This is the first in our new “TreeBrothers Series” in which we invite the brotherhood into our collective conversation on behalf of the well-developed masculine. This is a guest blog post by Giles Hutchins, author of The Nature of Business as well as The Illusion of Separation.
Clare Dakin and I have been in touch now for a few years and it feels like we are kindred spirits sharing at least two things in common: a deep love of Nature and a passion to catalyze a cultural wake up so that we can live up to our true nature.
Climate change, abuse of the feminine, deforestation, biodiversity loss and widespread disenfranchisement are all symptoms of a deeper underlying cause: a separation sickness which creates deep psychic atrophy. This psychic atrophy causes a warping of consciousness to set in where we get caught up in our own illusion; an illusion of separation that perceives mind as separate from body, and self as separate from Nature. It is what Albert Einstein referred to as an optical delusion of consciousness. It is this delusion which underlies today’s carcinogenic culture.
How often do we sense the sentient sacredness flowing all-around and within us; its awesome beauty, its energetic responsiveness, its empathic receptivity, its enchanting wisdom? We largely perceive the world through a narrowed-down, de-sacralising lens, and in-so-doing we impoverish our world. What we have here is a chronic attention disorder of epic proportions and its wreaking havoc. Our inner and outer worlds are being polluted at an alarming rate.
So often we busy ourselves with patching up symptoms while leaving the underlying cause gapping and so unwittingly apply the same logic that created the problems to our well-intended solutions. We must personally take on-board that it’s our rushing around trying to find substitutes for the real thing which pushing us further away from who we truly are.
Much of today’s daily living denies our soulful somatic embodiment of life’s sacredness. This denial undermines and represses both our masculine and feminine qualities. Yet, it is through a simple (yet not always easy) shift in attention (which is aided through our intention) that we may bring about a re-balancing of our anima (feminine) and animus (masculine) aspects within us. This is a process of learning to love ourselves by embracing the shadow aspects we have fragmented and repressed. It is through this love affair that we begin to rob the illusion of its conscious energy while allowing our truer nature to flow more readily with Nature’s wisdom – Sophia – within and all around us. This is an opening up to the inner planes of our selves, and is guided by our hearts. In sensing the subtle perturbations of the heart, we sense our destiny and we learn how to cross the threshold from ego to soul. We begin to ‘know thy self’ through the power of love.
This love affair activates a fresh way of being-doing-becoming; a new way of attending to ourselves, each other and the world, characterized by a shift from fear to courage:
Fear-based attending Courage-based attending
Leader-follower relation Co-creative relation
Motivated by power Motivated by love
Blame culture Compassionate culture
Command and control Improvisational
This love-based evolution in consciousness is very real, and we witness it manifesting in organisations and community initiatives throughout the world through the rapid take-up of purpose-based initiatives engendering a culture that transcends the prevalent fear-based paradigm.
This brings me to Tree Sisters and the map (and shadow map) of five choices. When I first came across these maps I strongly resonated with them as they verbalized the emotions I was experiencing on my own journey (and still do experience daily). They help articulate the shift from fear to love as we learn to live more consciously.
Conscious sisters are vitally important for the metamorphosis in our midst, not least because of women’s natural preponderance of yin, soulful, empathic anima and the Sophia this taps into. We also know, only too well, that our culture’s patriarchal abuse of the feminine qualities affects both men and women. The reclaiming of this collective and individual shadow of repressed feminine qualities is foundational to any personal and societal transformation. Tree Sisters is helping lay these foundations, so we may build on rock rather than sand.
And I see trees as a keystone in all this. We now scientifically understand the uprooting that goes on in the macro cycles of water, air and nutrients when forests are destroyed. We are also beginning to re-awaken the ancient knowing that trees have an important psychical part to play in the Dance of life. At a personal level, trees are my teachers, and I turn daily to trees for my own psychical and spiritual nourishment. The ancient Druids (and other shamanic traditions the world over) knew well that trees are powerful healers for humankind. The help and healing trees provide is needed now more than ever at both outer and inner levels, both physically as a source of nutrient flows, and psychically by aiding the healing of our psychic atrophy. And so to plant trees is to embark on a powerful healing process.
