This blog is all about HOW you can take action with us to make a difference for the WECAN (Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network) Climate Justice Day of Action on the 29th of September.

TreeSisters Team WECAN

The TreeSisters team is proudly uploading our pictures to their action portal – will you join us? You can submit a photo/video/statement to the action portal here and then forward it to all your friends! It would be great if you can add the treesisters.org link because they want to show how many networks are involved. Then we’re going to figure out what to do next.

Women around the world are taking action to show resistance to environmental and social degradation, call for real action from world governments at COP21 climate negotiations, and bring to light the climate harms that our communities are facing and the just solutions that we offer. All info on how to participate is available on the @Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network webpage and we’ve added much of it here so that you can see what appeals. 

  • Take a photo of yourself or a group holding up signs with a message about the climate impacts your community is facing, your solutions, a message to world governments, a reflection on why women are key to climate solutions, or another climate related statement that resonates with you. Some examples include: “Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground”, “No Climate Justice, Without Gender Justice”, “Water is Life”, “Climate Justice Now”, “Women for 100% Renewable Energy”, “System Change, Not Climate Change”. Submit a photo/video/statement to the Day of Action portal and share on social media using #ClimateWomenSpeak
  • Write a statement or film a short video about the climate harms in your life and community, and/or solutions you or your community/organization are offering. We also welcome your messages and reflections on why women are key to climate solutions and need to be upfront at the UN COP21 negotiations. Submit to the Day of Action portal and share on social media using #ClimateWomenSpeak
  • Organize a sit-in, march, demonstration, protest, educational event, or art display. Submit a photo/video/statement to the Day of Action portal and share on social media using #ClimateWomenSpeak
  • Work in your community, such as putting in a community garden, installing a solar panel, or planting trees. Submit a photo/video/statement to the Day of Action portal and share on social media using #ClimateWomenSpeak.
  • Sign the ‘Women’s Climate Declaration’ and organize to collect signatures. The collective women’s statement and signatures will be delivered to leaders at the UNFCCC COP 21 Climate Negotiations in Paris in December in conjunction with a collective signature campaign organized by GCCA- we already have an aggregate of over 6 million signatures! The Declaration is very powerful and you may want to read it out loud as part of your action on Sept. 29th. This Declaration has been signed by women worldwide including Jane Goodall, Vandana Shiva, Mary Robinson, Casey Camp-Horenik, Jody Williams, Patricia Gualinga, Sylvia Earle, Ted Turner and many others. Read and sign the Women’s Climate Declaration (available in English, Italian, Spanish, French, and Arabic) here.
  • Join WECAN International at our hub event and action in New York City on Sept. 29th, more information here. We will name and honor the organization and individuals taking action worldwide on this day during the hub event. If you would like your action to be listed, please inform via emailing at – emily@wecaninternational.org
  • Read and share the ‘Women’s Climate Action Agenda’– a detailed analysis of why women are the most negatively impacted by climate change and environmental degradation, how women are key to solutions, and the actions that women worldwide are calling for in order to re-build a just and healthy world. There are many resources and solution examples in this document. Please download and share the Women’s Climate Action Agenda here.

WECAN

If you are a tweeter then here are some suggestions to bling about – WECAN are using #ClimateWomenSpeak to tie their stories together across platforms, and are also encouraging the use of #KeepItInTheGround

  • Join us as we rise up! Global #Women’s #ClimateJustice Day of Action:Sept.29 goo.gl/yz0TkF @WECAN_INTL WITH MULTIMEDIA IMAGE 1,2,or3
  • #ClimateWomenSpeak: add your voice to the Sept.29 Global Women’s #ClimateJustice Day of Action goo.gl/yz0TkF WITH MULTIMEDIA IMAGE 1,2,or3
  • Global Womens #ClimateJustice Day of Action. Info&submission portal:goo.gl/yz0TkF #ClimateWomenSpeak WITH MULTIMEDIA IMAGE 1,2,or3
  • #Women are on #frontlines of #climatechange& we are rising. Join Global Womens Climate Justice Day of Action: Sept.29 goo.gl/yz0TkF
  • Women protect & defend web of life! Join us as we stand for #climatejustice on Sept29: goo.gl/yz0TkF #ClimateWomenSpeak @WECAN_INTL
  • #ClimateWomenSpeak: [Insert your climate statement/demand ex ‘Ban fracking’, ‘water is life’]. Whats ur message? Join Global Women’s #ClimateJustice Day of Action:goo.gl/yz0TkF

We need every single one of us to truly seize this moment and bring women’s voices to the forefront of the climate change conversation.

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Additional Resources

  • Women’s Climate Declaration – (available in 5 languages) Please sign and help gather signatures as part of Day of Action. All signatures will be delivered to the UN in December.
  • Women Speak: Climate Justice on the Road to Paris & Beyond – Sept. 29 hub event in New York City.
  • Women’s Climate Action Agenda.
  • Global Women’s Climate Justice Day of Action Facebook Events Page.

 

alice mason moonFive times a year thousands of women around the World come together to do something extraordinary – to share love, light and healing, and to awaken the Sacred Feminine within ourselves and within the World.

The Worldwide Womb Blessing is an international meditation and awakening of female energies worldwide. It is a path to living the highest and best version of our female self and to living a better life.

The Womb Blessing community consists of nearly 100,000 women from 130 countries. Each Womb Blessing meditation awakens more of your female energies bringing strength, love, wisdom, peace, spiritual connection, healing and change into your life. It is a path back to sacredness and authentic femininity, and is offered to ALL WOMEN whether they have a cycle or a womb or not.

On August 29th we have the opportunity to enter into this moon-centric sisterhood by registering for the next free worldwide womb blessing at http://www.wombblessing.com/ where Miranda Gray will be the bridge between the worlds of creativity, healing and spiritual awareness and the world of well-being and the workplace.

Miranda’s experience as an author, artist, healer and businesswoman, teamed with a consciousness born of actively living in harmony with her cyclic nature as a woman, gives Miranda a unique understanding; an understanding of what it means to be female in a modern world that does not support female energies and female cycles.

As a non-profit charity TreeSisters is passionate about bringing living systems and the Feminine Principle into the heart of our organizational unfolding, which is why we have been using Miranda’s exquisite book The Optimized Woman at TreeSisters as part of our core team development.

We believe a woman’s inner nature is the core of her wisdom as a leader and that as women we access that inner wisdom through our monthly cycle. And while that is a profound cosmology, it is Miranda’s work that has enabled us to apply it pragmatically at the organizational level in ways that are still unfolding.

We invite you all on our emerging journey with Miranda and into the international sisterhood of Moon Mothers. If you are interested in exploring more, Miranda’s books include:

Red Moon: Understanding and using the creative, sexual and spiritual gifts of the menstrual cycle’ www.redmoonthebook.com

The Optimized Woman: Using your menstrual cycle to achieve success and fulfilment’ www.optimizedwoman.com/shop.html

‘Spiritual Messages for Women: Female wisdom for the menstrual cycle’   www.spiritualmessagesforwomen.com

And if you would like to join the next worldwide meditation: www.wombblessing.com. For dates and locations of workshops see: http://www.wombblessing.com/calendar.html and to register your Womb Blessing time >www.mirandagray.co.uk/register.html .

Miranda Gray
Miranda is a passionate writer, spiritual teacher and facilitator of workshops on the cyclic nature of women and women’s spirituality and energies. She supports each woman’s uniqueness, encouraging and guiding them to optimise their own cyclic energies to create fulfilment, wellbeing, goal achievement and work enhancement.
Art: Alice Mason

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Every life turns on a series of pivots. The path to Project GreenHands was the path to TreeSisters, and the pivots were stepping stones laid through a river of longing.

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Please life – what am I for?

The first pivot point was one of the most uncontrollable crying fits of my life at a new year’s dance retreat at the birth of 2002. I found myself unexpectedly playing the role of Mother Earth in a short piece of ritual theatre called ‘The Rape of The Earth’ (the story of which is here) Life changed and an undeniable need to be part of the active solution arose.

The next pivot point was unexpectedly watching Lynne Twist speak three times in one month and crying every time (my body uses tears like signposts). She speaks of fundraising like a sacred art and having watched her, I deeply knew that part of my life purpose was to raise millions for something…

The same year pivot three was watching John Perkins speak live (Confessions of an Economic Hit Man) about his betrayal of the rainforest and his subsequent purpose to protect them – and weeping with the ‘knowing’ that I was on his team and that I would be raising that money for trees – but not having a clue how, when, where or with who.

At the time, I was working as an Intuitive, a coach for social entrepreneurs and trying to understand what it meant to build a consultancy out of feminine principles. Money and trees were nowhere in sight.

Two years later, knowing I would have to learn fundraising at some point, I attended the Soul of Money training in London with Lynne Twist where she decided to bring the Pachamama ‘Awakening The Dreamer’ symposium to the UK. Pivot four was a game changer – attending that first Symposium in London and sitting on the back row where the emotion had nowhere else to go and literally drowning in grief.

I could not accept the reality of what we were doing to our natural world. Grief turned to rage, turned to determination – NOT ON MY WATCH.

The path was laid and I was primed. Pachamama teaches three interlocking factors for human well being – spiritual fulfillment, social justice and environmental sustainability. They became my true north.

