Mayilvaganam, Care-taker of 1,050 of your trees.

Meet Mayilvaganan, a farmer from Tamil Nadu in Southern India. He is the caretaker of 1,050 of the trees that you have planted, through donations to TreeSisters, by our partners Project GreenHands.

Mayilvaganan is just one of thousands of farmers across southern India who faces an uncertain future. He and his family live right at the coal face of climate change, where climatic patterns are shifting at an alarming rate. The monsoons that used to bless the land have all but disappeared: imagine two years of no rain with forty to fifty degree heat. Twelve major rivers in the region have simply disappeared and as the rivers vanish, agricultural land like that which houses Mayilvaganan’s farm is dying.

Farmers like Mayilvaganan and their families are facing severe financial losses and are often forced sell their lands and migrate to cities for labour work. Tragically this is leading to a widespread trend of farmer suicides, leaving wives and children bereft and destitute.

Project GreenHands was born when saplings were gifted to thousands of families who had lost loved ones after the 2004 Asian Tsunami. Through the tending of these saplings the villagers found a place to pour their grief, and slowly but surely a green revolution began… Sapling crop This eventually developed into a widespread ‘Agro-forestry’ project. Agro-Forestry is not plantation planting, it is the integration of trees into existing agriculture and animal husbandry so that trees become depended upon and so valuable that their replanting becomes inevitable. From just six small villages, the movement has exploded and to date 25 million trees have been planted through millions of volunteers.

Mayilvaganan shares, “I had the thought of planting trees in my farmland, but was not able to success due to water scarcity on our area. The few trees I planted earlier didn’t survive the drought condition. I came to know about about the agro forestry model promoted by Project Greenhands.

I contacted them for planting tree saplings in my land. They guided me in pitting, the appropriate distance that should be between two trees, irrigation techniques, water management and mulching. The mulching process helps much in water scarce areas as seen here. With this method the land retained the water and helps in minimal uses of the available limited resources.

After three months they made the follow-up visit and rectified any mistakes that were made and guided on further maintenance of the trees. I was very much impressed by the dedication and commitment of Project GreenHands and its team towards tree plantation in a sustainable way.

We are growing tropical dry evergreen species that can handle drought and produce accelerated growth when water does come. Eight farmers, including Mayilvaganan and his family are care-taking the first 14,551 trees you have funded through your donations, and the next 3,449 TreeSisters’ seedlings have been seeded and are growing strong.

TreeSisters is an audacious experiment fuelled by the love and creativity of every-day women. We want to know what becomes possible when millions of women decide to offer their care, creativity and generosity towards the swift reforestation of our world. We invite you to join us as a TreeSister donor today and help us plant millions of trees. IMG_55330028

The TreeSister Map of 5 Choices

The TreeSisters map of 5 Choices

A template of you, me, humanity or any system that wants to come back into balance – the framework upon which every aspect of TreeSisters is crafted.

My most abiding and precious gift from TreeSisters from the beginning was this message – ‘call everything you do an experiment, because you can’t fail an experiment, you can only learn…

And so it is, and so it has been, and so it always shall be! And as such, life is permission to simply have a go – and in New York, I did.

It was a first shared exploration about how to do an experiential fundraiser with colleagues Janice Rous and Polly Howells – two stunning elders within our eco-system. ABC Carpet and Home gifted 43 of us the most glorious workshop space in Manhattan – a wide, beautiful, sacred space that holds yoga classes and world class speakers. We gathered in circle and entered into an experiment with the Map.

Imagine pink lines on the floor mapped out like a pie chart, with 40 plus women following their feet to their place, without knowing anything about the map, so that they could discover what their bodies wanted them to know about what was needed for them to become fulfilled.

We entered the discovery process through the capacities of each aspect – the in breath of the heart and our need for love (left arm) the in breath of the body and our willingness to feel (left leg – feminine principle) the out breath of the body and our ability to respond from what we feel (right leg – masculine principle) the out breath of the heart and our courage to shine (right arm) and the willingness to see the system as it is, listen to the feminine principle (left side) and then respond appropriately (right side)

Did their bodies communicate the need for more sisterhood or community, more loving relationships that called forth their hearts? Did their bodies need more rest, more nature connection, more sensuality, more acknowledgment of how they express through feelings and symptoms? Did they need more clarity and boundaries, more doing that sat within their energetic capacities, not beyond? Did they need to express their creativity, to take their lids off and embody their purpose? Or did they need to get honest with themselves about how they really are and what needs to change to bring fulfillment. Each quadrant had its message which I offered through both the light and shadow sides of the unique characteristics.

When you walk around the map (which you can do if you gift yourself the Reinstating the Feminine mini workshop) you have an embodied experience of how the feminine comes first (the left side of the map) – as in, how we have to be receptive and plugged into a living system first, if our actions (masculine) have any chance of making sense in relationship to it. Without our heart and body plugged in, we can trash our world and not feel the consequences – even though we can see them. 

This was the process we explored together – all shifting to the masculine right side to feel the disconnect that has become our norm, and then steadily reinstating the feminine to feel what it was like to come back into balance. In the end, I asked people to simply move to the place in the map that they felt their strongest, and one whole section of the map stood empty – ‘Responsibility’ – or the right leg – how we live, when we are plugged and feeling fully.

photo (25)It was amazing – but spoke volumes. What we need, is to reclaim and inhabit our receptive heart and body because we are exhausted and burnt out. We need to be watered, tended, nourished, connected and plugged back in…we need to reinstate the feminine and then we can appropriately respond – until then it is simply a place of stress in the system and so we don’t want to go there – which is why change isn’t happening.

This is why we don’t lead with the trees, and lead instead with the feminine work – to try to fill our tanks a little more and get more plugged in and resourced before asking for action or change. It’s too much to give yet more from empty, and most of us are stretched to the max.