For me, the time has come for true education (from the Greek educere, meaning to bring forth, to transform). True education is about the communal, enlivening, somatic, social and soulful enrichment of ourselves to live a more attuned way of living and loving, through the quality of our attention and intention. Tree Sisters creates the sacred space, encouragement, intimacy and community for this individual and collective educational unfolding to take root. As Clare Dakin says, the time is ripe, the time is now. It’s time to get real and live up to our name of Homo sapiens, wise beings.
Visionary speaker, writer and adviser Giles Hutchins explores the cause of our current crises and then activates the logic required for change agents to reach beyond conventional sustainable business approaches. Formerly Global Head of Sustainability for an 80,000 employee IT service-provider, author of the books The Nature of Business and The Illusion of Separation and adviser to a variety of pioneering educational establishments, Giles explores a new paradigm inspired by and in harmony with Nature. Giles blogs at www.thenatureofbusiness.org. Here is a short video about his work and a podcast series bit.ly/1Gj31TL
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
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
May we find our earth-scape:
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
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?
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.
TreeSisters will be hosting a free event on Sunday, April 19th with the author of The Nature Process, Tabi(tha) Jayne, who will be facilitating our Spring online course which begins in May. For more tantalizing details and to register for the free event or the on-line course, you can read more here. The following guest post reveals more of the inspiration behind Tabi’s exquisite nature-based journey.
Majestic heather-covered hills with the gorse in full bloom. A stunning combination of green, yellow and brown fields marked by towering trees as far as the eye can see. Cows out to pasture while the sheep nurture their lambs. Welcome to Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
The land where I first fell in love with nature.
I was up here last weekend visiting an old friend of mine who is now living here. Memories have flooded back of all the magical times I’ve had connecting with this land as a child. It’s been very emotional.
Especially since it was here that I first started developing my own Earth Self.
The Earth Self is our embodied awareness that the Earth is not just our other body.
It’s also the embodied awareness that the Earth and everything in the planet are actually one living organism.
It’s through our Earth Self that our Nature Self (which is the source of everything and nothing – and a different blog post) is strengthened and amplified so that we can receive its direct guidance in each and every moment.
I first mentioned our Earth Self a couple of months ago when I introduces the radical new paradigm of Nature Consciousness, which is the ability to live simultaneously from three different perspectives: Human self, Earth Self and Nature Self.
There are seven key stages that I’ve observed within myself and others over the last 28 years. It’s important to note that this model isn’t linear with one stage following on from the next.
Rather it’s triangular. And there’s two of them (Identification Triangle + Integration Triangle). That blend into one (Unification Triangle).
At this point my Earth Self jokes, “Triangular?! I thought I was more of a sphere myself.”
Yup. Have a look at the diagram below before I explain more.
Both triangles are created with an initial experience of an aspect of the triangle. The Identification Triangle at 1. The Integration Triangle at 4. You’ll find more about what each number signifies in the explanations further down the page.
Once both triangles are established, your repeated experience of each of the stages flows into the next creating a never-ending flow of experiences that strengthen the existence of both the Identification Triangle and the Integration Triangle.
It’s only when both of these triangles are fully established that the Unification Triangle can start to emerge.
The more experiences you have of your Earth Self through the Identification Triangle and the Integration Triangle, the more the Unification Triangle starts to emerge through the fusion of the two.
Finally the two triangles become one.
And that, my friends, is my modern day theory of what our Stone Age ancestors meant when they drew a triangle in sacred sites all over Western Europe, South America and Northern Africa.
I’m a genius! Either that, or I’m full of shite. Read on and make up your own mind :)
Identification Triangle Stages
This triangle belongs very much to Western ideology.
In many indigenous societies around the world, their stories, culture and beliefs already reflect the three parts of this triangle.
Therefore this triangle becomes fully developed at a very early stage for them, to the point that they don’t even get that these stages need to be developed first in many Western people.
I perceive this as why it’s so challenging for indigenous beliefs to become fully accepted in our Western mainstream culture.
It’s also one of the reasons why our mainstream culture doesn’t yet fully understand the importance of a conscious connection to Nature.
- Identification of Human Self with the Earth
This starts as the intellectual understanding that humans and the Earth are connected. In essence, we are one.