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My searching led me to India and to the Isha Foundation Ashram of Sadhguru – an astonishing south Indian Guru – and the founder of Project GreenHands. There, you cannot explore the spiritual without being plugged into the physical, ecological world, and so I sat in front of a video about Project GreenHands and sobbed. Pivot five had arrived.

Ok, I thought – this is it. I’m supposed to be raising money for Project GreenHands (PGH). It was my first direct Pachamama match. Birthed out of a spiritual teaching that giving oneself as a volunteer in selfless service is a fast track to growth – offered to agonizingly poor rural communities alongside yoga and meditation to help heal broken spirits before catalyzing action through tree planting. Spiritual fulfilment was literally the ground of PGH.

Then – take a caste culture and bring them all together – every sector of society side by side in the tree nurseries. The military, business owners and employees, single mothers, aids victims, school children and students, farmers, politicians and police – you name it, PGH brought every type of person together around the shared cause of reforesting to counteract the extremes of climate change – flood and drought. Social justice was the currency that levelled the playing field of PGH. Literally ‘we are all in this together’.

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Then the trees. First offered as living remembrance gifts to enable stuck grief to release, after the tsumami  ripped so many lives away from the living that remained – then recognized as the living bridge back into relationship with nature that subsequently revitalized village after village, they have since planted over 25 million drought defence and fruit trees in a land that has lost 12 major rivers. The trees are the heart of the matter – environmental sustainability is now life or death in much of India.

PGH was my obsession (but not raising money!) I wanted to understand the social strategy deeply because I thought they had the recipe for something massive in the west that could ultimately fund them. I interviewed and questioned, meditated and crystalized their whole modus operandi down to these simple points – think big, level the playing field, create shared ownership, get your hands dirty, educate, celebrate and learn from nature.

Three days later I had the car crash that delivered TreeSisters – pivot six – and the rest as they saw is history.

As we start to explore our next beneficiary tree partners for the major tree campaign that will launch with the next web site, Project GreenHands remains as the gift that showed me the way, that laid out a path that made things feel possible, that provided a cause to grow up for and that stays as a living inspiration of what is possible when people simply start to give themselves for a cause that is life itself.

23,000 trees grace Tamil Nadu thanks to you, and that is my dream come true. That is our beginning and from here? I know what’s coming. Let’s prepare to celebrate…

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This is the first in a new series by Edveeje exploring “nature-based feminine leadership” and how women are more like trees than we ever imagined.

The Wild Iris in the Dark Forest
Nature-Based Feminine Leadership™ Series

What in your life is calling you?
When all the noise is silenced,
the meetings adjourned,
the lists laid aside,
and the wild iris blooms by itself in the dark forest.
What still pulls on your soul,
In the silence between your heartbeats
hides a summons.
Do you hear it?
Name it, if you must,
or leave it forever nameless,
but why pretend it is not there?

*(Anonymous)
Do you hear the summons hidden between your heartbeats? Do you feel the gentle touch of soul on your shoulder pulling you toward deeper dreams and wilder if onlys?

If you were as carefree as a wild iris growing in a dark forest – with no obligations or responsibilities – what would you most long to do with your gifts and talents? What are some of the ‘wild if onlys’ that you would pursue? (Prompt: The Wild Iris in me longs for ….)

If you didn’t have such an overwhelming schedule and had more free time, what parts of your ‘beingness’ or soul would you like to make more visible in your life? (Prompt: The Wild Iris in the Dark Forest whispers to me to be more….)

A woman’s answers to these questions – and others like them – form the bedrock and core of what we call a woman’s “nature-based feminine leadership. Like a woman, the beauty of a wild iris in the dark forest is in her being-ness not in her doing-ness. This deeper and wilder level of beingness is what I call soul. And soul is always summoning us to go deeper and to become more authentic.

This autumn TreeSisters blog series entitled “The Wild Iris in the Dark Forest” is an exploration that will inspire and empower us as women to plummet the depths of our soul as the doorway into finding and inhabiting our unique and authentic place in the Great Work as the bedrock of our nature-based feminine leadership.

This kind of leadership is very personal – rather than political or organizational – and it is sourced from soul rather than power. This uniquely feminine way of being is at the core of us as women whether we are mothers, writers and artists, students or waitresses. It is pulsing beneath the surface of our lives no matter what phase – maiden, mother/matron, crone – we are in and whether or not we have ever viewed ourselves as leaders.

There are as many ways to define the phrase ‘nature-based feminine leadership’ as there are women who embody it. And yet we all know that we are standing in our nature-based feminine leadership when who we are – and what we do – comes from a deep and spiritual place that reconnects us to our souls, to Nature and to the sisterhood.

My definition of Nature-based Feminine Leadership is “the ability to tap into and embody the wisdom of living systems and the Feminine Principle as the primary field guide for creating a soul-centric, ecologically restorative life that fuels us as women and inspires others to become the planetary change for which we all long.”

Another treesister in our network defines it as how a woman remains wild and untamed while using her gifts to serve Nature and all her children.  

Another describes it as the unique quality of knowing and direction that arises through women who consciously connect to and embody the intelligence and flows of nature as the root of their own feminine nature…

Over the next three New Moon Calls (and in this blog series) we are going to explore this concept through the lens of how women are like trees:

  • The Roots of A Woman’s Soul – September – An exploration into how our souls as women correlate to the forest soil and how soul is the humus of our lives from which all else grows
  • A Woman’s Spiritual Canopy – October – An exploration into how a woman’s spiritual purpose embodies the leaves and the process of photosynthesis in the context of our overall wholeness and soul-centricity
  • The Sap of a Woman’s Life – November – An exploration into how a woman’s spiritual purpose becomes manifest in the sap of our lives through our personal vision, values, and lifestyle

Each session will have original poetry and guided visualizations. The series will contain a Sacred Soul Staff creation and a ritual tree planting ceremony. If you are not already on our New Moon Call registration list, you can join here. Before each call you will receive an email with the terrain we will be covering as well as any soul-mapping explorations related to the topic.

Women are like trees. The roots of our lives grow from the richness and depth of our souls, while our branches reach heavenward for the light that nourishes and feeds our spiritual purpose and our dreams. And our life’s vision and true values pulse through our veins like the sap through a tree. When a woman weds her soul and her life’s vision then spirit is served and the world around her comes into balance and wholeness. A woman takes her place as a tree in the Forest of the Primal Feminine and she stands rooted in her nature-based feminine leadership. Join me for this soul-centric series.

Women are Like Trees
By Edveeje

Women are like trees

Rooted in the soil of soul

Embodied trunks of womanhood

Stretching toward the canopy

Of light that fills our wombs.

Yes, women are like trees

Growing deep into the Earth

Sourcing life

From tendrils reaching out

Below ground

Feeling for sister roots

To wrap around.

Yes, women are like trees

Sap flowing through our veins

Surging upward and outward

To all we embrace

Strong and noble and gentle in the breeze

We expand and grow taller

With every season and moon phase.

Yes, women are like trees

Our canopy of leaves

Senses the light

Required for life and spirit

To emerge through the storms

As we reach heavenward

To pull down our dreams.

Yes, women are like trees

Alone we are majestic and mysterious

Together we are a forest

Of the Primal Feminine.

Yes, women are like trees.

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I feel like I am standing high up looking down at my life. There are all manner of dots trying to join and a picture that I am shy of seems to be forming. Too early to share it? The writing will tell.

Last week I was in Alaska on an Abraham cruise (such a small sentence for the scale of that choice, the outrageous majesty of the landscapes and the vast reorientation of self) Much of me is still wordless. Some of me is now coming up for air.

For those of you who don’t know Abraham – consider a level of non human consciousness that transmits teachings to assist our personal and collective evolution into conscious co-creators of reality and you’re getting onto the same page.  If that sounded odd then what I am about to write may sound even odder, so be prepared – I am about to go out on a limb that may be a branch too far for some of you. Certainly I would have balked at this myself even months ago.

Abraham teaches about contrast (amongst many other things…) Contrast is a wonderful catch all word for ‘everything that feels other than what you would like’ or ‘everything that clearly shows you your preferences…not to be experiencing what you are experiencing just now’ or any experience of struggle that births clear knowledge that this is NOT what you want – therefore consciously or unconsciously pointing you ever closer to what you DO want.

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We all know contrast – the turgid experiences that feel like hell – relationships that clearly show us what we are no longer ready to tolerate and what in fact we deeply desire – that job and the leaving of it that lines up something so much better, the dodgy foods that show us what our body really needs – the ways of thinking and being that trap and limit us, until the longing for liberation breaks us through and out into the landscapes within that have been calling for our feet…

This is a re-contextualization of the act of experiencing what we don’t want so that we can get ever clearer about what we do want – and then learning how to be receptive to the creation and realisation of that desire.

There were so many teachings about contrast on the cruise, and how to re-perceive experiences that we dislike and often judge ourselves for struggling with, as gifts in broad daylight. But as it went on I started thinking about those of us who are born into contrast. Why arrive into chaos and suffering – why so extreme? I could go in depth here about past lives, karma etc but suffice it to say that for Abraham, that wasn’t it.

As I sat with it I thought about what I know to be true about myself. How many times have I heard myself say that when life takes everything away from you, then your personal reclamation of each and every part of yourself brings a level of conscious awareness and appreciation that simply isn’t there when you have the privilege of taking body and soul for granted. There has been a fire in my belly since childhood along with a stubborn refusal to remain in the shape that life ‘apparently’ cast for me. I am not that. We women, are not that. I  refuse to accept the unacceptable.

