Monday, 16 February 2015

Wildness Sustains Me

Wildness Sustains Me In Many Ways

Henry David Thoreau said, "In wildness is the preservation of the world."  All I know is... my preservation is dependent on the wildness that sustains me. My continued health, my physical, mental and emotional states depend:

on my spiritual connection with Nature

on the herbs, both garden-grown and wildcrafted

on the solace and rejuvenation I gain from contemplating Nature every day

and on the communion I make from her symbolic wisdom

These are just a few of the ways I am nourished, comforted and sustained by being and communing with the natural greenworld. When I don’t walk in Nature for some time, I feel a lack deep inside, something missing in my very essence. Not only does the world of people, near and far, drain my energy more often than not, but keeping up a busy pace also places
much stress upon my bodymind that I cannot afford to sustain for long periods of time.

In his book When the Body Says No, the cost of Hidden Stress, Gabor Mate elaborates on how we run the very real risk ofgetting sick with serious diseases if we constantly ignore what our body is trying to tell us on a daily basis.

And as Candace Pert says in her book Psychosomatic Wellness, the bodymind wants to heal! If we don’t listen to this ongoingconversation in our body’s cellular communication network, the natural healing process already present is adverselyaffected, initiating a cascade of distress and disease that may be impossible to reverse in a short amount of time in the future.

Setting up an introspective, spiritual practice, whatever it may be, and incorporating a good amount of time spent in green spaces, isa vital component to a healthy lifestyle. No matter what your beliefs, this can only be of immense benefit to you.

Take the time this week to make time for a walk in the park, a stroll on the beach, for feeding the birds and watching them soar, or for sitting under a tree and making some deep green contact.

Take a moment now to contemplate the following:


The dance of the leaves…
reminders of joyful

Nature creates multiples of itself
a million times over
year after year

Never any want, any need
No scarcity mentality here
Only abundance
scattered through her web of Life

A sacred reminder
It’s all there, just reach
No need for neediness or greed
Just reach; receive, feel, be, care, honour
Her generous offerings

Fall into freedom and let go
sway as the branch and dance as the leaf

Blessings are here and now
fall into the abundance of Nature
just outside your door

All you need
is already within as sacred energy
ready for exchange

Embrace the dance of Abundance
© 2015 Raymonde Savoie ~ All Rights Reserved attributed to all writings and photographs on this blog. Thank you forrespecting my right to my own creative work.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Introducing The Garden Pond

How gardens, plants, trees, flowers, forests can be healing!

I am a firm believer that Nature is the ultimate companion and a powerful healer for whatever ails you.  The natural world of plants, as well as the gardens we create for our solace and therapies, echoes its cycles and rhythms to the very depths of our soul, if we but allow ourselves to feel and look and listen, and learn.

I will be posting various articles and musings in the following months, inviting you to share your love of gardens, forests and plants with myself and other kindred spirits.  A meeting place, of sorts, like the garden gate of old, coming in for a herbal tea, and chatting for a bit on the day's discoveries. We'll bask in the discoveries and revelations our meanderings bring us, and let the Garden Pond heal the soul. 

Sunday, 1 February 2015

The Art of Seasonal Solitude

"To find out what is truly individual in ourselves, profound reflection is needed; and suddenly we realize how uncommonly difficult the discovery of individuality is.”
― C.G. Jung

This fresh start to a new year is the perfect time to start an empowering weekly or monthly practice: that of being in Solitude with yourself. 

Growing In Solitude 
There are times when I don't feel like being in the world, or talking to anyone, or even being friendly. I just want to keep to myself and do solitude things.  Maybe it's due to a low in my emotional rhythm, maybe it's hormonal or intuitive. Whatever the reason, I now honour this time as a needful pause in the meandering flow of my life.  There is a multitude of days available where I can live among, and share with, others.  That's the parallel life of give and take, rich and satisfying, that I am blessed with.  Then there are the times when I simply need to be by myself for awhile.

Those times in my past used to bring waves of guilt to my psyche.  I would then force myself to be social, to be where I really didn't want to be, voicing small talk and expressing false gaiety.  The result was that I returned from such meetings of contrivance feeling resentful, very miserable and frustrated.  "What's the point?" was my usual refrain.  Now I know that there is no point.  I was simply trying to please people to 'be nice,' while in reality I was forcing myself to do something I didn't really want to do. 

Now I listen to my intuition. The reward from that is that I can trust myself to know when it's ok to be alone, when the need arises.  There's nothing unusual about why that happens. Sometimes it just is.  Other times it's my soul wanting to come home to itself through journaling, sitting by a water place, or sauntering towards no particular destination.   

