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.
I’ve really struggled with creating, building, and marketing my business, and the main reason is that I’ve had a hard time working out who my ideal client is, and what my target market is. Why? Because reconnecting with nature, creativity and community can provide a foundation for fixing most of the things that are wrong in most people’s lives in ‘modern’, affluent societies. This stuff is valuable for pretty much everyone.
I’ve already been working with Travelling Light, a coaching program to help people lose weight and let go of the emotional baggage that keeps them stuck in patterns of overeating, stress and poor sleep. But in response to some of the people who have been commenting on my blog, I recently had another ‘Aha!’ moment. So now I’ve settled on a title for my first online group coaching program. As anyone who was reading last week (or has managed to get their hands on a copy of my New Moon Newsletter) will know, it’s going to be called Doing the Groundwork: Getting Ready for Major Life Changes.
The program, opening for enrolments on 4 September and launching on 21 September, will be relevant to anyone who wants to overcome weight and body image issues – whether it’s emotional overeating, anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia, or something different – because all these are rooted, in some way, in fear. Fear that we’re wrong, and not good enough. That we’re losing control over our lives. That if we don’t use food as a distraction (either the eating of it, or the not eating of it) we might have to start thinking about the really scary stuff. So, as the theory goes, if I can help you make it easier to handle the really scary stuff, the food thing loses its importance.
But it’s also open to people who don’t have a particular issue with their weight, which I don’t, but want to make a big change in their lives, which I do. It might be overcoming an addiction, learning to drive, starting their own business, getting over someone, or publishing that book. Oh dear, I seem to be able to tick ALL those boxes…
Addiction: Check, I’m a recovering workaholic.
Learning to drive: Check. Or at least passing my driving test. Six attempts and counting. (For those of you who wonder how I actually function as a human being without driving a car, I live in the UK. We have public transport, even in the middle of a forest. As long as it’s not a Sunday, or a bank holiday, or after 7.30 pm, or any time around 3pm on a school day.)
Starting my own business: Check. (But aren’t I doing that already? Erm, moving on…)
Getting over someone: Check. And no, I’m not giving you any more details.
Publishing that book: Check. Yes, that book, the one that some people will hate me for.
Argh, I have a TON of groundwork to do! Hmm, if you want to learn something, teach it…
We all have something that we’re afraid of, that’s holding us back from becoming who we were meant to be… but before we can even start facing it, we need to know that someone or something, somewhere, is going to catch us if we slip. Which we will.
Nobody but an idiot walks a high wire without a safety net, especially if they’ve never walked one before. So ‘Doing the Groundwork’ is going to be all about finding strategies that can help us feel safe enough to make those big life changes. I’ve dropped more than a couple of hints already, but here they are again:
Reconnecting with nature…
Reconnecting with your creativity…
Reconnecting with community…