So I asked. I didn’t raise my hand. I suddenly called to Abraham internally in the last 3 minutes of the very last session – ANSWER MY QUESTION  –  PLEASEsomething within me flared up and was met with something reaching back down – and in that very moment, the women that was on stage asking questions about karma shifted topic and asked straight out ‘why do children get raped’ – the perfect foil for my question – ‘why arrive into extreme contrast’, and back came, ‘you choose severe contrast to develop strong clarity and desire’ or put another way, to trigger an equal strength of desire for the opposite reality… to help you get REALLY clear about what you DO want in this life and to point you in that direction…

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It went deep. My body started crying the way it does when my cover is blown or truth arrives singing opera.

Really? Could we be that causative in the creation of our own struggle? If my soul has a purpose – if there is something that I want to do – could I set up the circumstances needed to generate a strong enough clarity and momentum so that I have sufficient fire needed to carry me there? Radical concept.

Whether or not TreeSisters grows to the scale that it was birthed for, one thing seems clear – that I will stay on this path and trajectory that started long ago within circumstances that were paving the way for its birth, through my own emphatic refusal to bow to what was. I was seeding the longing for utter beauty, freedom, safety, respect, reverence, creativity, joy, sisterhood and the feminine unbound in all her incandescent glory, wisdom and brilliance – cast in the role of her choosing and her birthright.

Here’s what stunned me though. Taking full responsibility for the creation and purpose of contrast in our lives takes us out of the role of hapless victim. It reflects a different quality of human back to ourselves – beings who consciously understand the complexity of the energetic realms – the reactivity of our bodies and egos – what is needed to trigger a response – how to generate momentum – how to wake up to who we really are as highly conscious creators and determiners of our own life experience, and then to create them.

Seen through this lens, if we created circumstances that apparently seeded victim consciousness, then our lives could actually be more about its opposite. IF – we can adjust our self perception and step into creator mentality.

Just to be clear here – I am not saying that powerlessness is cool, rape is fine, suffering is great or that the million ways that we have found to hurt each other are ok. No, never, not, nope. I’m trying to look behind the furniture of our lives to explore the degree to which we might have a finger, hand or whole soul involvement in our scripting – if such a thing even exists.

 

I have come at this from sooo many different angles in my life – but this one intrigues me. More to the point, if I look through this lens, then what about womankind?

 

Why do we find ourselves on a planet where the feminine has been suppressed, repressed, dominated, exploited, owned, used, traded and abused in so many ways and in so many places historically and concurrently? How do we have I-Pads in America and witch burnings in Africa?

 

Why are we en masse experiencing such contrast – and could we be building the momentum and the clarity needed for an immense turning? Are we generating the equal and opposite internal force required to steer human consciousness onto a completely different trajectory? Are we choosing this severity to break through our own compliance with the unacceptable, to consciously co-create the reality of our choice – where women and the feminine principle are revered as equally sacred as the masculine within a world that stands at the ultimate cross roads of extinction or exaltation?

God, it feels risky to write this – I have no idea how these words will be interpreted and I am somewhat nervous to be thoroughly misunderstood, but I did say I was heading out on a limb and it’s only offered as a ‘what if’ point of exploration.

And the truth is – I just don’t know. But what if personally casting ourselves as creators out of which our own conscious evolution arises is the alchemical re-contextualization that turns the lead of the so called victim into the gold of the liberated?

What if?

jonathon harel 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. 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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By Edveeje

I live in a North American rainforest, surrounded by rivers, creeks, mountains and lush forests. Everything around me is in full bloom, wet-soaked with possibility and promise. I am creating an off-grid homestead with my soulmate and the love of my life on ten acres of raw mountain land. I am surrounded by a potent and loving sisterhood at TreeSisters and the work that I do is my soul made visible in the world.

I have it all. And still, there are those increasingly recurring days in which I wake up dry, parched, and searching for the selkie-skin I must have carelessly left on the river rocks when I went searching for the full moon and the sound of drums.

I know I am not alone. Many women have the same puzzling experience. What I did not know is that I have entered The Desert and the landscape has much to teach me if I will step into silence and hear the sun bleached voice of soul summoning me to deeper authenticity.

On Tuesday we began the TreeSisters’ summer on-line course A Wild Soul Woman: A Journey into Your Untamed Self. The journey begins with a foray into the Desert; the place I don’t want to admit I am currently inhabiting more days than not.

As Mary guided us through this arid and sometimes terrifying terrain, I met myself face to face and had a deep encounter with my soul in the midst of Red Rock Canyon.

In the guided meditation I saw myself in the midst of the canyon surrounded by majestic and towering cliffs. I was riding a horse bareback and there was a campfire in the midst of the silent expanse. Day turned to night and back to day as I felt myself called to become a Woman of the Desert. (That is the best way I can describe the mix of sensations and intuitions).

There were no profound answers or insights. Just a deep sense of being summoned by the Desert as well as an invitation to fully experience my own dryness and silence as another glorious face of my authentic self. Through Mary’s voice I heard Soul ask me, “Edveeje, who are you really and what do you really want?”

In this brief encounter I befriended the Desert and admitted that I am squarely in the middle of it. That in itself is everything for a woman who lives in a rainforest. I have no idea where this wild soul journey will lead me, but I trust the guide and my soul to take me where I need to go.

I once heard it said that the quality of our lives is in direct proportion to the quality of questions we ask ourselves. If that is true, the Desert has just given me an invaluable gift. I enter this week as a Woman of the Desert with the most potent question a woman can ever ask herself: Who am I and what do I really want?

The Desert is big medicine, but I am not alone. I know I travel with a pack of wild-soul-sisters who are also asking these kinds of vital and passionate questions. There is still time to join us at the bonfire we call A Wild Soul Woman, but for now I’ll leave you with some thoughts shared by wild-soul-sisters as we traveled through the Desert together:

In the desert of my soul, I now feel safe and open to exploring this sacred space. I am a desert queen!
~Kate 

In the dessert of my soul I saw the negative of fatigue and listless that hold me back but I opened my wings and filled my lungs and flew.
~Karen

In the desert of my soul I am free from the obligations and responsibilities for other’s lushness. The dryness of the air — that touches and withers my outer layers opens me to the inner soul river, the glistening waters of my creativity.
~Paula
 

In the desert of my soul I look for water … a spring within me and find myself again, a girl with dreams and become her again.
~Carry

In the desert of my soul I turn into a saguaro who blooms small buds of color pink life tender strong mysterious and moon fed. In the desert of my soul is the darkest night where I am most alive and generating life.
~Merryl

In the desert I am unadorned without elaboration, I am who I am.
~Roxana
 

To journey into the heart of your untamed self or to learn more about this archetypal and epic journey called A Wild Soul Woman, visit here. Registration for this six week online course will be open until Tuesday July 14th and we’d love to have you with us.

Oceans - Elisabetta Trevisan

Are you ready for something more? Can you feel parts of yourself that are calling to be lived more fully into life? Could you do with a paradigm shift – a pilgrimage that could re-wild your inner world and reacquaint you with aspects ready to be rediscovered, embraced and celebrated?

For me it’s yes to all of the above.

It’s not often in this life that I stand before a journey that I know could transform me – whilst having very little clue about what is actually about to happen. Now is such a time. In three days time, we begin A Wild Soul Woman

I ‘want’ to drop into the fullness of my wild soul, move beyond my smallness and discover what is possible when I’m merged with the landscapes that live me, and amazingly that path and possibility are right up ahead.

There’s a lot within me that’s ready for change. I’ve had one of those gritty patches when life has arranged visitations by many aspects of myself that I thought were long gone. Parts of myself that I am not proud of, that I feel shocked by or ashamed of – parts of me that I would prefer to look passed rather than right in the eyes and say ‘hello again’.

Why now? I guess something greater than me is aware of the bigger picture and lines things up when its simply time for change. Sometimes it feels as if life’s dynamics are meticulously choreographed to stimulate the most particular rememberings or stirring up of the past.

Life has to dig deeper, get more complex to hit those real land mines – the ones that serve up the greatest opportunities for growth through radical love and alchemical awareness – the ones that ask us to stop defending what we think of as ‘ourselves” and lay ourselves bare to the flaying honesty of life’s reflections before roaring with mirth and bursting into roses and butterflies.

I’m about to walk a path of shamanic potency – a path that carries mysteries that I can’t even try to figure out ahead of time and I simply have no idea what is about to happen to me or through me.

All I do know, is that the path takes me through the deserts, the forests, the oceans, the mountains and the grasslands within – to learn through and from them all as both ancestors and aspects of myself – and that you can come with me.

I met the desert this week. Mary Thompson Reynolds – the guide on the journey – took our team through an initial taster before the course itself starts, so that we could collectively feel the most potent path to take at the beginning of what she describes as ‘a heroines journey‘.

The landscape was amazing, humbling, shocking and uncompromising with me.

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I started with a clear intention to work with my health and stepped over the threshold into the desert to meet whatever that realm considered me ready for. I was met with the clear message that death had its role in life – and that right now things have to die. I knew that there were many messages in that place for me, but that I was getting the strongest medicine I could take.

