When I came back from Tanzania, I was a mess, which isn’t exactly surprising. I’d walked away from my marriage, my extended family, my community, my business, my projects, and the land I loved. All I’d brought back with me was my daughters, two suitcases per person weighing less than 20kg each, and an entire plane-load of emotional baggage.
My life was transformed, little by little, by consulting a spiritual counsellor who told me to go out walking and start re-rooting myself in my own ancestral landscape. (She told me a lot of other things as well, but I’ll save those for future blogs, as they’re too important to squeeze into a paragraph.)
The work I’m doing now has all evolved from that point, but takes it a few steps further. It’s based on the realisation that just walking the Land isn’t enough in itself, although it’s a great start: we need to learn specific skills if we’re ever to find our way home again, in this crazy society that we’ve constructed for ourselves.
There are actual strategies that we can use for observing the Land, breathing it in, meditating on it, encountering it, experiencing it, singing its songs, making art with it and about it, and having conversations with it and about it.
All this is `second nature’ (literally) to intact Indigenous communities living undisturbed on their ancestral lands, of which there are now sadly few left – but it’s almost disappeared in contemporary Western societies. And when we lose our connection to the Earth, our Mother, we lose a crucial part of our own souls.
That ‘soul loss’ is at the root of all our fear and loneliness.