Like This

I want to walk into the next life with my hands free,

carrying nothing extra;

like this.

I want to walk through those realms

without the weight of ancestral grief on my back,

the knots of fear from being abandoned in my belly,

or the ache of sadness from feeling alone in my heart.

I want this soul to go on

unburdened, unmasked, disarmed, healed.

I want to be brave enough to write the next line of this poem.

I want to be able to look at the transparent souls of my grandchildren

and smile,

because I know I did my very best;

like this.

-Rebecca Card

 

Mentor, Guide & Ceremonialist of Nature based Wisdom

+44 7960 520128
http://naturewisdom.life/

 

Ghost Dog. The Way of The Samurai.

I first noticed the dog as I gave Sam a hug goodbye. It was some kind of a miniature Doberman Mastiff cross with what looked like some serious anger issues. It had dark eyes, like it had been keeping guard forever and was ready to take my leg off. Was it real? A dog that small and angry? Certainly looked it, sitting defiant on the dash of the beat up 70’s camper van. A double take later I realised it was a plastic guard dog.

The mentoring day on the moors with staff and the new souls to the Tribe was as beautiful and unique as ever. Time by the river. Time by the fire. Time alone. Sharing lunch and sharing where we were all at in our lives. The weather held, just. Eddy got in the water. Sam’s wet shoe melted as it dried by the fire. Becca gave us a few of her softly electric poems. Amanda tended the fire. And we all helped keep it going. The land, the woods, the river worked their magic on us. We each found a piece of something in this wild place to give us peace. A reconnect to the retreat time we spent on the moors. A recharging of the soul batteries, a chlorophylling up! My pace had slowed, my mind cleared, my heart made tender by the company and the familiar wildness of this part of Dartmoor. The breaking of the spell stopped me in my tracks. The impact of the aggressive, no doubt hurting, man was very real. He emerged from his old van, mimicking the face of the angry dog on the dash, demanding that we move away. That we take our care and kindness elsewhere. My response was, as calm as I could muster, that we were in a public car park and maybe he needed to go further into the wild? The door of the van slammed shut.

At the end of each residential we ask the participants to take care as they had back into the world. To be gentle and kind with their hearts. Mindful of those who haven’t shared the same experience. Who may see something different about them and want a piece of it. Or want to wreck it simply because it does not fit with who and how they are. The reconnect days on the moors are equal in power and connection to the residentials. So it follows that this word of caution and protection, as we had back out into the wider world, needs to be repeated after each day we spend together. Much of the world isn’t ready to connect in this way yet. I have no doubt in their hearts they crave it, but their day to day minds and life will want to reject, crush or shout it down. Perhaps because it’s too painful a reminder of what is missing.

 Standing there listening to the angry man demanding we move away from his vehicle and hug somewhere else, was a shock. We try and teach a principle of taking nothing personally. A bold ideal. I’m a sensitive being, and when my heart is open (which is most of the time) and someone is attacking me verbally, it hurts. Part of it is personal and it needs to be stood up to with as much love and calmness as we can find. Our protective, loving shield need to be up or at least ready. Not a blocking of the heart, or a shutting down but a gentle voice offering protection and kindness where and when needed. A gentle steer away from the focus of trouble or confusion to a place of safety.

As I headed home, I was struck by the image of the angry dog on the dash. And what sat behind, lurking and probably hurting, in the dark. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll see the man again, maybe things will be different. For now, I’ll pray for him and continue to take care of my heart on the wilder road.

Dartmoor and Devon 2014 193.JPG

2017 First New Tribe

Saturday 25th March 2017 saw me on a mentoring day with Write to Freedom in the company of staff and peers. The location – a remote spot on Dartmoor I had never been to before. Both tor and wood were arrayed in all their glory as an early spring sun rose full and refused to hide all day. A time to leave the mundane world behind and connect with nature and with my fellow human beings. A day for looking out and looking within. Some spectacular images and memories. The sight of particles and rays of light scattering off the lake and streaming through my eyes, through the universe. The felt presence of air, earth, fire and water, in the strong breeze on the tor, the soil scattered with the debris of old leaves in the wood, the sparkling fire of the sun reflecting off the lake, and the roar and spray of the river. A time and place also for personal reflection, to feel the sense of inner peace and connection, to attend to word and image, to listen to story and myth, to bond and share with my companions. We were given an image of connection, a rope- a rope that tied us to each other, to nature as we explored and enjoyed her, and to our individual hopes and aspirations as we journeyed on together, over the moor and onward in our lives. This is an experience that I need to return to and dwell in again. Fortunately I have the comfort that further mentoring days are in the pipeline. So I look forward to expanding days of companionship and personal growth ahead.

Peter

Black Seam

Written in response to something a dear friend said to me last winter. What she saw in me, that kindness and love inspired me to write this. And in writing I realised it was a universal truth, so I brought to our mentoring sessions.

Caspar

Black Seam

You have a seam of gold running through you

I see it

I think you don’t, not always

Once Never

But maybe now more, day by day, I think you see it

The black coal in the seam.