Some people also experience what they perceive to be the pain of the planet from what humanity is doing to it.
In reality, these people are experiencing their own pain from the unconscious actions they have taken that contribute towards the destruction of the Earth, which is now recognized as an extension of self. And yes, before you ask, I was one of these people.
In truth, no-one can understand what it is to be the Earth. It’s been in existence for 4.6 billion years. We humans think 100 years is old.
Think about this: When you shave/wax/whatever, you consciously cut down all the hairs (let’s pretend they’re trees just to make you more like the earth) in a specific area on your body from choice.
Yet do you give any thought to the fact that there are around 1000 different species of bacteria living on your skin?
Do you consider how your actions might affect the ecosystem that they live in?
Do you grieve and feel their pain every time you shave?
- Shift in Human consciousness when in the Earth’s natural ecosystem
This is something that is actually really misunderstood, especially with some people out there having psychedelic experiences in Nature after ingesting natural hallucinogenics.
While this is one way to experience a shift in your human consciousness, you don’t have to take hallucinogenics to experience a shift. It’s a natural side effect of being fully present to nature. The only difference is that it’s a lot more subtle and less intense.
Do you go out into nature and experience feelings of well-being, relaxation and come back feeling refreshed and renewed?
That comes from you experiencing a different state of consciousness while out in nature.
Have you ever seen a shimmering, translucent field that tends to hover over forests, the sky, or in fields of snow that you put down to being a trick of the light?
That also comes from you experiencing a different state of consciousness while out in nature.
Do you find that when you spend a long time in nature the thoughts in your mind calm down and quieten?
Yup. That also comes from experiencing a different state of consciousness while out in nature.
These are just three examples.
The more you do this, the easier it becomes until it happens almost instantaneously every time you’re out in nature. You don’t even have to be conscious that it’s happening. In fact, most people aren’t.
- Recognition of the Earth as a living organism
In our Western Society we have been conditioned to believe that the Earth is an inanimate lump of rock floating around in space. As a result we treat the Earth as if it’s nothing more than a resource for us to use and abuse.
Now contrary to some people’s beliefs, recognising the Earth as a Living Organism doesn’t mean that you recognize it as a fully sentient being.
James Lovelock, author of The Gaia Hypothesis, was one of the first Western Scientists to recognize the Earth as a living organism capable of maintaining itself in balance through a series of processes.
He was very clear to state that just because he viewed the Earth as a living organism didn’t mean that he viewed it as conscious sentient being.
While I recognize the Earth as a living organism, I personally have no idea whether the Earth is actually a sentient being. I experience it so but I have no idea if that’s just a figment of my imagination or reality.
The one thing that I do know is that my Human Tabi Self can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to be a living sentient being that’s 4.6 billion years old.
Especially because I would have wiped humanity out long ago (even though it’s literally like a blink of an eye in the time of the earth since humans started their domination over the Earth!).
My Earth Self comments, “Mutant bacteria (a.k.a. humans) chopping down my trees and polluting my water and air. No thank you. I’m older, wiser and bigger so you better watch out. You’d be fools to take me on. Plus see the example in point 1 again. I really don’t care about you the way you think I do.”
Integration Triangle Stages
This triangle is the one that’s the biggest challenge for most Westerners to develop.
Before you can even experience any other the stages of development in this triangle you first have to accept that the Earth is a living organism.
That idea is nowhere near being accepted in traditional mainstream.
In fact, there’s a large part of the population that look at you like you’re a weirdo when you say this.
Sound familiar to anyone?
Therefore the stages of the Integration Triangle come across as. Just. A. Wee. Bit. Strange.
- Experiential understanding of sharing consciousness with an aspect of Nature
This was one of my favourite exercises from when I studied applied ecopsychology. You would take a part of nature that you were attracted to and become fully present to it with your 54 senses.
I can’t actually work out if it was just that I had a great imagination or that I did actually experience becoming the flower looking back at me. Whatever it was, it was awesome.
In an attempt to articulate one of these experiences I wrote the following poem a few years back:
Sunlight glimmers from behind white fluffy clouds
In total contrast to the brilliance of the blue sky beyond.