As a fundraiser, I learnt more about how not to do it, than how to do it I think! Incredibly valuable process for me. Although despite leaving not enough time to really explain TreeSisters in its beauty and fullness, we still raised $6K per year for the next 3 years, and more  has been pledged.

What is huge for me – still – is this process of simply trying. If it was possible to be perfect at everything first time life would be so bland (although probably way more comfortable!) The contraction that comes after a massive expansion beyond comfort zones is quite the alchemical crucible and enough to put one off having a go, but it’s only temporary.

Courage sits opposite encouragement in the map – the courageous self, shining before the collective – that left arm place of the human heart, tended by community becomes vital in the process of shining and stepping out. Alone it really would be too much to dare so many things, but when we know that those we love are screaming from the sidelines, believing in us and rooting for us, then we know we have their arms to fall back into. Then risking growth becomes more possible.

Thank god for sisters:-) Thank you Polly and Janice for helping this to happen. Thank you Paulette Cole for gifting us ABC and your amazing staff who served us so beautifully. Thank you to all of you who came and wove your energies for an evening. Thank you to those of you who gave:-) And thank you New York for the experience.

Onwards to the next one….and so it is….

art above by Viviana Gonzalez

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Clare Dakin is the founder of TreeSisters– a UK based charity evolving at the intersection of feminine emergence and ecology. She lives between New England and England – currently Gloucester MA. She is an explorer, a free radical, a learner and teacher of body based listening, with a passion for nature, nurture and being astounded by life.

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“Women are rising.
Wild, windswept, born of ocean, aflame with light,
rooted as trees, we are rising.

We are re-wilding ourselves.

Emerging from Earth, clad in moss and bark. We are unrecognizable, except to each other. We move in the shadows of forests and the deep, cool undercurrents of streams. We reach out our arms to the mountains. Dare to stand, cracked and dry and dust-whorled like deserts. We green ourselves with grasses, root ourselves in moist soil.

We are wondrous. We are rising. We are wild.

We see each other, feel for each other, hold each other up. Like waves in an ocean we are a celebration of nature’s powers and impulses. We ebb and flow according to our own rhythm. We will not be dictated to.

A woman no longer separate from the flesh of Earth, becomes her, speaks for her, lifts her throat and sings of fire below and stars in her hair. We are granite and grandeur, full-fleshed and woven through with wildflowers. We bloom according to our own ways and whims and wants. False things fall down in our presence. We are pregnant with new birth.

A wild soul woman is a woman of belly and breath and boundlessness. She makes her own way through ancient lands. With soft footsteps, lays down fresh tracks. Barriers break apart before her. Instinctively she moves, on fin and wing and prayer. She listens to the wisdom of stone.

She is the echo of a deeper voice that speaks from the fiery cave. She is molten, flowing, shape-shifter.

She is living proof of a language that banishes all sense of loneliness. The Earth warms her, welcomes her, enfolds her. She grows tall amid the fields, greets the wind and the grasses, the soft grace of rainbows. She is fire woman and rain woman and earth and air, with plenty to spare.

We are wondrous. We are rising. We are wild.”

~Mary Reynolds Thompson

This is not just Mary’s song or my song.
This is the song of the Earth.
And the song of every Wild Soul Woman.

Earlier this month a circle of us already gathered for Mary’s free on-line event called A Wild Soul Woman. The event was recorded and can be listened to here. And what a call it was!

Mary had such an exquisite way of guiding us through the landscapes of our wild soul and summoning pure poetry out of the least poetic of us. In her sphere of influence women stepped forward in their gorgeous selkie skins and danced under moonlight. Here are just some of the comments:

An inspirational call!” ~Amanda, UK

Such a breath-taking session… I felt the powerful winds of the mountain in my hair…” ~Roma, London

This call sang to my soul and reminded me of a much deeper connection to Mother Earth.” ~Serena, UK

A terrific encounter!” ~Susan, US

The Desert in me knows that my soul is fire… waiting to ignite… I already feel it’s going to be a deep creative journey…” ~Louise, UK

The ocean in me knows…the roar of what lies beneath my surface cannot be ignored. What surprised me was the fear beneath the surface, but the joy is there to discover the treasures of her churning shores. I merge myself into the drops of water in the sea to befriend her and swim in a new body of consciousness.”  ~MysticTree, Hawaii

The rivers & oceans in me know I must be free…free to express my soul in honesty and liberty, free from fear, stigma, opinions… Surprised to find I’m feeling trapped by dogma.” ~Sonia, UK

I too CRIED as I connected with the Desert…I too STRETCHED…and wanted to walk and walk and keep walking…IT was the wide open space, the lightness, the rocks… This call sang to my soul, reminded me of a much deeper connection and belonging to Mother Earth, and was rich in information so generously given. Can’t wait for the course to begin, and connect with other Wild Women!” ~Sarena, UK

Let’s dance the wildness of ourselves, meet mother earth in her dress of creation, hear her whispers in the wind, her heartbeat in the drum of our hearts, watch her colours in rainbows of wisdom. for our dance is hers, our hearts hers. her pain ours. lets dance the wildness of our being and know we live.” ~Eliza, Dublin

Just listening now. I am a sobbing mess. This touches my soul so deeply. I can breathe now. Thank you so much!” ~Melissa

Thank you both , you lovely, lovely, wildly, beautiful souls! I’m hoping to take the course and stay blissfully awakened as I am this very moment! Many blessings from the depths of my heart!” ~Victoria DeAngelis

A terrific encounter! I entered a deeply moving and palpable space during the call. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us.” ~Susan

A Wild Soul Woman: A Journey into Your Untamed Self begins on July 7th and will run for six weeks every Tuesday at 11am PST / 2pm EST / 7pm UK. Every call will be recorded so if you can’t listen live, you can find the sacred space and time and journey with us when it fits into your schedule.

To learn more about this course, click here

“Women are rising.
Wild, windswept, born of ocean,
aflame with light, rooted as trees, we are rising.”