The fire mineral

Layers of it

Deep in the earth

Thick dense, heavy, ready to burn

And you love mining for that black, always have

Your ferocious reflective, reflexive axe, hacking into the belly of the earth

Over and over, never blunting the point of it

So deep it hits the mineral seam and a white diamond of sparks fly

And flames flicker as they always do

From the black, through the earth airless earth

To rise up

An underground fire

Catching roots and worms and bones alight with farenheight

Setting them ablaze for alchemy

I think you see it

Through the black

And I see something else

A seam of gold running through you, through that black

Through random rising fire

Something else

I think you don’t

Once never, now more

In this room, in each of your medusa eyes

Now more than ever

A seam of gold running through you

Mine it

Caspar Walsh

Guest Blog: Ali from RISE recovery

Sunshine beating down on my skin nourished and calmed me. In silence I left my Tribe – this journey was one that I had to do alone: to think, to reflect, and ask myself what was my truth, what had drawn me to this quest.

I climbed over the stile and headed into the woodland. In a split second I had entered another world – cool air stroked me, damper danker smells of mystery demanded to be drawn into my lungs. I felt safe here; safe in the knowledge that I am just a tiny insignificant spec amongst a beautiful landscape.  I was safe from the noise, rushing, pushing and jostling of everyday life that I can still struggle with.

Slowly drawn towards the beat and lure of the boron drum I walked up the winding track. Tingling within as my thoughts and senses were captivated by the beauty around me, I stopped and picked up a piece of stone, the colours spoke of the autumn to come. Into my pocket it went, a memory to keep and treasure.

This weekend for me was about answers: Who was I, what purpose do I have in life and how to move forward keeping my truth pure. The drum beat drew me onwards whispering its song, you’re nearly home, you’re nearly there just keep on going we’ll all be there. Like a heartbeat slow safe and comforting.  I reached Caspar and Ben – they invited me to take off my boots and socks. The moss slightly damp between my toes felt good, my toes wriggling and spreading with delight. I was then blindfolded reassured that I would be safe in the hands of another warrior. Trust is part of my struggle in life – when people and life has torn you apart the instinct is to go it alone, leave the pack behind. The experiences over the last couple of days were encouraging me to challenge that belief and curiously it felt good to hold onto a strong arm and be led.

Without sight my other senses were heightened. I could hear water and feel every small differing texture between my toes. My heart was racing, roaring, fast – a different drum beat.

After what seemed like an eternity we stopped. I was calm now. I was beginning to trust my brother, he hadn’t let me down. He had kept me safe and steady. I was learning to trust again. Unsure of what was to happen next, I caught my breath, felt the sun on my face and smiled.

RISE Moorland Reconnection Day

It’s been a few months since our successful weekend with RISE (Recovery and Integrated Service) on Dartmoor. We’ve stayed in regular contact and are now in the process of putting a joint funding bid together to continue the programme on a regular basis. We’ve also been in regular contact with the participants who’ve remained amazingly positive about their time with us on the high moor. It really does feel like it’s been a life changing experience for all those involved. What we’d hoped for and more.

What has always been close to my heart in this work is in finding a way of making the vision of ongoing support for our participants, beyond the powerful transformation of the residentials, to become a tangible reality. It’s a noble, crucial dream but the logistics to make this possible on the ground can be complex and a pull on our already stretched resources. But with RISE, it seems to be happening, slowly but surely, as a mutually beneficial, supportive partnership.

We met on Dartmoor last Thursday for the first of what will be a series of days together, reconnecting, sharing, walking, messing around (with an eye on health and safety!) and discovering ways we can continue to support this fine group of human beings. Within RISE they are collectively known as peer mentors and already have one to one supervision support there. Most attend regular 12 Step Recovery groups and therapy. What we are offering is working with them as a group, addressing the dynamics, the strengths and the challenges. We’ll be meeting once a month through the autumn, winter and into next year. We’ll evaluate the process as we go, to measure its success and viability for funding.

Tribe Warrior remains an important part of their time with us, using its themes as a guide for their own daily journey through life. One participant brought his along with great pride!

We had the usual offering of Dartmoor’s very own climate. Walking to the magical Bench Tor, with its dramatic view down into the East Dart Valley. The traditional Dartmoor Mizzle (mist and drizzle for the uninitiated) rolling down the steep sides of the valley into the river gave it an eerie feeling. We headed from the high windswept open moor, down into the woods, toward the river where heavy rain soon turned to welcome sunshine and clouds. My perfect Dartmoor day. Our mini trek finished by a gentle flowing part of the river where we wrote and talked and paired up to explore what challenges lay ahead and what support was needed. By the end of the day, a reconnection to land and our ‘tribe’ was made. Continuity and a reminder of where batteries can always be recharged.

I felt a sadness seeing them all drive off. Matched with a genuine joy in knowing I will see them all again soon. We’ll be meeting, back on the moor, toward the end of the month. I’ll be asking them to contribute to this blog page. Which I’m sure they will, with their trademark zest, humour and eye for the detail of the moors and more.

Caspar – Creative Director, Write to Freedom