The white clouds sparkle, tainted golden from the sun’s power.
I feel its power too in the depths of my soul.
Throwing my heart open with wild abandon
Love for the beauty of this world consumes me.
I am the sun and the sun is me, together we are one.
I sit and watch myself so seemingly small and insignificant
Overwhelmed by the raw essence of who I truly am.
Inside, I burn with fervent furious fire
Delighting in the very nature of my existence
Every fiber of my being is alive.
- Experiential understanding of being the Earth
The more that you experience different parts of nature, the more you are connecting yourself, either in your imagination or reality, to the Earth as a whole.
There is a key distinction here though in how you experience being the Earth.
If you are viewing yourself expanding to become the Earth you are doing so from a Human perspective. It’s not wrong and many people start off by doing this.
Yet this still offers a subtle level of separation where the Ego can step in and start to convince you that you’ve gone as far as you can.
There is another way that is far more powerful.
It is when you feel the Earth being pulled into you and you then become the Earth that you have gone beyond the limitations of the Human Self into the Earth Self for the first time.
You are fully the Earth suspended in the glory and wonder that is space (a.k.a the universe). Some people refer to this as cosmic/universal consciousness.
When this happens you will understand on an embodied level that the way we view the Earth as fragile, delicate, and in need of saving is inaccurate.
There is power and strength with the Earth that is beyond our Human comprehension.
Our Human minds cannot even begin to understand the Earth.
The only way for us truly to do so is through our body.
- Experiential understanding of Earth as creator of reality instead of Human Self
There’s many schools of Western thought that teach us that we are the creators of our own reality. In essence, we are the Goddesses and Gods of the universe. We can do anything we want.
It’s an awesome perspective. However, it is only one part of a greater whole.
Like the blind men discovering an elephant for the first time, this perspective is only the trunk of the elephant. There’s actually a whole lot more.
As you experience a deeper connection to the Earth you realize that rather than your human self being the creator of your reality (which is still true) the Earth is also the creator of your reality too.
Over 4.6 billion years, since the Earth first sparkled into existence, it has been dreaming, consciously or unconsciously, as a living organism to reach the fullest expression of itself.
As part of its own growth and development, using its own natural intelligence, it brought you into existence. It doesn’t mean that you are the pinnacle of development on Earth, merely one facet of it.
This is what people mean when they tell you that you are a child of the Earth/Universe.
Again, going back to the first stage of the Identification Triangle, there is a huge difference between knowing this intellectually and experiencing it on a full-bodied level – especially consistently.
Unification Triangle Stage
- Fully developed Earth Self
You perceive no separation between you and the Earth. You are the Earth. The earth is you. It’s more than just an intellectual understanding, it’s a full bodied awareness.
You look at a tree dance in the breeze and see only yourself.
You watch a cat lick its fur and experience only yourself.
You witness the strength and power of a storm and know you are witnessing your own strength and power.
This is the stage where human language fails to convey the depth and experience of these statements.
Many people have experienced glimpses of this.
However very few maintain this awareness in their daily life. After all, most people would think that you’re crazy if you talked like this. Believe me, I know!
The biggest challenge is the realization that if you are the Earth and everything in the Earth is the Earth too then even the suffering humans create is the Earth too.
This is the deepest lesson of being able to offer compassion to everything and everyone. It’s not easy.
It’s only when the identification triangle and the integration triangle have fused completely into one that you’re able to consciously maintain this awareness in your daily life.
Our fully developed Earth Self helps us to take action that not only benefits humanity but every living being in this planet.
This is when the Earth, and subsequently Nature, speak through your Human Self.
Can you imagine what our world would be like if every single man, woman, and child, spoke, and subsequently acted, directly as the Earth and Nature itself?
How do you develop your Earth Self?
That’s easy. You use The Nature Process (or you can figure this out yourself like I did).
I know I’m biased about my own work. Yet I’ve always maintained that The Nature Process isn’t really Human Tabi’s.
It was given to me from my Nature Self as a way of showing how nature works.
Many people who’ve gone through The Nature Process say that they’ve been doing this unconsciously for years.
They’re right. I’ve unconsciously done The Nature Process since I was born. It’s an innate talent that all children are born with.