We invite you to join a circle of wild soul sisters for the journey of a lifetime.

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A Wild Soul Woman ~ TreeSisters ~ janek sedlar

Photo: Janek Sedlar

We hosted our first seasonal donor call on the Spring Equinox because we want our donors to know exactly what we’re doing and why. We will host our second seasonal donor call on June 22nd as a way for treesisters to gather and hear about our activities as well as to ask questions about any aspect of the organization. To register for the upcoming call on Monday (and our free Moon Calls), click here. There are over 200 of you who have been donating since the beginning, which is just over 3 years. You have been the real roots of this whole thing – you have made everything possible. Hundreds more of you have stepped in with one off donations that showed up when we needed you, and many more have donated for a period and then stepped away. We want all of our treesisters to feel really good about supporting what we’re doing and being a part of it. These calls will be a great chance for you to be able to walk around inside of TreeSisters with us. For those who would rather read a blog post to learn more about what TreeSisters has been doing over the previous season, these seasonal Living Systems Updates are just for you.

~The Journey from the Spring Equinox to the Summer Solstice~

TreeSisters is dedicated to finding ways of operating according to living systems models. One of those is our Organizational Seasonal Flow which follows the wisdom of the seasons in the ways and kinds of activities we engage through the course of the year. The time between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice began with a period of seeding and planning and watering our projects and relationships. As the season progressed we paid attention to what began to come above ground and we consciously began pollinating, engaging, and activating the year’s major activities. Sapling crop

~Our Reforestation Work~

While almost every treesister would say she is passionate about trees, we find that many within our network do not yet clearly understand what we are doing in our reforestation work. In February we hosted a three-part series of blog posts that focused on sharing our reforestation strategy with the entire network. The series explores why we have chosen the Tropics as our focus, how we intend to approach such an audacious goal, and our strategy. This season we added another recent post that shares our passion for trees and our current working plan which you can read here.

~Earth Day Tree Campaign~

This Earth Day we launched the second in a series of mini-tree campaigns that are designed to channel our networks’ financial gifts directly to the trees. 1,213 trees were funded immediately – and 23 will be funded every month going forwards from now on. You can read more here.

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Art: Debra Bernier

~The Nature of Woman: A Year-Long Journey with TreeSisters~

As many of you know, this year we created a new business model with the intention of offering on-line courses as the means by which to raise the organization’s operation costs. Our on-line courses this year are designed to take you on a progressive journey into the heart of life where you will encounter your own wild soul, plug into Nature as your life coach, create deep sisterhood, and reconnect to the core of Nature embodied within you as a woman. The courses follow a seasonal journey and can be taken individually, yet when taken together they synergize and alchemize powerfully with one another. To read more about this journey click here. We launched three courses during this season: Reinstating the Feminine Donor On-line Retreat: On April 12th Clare presented our first on-line retreat for our donors. 193 people registered for the call. 60 people attended the live call. £936 was raised and over 900 trees will be planted. This course recording is available by donation and more information can be found here.

Women's Circle - Aubrie Woods

Photo: Aubrie Woods

  • The Nature Process, Tabitha Jayne

In April we launched the marketing and social media campaign for our second on-line course The Nature Process with Tabitha Jayne. Tabitha designated 100% of the profits to TreeSisters. The course ran in May – June and because 20% of our course profits goes directly to the trees, this means that 2140 trees were funded. Tabitha has also created an affiliate program for book sales that enables TreeSisters to earn $5.00 for every book sold through our affiliate link. For more information about the course, to listen to the introductory call, or find out more about the affiliate link for book sales go to our blog, here.

  • A Wild Soul Woman, Mary Reynolds Thompson

On June 14th we collaborated with author and facilitator, Mary Reynolds Thompson, and offered a free on-line event for A Wild Soul Woman. Almost 800 women registered for this on-line event. Mary would like 70% of the profits of the full length course to go to TreeSisters. 20% of the profits will go directly to tree planting. To find out more about her upcoming course and to register, click here. AWSW header5

~TreeSisters Presents at 2015 Bioneers Conference~

Clare has been invited by Nina Simons of Bioneers to present at the 2015 conference in October. Clare will be presenting two workshops, one of them with Bioneers Co-Founder Nina Simons and her colleague Nikki Silvestri. For more information about Bioneers, visit here.

~TreeSisters Interviews treesisters around the Globe~

TreeSisters engaged award winning author and consultant, Catriona MacGregor, to host a series of interviews with treesisters around the globe. The process she used is called the Appreciative Inquiry Process and our goal was to ask a series of questions about TreeSisters in order to learn directly from our network what we’re doing right, what we could do even better, how they have experienced themselves as part of this sisterhood, and what our future could look like if we all take ownership of TreeSisters. In April and May key TreeSisters stakeholders were interviewed and Catriona created a report of her findings which we will be sharing with the network in a blog post. For more information about the Appreciative Inquiry process, click here.

Photo: Janet Pancho Gupta

Photo: Janet Pancho Gupta

~Streams of Living Sisterhood – Partnership Affiliate Program~

Sisterhood is at the core of TreeSisters and nurturing win/win/win partnerships is at the heart of our network. This season we catalyzed the TreeSisters’ Partnership Affiliate Program that offers multiple benefits to organizations, programs, and authors who would like to financially support TreeSisters through their work. The benefits include coaching, social media promotion, endorsements, and program collaboration. Each new potential partner goes through a vetting process with us before agreements are made. The goal of the Streams of Living Sisterhood is to call forth the gifts of our network and to showcase them while also creating a passive stream of income that directly supports the TreeSisters mission. There are also many individual women who are stepping forward with their gifts – like Ursula in Australia – and we will be highlighting them through our blog. Two examples of our new collaborations include:

  • The Spirited Woman Foundation, Nancy Mills

Nancy approached TreeSisters wanting to contribute profits from the 2015 Spirited Woman Prayer Scarf. Edveeje and Nancy worked with Sophie (our Social Media Queen) to create a campaign for the Sisterhood of the Sacred Scarves. To learn more about it, you can read this blog.

