· Nature,Focus,Transformation,Motivation,Speaking out

“Birds flying high
You know how I feel
Sun in the sky
You know how I feel
Breeze driftin' on by
You know how I feel

It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good
I'm feeling good...”

  • Nina Simone

I chose feeling alive in the moment and I ran towards the 'Speaking Out' course, opening my mind and my heart to the experience: whatever that experience was going to be. As I travelled alone through the deer proof gates of Embercombe, with the sun setting behind the hills of Dartmoor, I felt I had arrived. I wasn’t sure where, but I knew I was on the cusp of discovering potentially new lands. I dived in, literally. There was no time for tentative toe dipping. So intense was the experience that I almost forgot I had a life outside of this beautiful, autumnal wooded valley. As Roald Dahl says in his fantastic book ‘Danny the Champion of the World’, which I’m reading with my children at the moment: “I will not pretend I wasn’t petrified. I was. But mixed with the awful fear was a glorious feeling of excitement. Most of the really exciting things we do in our lives scare us to death. They wouldn’t be exciting if they didn’t.” Fear and excitement are flipsides of the same coin and it depends what we choose to focus upon and how we act.

So motivating and powerful, the course was a real call to action and change, both personally and also for others and for the planet. In this rite of passage, or initiation ceremony as it felt, I was gently encouraged to reveal myself, peeling back more layers of understanding about how I tick and how I can grow more as a person. To ‘tame the wild dogs’ as they call it. I discovered that I have ‘try harder’ as my main driver which can be useful for working hard but not when it leads to ‘I’m never good enough’ - and you never get there: quite frustrating! Also, for me, it gives rise to the feeling of being an imposter and deferring to others and their ‘greater knowledge’. This is a problem when it stops us from doing things we want to do and for sharing the gifts that we all have to offer the world. I have recognised this and I am learning to trust myself, believe in what I have to offer, step fully into my space and speak my truth.

November is the perfect time of year to lay to rest old, unhelpful habits and sow new ones. In the Celtic calendar, the year begins with the festival of Samhain (pronounced 'souwen') on 1st November, celebrating death and life. When the trees lose their leaves, they also drop their seeds creating the vital compost on which those seeds will grow and flourish, fulfilling the cycle of life. Though we spend much of our lives pretending otherwise, death and life exist simultaneously. It is time to name those old patterns that are no longer of use to us, the old spells and ties that bind us; and time to birth the new ones. Get ahead of the game, why wait for January and New Year’s resolutions? As the Chinese Proverb goes, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”

When I left Embercombe, I felt as Nina Simone sings that, "...This old world is a new world, a bold world, for me." Closing that deer proof fence behind me, the world was the same but different, for me.

If you'd like to, do share any new habits you are sowing, I'd love to hear about them and we can cultivate them together. Clare x

Extra special thanks to my Dad Julian for the stunning starling murmuration photo above which we went together to see on Sunday at dusk at Slapton Ley NNR.

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