It’s been my attraction to make this unconscious process conscious that has led me to the work I do now.
Now, more than ever, we all need to become fully conscious of our relationship to Nature so that we can deepen our connection to it and use Nature’s wisdom to become the humans that we were all born to be.
If you’re interested in finding out more about The Nature Process LIVE online program which starts May 12th, I’m doing a free introductory call where I’ll be interviewed by TreeSisters Founder Clare Dakin on April 19th @ 10am PDT/1pm EDT/6pm UK/7pm CET.
On this call you’ll:
- Hear the story behind The Nature Process and why it works
- Learn how the stress of daily life can block a conscious connection to Nature
- Discover how your 54 senses are the key to becoming fully present in Nature
- Experience an introductory guided exercise that will introduce you to some of your 54 senses and help you expand your Natural Presence
- Be able to ask whatever questions you want to
I do hope you’ll join us!
Earth Tabi :)
P.S. If you can’t attend live, don’t worry, you’ll get access to a recording.
P.P.S. Click here if you want to check out the course content. The Nature Process LIVE online is going to be even better than last year!
Tabi Jayne is an eco-psychologist, business growth consultant, nature geek, author and speaker who developed The Nature Process® after 5 years of research and work into synthesizing ecopsychology and coaching.
The Nature Process® teaches people how to release emotional pain and limiting beliefs through a conscious connection to nature. In May 2014, the first LIVE online program was launched, which donated 100% of the proceeds to support the work of TreeSisters. 77 people in 12 countries took part and raised £5827.56 (approx $9,900).
The book, The Nature Process: How to easily and effortlessly step into your natural power and be the change you wish to make in the world, developed from the first online course, is marketed through an affiliate scheme. If you buy a copy of the book byclicking on this link, TreeSisters will receive approximately $5 from the sale of the book.
Did you know that up until twenty years ago, all stress research was done on men? I just discovered this, and it blew me away. Researchers thought that female hormones fluctuated too much to measure accurately, so they left them out of their studies.
Luckily, a researcher named Shelley Taylor decided to embark upon a ground-breaking stress study – one that included women. What she discovered could have a potentially radical impact for women, especially women who are engaged in a healing journey of any kind.
Taylor’s studies show that the typical ‘Fight, Flight or Freeze‘ stress response isn’t always what happens for women. Rather, the female body often responds to stress with a flush of different hormones, including Oxytocin, which instead creates an attitude of ‘Tend and Befriend‘.
In times of stress women don’t move to run or fight, they reach out to protect and connect.
Oxytocin is sometimes referred to as the ‘Goddess Hormone’, and along with the other ‘Tend and Befriend‘ hormones, it serves as the female body’s natural de-stressing mechanism, by:
~helping muscles to relax
~reducing blood pressure and cortisol levels
~increasing pain thresholds
~activating anti-anxiety effects
~and promoting the body’s natural healing response.
Happily, there are many ways to activate this ‘tend and befriend’ response, and all it’s healing benefits, without being stressed. Hugging a friend, cooking a meal for someone you love, petting your dog, walking in nature, and even giving yourself a thirty second shoulder rub all release a flush of oxytocin and it’s host of healing effects.
For the last five years, I’ve been on a recovery journey from chronic digestive pain, so I’m especially curious about the potential healing effects of this ‘Goddess Hormone’. One of the turning points in my healing was when I joined the TreeSisters team and began to connect with them in weekly team meetings, as well as taking part in the Awakening Women Institute‘s online women’s programs. I noticed that my symptoms were reduced both during, and directly after experiences of being in circle with women (even online).
Women’s circles can be a tend and befriend heaven. Deep listening with no agenda, hugs, feeling ‘seen’ and ‘met’, low light and soothing music, a sense of kinship, eye-gazing, and respectful touch all activate oxytocin.
I began to ask myself: could the friendship, bonding and support within women’s circles have tangible, measurable healing effects for chronic health problems?
The statistics about chronic health conditions are shocking – women make up nearly three quarters of the people who experience them:
~5 million people with Fibromyalgia (80 – 90% women)
~1 million with Chronic Fatigue (66 – 80% women)
~30 million with IBS (66-75% women)
If gathering together in supportive circles of sisterhood could truly activate healing for these women in a tangible way, it could be huge.