Sophie, our Communications Director, wearing her

Sophie, our Communications Director, wearing her “Angel Wings”.

  • Clare Waldron, Tree-Pose

Clare wanted to do a project entitled Tree-Pose and approached TreeSisters wanting a portion of the proceeds to be donated to us. We posted a guest blog post about her project here.

~Guest Blogging Invitation~

We are passionate about hearing from our network and creating a space in which we can hear from one another. So we have opened up the TreeSisters blog to a series of guest blogs. This season we launched our ‘TreeBrothers’ Guest Blog Series with a guest post by author Giles Hutchins. The “TreeBrothers Series” is an invitation to the brotherhood to join our collective conversation on behalf of the well-developed masculine. Giles Hutchins, author of The Nature of Business as well as The Illusion of Separation posted here. We also invited treesisters to submit guest posts about our collective passion for trees. This series is called ‘Talking to Trees’ and was launched by treesister and blogger Jane Brunette. You can read her guest blog here. We will be posting more as the new season unfolds. IMG_0376

~New York City TreeSisters Fundraiser~

As the second step in activating our new business model and fundraising strategy, Clare hosted a workshop event and fundraiser in New York City in mid-June with the incredible support of two of our Roots, Janice and Polly. The event has initially raised over $6,000 per year for the next three years, with more donations still coming in. It was an opportunity for women to experience the transformative power of The Map of Five Choices and understand how it underpins the TreeSisters cosmology and our way of working both as a team and as an organisation. Clare will write a blog post about this in the near future and we will include a link to it in our next monthly mailout.

~An Invitation to Join Us~

As you can see we have been diligently planting and tending our fields this spring with an eye toward a very active and bountiful summer. If you want to continue taking the journey with us as things unfold be sure to subscribe to our blog where we post regularly about the unfurling of 2015 as we live it day by day.

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Photo: Sylvia Valentine

Sophie, our Communications Director, wearing her

Sophie, our Communications Director, wearing her “Angel Wings”.

When Nancy from The Spirited Woman Foundation first came to me, she came with her hands outstretched with a gift and a blessing. She told me that she felt inspired to support the work we are doing at TreeSisters by dedicating the next scarf of the Sisterhood of the Sacred Scarves to TreeSisters.

From that first conversation with Nancy I felt TreeSisters being supported by living streams of sisterhood. The symbolism of a sacred scarf worn by sisters around the world brought me to tears because sisterhood is the core of TreeSisters.

I couldn’t help but think of how meaningful it would be for the TreeSisters core team to all receive one as a gift from me symbolizing our deep connection to Spirit and to one another. So I ordered them and when they arrived I added a bar of dark chocolate and a card sharing with each one of them how much they meant to me and the profound beauty I saw in each of them.

Three years ago, Nancy Mills began a special project, The Sisterhood of the Sacred Scarves, with the intent of creating a foundation (The Spirited Woman Foundation) to give back to women. The Spirited Woman Prayer Scarf is a symbol of spirit, empowerment and beauty. Each scarf comes with a sacred scarf ritual connecting women energetically and through our collective healing powers. This year Nancy has chosen TreeSisters to be the beneficiary and has invited us all into the Sisterhood of the Sacred Scarves.

To date, there have been 12 scarves, each representing a different theme. Hundreds of women worldwide have purchased more than 1,400 scarves. The number thirteen scarf is entitled “Angel Wings.”

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A portion of all scarf proceeds is donated to the Spirited Woman Foundation to help heal and support women through actions of empowerment. To date, seven non-profits have been supported – and we are beyond excited to announce that TreeSisters is number eight. By purchasing “Angel Wings,” sisters from around the world will come together to carry the “energetic of all women on our backs.” For every scarf you buy, a portion of the proceeds will be donated back to TreeSisters.

Together, we are the healers, the Light, the goddess energy of the number 13 and the difference. And as we dance with our “Angel Wings” flowing around us, may we never forget that we have the power to fly.

Every woman that purchases her Angel Wings Scarf before June 12 (outside of US) and by June 18 (within the US), will be invited to join in our Sisterhood of the Sacred Scarves Solstice Ceremony ~ a sacred scarf ritual connecting women energetically and through our collective healing powers. Please invite your sisters here

TreeSisters ~ A Wild Soul Woman ~ Janek Sedlar

This blog introduces you to the exquisite Mary Reynolds Thompson – creator and facilitator of our next course A Wild Soul Woman – Journey to the Heart of Your Untamed Self. This coming Sunday, you are warmly invited to meet her and experience her profound work – details here.

Now, over to Mary…

A Wild Soul Woman ~ TreeSisters ~Janek Sedlar

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves
~Mary Oliver

At a peace summit in Vancouver in 2009, the Dalai Lama made a startling statement, “The world will be saved by Western women.”

Part of me was thrilled when I first read those words. After all, I am a Western woman trying to make a difference. But other thoughts sprang to mind as well. What about the non-Western women? And this: why did the word “saved” seem to hold that old sense of “duty” that has always been the yoke of women?

It stirred in me old memories of being a young girl at Catholic boarding school, on the edge of puberty—that uncharted territory that was curling its way into me like fresh roots into springy earth. Back then, a young girl was expected to behave in a certain way: to be polite, dutiful, to admire the saints and to ignore her own needs—and most certainly her wild, luscious body and burgeoning desire. Gentle

Needless to say, the effort to suppress my own yearnings in order to fit into a tightly prescribed notion of the “good girl” I was supposed to be only left me feeling guilty and ashamed.

So I have to ask: what if idealizing women as the world’s saviors is another kind of subjugation?