I surrendered to it – knowing I will return again and again to the desert to both let go, and find my true self in that vast empty space that shows us who we really are when all else falls away.

We start the Wild Soul Woman journey next week, and I am quietly awed by what lies ahead – both in terms of my own personal pilgrimage into intimacy with these landscapes, but also in terms of what can come through us collectively when we weave our energies together and allow for something greater than us to become teacher and guide.

What better teacher than the very Earth out of which our bodies are crafted?

I think this course might be a turning point for TreeSisters and a paradigm shift for all who attend. I have a feeling that life will never be the same again – and for that, I’m ready. Are you ready? I hope so.

You can read more about this journey into our untamed selves here

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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.

Photography: Lost Gardens of Heligan, Janek Sedlar

Whether or not you know that you are beautiful,
the flowers gaze at you, whenever you walk by.

When your heart feels like stone
and you’ve lost sight of the gifts being given,
you are still held by the earth beneath you
and kissed by the breath of the trees…

…You are wanted here.
You are part of this creation.
Let your hurts melt away in the waves
Let your cries be carried by the birds.

Earth, air, fire and water are the truth of you
and when you drop the veil and open to the greater You,
you will find your fullness in the valleys and the groves
and bow again to the sacred altar
of your natural soul.
~Clare Dakin

A Wild Soul Woman ~ TreeSisters ~ Janek Sedlar

Dear Treesister,

This has been such a rich season of experiments and discoveries. I always wanted to host courses that supported nature connectedness, but I never knew what they would be!

This week we met our Earth selves with Tabitha in the last session of The Nature Process – aspects of Self that hold 6.4 billion years of evolutionary consciousness. The week before, Mary led us to meet and feel the five archetypal landscapes within ourselves as the healers, teachers and guides back to our Wild Souls – as we start to prepare for the journey she will take us on. The words ‘human nature’ are starting to describe to me what we actually are.
~Clare

In this update:

  • Full Moon Call ~ Reverance
  • A Wild Soul Woman ~ Our next online course, starting July 7th
  • New Moon Call ~ The Landscape within our Wombs
  • New York Fundraiser
  • Your Trees ~ Stories from the Field

Full Moon Call ~ Reverance
This month’s free Full Moon call is a body and landscape based journey into nourishment – taking the quality of reverence as a healing mode, and combining our physical bodies needs and longings with the beauty and unconditional giving of the natural world.  We hope you join us :-)

When: Wednesday July 1st at 11am PST / 2pm EST / 7pm UK
To register for this free call, click here. (If you’re already on our moon calls list, you’ll receive the call-in details the day before). To read more about the event and invite your sisters on Facebook, click here.

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A Wild Soul Woman – Journey to the Heart of your Untamed Self
We are beyond excited about our next online course, which starts on July 7th course. From the amazing response to it, it seems to be hitting a clear note of longing and resonance within the TreeSisters network.

The free call on June 14th was a complete offering and journey in and of itself – if you want to feel the quality of Mary’s transmission then do listen to the recording. There is a stunning blog about A Wild Soul Woman here, and please do read up on what Mary is offering – this is going to be alchemical in a way that is hard to find words for…

New Moon Call – The Landscapes within our Wombs
This month Edveeje will be hosting our free New Moon Call to explore the inner landscapes of the womb.  This call is designed to create a circle of sisterhood in which we explore the mysteries of living systems and the Feminine Principle and how both inform our lives as women. Join us for this reflective and embodied journey across our inner landscapes.

The call will be on Wedsnesay July 15th at 11am PST / 2pm EST / 7pm UK. 
To register for this free call, click here. (If you’re already on our moon calls list, you’ll receive the call-in details the day before). Learn more about this call and invite your friends here.

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Summer Solstice at TreeSisters
We posted a detailed blog about our organizational journey from the Spring Equinox to the Summer Solstice (read here) and on June 22nd we hosted our Seasonal Donor Call that is designed to bring you into the heart of TreeSisters as an organization.

New York Fundraiser
Clare experimented in New York with a Map-based workshop that was the start of a new journey into experiential fundraising. She wrote a blog about it called “Call Everything an Experiment and you can only Learn“.

Your Trees – Stories from the field
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. You can read his story here.

Solstice is behind us – so the days are shortening up north and the sun is returning down below! All change, here we go again :-) What is this new season laying ahead of you? What do you long for and what are you ready to step into?

Hoping so much to join you for the rewilding journey that Mary has crafted!
See you at full moon,

Love from the TreeSisters Core Team,
Clare, Edveeje, and Sophie

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

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)

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.”

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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

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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….

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)

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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May we scrape the cement
off our shoes
and bury our feet
deep in the humus and black soil
from which we came;
Deep into the Rainforest floor
where wilder and more innocent
dreams are birthed.

May we dive into our oceanic longings
and surface at the North Pole
where we touch all things tenderly
knowing one day we must part
when the evening comes.

May we climb the Achaia Tree
and swing from Serengeti branches
daring us to call the canopy
our home.

May we have the courage
to speak to her by name,
Our Darling Earth,
as we gaze into her eyes
and see the love she bares for us;
even after all this time.

Even after all this time
the Desert does not say
to the Rain,
“You owe me.”
Nor does Darling Earth
to us.

May we find our earth-scape:
river, mountain,
desert, lake
valley, forest or plain
and let it shape our soul
into someone more like ourselves
women who recognize from where we came
and to where we go.

May we splash in tide pools
and build our castles from the sand;
May we laugh and twirl with the seagulls
and count the clouds.

May we rejoice and dream
with bare feet and seaweed in our hair
knowing we never looked or felt
more beautiful
than now.

Now that we understand
who we are to Darling Earth
and who She is to us.
Even after all this time
She never says
“You owe me.”

What will you do
with a love like that?

TreeSisters wants to do something gorgeously poetic and celebratory and also profoundly practical for 2015 Earth Day. And we want to do it in sisterhood; we want to do it with you. Beginning today, Tuesday April 21st through Sunday, April 26th (until 12:00 pm PST) all one-time gifts and all new monthly donations will go straight to the Earth. In celebration of our love and commitment to our Darling Earth, 100% of your gift will go directly to planting trees. 

It currently costs approximately £1.00/$1.50 to plant a tree in India through our partner Project Green Hands. During this Earth Day Campaign all amounts (no matter how small or large) will be accepted. Imagine what your gift will mean for our planet and the trees:

  • £10.00/$15.00 = 10 trees
  • £10.00/$15.00 monthly donation = 120 trees a year
  • £20.00/$30.00 = 20 trees
  • £20.00/$30.00 monthly donation = 240 trees a year
  • £50.00/$75.00 = 50 trees
  • £50.00/$75.00 monthly donation = 600 trees a year

Visit our donation page here.

This Earth Day may we find the crossroads of the sacred and the wild and hold out our hands in a gift offering to our Darling Earth; now that we understand who we are to Her and who She is to us. Even after all this time. What will you do with a love like that?

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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.

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How is it, that moments can break open in ways so radically unexpected, that not only is ones breath taken away, but the so called ground of reality shifts as well.

Perhaps it is a good thing that life choreographs the mysterious unfolding of experience, because I think we might wish the extraordinary to become ordinary – and then we might look straight passed each miracle.

Last Thursday I became the sky, and life changed. I was sitting on a rock staring at the sea, crying. My body was hurting and I was at my wits end with it. Something made me turn. I stared around at the sky above the trees behind me and suddenly broke open.

That vast blue was me – those winter naked trees were me – that osprey circling was me. It was like breathing in for the first time – only I was breathing in an immensity that was beyond me and yet unmistakably me – everything I saw was looking back at me with my own consciousness. No separation. Intimacy that I can’t wrap words around. Shocked and astonished, I sat on my rock crying all the more because my heart was broken open and the sky was pouring in.

Questions asked of me at the Ashram in India started lining up at the back of my mind – ‘do you want to become enlightened?’ being the most common. No. I wasn’t there to become enlightened, I was there to try and get better, to move beyond the past. What I did know though, was that my wildest hope was to merge with nature. ‘I want to feel myself indivisible from the living world’ was my best answer – my most enduring and deepest held hope for my life.

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As the sky poured in, I found myself realizing that the bigger part of me was not sitting inside this struggling body, but was wild and alive, untamed, complex and many faced. The vast amount of attention I put upon the body and personality (which in that moment looked like a bit of discarded seaweed on the rock) suddenly felt preposterous – as if I was almost completely missing the point of myself. There I was, wanting to merge with nature without realizing that this depth of longing was really a longing to know myself – to merge with myself – because myself was nature, and what’s more, nature knew it – completely. I was just catching up.

It makes me cry to write this down, to recall the realisations that flooded in on a day when where ever I looked, the sky looked back at me with more complete love than I had ever felt, and broke me open again and again.

The strongest realisation was the clear knowing that my fastest path to myself was through the gateway of nature – that all this time indoors, tapping away on a lap top is depriving myself of relationship with an immensity that recalibrates my world. That my fastest pathway back to health was not through focusing on what was wrong, or trying to use my limited mind or perception to try to understand – it was to open to the creativity of a living world whose intelligence and wisdom I could only bow to from a place of more authentic humility and gratitude than I know how to express.

IMG_1175There is so, so much more. I was gifted a day of it – and know that that could be my more common experience, rather than a wild and unexpected happening one not very special Thursday on a beach in New England – if I made opening to nature the ground of my life, rather than something fitted in around my to-do list – if I’m lucky. That could be my norm – our norm – your norm – the norm.

