and his father before him had had capacity to do that?


One's embodiment is the ground into which all continuity flows, so the past can be just as influenced as the future by one's way of going in the here and now.

Toko-pa Turner

Oh my! Have you seen a Dunnock close up? This little fella flies in from who knows where onto my bird table (an old flower urn) and has a bite to eat and then flies back to safety. It was the sound of his flight that made me look up from my book. Really loud beating of wings. I am so glad that my senses are more attuned now. The light was shining through his legs, they were a translucent orange - I felt love, I felt my heart expand beyond the limits of my physical body, and I sent love, I felt connected with him and I thanked him for his presence, a reminder that I am not alone and he is with me, such gratitude that his species is still with us and his warm heart and wisdom is blessing my life. I didn't take this here picture cause when he visits I don't want to startle him by moving.

I have always struggled to match the bird song I hear with a particular bird. As I listen these days to recordings to try to learn them I realise I've been hearing these chaps all my life and never knew who they were. I listened to his and couldn't believe that he has been keeping me company all my life with his song. When I check in my body at this moment I don't even feel shock on realising this, that's how removed I often am from my surroundings. I feel numb.

My neighbour cut down a buddleia bush in his garden. (part of the 'tidy up' that may be happening at the moment in our gardens). It's been the home for a lot of creatures for a long time. When I saw that it was gone I felt the impact of loss on my body, deeply felt sadness, and the sparrow species seemed close to me. I apologised to them, I said I was sorry for all the ways we humans have impacted the lives of other beings. I wanted to kneel down in that moment, to honour their plight, but shame stopped me, fear of what people would think if they saw me and fear of loss of belonging if I expressed myself fully in that moment.

Deep gratitude to Toko-pa Turner for her book, Belonging, Remembering Ourselves Home, which was written in 2017 and nourishes me so deeply at this time.

"If we are going to come back into the rhythm of nature, we have to slow down. If we imagine the world as our own body, speaking to us in loud, desperate pleas, the first thing we have to do is listen. We must acknowledge the limitations that have brought us to this terrifying precipice. We don't know what we don't know, and instead of pushing through our injury and confusion we need to surrender the rush and show up instead with our heartbreak to encounter what is becoming. Be hospitable to what stillness has to offer. Cherish the opportunity to sink into the eternal, which is available to be bathed in at any given moment.

There are times when the mind and body must be made to stop. The unruly is made to feel safe by limits. Limits to our productivity, limits to our activity, and limits to our directedness are what allow the imagination to wander, to perceive greater goals, to invite rather than lead."

Toko-pa Turner