This is not in any way to refute that women hold the key to change. Nor is it to question that the feminine as an archetypal energy in both men and women is desperately needed in these times.

As TreeSisters, we understand in our breath and our bones that women have a vital part to play. But how we go about it matters a great deal. If we think that we are here to “save the world” doesn’t that put us in another box? Historically, patriarchy has set out to define women’s roles from the outset – and, because women are innately nurturing, community building, and inclusive, those roles have often revolved around taking care of others.

We have looked after our men, our children, and the land. We have done heroic work, in frequently impossible situations. And the world only becomes more fragmented and fractured. If the Dalai Lama is right––though I’m going drop the “Western” before women, as all women are in this together –– we can’t go about it in the same way.

We have to approach the task ahead differently.

This time, we have to make our own choices. When women are liberated from a sense of duty, to live from the heart of our delight, things will truly change.  Being the good girl isn’t what’s called for. We need, rather, to be less tame, less obedient, less compliant. For it is out of the wild and authentic soul of a woman that incredible things will come: outrageous things – fierce things – things that will surprise us with their rawness and their beauty.

The cosmologist Brian Swimme once said in an interview, “This is the greatest discovery of the scientific enterprise: you take hydrogen gas, and you leave it alone, and it turns into rosebushes, giraffes, and humans.“

janek sedlar4 cropIn other words we can’t know what will happen when we reclaim our wild nature.

That’s the point. When we express from our wild souls – the part of us that recognizes we are one with mountains, rivers, and forests – we invite Earth’s processes and evolutionary impulses to work their magic through us. 

Just as hydrogen and helium, left to their own devices, eventually turned into molten rock and opera, so our own wildness will give birth to new forms, new life, new ways of being––things that are completely unimaginable to us right now.

Do I believe that in the process we will end up with a world that has cleaner water, denser forests, better practices, less greed, more gratitude, purer air? Do I think children will be cared for and the elderly held in reverence? Do I think women will protest, rally, gather, and effect change?

You bet.

And a whole lot more that we can’t possibly foresee – but can be certain will be birthed out of the core of A Wild Soul Woman.

(Please join us on Sunday for a free online event which marks the the beginning of an archetypal journey into the landscape of your own wild soul. You can register herejanek sedlar3 crop MaryMary Reynolds Thompson is an author, facilitator of poetry and journal therapy, and certified life coach who helps people discover and live their Wild Soul Story so they can bridge the false divide between outer and inner nature, Earth and Self, and become fully creative, connected and alive. Her work is a unique blend of poetry and journal therapy, Earth connection, and coaching that helps her students and clients reclaim their wild souls in order to live from their deepest, wildest selves. Mary is core faculty for the Therapeutic Writing Institute, the leading training institute for practitioners in the field of therapeutic writing and has taught for the International Women’s Writing Guild, National Association of Poetry Therapy, The Women’s Writing Experience, The Green and Wild Festival, and Expressive Therapies Summit, and many other conferences. Her own retreats, classes, and workshops are delivered both in the States and Internationally.

Mary Reynolds Thompson works simple magic to bind our broken souls back into full-round rapport with the more-than-human terrain. And as the land restores our sanity, we’re empowered to work with new clarity to replenish the many-voiced vitality of the animate earth.”

~David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous, Becoming Animal

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~The Book~ Reclaiming the Wild Soul: How Earth’s Landscapes Return us to Wholeness

Beyond the chaos and stresses of our modern age, there lies a forgotten yet primal terrain rich in wisdom, healing, and wholeness.  In Reclaiming the Wild Soul, Mary Reynolds Thompson takes us on a journey into Earth’s five great landscapes as aspects of our deeper, wilder selves. TreeSisters will receive $1.00 for every book purchased in the United States through White Cloud Press.  All proceeds given to TreeSisters will go straight to planting trees!

Buy here

Praise for the Book

“Mary Reynolds Thompson explores ‘the breath of wildness,’ the reality of kinship that exists just beyond the reach of our senses — or at least our most familiar senses. She has rolled up her sleeves and commenced what Thomas Berry called the Great Work of the 21st century: reconnecting to the rest of the natural world, for meaning. For soul.”
~Richard Louv, The Nature Principle and Last Child in the Woods

Reclaiming the Wild Soul is a gateway into the great spiritual journey of our time: that of non-dual consciousness, also called spiritual ecology. These moving stories and images and poetry of Reynolds Thompson will carry you into a fresh, though ancient, realization: the deserts and forests and mountains are there in the universe, and yet simultaneously, they are vibrantly alive in the depths of our souls.”
~Brian Swimme, Ph.D., author of The Hidden Heart of the Cosmos and The Universe Story (with Thomas Berry)

(Photography by Janek Sedlar and Emmanuelle Brisson)

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Having a vision is the easy part!

Bringing a vision into reality – especially one that needs to be grounded in charitable compliance – is no small thing. It has taken time, it has been its own alchemical crucible, and it has birthed something beautiful. The Sisterhood aspect of TreeSisters is thriving – now it’s time for the trees.

Hopefully you will have read our reforestation strategy? If not, the links are here – 3 beautiful and very clear blogs explaining what, where and how. What I want to share with you here, is how we are going to do this and go to scale.

As Edveeje wrote in a previous blog – we have developed a fiscal vision and strategy of an interlocking 80/20 split of allocated funds that gives both ways (women and trees) within our charitable activities, so that we can become self-sustaining.  Once we have achieved base-line organizational funding our vision is two-fold:

  1. All donations coming into the Giving Tree will be 80% trees and 20% women (courses, tools and resource creation, network support etc)
  2. All on-line courses income will be 80% women (as above) and 20% trees

This will be the ground of our organisational fiscal strategy – offering educational and transformational processes to earn our core costs whilst delivering the ‘feminine’ side of our mission. It means that ordinarily, when you give to TreeSisters, you always give to both women and trees (and receive up to 30% off TS courses as a result).