Imagine.

Try trashing our world when everything alive feels woven into the very fiber of your own soul.  

Interesting to me too, that life timed this the week before we launched The Nature Process – our next course – a step by step guide of deepening intimacy with nature as a pathway to liberation, healing and wholeness. Suddenly I got it – got what’s possible and why Tabitha has made this her mission in life.

What could be more fundamental – more ecstatic – more life changing than becoming ourselves in the green leafy, broad blue sky, rock, river and feather sense of the word?

What could be more natural?

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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) and stayed sane by walking the beach every day discovering what it meant to be illuminated and entranced by the sheer natural beauty of ice, sand, sea, snow, snow and more snow.

Dream Tree Alice mason(c)Alison Mason

Welcome to the Spring Equinox overview of TreeSisters’ accomplishments spanning from the Winter Solstice to the Spring Equinox.

Visioning, Deepening & Imagining:

TreeSisters entered Winter with a deep intention to honor the wisdom inherent in the season. We did this by slowing down the organizational pace and taking time to reflect on the previous year as a way of seeding our vision for 2015.

Intentionally slowing down the organizational pace goes counter to our society’s modern business and nonprofit paradigms. Resting while the seeds of the future germinate quietly below ground appears to be a waste of precious time and resources.

Yet we believe in Winter’s wisdom and made conscious decisions to slow down, schedule core team time off, do deep visioning, and begin the process of shedding the patterns of urgency and chaos that drive the unconscious need to prove we do enough and are therefore worthy.

2015 Vision, Objectives and Outcomes:

During the Winter months we focused on the big picture by crafting our 2015 Vision, Objectives and Outcomes. At the core of the vision is our transition from being a non-profit that asks for donations to earning our income by offering educational courses that empower women to step forward in their nature-based feminine leadership.

The brilliance of this new business model is that we will actually earn income by delivering on a critical part of our mission.

It is one thing to have a vision of what is possible and another to create the strategy and structures that will ensure the vision is manifested. So we spent the Winter crafting a fundraising strategy that puts this new model at the core of our vision as well as creating a 2015-2016 budget that reflects it.

Taking the time to reflect and to evaluate where we are against where we’d like to be also showed us ways to improve our fiscal systems and our internal performance measurements. Sophie has created a magnificent monthly evaluation system that allows us to measure all the key areas of TreeSisters on a monthly basis. We have incorporated this into our monthly waning moon team call.

In January we brought Sophie on-board in a paid capacity (after two years of volunteering an average of 8 or more hours a week) and Gloria completed our new database. The TreeSisters’ Board of Trustees met in late January.

New Educational Business Model

In February we launched our first course entitled Earthing the Moon: Reclaiming the Inner Gateway of Feminine Potency, Creativity, Sexuality and Spirituality. These teachings are the birthright of every woman alive; teachings that can reveal us to ourselves – that can replace ignorance with reverence, shame with selfrespect and pain with healing – teachings that can guide us into relationship with our bodies and wombs as the most profound spiritual teachers that we could ever know or need.

570 women from 15 countries registered for the free introductory call. 2,300 women have now listened to it and 180 women took the course. $20K/£13K was raised for TreeSisters (the instructor received 20% of this profit) and the response is such that we are creating a yearlong on-line Earthing the Moon course.

In March we created our 2015 Educational Course Calendar and formalized our relationship with several amazing instructors who will be facilitating three courses this year. We also piloted our twelve week TreeSisters’ course, The Deepening, in Australia and reworked several of the twelve sessions.

Starfish Series of Conversations:

Another core element of our vision for this year is to shift from being a hierarchal non-profit organization to a network led and driven living organism. We are finding ways of opening TreeSisters up to the network and consciously co-creating.

We call this our Starfish Series and it is an interactive dialogue that began in December through our monthly New Moon Calls. Together we have explored ways of bringing the Wise Woman archetypal wisdom into TreeSisters as well as how we can tap into the co-creative brilliance of a network filled with coaches, instructors and facilitators.

We created places within our Facebook community in which we can all share our gifts, websites, and passions as a way of beginning to make the network visible to itself. We also invited and posted guest blog posts around all of these topics.

Living Systems:

During the Winter we created a new planning and emergence tool we call The Lunar Planner which we use for our weekly team calls. Each week’s theme is directly aligned with the moon phase and taps into the energy inherent within it. This ensures that each month we take time to vision, plant seeds, germinate and grow, as well as celebrate and reflect on our organizational activities.

The Trees & Our Reforestation Strategy:

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.

We also just funded another 3,000 trees through Project Green Hands (18,000 now since last Feb) and celebrated the coming of the monsoons which created optimum conditions for planting.

First Seasonal Donor Call:

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 one each season as a way for treesisters to gather and hear about our activities as well as to ask questions about any aspect of the organization.

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.

Slowing Down to Move Forward:

As you can see, taking time to slow down has moved us forward in powerful ways over the Winter season. We step into Spring with a well-rested core team, a profound and inspired vision of how to engage and achieve our mission, and a sense of possibility that will only flourish and grow throughout this next season.

Why The Tropics?

Costa Rica Rainforest

By Nicole Schwab

Today, in my third and last post of this series on Treesisters’ Reforestation Strategy, I want to say a few words about our geographic focus.

Our starting point, once again, was Clare’s initial mission statement, namely that Treesisters aims to “reforest the tropics”. But, what do we mean by “the tropics”? Are we referring strictly to the geographic area lying on either side of the Equator, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn? Are we referring to “tropical forests”, as ecosystems characterized by high average temperatures and significant rainfall?

And more importantly, why are we focusing on the tropics in the first place? Shouldn’t we broaden our geographic reach to cover the entire planet?

To answer these questions, we went back to our strategic focus, which entails funding: (1) afforestation and re-greening to control soil erosion, restore and maintain watersheds, and restore top soil, and (2), the protection of intact forest landscapes.

First, with respect to afforestation and re-greening, we decided to prioritize:

  • countries experiencing important land degradation and desertification issues;
  • countries covering the world’s 3 major water basins, which experience important water quantity and quality issues, further exacerbated by climate change (the Niger basin, the Nile basin and the Ganges basin),
  • countries with important soil degradation issues (soil hardening and erosion), and high rates of poverty, and
  • countries that are the lowest performers on IUCN’s gender and environment index.

Using a variety of relevant data sources, these criteria led us to identify as a priority the countries highlighted in yellow and red in the map below.

forestconservation-nicole

Second, when it comes to Intact Forest Landscapes, the obvious question is, where are they?

Intact Forest Landscapes cover less than 10% of the Earth’s total land area and consist of humid tropical forests, and boreal forests in the Northern and Southern latitudes. They exist in 66 countries, with two-thirds of these forests concentrated in just 3 countries: Brazil, Russia and Canada.

Using satellite-imaging data from a variety of sources, we decided to look at which of these forested regions suffered from the highest rates of deforestation, and which presented the highest potential for landscape restoration in their immediate vicinity.

This analysis led us to identify a second set of priority countries, highlighted in dark and light green on the map.

Interestingly, as you can see on the map, the analysis suggests that indeed, our geographic focus should be on the tropics – broadly defined. This makes sense, not only as a methodological conclusion arising from our criteria, but also because:

  • Tropical forests are more efficient in cooling the Earth (as a result of their higher rates of evapotranspiration and carbon removal).
  • 16 biodiversity hotpots out of 25 are located in the tropics, and most of them are forested hotpots.
  • Most countries in the tropics have scarce conservation resources – and their natural resources are under threat.

In summary, the above map and the reforestation criteria we presented will be our guiding framework for the identification and selection of projects to receive funding from the Treesisters network.

Treesisters’ reforestation strategy may seem massively ambitious, especially given we have only just started funding our first trees. Yet we felt we needed to clarify our broader vision, and share with you what we are working towards. In doing so, we are laying out the container that can hold our collective dreams and energy.

We know we can’t do this alone. We are walking this path together, with each one of you, and with all the other amazing organisations working around the world towards the same goal.

Selected Data Sources:

Mapping the World’s Intact Forest Landscapes by Remote Sensing. Potapov P., et al. Ecology and Society, 13. 2008.

FAO’s Global Forest Resources Assessment 2005

Peter Potapov, Lars Laestadius, and Susan Minnemeyer. Global Map of Forest Landscape Restoration Opportunities. World Resources Institute: Washington, DC. 2008.

IUCN’s Gender and Environment Index.

Biodiversity Hotspots  for Conservation Priorities, N. Myers et al. Nature 403, 853-858, 24 February 2000.

Nicole is an author and social entrepreneur, co-founder of the Forum of Young Global Leaders, and of EDGE Certified – a global scheme certifying organizations for 20140910_5d3_07665-coul2closing the gender gap in the workplace. Her book, The Heart of the Labyrinthgives voice to her engagement on behalf of a world that values and honors the sacred feminine and is rooted in our connection to the Earth as a living being.

By Nicole Schwab

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In my previous post, I shared how, in a nutshell, Treesisters aims to fund projects that increase the number of trees or protect intact forests, and simultaneously improve community livelihoods and nurture women’s participation and empowerment. I also highlighted why we want to give particular emphasis to tree-planting initiatives that focus on controlling soil erosion, restoring and maintaining watersheds, and restoring top soil.

