Sush just listen, the thoughts are less my body my mind both feel de-stressed
There's beauty all around the people the place the food and space
How on earth did I get here? It's taken me 3 year
But I've managed I've coped and my god how I've fought
I'm standing here today feet firmly on the ground with thee best team around
I'm starting to look at myself differently I'm starting to feel proud
I'm feeling happy and much calmer I'm beginning to let down my armour
I've got myself here I've earned this I deserve this to be around such beauty such bliss
At such a crucial time Write to Freedom came and now I'm letting go of all the guilt, I'm letting go of all the shame
I feel my heart warming more and more in this magical place here on Dartmoor.
- Natalie H.
New Horizons, September 2017
I want to walk into the next life with my hands free,
carrying nothing extra;
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
because I know I did my very best;
Mentor, Guide & Ceremonialist of Nature based Wisdom
+44 7960 520128
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.
Take your time
And they won't fail to notice
A change in mind
A ripple that sends light to the hopeless
A gleaming sign
An edifice broken and built again
A life line, divine
A person brought back from the brink
On the mend
New Horizons June 2017
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.
A check-in from founder and creative Director Caspar Walsh about the latest news and movement of the charity.
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.
You have a seam of gold running through you
I see it
I think you don’t, not always
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
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