We are now also creating an exception to that rule that will dramatically ramp up the tree side of things.   

IMG_55330028Once a year we are going to offer a major month long tree campaign that is 100% restricted for trees only (a very rare thing as charities usually take a percentage of all income from donations for core costs – but in this case every penny goes to the projects themselves) These will be a highly creative, whole network affair – drawing on the brilliance of all of us to get the word out and engage at least 1000 new leaves (smaller monthly donors) and 100 new branches (£$100/month) to raise our monthly tree funding to somewhere between £$10K-£$25K – or, I would like to think – much more.

The plan is to start a diverse and potent portfolio of projects that we fund initially to the £5K/month level (£60K/year is no small thing for most tropics based initiatives).

So when we are at £10K/month we’re funding two projects, £15K/month – three projects, £20k/month – four projects, £25K/month – five projects (that could be just 2,500 of us giving £10 or $15/month – and we aim to engage millions of women ultimately) Then, we may (collectively) choose to stay with those five projects until we can fund each of them £10K/month – before starting a new wave of projects…

We have already started exploring new beneficiary partners to stand alongside Project GreenHands in India. We will be seeking at least four new projects and are already looking at existing programmes in Haiti, Madagascar, Borneo and Thailand. As we get deeper into the search, we will share more details and invite input.

Intercropping 1 year later in Gobi (8)Right now, the up-scaling of TreeSisters is finally within sight (although the time line depends upon the success of our fundraising short term) The foundations are laid, the concept is trialed and proven, many of our offerings are almost ready to go live, vital partnerships are forming and the path forward is getting clearer by the day. We are in major fundraising mode, to try to raise the core costs this year that will enable 80% of your donated funds to go immediately to the trees. It’s coming. This is our transition year….

The first tree campaign will either happen this autumn or next spring depending upon the new web site development – there is considerable work to do first, so we’ll launch when it gives us the strongest position to do well. The point is this – it will launch – and when it does, we will shift gears into the next phase of collectively generated, significant, measurable ecological impact which will be a dream come true.

Until then, we continue to lay the foundations for what is to come and ask you to join us in feeling the reality of this in your bones and holding the vision and intention along side us. We hope you can taste it on the air like we can…

Watch this space!

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IMG_0405Clare Dakin is the founder of TreeSisters– a UK based charity evolving at the intersection of feminine emergence and ecology. She lives between New England and England – currently Gloucester MA, where she just survived the most full-on winter on record (9ft of snow – yes, really) before returning to a UK spring of more beauty and fullness than she’d ever known. Nature never does anything by halves – we would live so differently, if we simply followed suit….

TreeSisters

GUEST BLOG ~ BY JANE BRUNETTE

All treesisters have one thing in common: our passion for trees.  This guest blog post launches a new series inviting treesisters around the planet to share our passion for  – and relationship with – trees.  Please share your inspired story with us by submitting your guest blog post to ev@treesisters.org.  And be sure to subscribe to our blog to be notified when other inspired tree stories are posted.

YEARS AGO, I visited the Menominee reservation and met Earl, whose family for generations had been in charge of tending to a river where a dark serpent lived. The old stories said that when the serpent was calm, then there would be peace in the world… 

It was the job of Earl’s family lineage to do the practices that kept that serpent placid. I don’t know precisely what those practices were, but I do know that Earl lived alone in a remote place, in the shadows of the bluffs beside which this river flowed.

The trees were tall there, the silence broken only by the sound of water running over rocks, the rustle of leaves or the trill of a bird. Earl’s children had grown and moved away. They didn’t want to carry on this tradition, he told me, and so when he died, there would be no one to tend the serpent.

Looking around that silent place, trees still and tall, I asked Earl if he ever got lonely. He shook his head and said:

“If you sit still long enough, and open, the trees will talk to you.”

costa-rica - worldisweird.com

As he said this, the trees seemed to lean in, as if listening to a friend. There was a palpable sense of companionship between Earl and the trees that permeated the landscape — a deep comfort and familiarity in the way he inhabited the folding chair on which he sat, alone, beside the river, among the trees, deeply intimate with his surroundings.

And now, as I consider the question of how people can talk to trees, I see that it starts with a stillness born of intimacy — a place of profound receptivity.

This is the attitude of deep listening, from where we can hear the language of trees. Then we can speak to them in their language — not our own.

This communion born of Earl’s deep listening was the prayer that calmed the serpent — maybe the deepest prayer there could be: to sit on the edge of impending disaster, on the edge of the demonic, and listen. This is what brings peace to the world.

Trees are only the beginning. We can listen like this to anything, learn the language of birds and church basements, metal and corn, friends and enemies, babies and flies. We can be truly multi-lingual, if only we listen.

As children, listening in this way is how we naturally learn language. When I visited a language school in India, the man who taught Hindi there told me with great passion how important it was to immerse myself in the sounds of Hindi — to learn the diphthongs, the pure notes of the language as music.

Tune the ear to the music, and the meaning will come naturally. We are instruments and we vibrate with the other, resonate with the sounds that we absorb. We tune ourselves to each other until we quiver as one string. That’s when we can understand the unfamiliar language that lives in another being, another body, another life — and to understand is to love.

I bought an Ektara — a North Indian instrument that has only one string to play. There is another string that you tune to the first, and it plays itself, resonating along with the string that you pluck. The two strings vibrate as one, and Earl’s loneliness vanishes in the language of trees.

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Maybe this is our deepest longing — for this union with life, when if only for a moment, we are one sound, one vibration.

I sensed this truth the day I spoke with Earl. I sensed the profundity and power of what he had learned, living beside the river, beside the serpent, amongst the trees. But the timing was wrong to absorb that truth and live from it completely.

Other things had to happen first.