The good news is that there are many initiatives working to achieve these goals around the world. In this post, I want to focus a bit more on the “how” aspect of reforestation, by giving a few examples, and hopefully making our approach more tangible.

Project Green Hands (PGH), Treesisters’ first beneficiary project, is a great example of large-scale reforestation and re-greening in an area suffering from advancing desertification. While PGH has several tree-planting initiatives to increase the green cover of Tamil Nadu in India, we decided to support agro-forestry because of its comprehensive impact on the communities involved.

Under this initiative, farmers are accompanied in the planting and nurturing of tree saplings, which provide direct economic and ecological benefits. Not only do the planted trees add to farmers’ income (timber, fruit, fodder and fuel), but the presence of trees in farmlands reduces soil erosion, increases soil fertility and water retention. This is of critical importance at a time of increasing climate uncertainty. Ultimately, this leads to greater yields in the farmers’ main crops.

Another example is the Green Belt Movement, (GBM) initiated by the incredibly inspirational Wangari Maathai. She summarized it all very clearly when she said, “If you destroy the forest, then the river will stop flowing, the rains will become irregular, the crops will fail and you will die of hunger and starvation.” The GBM places particular emphasis on planting trees in degraded watersheds to provide water, fertile soils, and healthy ecosystems – all the while empowering women as care-takers of the forest.

When it comes to the protection of intact forest landscapes – the second leg of our strategy, which does not involve tree-planting as such – a distinct approach is needed. The Pachamama Alliance and its sister organisation Fundación Pachamama in Ecuador, are a prime example. By engaging in policy and advocacy activities, they focus on raising awareness and garnering international support to prevent deforestation of the Amazon, create and enforce strict protected areas, and give land access and rights to indigenous people and local communities.

Another option for preserving intact forests involves the sustainable management of surrounding areas and the creation of buffer zones and corridors. By restoring degraded adjacent forests and managing them in such a way as to positively impact the livelihoods of communities living nearby, they can become forest stakeholders and have reduced incentives for further encroaching.

The Khasi Hills restoration project in East India is such an example, whereby natural regeneration methods are used to replant lands surrounding untouched forests, thereby restoring and protecting forest wildlife corridors connecting sacred forests.

In short, we want to support the amazing initiatives of countless women and men who are tirelessly seeking to give back to the Earth, be it through emergency planting actions, re-greening of drylands, conservation projects or landscape restoration in the vicinity of Intact Forest Landscapes.

In my next and final post on Treesisters’ reforestation strategy I will say a few words about our geographic focus, and what we mean by reforesting “the tropics”.

Nicole is an author and social entrepreneur, co-founder of the Forum of Young Global Leaders, and of EDGE Certified – a global scheme certifying organizations for 20140910_5d3_07665-coul2closing the gender gap in the workplace. Her book, The Heart of the Labyrinthgives voice to her engagement on behalf of a world that values and honors the sacred feminine and is rooted in our connection to the Earth as a living being.

 

Tropical Forest image from University of Arizona

This is the first in a three-part series intended to share our Reforestation Strategy with the entire network. We know you will be as excited as we are to share the tree-planting journey with us in 2015. Nicole Schwab has been the visionary leader behind this strategy and is a TreeSisters’ Board of Trustees Member.

the forest

Clare’s founding message for Treesisters is to “reforest the tropics”. Over the past year, we have been working to translate that visionary statement into a practical strategy. In other words, what does it mean to “reforest the tropics”? How are we going to select the Tree projects to be funded by the network?

I want to share with you the process we followed to answer these questions, and most importantly, the outcome.

We combined our extensive consideration and analysis of scientific facts with an embodied listening to Life through our bodies, and kept coming back to the different areas of the Treesisters map, as we held and unfolded the strategy.

We started, very simply, by laying out our objective to increase the number of trees on the planet, in such a way as to recreate and restore natural forest ecosystems.

This means we want to plant as many trees as possible, whilst ensuring their sustainability, giving priority to native tree species, and drawing on local and indigenous knowledge.

Getting more specific, we quickly understood that we need to focus on tree-planting projects that control erosion, protect watersheds, and restore top soil. There are other possible criteria (such as CO2 sequestration or increasing biodiversity), but we feel great urgency in restoring and sustaining the fundaments of Life: Her earth and blood. Soil and water. Once these basic conditions are in place, the rest can follow.

Erosion, soil nutrient wash-out and run-off are dramatic signs that a piece of land has reached its limits. When trees are gone and the land is degraded, agriculture is no longer sustainable, opening the door to famine, poverty, even war. Forests can reverse these trends and stabilize the soil.

Tree cover also has an enormous impact on water retention and filtration. Trees can restore watersheds, revitalize dry springs and provide water to large populations living downstream.

As for top soil, it is the vital interface between the Earth, air and water. It provides a life-support system for micro-organisms, plants, animals, farmers and communities. Restoring top soil is critical if we are to heal our ecosystems.

Reforestation with a particular focus on soil and water can have a tremendous impact. And yet, reforestation alone is not enough. As you can see on the interactive maps of Global Forest Watch, if trees are cut faster than we are able to plant them, we will not be able to tip the planetary scales.

Intact forest landscapes are getting rapidly degraded mainly because of the extension of logging, mining, and development activities. They are the Earth’s last sanctuaries of life, harboring vast populations of species, acting as carbon sinks and hotspots for biodiversity, and providing a source of inspiration and learning.

In addition to planting trees, we therefore absolutely need to support projects that prevent deforestation and degradation of the Earth’s last intact forest landscapes. Projects that aim to protect and expand these ecosystems, and bring Life back from them.

Finally, for any reforestation or conservation effort to be sustainable, it is very clear that the nearby communities need to be fully integrated and benefit from them. Treesisters will support projects that positively impact community livelihoods with a particular focus on women’s participation and empowerment.

In a nutshell, our strategy is to fund projects that increase the number of trees (to control soil erosion, restore and maintain watersheds, and restore top soil), protect intact forest landscapes, improve community livelihoods and nurture women’s participation and empowerment.

In my next post, I will share examples of the types of projects that fulfill these criteria, and continue with a few words about our geographic focus.

 

Nicole is an author and social entrepreneur, co-founder of the Forum of Young Global Leaders, and of EDGE Certified – a global scheme certifying organizations for 20140910_5d3_07665-coul2closing the gender gap in the workplace. Her book, The Heart of the Labyrinthgives voice to her engagement on behalf of a world that values and honors the sacred feminine and is rooted in our connection to the Earth as a living being.

Into the Mystery

Gentle

 

Photography by Emmanuellel Brisson

I want to share something that came in the silence that starts our team meetings – in the stunning Forest Temple at Earth-heart, in the Forest of Dean this last spring.

When I closed my eyes, instead of going into darkness, I was clearly facing Edveeje the head of operations within TreeSisters, who was sitting there resplendent, cross legged, powerful, robust and utterly self contained. Bare footed and straight backed, black ringlets falling over silver earrings, left hand resting on her knee with her elbow raised high, right hand holding a huge, ornate, carved silver goblet full of red wine that she was drinking with gusto.

I sat watching feeling somewhat bemused while she drank and drank without stopping, thinking ‘wow, that girl can really put it away…’ until as I watched, I realized that the goblet was bottomless and that I was being shown something that I didn’t understand. I felt like I was witnessing a deeper mystery, and suddenly my whole system felt electrified with it.

Steadily as she drank and I watched, I noticed that the grass around her was growing, that the flowers were starting to bloom, that birds started singing and that the trees were coming into full leaf. Nature was moving into fullness as woman was truly allowing herself to fill with all that she needed and all that she was. The more she simply received, the more glorious nature became.

Now, as I write those words it still rocks my world and makes me weep.

Imagine a world where women’s accepted and respect birthright is to fully receive her own immensity, the tap root of her nature based cyclical flow, the fullness of her intuitive wisdom and knowing, the ocean of her emotional landscape and her limitless capacity for love, beauty, pleasure and creativity?

What could become possible if we could give ourselves permission to simply receive and embody who and what we really are as woman, and then bring ourselves forward, fully alive into the great turning towards balance that is the calling of our time?

TreeSisters is as much about reclaiming feminine nature as it is about ecological restoration and renewal through trees. The re-sacredisation of the feminine principle is here and now – the achingly beautiful upwelling of reverence for Mother, Goddess, sister and nature is blowing like an ancient and familiar fragrance through our hearts and bodies.

The priestess within each of us is awakening with her longing to walk softly upon this garden of Earth again as tenderly as she tends the garden of her own body.

Something wordless, breathtakingly beautiful and clean is starting to flow through the veins of TreeSisters, and with it we say goodbye to our old blog and start again in a new here and now.

If this touches you, then please join us on this journey into the mystery together – discovering what it means to reclaim ourselves, our bodies, our feminine natures and our profound, indivisible and sacred connection to the one who nourishes us all.

Welcome to TreeSisters.

art by Kirsty Mitchel

Image 1

This is a guest blog by Gloria Lynn

Our ancestors walked more humbly upon the earth, under the sun, the moon, and the stars. I try to follow in the footsteps of these ancestors. When I walk in the forest I am filled with awareness that the forest is as aware of me as I am aware of it. I am conscious of the slightest movement of the wind, speaking in a soft breeze, through a branch or a leaf. I am reminded that every living creature has purpose and meaning.