Totally intrigued, I’ve decided to explore the healing potential of women’s circles by launching a new project called Women’s Wellness Circle. Together with my dear sister, Frances (who recovered from a five year journey with Chronic Fatigue many years ago) we’re researching and developing ways to gather women with chronic health challenges together to activate the ‘tend and befriend’ healing response.
Our first experiment is a free three day email course, where we share several practices to invite the oxytocin hormone flush through the body, as well as a Facebook community where women can gather in a supportive environment and build sisterhood.
So, I raise a toast, to sisterhood, to oxytocin, to including women in research (honestly), to the healing power of women’s circle, and to these fabulous women’s bodies, with all their hidden healing keys.
Sophie Jane Mortimer
Sophie is TreeSisters’ Communications Director. She is also a Yoga Instructor (RYT200) specializing in Restorative Yoga, a Massage Therapist and a Women’s Temple Leader in the Yogini tradition established by her teacher Chameli Ardagh at the Awakening Women Institute.
Photography and Artwork by: Emmanuelle Brisson, Flora Aube and Aubrie Woods.
This is a guest blog post by Barbara Hannelore who is hosting a free telesummit called Nourishing the Roots of the Feminine.
Recently I felt compelled to gather together some of the women I knew and admired, and host a TeleSummit called Nourishing the Roots of the Feminine. I invited them to share their insights on self-care and self-knowledge, springing from their own specialties, as part of our collective reawakening to our true magnificence and potential!
The name for this summit proved to be such an enchanting title, as I continually asked myself, what ARE our roots, exactly, and how do we nourish them?
I imagine our roots as connecting us back, not only to our own bodies and to Earth, but also to the generations of our ancestors who once knew and carried this wisdom as a natural part of their lives. There was a time, not so long ago, when our ancestors considered themselves to be part of nature, not separate from it, and could easily appreciate the interconnectedness of everything!
This was a time, too, when women were valued for our remarkable cycle of fertility and other special abilities. Our unique gifts were honored, not shamed!
During this (lengthy) time in human history, the definition of power was very different, and the power that women held was considered to be central to the health and balance of human communities.
Realizing this definition of power was a turning point for me in the elevation of my own sense of self-worth. Women have an awesome generative capacity, for creating living human beings and food for those new beings, right from our bodies! Realizing my own body as a gateway from the un-manifest to the manifest, and the concurrent sense of autonomy that this gave me, was incredibly valuable. I began to know that my ways of knowing, and my ways of being, carried an authority that was far deeper than any of the messages I absorbed from modern culture about myself and my worth.
We sense, now, that there is a great reawakening to this definition of power, and that the Feminine reawakens onto the planet through us – through who we believe we are, and what we believe we are capable of!
Through our roots – our channels of inner wisdom – I imagine us reconnecting to this greater sense of who we are. As we believe more in ourselves, we will also take better care of ourselves – by taking time for self-care, understanding the sacred value of self-care, and connecting to each other and to our ancestral wisdom. Roots do that!
I like to think of the example of trees and how they care for themselves. Most trees have a dormant time of year, or lose their leaves, in winter. They withdraw their energy into their roots, underground, and are not doing much of anything above ground. Does this mean that they are sick, or weak, or lazy? Of course not! It means that they are drawing nourishment and resources to themselves, so that they will have something to give in the coming year.
It can be easier to see in trees and harder to see in ourselves, but we have the same needs, the same rhythms, and the same intuition for self-care. Nourish yourself because you are worth it. Nourish the roots of the Feminine within yourself – and YOU know what you need and when you need it!
Take care, and many blessings to you, Barbara
The TeleSummit, Nourishing the Roots of the Feminine, is happening NOW, from April 6-25, 2015. You may enroll and receive access to all upcoming interviews, and gifts, at nourishthefeminine.com
Barbara Hanneloré is author of the book The Moon and You, a Woman’s Guide to an Easier Monthly Cycle, and founder of the Women’s Way Moon Cycles program, sharing a new paradigm of the menstrual cycle for women who want to develop radical new habits of self-care and self-love! Barbara has supported women to re-discover the power of their inner rhythms through the gifts of nature, sacred space and the healing arts for over 20 years. She is certified in
Expressive Arts Facilitation, Holistic Wellness Coaching, and Menstrual Matrix Education, and has studied many healing modalities and sacred traditions throughout her life.
