“I’m going to take a little walk, through them fields.
I’m going to carry me gently so my heart can heal.
I’m going to find me a demon, in a dark, dark wood,
You can’t come with me, I wish you could.”
These lines speak to me of what it has been like to learn how to nurture myself in a wholesome way. Before I did, all I knew was finding the demons in the darkness and feeling terribly alone. I was a sensitive kid. And I carried no armor. Everything penetrated deeply and I didn’t fully understand why people didn’t want to talk about uncomfortable feelings or thoughts. I walked through life very alone. I became very introverted, depressed, addicted to marijuana and disillusioned with life by the time I’d left school.
I started to search for answers, and my search took me into all sorts of jobs (construction, hotels, care homes, farms, animal sanctuaries, scuba diving centers, charities, factories) and all kinds of places (Europe, Asia, Africa, South America). I had no idea where I was going or what I should do…life just kept throwing up opportunities and I kept saying yes, even though the last thing I really wanted to do was to keep leaving my comfort zones.
I thought I just wanted to find my way home.
I ended up teaching environmental education, then using sustainable development practices for the developing world, then helping run a children’s home on the Thai/Burmese border. But in each of these places, I started to notice something really wrong. I started to see that even though it seemed like I was doing something beneficial, I was still carrying wounds, and acting from and speaking from and feeling life through those wounds. I was essentially bringing my wounded self into the world and all those around me.
Even with my spiritual practices, Vipassana retreats, daily meditation, trying to be compassionate and loving, trying to walk the Earth without hurting anyone or anything,
I noticed the sense of quiet desperation that underlay everything in my life; the nervous system always on high alert; the constant efforting to be good enough, to not be wrong or bad, to fit in, to ‘earn a living’ (the most insulting statement to any human being), and the deadness of my life. I was only feeling a fraction of the spectrum of emotion and only aiming for happiness, comfort and security. I would tremor whenever someone was angry with me, and I would carry heaviness with me for weeks when I felt criticized.
After burning myself out in Aisa, I returned to Europe and eventually life offered a place in Portugal that encouraged me to slow down. To essentially take stock, stop trying to acheive and be productive, and just sit in the unknown for a while, without an idea of the future. I still kept searching
That is when the Living Inquiries came dancing into view. The mythologist and storyteller, Martin Shaw says “Stirring your pen in your wound and calling it art is not enough.” He was referring to the need also for the alchemy of old…turning the lead of your wounds into the gold of your gifts. In other words, As James Hillman might say, finding your genius amidst your pathology. And that’s where the Inquiries came in for me. I no longer needed to do this alone…someone could guide me at first, without interpreting anything through their own lenses of experience, and bring out the wisdom inherent in my own body. And then, after practice, I could guide myself and become my own loving, caring, non-judgemental, nurturing parent.
My intention at the moment, is to connect deeply with everyone I meet…fully allowing of whatever shows up in them, and in me; being a nurturing parent when needed, and a loving companion otherwise.
I hope to see you soon, to create a space between us that is fully accepting of all that is inside, so that within those wounds, that darkness, those traumas of old, we can find something that is illuminated, something that nourishes and nurtures the world, and something that we carry with reverence rather than shame.