We are now living at a time when all cycles and systems of life are out of balance. I hold the belief that through inner exploration, outer projection, creative thinking, and intentional living we can re-vision and manifest a future that includes the sacredness and interconnectedness of ALL life on earth.

Ecological mindfulness and the strengthening of our relationship to earth is what is greatly needed now. We need to move beyond the concept of the “environment,” which often leads people to experience themselves and earth as two separate entities therefore seeing the planet only in terms of what it can do for them.

Mother nature is a cosmic system of intelligence which has been an active, alive force long before we occupied this planet. She is above us, below us, all around us, and even inside us. We are the Earth and we are always carrying her within us.

Image 2

Realizing that we are a living, breathing manifestation of this beautiful planet is what has inspired me to create Sacred Self, Sacred Earth. Through this course I aim to bring us back to living in balance with nature, to acknowledging our deep connection with Mother Earth and all of the children she inhabits here.

Earth and self came forth from the same sacred source and share a reciprocal relationship with each other. The well being of our planet and ourselves depends upon a healthy ecosphere, and this in turn depends upon the kind of relationship that we as sentient human beings create with earth and all the life that she sustains.

I invite you to journey through a process of self discovery transforming both our view of the world, and our own unique capacity to thrive within it. We will explore ways of nurturing relationship to self, relationship to other, relationship to all life on earth. Sacred Self, Sacred Earth is a 5 week online journey for men and women beginning September 1st.

You can read more and register here.

Bio Image - GloriaI believe recognition of our spiritual connection to nature is vital to the well-being of ourselves and the planet. Knowing and honoring the sacredness of Earth and the life she supports helps us acknowledge our own place within the living eco-systems of the planet.

Through creative thinking, and sacred living I aim to inspire others to live deeper and more meaningful lives for ourselves and all living beings.

How do you implement creativity, and the sacred in your life?

http://www.creativesacredliving.com

IMG_03750001

This has been a Wild Soul Woman month for many of us – a shared journey into our inner landscapes that has surprised and informed me more than I could ever have imagined.

Ironically, our A Wild Soul Woman online course started while I was in the wilds of Alaska, being stunned into silence by the majesty of fjords, rivers of ice, mountains and ocean. Ironic because the course is framed as a heroines journey that starts in the Desert with a stripping away of everything extraneous – and my Alaska journey was indeed a stripping away and a profound inner exploration that I shared in one of my more radical blogs.

Time away from the laptop is so precious. Deep immersion in wild nature reignites my clarity and passion for the mission of TreeSisters and the need to protect and restore this staggering planet. It left me wondering in what ways this summer might be summoning us all to become Wild Soul Women on behalf of this world that we love….
~Clare

In this month’s update you’ll find:

~Reforesting the Tropics~

  • 2015 Spring tree-planting is a record-breaker for TreeSisters!
  • Meet Mayilvaganan, one of the care-takers of our trees in India

~Inspiring Nature-based Feminine Leadership~

  • A Wild Soul Woman: Journey through a Woman’s Soulscapes
  • Full Moon Call ~ Invocation
  • New Moon Call ~ Wild Iris in a Dark Forest

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~Reforesting the Tropics~

Five thousand more trees
We fund trees quarterly ~  in line with our seasonal flow ~ and this month our tree funding included income raised from The Nature Process, Reinstating the Feminine and A Wild Soul Woman.  5,000 trees is our highest contribution to date for a three month period, and means we have seeded 8,000 trees in our the first half of 2015. You can meet Mayilvaganan, one of the famers whose life and land you are transforming in India here.

~Inspiring Nature-based Feminine Leadership~

A Wild Soul Woman

Our third course, A Wild Soul Woman, is rocking the worlds of so many women ~ recalibrating our bodies and souls with the inner and outer landscapes.  And the exquisite thing is that every time a woman signs up for one of our courses she also plants trees. It is literally a win/win/win – for every treesister, for TreeSisters, and for the trees.  227 women are participating in A Wild Soul Woman, which means we’ll be planting over 2500 trees.

Full Moon Call ~ Invocation
Our next Full Moon meditation ~ ‘Invocation‘ ~ celebrated the fullness of July and Nature’s capacity to support our awareness of what we long to bring into our lives. It was a full body call that could anchor your hopes and dreams in the physical and the subtle. 
Th moon calls are  free and open to all women.
Here is the recording of the call.

New Moon Call ~ Wild Iris in a Dark Forest

This month’s New Moon meditation ~ ‘Wild Iris in a Dark Forest’ ~ is a soul-centric journey in which women will  begin to explore and more fully inhabit their eco-psycho-spiritual niche in the Great Turning of our times. 
This call is free and open to all women.
When: Friday 31st July, 11am PST / 2pm EST / 7pm UK
Click below to register for these free TreeSisters Moon Calls…
TNP button

Sacred and Wild Soul Blessings,
Clare, Edveeje, and Sophie

ps: Would you like to deepen your connection to TreeSisters? You can connect with other treesisters from around the world here,  read all our latest news and inspirations here, listen to our free moon calls and events here and help us grow a network of millions of women crowd-funding tropical reforestation here.

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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.  For us, women and trees are indivisible.


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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.  For us, women and trees are indivisible.

Art and photography by Debra Bernier and Janek Sedlar

Do you have nature photography you’d love to share with TreeSisters? Email us

This is a guest blog post by TreeChild.

Wild Soul Woman

Art: Debra Bernier

When I first heard about TreeSisters, I felt a powerful pull to connect. You arrived in my life at a time when I needed you the most.

I did my first TreeSisters meditation in the snow, in nature, along a river with ancient hemlock trees. Walking in the bitter cold, to be away from the sounds and smells of clear-cutting machinery, cutting trees I loved within ½ kilometer of my home, I felt the presence of all the other women loving trees, even though I could not be on the phone with you at the time.

I knew I was not alone in my grief and I felt comforted by your presence. As an eagle flew low along the river in front of me, I felt hope.

During a silent retreat, I received guidance to bring my gifts to the TreeSisters global community through our virtual network. I am following that vision and offering Earthsong Reiki attunements and my We Are Precious Workshop to assist women in Self-healing, Earth- healing and deepening our connection with the natural world.”

Reiki is a powerful way to open to the Universal Energy to allow life force energy to flow through us for healing ourselves, others, and the Earth we love. For me, it has been the foundation of personal growth. The attunements, as passed down through the Reiki lineage, allow you to always have the flow of healing energy available through your hands, without need of thought or concentration.

Each of us has a precious inner child (or children). The Earth is precious. From the wisdom of the precious little ones within us, we open to the natural world with wonder, joy, and curiosity. We experience the Earth’s preciousness reflecting our own.

By creating a strong inner sanctuary from elements in nature, we engender a sense of safety for those vulnerable parts of ourselves. Using an understanding of the neuroplasticity of our brains, we recognize the trauma loops from our past to rescue our inner children and bring them fully present in the now, hence healing the triggers in our lives. Recognizing the power of the oxytocin factor (thanks Sophie!), we use our self-nurturing to heal in body, mind, and spirit.

As we create sacred space and nurture our little ones inside, we heal the wounds of the past and become more available to offer our gifts in the present. To read more…

Free Introductory Session for Reiki Workshop

Wednesday, August 26th:
Click to sign up

Earthsong Reiki Workshop: September 2 – 23, Wednesdays, 1 – 3pm EST

October 14: Free Introductory We Are Precious Session:
Click to sign up

We Are Precious: October 21-November 25, Wednesdays, 1 – 3pm EST

2014-09-16 001 2014-09-15 020Treechild is currently the land steward for the lands of Honour The Earth in Nova Scotia. She has been creating space for women to connect with the wilderness since 1996.

Having received the teachings of Reiki in The Usui system in 1982 and become a Reiki Master through the direct lineage, initiated by Phyllis Furumoto in 1985, she teaches Reiki Healing and offers We Are Precious Workshops.

Having healed from Environmental Sensitivities, she has become aware of the suffering of the planet as it has mirrored her own and hence has made a life commitment to living gently on the earth. She has been according to the feminine principal and creating women’s community for decades and been a part of Treesisters for 1 ½ years.

She will be gifting 25% of the proceeds from these workshops in service to Treesisters.

Listening to Trees

A Wild Soul Woman ~ TreeSisters ~Janek Sedlar

This is the first in a guest blog written by Cathy Skipper and is part of our on-going invitation for treesisters everywhere to share their magical tree stories.

It was a sunny winter’s day, I sat down on the soft forest floor enjoying the way the light came through the gaps in the trees and rested on a clump of young hazelnut shoots lighting them up like stars within the darkness, and I let my pen write…

« Listening to oneself beyond the boundaries of what we call reality. Inner listening aligned with one’s true self, the natural one who is part of all and where all resides. Trees are our masters, don’t look any further you have found the guides you have been looking for all your life. They do not come in human form but are all embracing shadows of the truth. They will lead you at all times to your inner being, they will shine the light so that you see more clearly – they are part of you, yes, hazelnut, ash, oak, beech, pine, birch, hawthorn they are all part of you and they come from where you come from ».

