Monday, August 27, 2018

Reset and Resource: 'Taking it to the land'

If we surrended
To earth’s intelligence
We could rise up rooted, like trees

(from Book of Hours, II, 16 by Rainer Maria Rilke)

In this series of exploring how we reset and resource – how beautiful is it to turn to the nonhuman world and ‘take things to the land’?

When we ‘take things to the land’, we are in nature and consciously and intuitively engage with its mystery.  The dilemma we are facing, the dreams we want to manifest, the answers we seek – all can be aided by a conversation with mother earth.  Rocks, trees, ants, birds, the moon and the stars…the natural world is full of good listeners – and sage wisdom.  Going to the desert, the mountains, the sea and the plains to seek connection to ourselves, others and the earth is a fundamental part of our human story.

Yet many of us have become disconnected with this part of ourselves, out of alignment with the interrelationship with nature and detached from our inner voice, the voice through which the natural world speaks to us. However if we can turn up in its presence with an open mind and heart, we have an opportunity to reset and resource.  We are reminded of the interconnectivity of things.  We gain new perspectives.  If we are prepared to pay attention to what is revealed to us by nature, signs and symbols of our inner journey will be reflected back to us.  So we go out, with an intention, a question, an idea and we notice what happens.  The raven that circles us, the scar in the tree trunk, the insects busying, the breeze that whispers…nature is a mirror to our soul. 

Similarly, we can have those conversations that are difficult to have in person.  Many share a similar fate, when I say my Dad died suddenly from a heart attack and that I never got to say goodbye.  What works for me is to ‘take it to the land’,  where I have those missed/missing conversations.  Instead of Dad, I talk to a rock – which makes me smile as Dad was indeed a man of few words.  

Those ancestors we never met, the family member that dies suddenly, the lover that goes without a goodbye, the boss that drives us crazy, the distant friend  – we can have any conversation we need to without the person in question.  We have them with the universe at large.   Arguably, our dog, cat or hamster can be that perfect stand-in.

As founders of the School of Lost Borders, an organization which has helped me develop my nature based coaching, write “the exercise of intuitive cognition – one of humankind’s greatest gifts – begins with the exercise of respecting and listening to our inner voice. If we cannot value our own inherent wisdom, the bird and the moon will have nothing to reveal to us”. 

Conversations with the natural world are significant for us personally and collectively. As Mediation teacher and author, Tara Brach offers “thinking is not the pinnacle of our human potential”.  The complexity and scale of the issues that face us are so immense, to not sit in presence and partnership with nature will surely forever limit our evolution.  How can any real transformative conversation on the Sustainability Development Goals take place within four walls?  What different conversations and different outcomes would result if the UN sat and conversed in and with nature in a deep way?.  Or for that matter, our own executive board or team? 

“If you are not already convinced of this, put it to the test. Ask the wind a question about your own destiny.  If you hold your attention steadily on the subject, the wind will answer. Then you must be willing to accept the answer, even if it seems inconsequential, or “what I already know”.


  • Check out School of Lost Borders

  • Founders of School of Lost Borders:   Foster, S. and Little, S , 1984, The Trail to The Sacred Mountain, A Vision Fast Handbook For Adults,  Lost Borders Press (3rd last and last paragraph quotes from pg 51)

  • Tara Brach

  • If you are interested in this perspective, I love Bill Plotkin’s books

  • Photo own

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