Maybe it's a new change or acceptance that needs sorting out or putting down roots in my heart or mind. Being in solitude also gives me access to the process of dream immersion, or deciphering my night dreams.  It's a way of actively getting to know my Natural Self.  What I do in my solitude is not important. What's important is that I've reaped many benefits from giving myself permission to listen to the inner cycles of my soul, and through doing whatever comes intuitively at the time.

We All Have a Need for Solitude

“Many people suffer from the fear of finding oneself alone, and so they don't find themselves at all.” - Rollo May, Man's Search for Himself  

Many of you don't need to be convinced of the value of spending precious time alone with your self at least once a week, or better yet, once a day.  If you believe this already, then you are decidedly in good company.  Many acclaimed people gave due honour to Solitude and to her companion, Creativity.  Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Carl Gustave Jung, May Sarton, Julia Cameron, Simonne de Beauvoir, and many others claim that spending time alone with one’s self heightens introspection and increases the opportunities for self-knowledge, enlightenment, and enhanced creativity.

Why is it so important?  In solitude, you give yourself permission to “think” from the soul.  It is the soul’s need for plenitude that is fulfilled.  When we read, work, watch television, converse with people or go about our daily activities, there are certain brain functions that make this possible, most of them originating from the ‘analytical’ left brain.   
In the unique state of being alone ‘with your thoughts,’ very often your brain switches to creativity-mode and the right brain is awakened.  You daydream, you write, you walk rhythmically, you muse upon life’s questions.  Of course you may be planning your budget or making a list of who to invite for the party, but owing to lack of distractions or other people-interruptions, being in solitude creates an inner contemplative flow that comes from the soul more readily than at other times. 

The cultivation of soul-properties is, by nature, best entered into when you are at peace, and listening to the inner voice.  How can you hear what’s being whispered on the inside if all you hear is the world-noise on the outside?  Some of the best human growth has occurred in sole space.  People write poems, books, speeches, memoirs when they are alone. They also have the opportunity to delve deep into the questions of life, where lie the transformative answers that belong to our unique purpose.   

"Silence is only frightening to people who are compulsively verbalizing."
William S. Burroughs

The Practice & Art of Seasonal Solitude 

For many people the change of the seasons, in the middle of winter or on summer vacation, are the times that most beckon the aloneness they seek. There is something to be said for the lapping sound of waves on the shore or the wind rustling through fir trees in the north.

There are many places you can find to be alone.  Whether you go into your room and close the door, walk in a city park, visit a cabin in the woods, seek refuge in the wilderness, or spend time hiking, canoeing or running, you will find your sole company quite satisfactory if you follow these guidelines:

A) Prepare yourself to be alone, psychologically as well as physically.  Your journal is a good place to write about your intended retreat: Is it for a specific purpose? What activity might you bring to your time alone that would embrace a  transformative and productive approach?  Aim for something that will bring about a psychical or spiritual change.

B) Bring into your solitude a non-judgmental attitude of heart: be open and well-coming of whatever may occur. Enter there with the intention of experiencing fully what it has to teach you.  Accept the spontaneous, intuitive thoughts, whimsies, or actions that may occur unexpectedly.  There is magic in serendipity and flexibility!

C) Treat each opportunity for solitude as if it were a veritable retreat.  A time of solemnity, to be cherished and adamantly protected.  If you 'feel' like being alone, then honour that feeling as a message from your inner need, because it is important. 

D) Feel safe in your time alone.  Make sure you pick your chosen space to be by yourself with care.  Don’t inadvertently put yourself in any danger, human-made or natural. Have a contingency plan for unexpected events.

E) If you hesitate spending time alone, know that, in reality you are not "alone” because your inner Higher Self is with you, ready to offer her comforting presence whenever you ask.  I believe that solitude is a great time to nurture this relationship with your inner selves, forming an integrative partnership that honours and promotes wholeness.  This can be a great time also to work on your dreams, do some important Inner Work, some Active Imagination or stream of consciousness writing. There are no limits! 

"The self is not only the centre, but also the whole circumference which embraces both conscious and unconscious; it is the centre of this totality, just as the ego is the centre of consciousness." 
Carl G. Jung 

F) If, for some reason, you cannot be alone because of family or work obligations, try to make the best of it by capturing any moment you can find: when other family members are asleep, for example, or busy engaged in an activity of their own. On your lunch break. On the weekend.  Know that it is very important to even schedule time to be alone.  It's a part of growing whole.   