When I was learning to be a herbalist, identifying plants and learning their properties, I found it easier to look down and concentrate on the plants and herbs that grew near the ground rather than look up and somehow integrate the strength and energy that came from the trees all around me. Even back then, a part of me recognised that although I loved trees I had to be ready to begin to understand their medicine and feel their force, I had some more growing to do first. Through my passion, herbal study and deepening relationship with the plants, little by little I began to look upwards and slowly one day alone in the woods, a pine tree (Pinus slyvestris) showed me a doorway.

Neither parent, friend nor lover had ever been able to get through the invisible barriers of fear that I had so carefully constructed between myself and other, it was pine that pierced the barricades on that memorable day in the woods. It was so natural, no longing, no forcing, no thoughts about anything just pure being, pine and myself. Enveloped, I felt so supported, gently and lovingly held in this physical reality…for the first time I felt nurtured on all levels subtle, emotional and physical.

What is so great about tree allays is that once the connection has been made, the communication has been established it is constant and always there…unlike us fickle mortals, the ego does not interfere. The search for that feeling of being loved and supported was over, I had found it, it is what pine knows, does and exudes, it is always here, I just have to call on pine.

This subtle but very real relationship helped me understand the ‘soul’ of pine and how I can work together with it in my work as an herbalist. I have always admired pine’s capacity to re-trigger tired adrenals, boosting them with energy to help them get back into action. In feeling the way pine can hold and give of its tender, supportive force energetically helped me understand this physical action in a deeper way.

Pine is nurturing, reinitiating the two fountains of energy from the adrenal glands that give us the physical motivation we need to function fully here on earth. Pine also bears the weight of the physical structure that holds us up, having both an anti-inflammatory action on rheumatic and arthritic conditions and a re-mineralising action on the bones. Dr Bach used pine for those people that are constantly putting themselves down, feeling guilty and never good enough, pine’s sustaining energy can get through the self-hate and help the person feel loved and thus learn to love him/herself.

Wilhelm Pelikan’s reflection about pine being full of ‘etheric oils (essences) and balsamic resins, which are an intervention of a luminous and calorific process in the cold areas of the earth, where the pine originates from”, sums it up well, when one is feeling cold and in need of support, call on pine.

I tend to use pine as an essential oil as it grows abundantly in the area where I live, for depleted adrenals, I advice a drop of the oil rubbed quite vigorously into the kidney area every morning for between 3-7 days, three days is often enough to re-stimulate as we are not looking for pine to bear the job of the adrenals rather just to get them fully going again.

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Listening to Trees Pt. II

The second tree allay that comes to my mind is the silver birch (Betula pendula), I befriended this tree on a one level of knowing many, many years ago when as a young girl I was interested in runes and their meanings. The rune Berkana is the rune of the birch tree, re-birth, renewal, regeneration, sanctuary, and motherhood, but it wasn’t until I started collecting birch sap from a wood in the hills many years later that I began to truly understand the symbolism behind the rune.

Alone amongst the white skinned birch trees, where the signs of spring are still only a pulsation from inside the earth, a pulsation to which the birch responds by calling the sweet mineralised waters up through her slender, luminous trunk with a force that triggers the awakening of spring and enables us to feel this seasonal re-birthing of life’s vital force. The first sips, straight from the tree of the sweet sap are still a moment when symbolically the seasons have turned and physically the groggy body fluids of a static winter can be renewed with the flowing waters of spring. The birch like the pine prefers the colder regions of this planet. Its protective role covers not only the daily needs of the northern people (housing, clothing, food, medicine) but a link between the visible and invisible.

The birch brings the liquids of the earth up through its trunk and the celestial forces down to the earth. The doorway that the birch opens is one that facilitates our communication with our natural surroundings and nature’s spirits. The link between the sky and the earth is very feminine and ‘watery’ in the birch, even the celestial energies that it helps earth are fluid, a form of water that is not wet.

The parallel between the subtle, energetic messages of birch and its traditional medicinal uses are very close. The movement of fluids is echoed in its draining action, birch gets things moving and leaves way for renewal, cleansing and transformation of matter and energy.

Robert Frost seems to have felt the way birch links what is above with what is below and it’s feeling of constant rejuvenation in his poem;

I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree~
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

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Listening to Trees Pt. III

Hawthorns are the guardians of other realms – (Crataegus monogyna) with its deep, inner, sacred strength, a mystical, wise, underground type of knowing. Hawthorns often grow in communities, in hedges or glades and the spirit of hawthorn reflects this sense of an ancient, healing and magical community, one that you don’t just walk into willy-nilly, a community that demands a form of initiation to enter.

Hawthorns are the guardians of other realms, some may refer to as fairy realms and I see as sacred, knowing realms. This secrecy that hawthorn emanates is reflected in the fact that in Europe, up to the 19th century, it went more or less unnoticed, mentioned occasionally for the odd banal property linked to its astringency.

Its physicality also echoes the ability to ‘close’ things off, entrance is difficult, the wood is hard and gnarled with spikey thorns, the density of its branches and leaves make a great protection against the wind and the intrusion of animals and humans. At the same time hawthorn has the ability to encourage life, it provides a secure home for many birds and insects and in the month of May it lights up the hedges with its abundance of white flowers.

Here in France these pure white flowers that seem to appear from nowhere and just as quickly disappear have always been a symbol of innocence and virginity linked to wedding ceremonies and the Virgin Mary. I see them as a symbol of the magic and underworld that hawthorn is linked to, these flowers that seem like foreigners to this forbidding tree covered with thorns represent the purity of the real knowing that is hidden deep down in its roots.

They manifest once a year at springtime to remind us that things are not always as they seem and that in the depths of our souls lays the light of our being…in the darkness of the forest live the spirits of nature. Hawthorn seems to be a doorkeeper for the two worlds, and lives in both simultaneously.

Hawthorn’s main use today is in relation to our rhythmic system, the opening of the heart, physically, energetically and spiritually. Physically, it is restorative to the heart, often referred to here in France as the “valerian of the heart”, a powerful cardio-tonic, it regularizes circulation of the blood by acting simultaneously on the cardiac muscle and vessels by the intermediary of the nervous system. It also has the capacity to dilate the coronary arteries helping with the dissolution of arterial deposits without raising blood pressure or increasing the beat.

As a tree essence I find it useful when working on ‘closed’ and ‘damaged’ hearts, as it seems to help rid the heart of negativity and recover from past wounds. Its capacity to protect is seen here in the form of self-protection from harm thus creating space and safety for love, trust and forgiveness to develop, forgiveness of the self being a major aspect.

Connecting with trees, feeling and listening to their messages has helped me to create a more stable structure around my work with plants, they were the missing element. Their size, woodiness, age and vibration give a scale to the plant world. Trees live alongside us, they are a common feature of our lives but so many of us forget to enter into communication with them and therefore miss the lessons of some of the best teachers we have on this earth. Once the connection has been made, my soul recognizes the tree that has always been part of me and welcomes it home.

Thank-you trees for knocking on the door of my heart.

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Cathy Skipper is a herbalist, gardener and spokesperson for the plant world. She has lived, trained and worked in rural France for the last twenty five years and now finds herself teaching in the UK, France and the States. The underlying theme in all her work is helping healers heal and reconnecting with nature.
www.cathyskipper.wordpress.com

Photos: Janek Sedlar

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For all of you who have always wanted to work for TreeSisters, we are seeking to fill a very unique and critical position within our Core Team.  It is a tricky position because it requires incredible organization, systems development, and also a sociable, creative, and entrepreneurial approach.

We are looking for an administrative magician who has professional experience in executive administration and who possesses a vast array of office management skills that include database management and reporting, IT / web design and support, social media experience, executive support, as well as general book keeping in QuickBooks.

The position is part-time, but we need a fast (and accurate) paced person who is able to catch balls from left field and who also has a very flexible schedule and can handle daily interaction via email, Viber, and Skype. For most people it requires too broad of a skill-set with high expectations, but for the right person it will be an incredible opportunity to become part of the TreeSisters Core Team.

Because this position is so critical, it is NOT for someone who needs to learn or be trained in any of our systems, so if you apply please be sure to look at the areas of mastery and be prepared to show your experience through a portfolio and references when you send in your resume and cover letter.

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TreeSisters Part-time Position Available

Do you love exploring the latest development in technology and the digital world? And are you passionate about using them to create social change? Do you love trouble-shooting web and tech problems and finding brilliant, elegant solutions?

TreeSisters is a U.K. based charity seeking a part-time (10-15 hours a week) Virtual Assistant and Administrator who has a professional background in web support and technology as well as database maintenance and general administration.

Must be self-motivated and energized when working in a detailed environment as well as possess excellent organizational, written, and proofreading skills. A personal laptop and internet access are required. Only applicants who are highly proficient in Google Drive, Excel, Word, WordPress and the following areas need apply:

~SUMAC Database Maintenance and Reporting / On-line Course Support
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This position is a contractual position and does not include any benefits. Remuneration varies based on experience and hours required. TreeSisters is an equal opportunity employer and is a registered Charity in the United Kingdom with a satellite office in Massachusetts. To apply for this position please email Edveeje Fairchild at ev@treesisters.org .

Please include a cover letter, resume, three references we can contact, as well as three examples of your social media and/or database work.

Title: Administrative Assistant
Reports to: Clare Dakin, Founder and Executive Director
Based at: Home
Purpose: Provide office services by implementing & maintaining administrative systems and procedures
Website: www.treesisters.org

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