The restrictions on my life, on my consciousness, are as important as its freedoms. They shape me — they shape all of us. Earl was handed this task from his father and grandfathers. The tribe had assigned him this role before he was born. It was this restriction that gave Earl the shape of his life, of his consciousness, and the opportunity to find this wisdom and peace.

Even as I write this, I think: the timing may be wrong for others to understand what I am saying here — for them to understand how to talk to trees and why we would want to. Other things may have to happen first.

It’s a big leap, for a modern person who thinks they know what is “important.” Too few of us can honor Earl and his life, alone by the river with only the occasional rafting party stopping by to rent oars and a raft from his makeshift stand, which is how he earns the cash for a few groceries. “What a waste of a life,” I can hear the utilitarians saying.

But I want to bow deep, and thank life itself for Earl — that I met him and that he said this, from the quiet joy at his center: “If you sit still long enough, and open, the trees will talk to you.”

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jane Brunnette

Jane Brunette teaches and writes about meditation, spiritual practice and creating a soulful life in challenging times. An authorized Buddhist meditation teacher whose own practice is inter-spiritual, Jane is also deeply influenced by the wisdom of indigenous people around the world. She travels widely, living simply in cultures where this is still possible in order to free her time and her mind for contemplation and retreat. You can find more of her writings, at flamingseed.com

Check out her Huffington Post Blog: How Meditation Practice can Impact Deforestation

Photos and art: Tesa Silvestre, Worldiswierd.com, Yvonne Pfeifer

Nature Within ~ A Year Long Journey into Your Own Wild Soul

TreeSisters is a twin tree.

One trunk embodies our mission to help reforest the Tropics and the other trunk embodies our mission to awaken and call forth women’s nature-based feminine leadership as the means by which we bring balance back to our planet.

The two trunks share a common root system and are indivisible.

In January 2015 we unveiled our new approach to achieving this dual mission. We shifted from being a charity that asks for donations to being a charity that offers our gifts through the creation of on-line courses designed to awaken and call forth women’s connection to ourselves, our sisters, and Nature.

Twenty percent of every course we offer goes directly to planting trees. The remainder goes to funding the creation of our on-line courses as well as funding the organization. This approach will eventually enable eighty percent of our monthly donations to go straight to reforestation.

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Our courses this year are designed to take you on a progressive journey into the heart of life where you will encounter your own wild soul, plug into Nature as your life coach, create deep sisterhood, and reconnect to the core of Nature embodied within you as a woman. The courses follow a seasonal journey and can be taken individually, yet when taken together they synergize and alchemize powerfully with one another…

The 2015 Winter Journey: The Gateway to Nature in Self

Woman is Nature.

We are Earth, the Moon, and the seasons all combined in one glorious embodied package.

The key to unlocking the first gateway is literally found within our wombs and in the wisdom teachings of the menstrual cycle. Alexandra Pope refers to it as the “Tao of Women” because of the inherent nature-based wisdom that resides in our own bodies.

In February of 2015, TreeSisters launched its new on-line courses with Earthing the Moon: Reclaiming the Inner Gateway of Feminine Potency, Creativity, Sexuality and Spirituality. Earthing the Moon is quite simply a game changer, a life changer and a paradigm shifter for women.

Jewels Wingfield is a highly skilled and experienced facilitator and teacher in the realms of women’s’ work and through Earthing the Moon she offers feminine mystery and womb teachings in a way that can literally re-contextualize ones experience of being female. Over 90% of participants said that this was significantly more powerful than anything they could have imagined experiencing on-line. Read more…

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The 2015 Spring Journey: The Gateway to Nature Itself

Once we have experienced Nature in ourselves we are ready to connect directly to Nature itself.

Our Spring 2015 course, The Nature Process: Discover the Power and Potential of Your Natural Self, picks up where Earthing the Moon leaves off. Having connected deeply with the Nature embodied within us, this course is designed to take us outward on a transformative journey into Nature itself where we will learn how to plug directly into Nature as the source of personal growth.

The course is created and facilitated by eco-psychologist Tabi(tha) Jayne and is an on-line seven week journey into her revolutionary six step process.

This is a totally unique, step by step pathway into embodied relationship with the intelligence of living systems that have been evolving and regenerating for billions of years.

If you long for more energy and vibrancy, more connection and meaning, more delight in being alive and a greater sense of personal liberation, clarity of purpose and joy – then nature can be your effortless ally and gateway to that potential – when you know how to engage.

Course registration for The Nature Process is open until Tues May 19th. Learn more about the course here.

The Nature Process

The 2015 Summer Journey: The Gateway to Nature Within & Without

When we have experienced Nature within our bodies and monthly cycle and have learned how to plug directly into Nature as a life coach, we come to the crossroads of soul-centric integration where inner and outer are directly aligned.

This part of the yearlong TreeSisters’ journey opens us up fully to the wild soul’s unfolding when it is supported directly by the archetypal wisdom of Earth’s landscapes.

In July 2015, author of Reclaiming the Wild Soul, Mary Reynolds Thompson, will be facilitating a six week on-line course through TreeSisters based on her inspiring book. The course is entitled A Wild Soul Woman: Journey into the Heart of Your Untamed Self and it asks a soul-provoking question, “What if the re-wilding of the planet and the world begins with re-wilding our own souls?”

A Wild Soul Woman is rooted, powerful, authentic, instinctual, and awake. She feels her oneness with the Earth, and the strength, sensuality, and creativity this kindles in her.

A Wild Soul Woman is also a journey of soul recovery that offers a dynamic pathway for women to reclaim their innate and instinctual wildness.

It will initiate you into five landscape archetypes of deserts, forests, oceans and rivers, mountains, and grasslands as aspects of your own psyche and soul.

Each landscape sheds light on the magnificent geography of your being in all its fierce grace and bountiful wisdom. In this course Nature within and without fully align and together call forth our souls in wild and glorious ways.