G) Some people simply cannot be alone without background noises.  It’s a part of their personality and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.  If this includes you, all I ask is that you find some quiet time in your busy week to slow down your life pace a bit and give yourself the opportunity to grow into the idea of being alone.  Make a date with yourself to go, if not to a completely secluded place, then to a moderate 
traffic area, e.g., a café, quiet restaurant or city park where you will still be able to listen to yourself, as well as fulfil your need to have people around.  The soul speaks in the silence, not in the clamour, of your life.  It’s good to honour that and reap the forthcoming rewards.

George Herbert said, “By all means use some time to be alone... See what thy soul doth wear.”  Won't you accept the invitation? 

“But if these years have taught me anything it is this: you can never run away. Not ever. The only way out is in.”
Junot Díaz

Meditation  "Soul Company"

We are social creatures
Needing one another
As hard as that may be to accept at times

In equal proportion
We need to nurture the soul
Taking time and energy to be alone

Sole company is comfort solace
A rebuilder, a rejuvenator
Fills us when we are low 
In precious creative energy
Opens the door to the adventure
of self-discovery
This inherent need to communicate
with the soul on a one-to-one basis
Calls and we must answer
Wherever we may travel

The world is not so crowded yet
that you cannot find a space to call your own
Where you may for a day
Stay all by yourself

And when you do find it
don’t rush through it
Give it attention - as a child
Savouring play time
Oblivious to its passage

Only the moment
Only the solitude
Apart from the multitude
That is all that matters
to the little child inside
Slumbering in soul deep 


Wishing you a soulful week

P.S. Don't forget to schedule your alone-time!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

First Park Walk Day

First Park Walk


In the first day of the last week of February, I decided to go for a walk inside the park, even if I had to walk in ankle-deep snow. As it so happened, some nice person or persons had already made a nice flat trail on top of said snow for me: a large and solid snowshoe trail.  

The temperature was around + 2*C with a windchill of – 6*C, with some brisk windy times, as I walked towards the park and started looking around for where to enter, which trail to follow, etc. There is a nice sign at the entrance that told me where I wanted to do, and upon entering, I soon found the snowshoe trail waiting for me. 

Birds seen or heard along my walk were Black-Capped Chickadee, American Crow, Great black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Raven, and I heard the call of a Pileated Woodpecker. I made a mental note of the numbers as I walked along, keeping track automatically to jot down later.

 Walking in the forest in the winter has always fascinated me, ever since I read “Sand County Almanac” by Aldo Leopold years ago, still available as a book and now an eBook as well:

He advised making observations of everything that you see, hear or feel in the snowy landscape, ordinary or not, because even if you think there is “nothing to see,” you will be surprised at the signs of life that are there, once you open your senses to them. It was this book, and many more of its kin, that used to fuel my adventures in exploring the woods when I was a teenager, and that formed the basis for a life-long relationship with plants and birds. 

Back to the present, I looked more closely at my environment. The ‘webbed foot’ tracks in the snow indicated grouse (possibly Ruffed?) had been here since yesterday morning, for the day before we had had some wet snow and the prints were hardened into this last level and very visible, captured as it were, from last night’s freezing temperature. 

There were squirrel tracks everywhere, and soon enough, there he was, a Red Squirrel coming closer to see what I was up to, and hopping away across the trail to a bunch of conifers, most likely his wintering place. He was so fast that, even with my focus timing and shutter-clicking, I was sure that I had missed him … but here he is:  

The Pileated Woodpecker signs were everywhere: fresh wood chips at the foot of standing, mostly dead trees, and the typical oblong holes that they make with their bills could be seen at every turn.

I found a bird’s nest at chest height, parallel to the trail, still attached to a fork in a young maple tree, made of interesting materials. The cup structure had been woven using bark, grass, moss and lichens. I wonder what bird made this? 

I feel blessed to have moved close to this block of forest that I can explore in all seasons, where a small patch of nature still lives in the middle of the city. 

This last photo was certainly a serendipity - an unexpected shot of a crow spreading her wings to take off, which I was sure I had missed.  Amazing what you can see in winter, even on a cold, sunny day.

Till next

Friday, 8 March 2013

Dreams and Their Rituals

Rituals As They Relate To Dreams...

A ritual is an effective way to integrate and internalise a numinous ‘fact’ – such as a dream. Jung says our dreams have already happened, and are to be treated as facts. But we seldom do this. We see the dream as something that is happening to us, apart from us, as an external event or influence, and more often than not, we think dreams have no consequence to our life as we know it. 