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.
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.
There 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.
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?
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 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.
(C) Sylvia Valentine
Last year when I launched The Nature Process LIVE online program I donated 100% of the proceeds to TreeSisters. Many people thought I was crazy, especially since my business wasn’t and still isn’t actually fully sustainable for me.
Yet I’m not inspired by money. Nature’s abundance has shown me that I can have the most amazing life with hardly any. Plus, where in Nature do you see money? Even a money tree doesn’t grow actual money.
I’m inspired by a burning desire to step up and play my part in the transformation that occurring in the world right now.
I’m inspired by Nature. For 13.7 billion years it has been capable of the most incredible growth and transformation that allows me to exist today. Nature has saved me, healed me, transformed me, encouraged me to grow and step into the fullest expression of who I am.
That’s why I’m in business. I want to share this with others.
I believe that businesses have the capability of transforming this world. I’ve watched Google and Amazon become household names and change the way the world works. I even admire them for avoiding paying tax on their profits but before you react to this let me explain why.
I’m curious to know what a billion dollar business that is capable of changing the world yet makes no profit because it’s all driven back into the world looks like. That’s why I admire Google and Amazon. They have encouraged me to dream bigger than I’ve ever dreamt before.
I want to create a business that will still be here decades in the future. A business that will be able to be an example of what it means when you decide to put planet first, not profit. Something that other people can be inspired by and that acts as a catalyst for others to do the same – something that is remembered as being a business that changed the world – just like Google or Amazon.
I want to build a business that starts from a place of planet first, not profit so that I know the challenges that exist in doing so. Then I can teach you to do the same. It’s not the easiest of paths but it’s the one that makes me feel most alive.
That’s why I’m so freaking excited about Nature’s plan to share the word about my latest book, The Nature Process: How to easily and effortlessly step into your natural power and be the change you want to make in the world.
Despite having published the book in October last year I’ve not really done much marketing around it.
I wanted to set up a system that will allow others to benefit from the sales of the book along with me by offering commissions to those people who promote the book for me (like TreeSisters!)
By registering to become an affiliate, anybody who promotes the book will receive 50% commission on the sale of the e-book and 25% of the physical copy (as there’s additional admin involved to make this happen)
What this means though is that in financial terms every book that’s sold by an affiliate will earn them approximately $5 (or £3 for the UK people).
If you buy a copy of The Nature Process through TreeSisters you’ll be supporting their work and mine. Click here if you want to buy a copy
Not only will you deepen your connection to Nature as a result but also an additional 10 trees will be planted and maintained in Thailand for a year as part of another partnership I have with an organization called B1G1.
This literally is a win-win-win situation and for me, a working example of how a business puts planet first, not profit right from the start.
Furthermore, when people buy the book through my shop front, or get a copy from attending a retreat that one of my awesome facilitators run, they also get invited to take part in three Q&A webinars throughout the year.
If they can’t attend live they can submit questions beforehand and listen to the recording.
The reason behind this is so that people don’t just read the book, think it’s interesting and then not apply the principles. They have a way in which they can explore The Nature Process and receive feedback and guidance so that they can make it a daily part of their life.
That’s actually a win-win-win-win when you think about it!
The Nature Process LIVE online is back again this year, new and improved. Again 100% of the proceeds will go directly to TreeSisters.
If you’re a TreeSister who has your own business then I invite you to become part of the affiliate program so that I can help support you to get your work out there into the world too.
You’ll find out more information here: www.tabithajayne.com/affiliates
Meanwhile, I warmly invite you explore both the book and the course – because you are nature, and deepening that connection can only lead you into more of who you really are.
To find out more about my work with Nature and how it can help you make the difference in the world you want to make, sign-up for regular updates at www.tabithajayne.com
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 self–respect 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.
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.
During our New Moon calls, we invited our network to share their thoughts about the Wise Woman archetypal energy and the Crone life phase. This is a guest post by Loran Hills (guest posts do not necessarily represent TreeSisters’ view on a subject).
