"Your feelings have an intelligence worth following. Hospitality is the art of opening a space in our home for someone to arrive there. Rather than forcing the expectation that our needs be met, we make a courtship of that which we are curious about or admire. So let us make our lives alluring. Let us stand with respectful distance and make an invitation of ourselves, that wildness might decide to approach us. Let us re-member ourselves to the mysterious unknown, even when we hear nothing back. Let us keep returning to that uncomfortable silence and allow ourselves to be shaped by our yearning for answers."

Toko-pa Turner

It's as if, on waking, a self-warming process needs to take place. I am cocooned in a warm bed. Still there is a sense of shock, stiffness, coldness and frozen fear throughout my being. I see an image of Gulliver's giant pinned down. The greatest fear-filled message is to 'stay where you are!'. Crossing this threshold has been this way for me for most of my life, but I have bypassed it, run roughshod over it and rose to my day without consciousness of my body. It was too much for me to be present to and yet it continued to call me home. I have been curious about it for a long time. So, this morning I invited my 'self' to approach this felt physical and emotional state, fully, without expectation and with reverence and gentleness. As if bringing my presence to a wild and frightened animal. To just say, "I am here. I am with you". These are the words I longed to hear as a child whilst witnessing terrifying violence in front of me. This is in response to the deep calling within me for peace, integrity, warmth, safety and harmony. As I did this the experience of being in my body began to shift from frozen fear to vulnerable fear (ref. Robert Gonzales 'The Spirituality Of Compassionate Communication'). The tears came and the compassionate medicine was released throughout my system. I never know how long I can or need to sustain this awareness. I move in and out of it. This morning I knew something had shifted cause images of those red pepper and seed crackers I was hoping to make today came flooding in. Here's what I think happened.

There are parts of me that are 'out in the cold' and 'abandoned' because the environment I was in when forming my nervous system was filled with pain. And so these parts of me took shelter. Their pain now is calling me back to my originality. There is an aspect of my brain, the amygdala, that doesn't know 'who is out there' (ref. Sarah Peyton Neuroscience Educator and NVC Certifed Trainer) . These parts don't know that my father isn't going to come home drunk and physically attack his family. (Memories of me shaking with terror in my bed). And so, these parts of me need to know, and I need to keep reminding them, that slowly, bit by compassionate bit, it's ok to come home now. When I get images of creative pursuits, I know I have arrived home into the present, into gratitude.

I got out of bed very slowly, keeping my awareness on my whole being as it began to move into the day. Went downstairs and roasted a pepper in the oven ready to make my crackers.

I am filled with gratitude for these recent uninterrupted days that have created sufficient stillness for this relationship to take place.

"When we are thrust into exile, we are suddenly flooded with the backlog of unfelt feeling. This is why it can seem like one heartbreak joins with every other heartbreak you've ever felt in one mass of insurmountable grief. And though we may want nothing more than to distance ourselves from it, I believe we are being offered a chance, through the opening grief makes in us, to rehabilitate the relationship to our instinctual creativity. In exile, away from the hungry mouths and grabby hands that crowd in on our lives, we have a chance to come into conversation with our wild self again"

Toko-pa Turner

These 'unfelt feelings' are the harbinger of the hunger within my longings and as I finish this piece I hear more of them, tenderness, relaxation, ease and belonging. And if grief is the opening to rehabilitate our relationship with creativity, I'm all in!

"So slow down, friend. Take a deep and conscious breath. Trust the place where you are, the place of ‘no answers yet’, the precious place of not knowing. This place is sacred, for it is 100% life. It is full of life, saturated with life, dripping with life, drenched with life.

Don’t try to rush to the next scene in the movie of 'me'. Be here, in this scene, now, the only scene there is.

Now is the place where questions rest, and creative solutions grow..."

Jeff Foster

It was as if he was suspended in the air on a string from above, hovering right in front of my eyes. I had no fear in my body, only surprise and joy. I said hello, I said "I would love to connect with you". And so the dance began. I’m not sure what kind of a bee he is. (I’ve seen him again since, he seems to be circling around a particular part of my garden, not much source of nectar here, a mystery to me and may there be many more mysteries).

I think he is a honey bee. As I was sitting in my beautiful postage stamp garden with panoramic views on my lovely red ancient garden chair he flew around me and the garden nearby. His flight seemed to go from hovering to a sharp interrupted new direction as if he said ‘Bet you can’t follow me’ it felt like play to me. It felt like a reclamation of my lost childhood. As if I am back home in my body, filled with a natural sense of ease and joy, as we are all perhaps naturally meant to be and as we once were long ago (well at least for me it was long ago!).

It felt as if there were times during his flight when he looked directly at me and hovered in front of me in suspended conversation. I felt my heart expand and the frozenness melt another bit for all time. He was right, I couldn’t follow him. He became a gift of arrival for me. My thoughts kept wandering to the next thing to do, the next worry, the next planning, the thing that somebody said or did that hurt so much, the thing that I said or did that I worried hurt someone else, and there I would find him, buzzing in my ear, saying ‘Hi Clare, you’ve gone again, do come back’. And that’s it, that was the dance. Him inviting me to come home to his company in that moment. He was teaching me presence, nothing formal, in fact anything but. I was fascinated by his ‘landing apparatus’, two skinny back legs that only became visible to me when he extended them out when landing on a surface. He seemed to particularly like the wooden places to land on.