Or, we may know at a conscious level that the dream has some relationship to us, but perhaps only in a vicarious way. It’s sufficient, we think, to record the dream or perhaps tell it to someone, then dismiss it and then to move on with more important things in life. 

However, if we remain outside the realm/circle of the dream, focusing our knowledge of it only on the intellectual level, as if from a distance, placing it on the shelf when we are done, then we are missing out on some very important information. There are still tendrils of understanding remaining from the dream that we can only reach through other senses, and other dimensions. 

Marion Woodman says that, optimally, one involves the whole body in an experience, in order to feel the whole, instead of only experiencing the parts of that experience. If you wish to connect via a link to see a powerful movie that encapsulates Marion Woodman's important contribution to the world of Jungian psychology, art and healing towards wholeness, see the bottom of this post.

Without involving the feeling function in a dream, without acting on what the dream tells us, and emoting its purpose once identified, the dream cannot be said to be ‘understood.’  It’s impossible to completely understand a dream, I know that, but when the aim is to attain that level of the dream that will unlock the dream’s mystery in a deeper fashion, ritual is the perfect medium.  

Acting, doing something with, the images as symbols from a specific dream speaks to the message it contains, because imagery and emotion are the dream’s language.  What a ritual does is re-enact in the outer world what the dream told us in the inner world, to the extent that is at all possible, of course, and not harmful in any way to yourself or to others.

Why this is important and effective, no one knows for certain, but rituals have been performed for centuries to honour events in people’s lives. With a dream, we are honouring its presence in our life, and we are saying that we embrace its meaning. This offers a more complete assimilation of the unconscious contents presented by the dream.
Another powerful application of doing a ritual for dreams is when you have a dream that is posing more of a challenge than usual and there are certain elements that, despite your efforts, still stay out of your sphere of comprehension.  A ritual can perhaps link up meanings that you had not considered before. 

How I Do a Dream Ritual 
Incorporating the whole body, as Marion Woodman suggests, one would involve different modes of experience in a dream ritual. Going back to basics, this would involve having a sacred space and involving all the senses.  

Body & The Senses:
Seeing – candles, colours, bright feathers, fresh flowers, spiralling smoke, whatever draws the eye towards it in a meaningful way.
Hearing - what is audible and pleasing to the ear, drumming, rattles, singing bowls, clicking sticks, flute, or any other musical instrument of your choosing, and of course, songs from a recording or your own voice.
Smell – the candle can be scented, the flowers, or burning incense as well.
Feeling – textures as in fabrics, wooden, metal, glass, paper objects, picked up and felt with the hands at some time during the ceremony, or writing with a pen or pencil.
Tasting – might involve taking a sip of water or wine, to mark the event.
Movement also is important. Centering one’s self, grounding, doing a stretching exercise; dancing or swaying can also be included.

Different Actions may be incorporated to embrace the dream:
Writing, talking, singing, dancing, drawing, painting, praying, meditating, walking in a circle or a spiral, as you would a labyrinth, are all activities that involve your whole self, so that this is not just a mind trip, but a whole body experience.

Why Symbols?

Incorporating symbols, tangible (sacred) objects that represent the dream’s contents is crucial to the ritual. In doing this you are taking the dream elements from your own psyche (the unconscious) and giving them a form in the physical world, thus imprinting its importance upon your waking awareness (consciousness). 

Inviting the Sacred to the Ritual means that you are taking this act, and your dream, seriously and solemnly while doing something about it. You attend to it with your whole heart and conscious, mindful awareness.  
The above is not written in stone. Take one or two of the suggestions to make your ritual, if you like, or use every step to perform your next dream resolution.  Either way is fine and I’m sure your dream – your psyche – will send you some kind of sign, in whatever small or big way, to let you know that it was worth taking the time to pay attention to, and to want to heal with, your dream.  

For Further Study of Dreams and Wholeness
I encountered this movie first when I came back from Australia in '11 and it had an absolute heart-stopping effect on me. Yes, it is that powerful. I watched it again recently and this time, I loved it even more. Her message, her life, is nothing short of phenomenal. 

Andrew Harvey brings us Marion Woodman i
at   Please let me know how you liked it. 

Until Next Time,  
attend to healing with your dreams!

All contents, including writings and photos, unless otherwise noted, are my own and copyrighted. Please do not use without my permission. Thank you for honouring my right of ownership to my work.