Wild Soul Woman The 2015 Autumn Journey: The Gateway to Self, Sisterhood, and Nature

In the Autumn we will offer Earthing the Moon again as well as unveil the long awaited TreeSisters course entitled The Deepening. This twelve week journey is designed to inspire women who want to gather in person and create deep sisterhood while embarking on a collective journey into the depths of the soul’s longing, the art of sistering, and unlocking the keys to our passions and gifts in service of one another and the planet.

The Deepening is a course for groups of women who want to redefine their experience of sisterhood and claim their fullness as women. It’s about the activation of our nature based energies, aliveness, personal alchemy, remembering who and what we are, and the shared permission that we can be for each other to step into our innate feminine authority.

We will offer a shorter on-line version of this course as well as provide the twelve week version of materials for those women who want to use it as the basis for creating a local TreeSisters’ Grove (what we will call our local chapters).

TreeSisters ~ The Deepening

Coming Full Circle…

As you can see, the courses naturally synergize with one another and collectively give us the keys to the essential gateways of feminine unfolding and emergence. Season by season we will offer the next phase of the TreeSisters’ Journey into the heart of sisterhood, embodied living, and reconnecting to Nature (both within and without) as our primary teacher and guide in reclaiming our nature-based feminine leadership as the source of our passion and commitment to reforest the Tropics and bring balance to our planet.

Edveeje Fairchild ~ TreeSisters Director of Operations
Edveeje is the Director of Operations for TreeSisters.  She lives off-grid on ten acres of raw mountain land in the Mother Forest of Southern Appalachia where she is passionate about the power of place and how our relationship to Nature can infuse, inspire, and call forth, not only our souls, but our part in the Great Turning.   

(Photography and Art: Janek Sedlar, Viviana Gonzalez, Janet Pancho Gupta, Debra Bernier and Tesa Silvestre)

The Glacier’s Gift

DSC01477 Last night I had my first experience of The Nature Process (a major perk of hosting courses is being able to participate in them!) and it was an eye opener to say the least.

In the session, Tabitha ~ our guide on this course ~ offered a complete experience of a process that she is now about to break down into its component parts over the next 6 weeks – and I had my first taste of a way of being that she now lives as the norm.

We were asked to bring something that we’re struggling with to mind. That was easy. I brought a particular relationship that is complex and painful into my awareness and felt the familiar sinking and tightening that accompanies it. Then she asked us (if we were inside) to let our minds take us to an amazing place in nature, and if we were outside, we were to just become more present to the nature around us.

I found myself up in the Swiss Alps, kneeling underneath a melting glacier in 34 degree heat, marvelling at the intense blue green of the ice and the myriad multi coloured and textured rocks that were appearing from beneath it for the first time in what – millions of years?

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We were guided to use various senses to become more tuned in and connected, which I did, and then to bring the struggle back to mind.

Unhappily, it felt even worse and I immediately thought I must be doing something wrong. But then heard Tabitha say that ‘the more you can sense disconnect, the deeper you can go.

This made no logical sense to me whatsoever in that moment. But I did understand that the feeling in my body was of the opposite of easy connection and so probably a state of disconnection being served increasingly into my awareness by the natural state of natures energies.

We then brought our attention and senses even more closely into awareness of the natural place – and were guided this time to really notice what was calling us. I was surprised to find that it wasn’t the colour of the ice – it was the sound of the melt water – and I could so clearly hear it even though the memory was from three years ago.

Then back to the struggley thing and this time I could clearly feel that the tension had changed and moved up to my throat – ‘ah, ok’ I thought, ‘there is a process going on between me and the ice – this communion is lifting out the stuckness and bringing me back into connection…

…so THIS is The Nature Process…’

Then back to the sound of the melt water, this time guided to ask for its support or gift regarding the struggle or issue. Into my mind gently dropped the words ‘just let it go…’ and I had a full body feeling of ice or stuckness, simply surrendering to the melt.

I found myself immediately starting to cry without any thoughts about what or why – it was simply happening. I thought about how many times I’ve heard Tabitha say that emotion can just be lifted out effortlessly, and now I was directly experiencing it – care of connection to a glacier in my mind. Wow.

DSC01474 If that was possible with virtual or memory nature, what could happen when ensconced and communing with the real thing – including the nature of my own body?

More amazing still for me – three years ago, when I actually sat and I wept with that glacier,  I felt the reality of climate change and the rate of its melt felt impossibly fast. But here I was, three years later, having my perception of melting re-framed by the glacier itself as a beautiful process of transformation. One of simply letting go.

Nature gifted me a shift of perception away from my negative state that was hooked into a narrow human perception of reality, to a simple truth of what is and what was. Change and transformation -acceptance instead of resistance –communion instead of grief filled loss.

As I did the Nature Process last night, I felt – multiple times – that I was entering foreign territory; the realm of paradigm shift, the precarious feeling of ‘oh my god my world is about to be turned upside down’ that often accompanies many a life changing experience.

How wild is it, to recognize those feelings in relation to the most natural thing in the world? Real, embodied connection and non separation from the bigger being of which I am made and that breathes me every day.

I’m feeling the very structures of my own separation and how my mind has created its version of reality and my identity to handle the acceptable known state of radical separation. I’m knowing that my days of that level of separation are over and that with Tabitha’s help I am going to be able to reconstruct my sense of self as a natural being – a natural self.

Far out – really and truly, I am blown away by what lies ahead!

Please consider gifting yourself  The Nature Process: a seven week online journey to discover the power and potential of your natural self.

The doors are open for only one more week – you can explore it here.

Hope to find you with us,
xx Clare

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Clare Dakin is the founder of TreeSisters– a UK based charity evolving at the intersection of feminine emergence and ecology. She lives between New England and England – currently Gloucester MA, where she just survived the most full-on winter on record (9ft of snow – yes, really) and is now basking in a UK spring of more beauty and fullness than she’s ever known. Nature never does anything by halves – we would live so differently, if we simply followed suit!

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