I mostly don’t want to be doing practices to ‘still’ meself, better meself, make meself more peaceful or even to communicate with animals! I want to be alive (this in the context of not knowing if I would come out of my childhood alive or with any semblance of wellbeing). Perhaps it is finally my rebellion seeing the light of day, not wanting to approach life like an ‘adult’ but to reacquaint myself with the spontaneity, wildness and freedom of childhood. Oh how I pray that nature will continue her generosity and be my teacher, my comfort, my support, my nourishment and my way finding.

I know in my bones the place the bee is calling me to, a long hidden and protected one, one that mostly wasn't wanted in my culture, and I recently witnessed that place through Anna Breytenbach’s work. When I saw her video I knew I needed to learn how to do it and took myself off to Scotland to train in her methods. Her phrase 'separation sickness' reverberated through my body as a resounding yes. When I saw her lie down among monkey’s and fall asleep, when I saw her balance stones, when I saw her receive messages from animals, I knew I belonged in that state of awareness and so I began this work. And offer it to you here, you the reader are a gift to me, to draw me out into the world to be seen and appreciated in the hope that my inner landscape may nourish and support 'mean making' for you, and support your arrival home. (My first blog has 60 views after 2 days so someone is here with me 😉 'Home' could have been a bottle of whiskey for me. Oh the pull not to feel any of it. And, I choose this way with you here and now as I sit in my kitchen blessed by the shelter of a home and a view of the sky.

"The work we are doing at the level of the 'self' is contributing to our collective evolution. Shifting our responsiveness to our inner call not the outer one. Replenishing our inner scarcities. Only when we wrestle to keep the endangered language of beauty and sensitivity alive do we have a chance of becoming necessary to the urgency of our times."

Toko-pa Turner 'Belonging, Remembering Ourselves Home'

It doesn't matter to me if the above quote is true or not, though it nourishes me deeply. All I know is that tending to my inner reactivity, the space between stimulus and response, (the place my father could not enter, and his incapacity to do so meant the destruction of all that could have loved him), is my life's purpose and I am growing trust that as I do so I am contributing to the collective evolution of compassion in the world.

I feel Marshall Rosenberg's presence in this moment, he is somehow often here when my heart opens out towards gratitude. Thank you Marshall for teaching me about the life source in our needs and showing me the path to cultivate a Sense Of Life.

My niece calls by shortly to pick up some homemade sourdough bread and cranberry and walnut cookies from me. I want to contribute to her heart's warmth as she builds her organic vegetable growing business. And I will receive a bunch of sunlight filled vegetables. 2 miracles, first that anything creative can be given birth through me given my childhood history and second that I am part of and can contribute to a new lineage through her.

I 'rescued' a hedgehog last Sunday or maybe he rescued me. He was in the process of ending his life on my neighbour's lawn. They do this by coming out and lying in the sun. So I contacted the Hedgehog Rescue and they said to put him in a box with a hot water bottle and bring him over. Now, they could't receive him till the afternoon so we had a couple of hours together me and the Hedgehog. Well, I set to it, practicing my interspecies connection. I said that if it was his time to go I hoped he could go in comfort and warmth and with someone who really knew how to care for him, or if he could receive the support of an expert he would be released back here where he belongs.

Now I was hell bent on receiving communications from him. Images, thoughts, sensations. That was a lot of 'effort'! Off I went with my human hobnail boots to communicate with him. He showed me a different path, like a wise teacher. What I actually experienced was a hugely compassionate being who seemed to wonder about the sadness in my heart and seemed to want me to show it to him, and then our hearts connected. Our eyes met and I can still feel the impact of him now on my being. Our hearts woven together for the truth of what lies there. In the room, in that moment, it felt filled with warmth and companionship and a thought came to me he wanted to send love to us all at this time.

And so, as I draw inwards to my originality and set about mining for treasures that await me there, grief reaches out her hand to me. The vortex through which I arrive into my body and in the felt sense of what it is to be Clare in this moment.


David Whyte

"By actually standing in the ground of your life fully, not trying to abstract yourself into a strategic future that’s actually just an escape from present heartbreak, and to look at the horizon that is pulling you, in that moment you are the whole journey, you are the whole conversation.

You see the path, and then you don't, and then you see it again".

This radical act of self warmth is always an act of faith for me, each time, many times a day. An act of trust to breathe into this moment. In recent years loss has been my companion. And so, in these silent hours I sense grief in my body, hear it's call, asking me not to take another step into my life without it by my side. The grounding reminder calling me home to myself and to the present moment. I am invited to drop the resistance to what's calling me to my interior world and precious life force that awaits me. I have a sense of it as a wise companion, humbling me and bringing my essence to earth through my body, acting as a lightening rod for vitality, and I so long to be here fully, till it's time. No more wanting things to be different, no longer looking for things and people to distract me from myself. But to build connection and contribute to the world from this sacred ground, this authenticity this transparency.

Finding my way to you and to life, through me.