In the long ago past, it was believed that women became wise when they no longer shed the lunar “wise blood” but kept it within. The word hag, defined as an ugly old woman, especially a vicious or malicious one, usually brings up feelings of revulsion. Yet, hag originally meant “Holy Woman,” queen of the dead, incarnate on earth.
Hag has no male form or counterpart. She is a diviner, a soothsayer, a woman of prophetic and oracular powers. The hedge was once considered the boundary between the “civilized” world and the wild keepers of primal mysteries. The Hag is She Who Straddles the Hedge.
Wild women have been called corrupt, depraved, immoral, sinful, wanton, and wicked. They live in a state of nature, not tamed or domesticated. They are unruly, ungovernable, visionary, savage and ferocious. These labels teach us to fear our power and deny our wisdom.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, “A good deal of literature on the subject of women’s power states that men are afraid of women’s power. I always want to exclaim, “Mother of God! So many women themselves are afraid of women’s power.” Divine feminine forces are vast and they are formidable.
Do not fear the hag who cackles.
Baba Yaga spoke to me the morning after the last TreeSisters’ New Moon call. She lives in a hut in the woods. She tells stories at the hearth. She speaks in mysteries.
Baba Yaga knows the priestesses at Delphi who planted the seeds, watered the plants and harvested the wheat. She bore witness to the fallow fields in Ireland and the battlefields full of blood spilled by men, not the blood of life, the life-giving dark womb mother of us all. She sent a message from our Mother:
We all came from mother, from wet blood and slime and placenta full of nourishment, breasts full of milk spilling over in joyous laughter.
Dry breasts and thin babies. No water. Why? What are you doing to me? When will you stop? The keening, the wail of the banshee, the shrieking wind. We frighten you and you hide your eyes in shame. Bow down before me. Stand up before me. Hold out your hands. Receive my gifts, not of myrrh and frankincense, the gift of life, blood and milk. Fill your cups.
The oracle has spoken with her wizened crooked finger pointing at you. Yes, cringe and cower before my might. I can shake you loose, throw you off. Drown and freeze you. My breasts are drying up. My womb no longer bleeds. The crone will deny you life if you must continue. It’s your choice.
The Implacable One isn’t speaking sweetly to us. She’s warning us to take action, even if they are small steps. On the New Moon call, a TreeSister mentioned she didn’t have a website or the resources to plant trees. She is “being now more than doing.” Not doing is a form of action as well. Not buying toxic food, not using plastic shopping bags, those are actions too.
Expressing gratitude, listening to the calls, caring for each other, and offering support; these are all actions. Restraint, refraining, reframing, generating lovingkindness towards the planet and its inhabitants, all steps.
The crone stage and the knowledge of the ancient ones has been obliterated by our youth-worshipping culture, yet within us is a connection to the Divine Dark. We need compassionate and loving discussions about aging. We must celebrate the depths of wisdom that come from living a long time.
If we answer the Crone’s call, She will guide us through our darkest nights. Claim the wisdom of the Elders, acknowledge their insight, and greet them without fear or aversion. If we do, we will become the Wise, Holy Women we seek to know and understand.
I’m a mature woman, a crone, a hag, a wise woman. I call on my inner strength and courage, even when I feel moments of fear. I step into my cone of power and raise my arms to the moon. I stand with bare feet on the cool, damp earth. I draw down the silvery light to infuse myself with power. I am both the ground and the sky. I am the warp and the weft of the tapestry of my life.
My website, loranhills.com, is dedicated to shifting the paradigm on aging. I have a secret Facebook group, Skin Deepest, for women who want to explore their crone energy. Friend me on FB and ask to be added to the group if you’d like to join or sign up for my newsletter on the website to receive information about upcoming e-courses designed for sublimely brazen aging women.
TreeSisters’ envisions elements within our organizational unfolding as a starfish. Each leg of the starfish holds the whole of its DNA. If you cut a leg off, it can survive and grow a new starfish. If you cut a leg off of the starfish it still survives. This is a potent concept we have adapted from The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations as we seek to become a network led organization.
During our previous three New Moon calls, TreeSisters introduced the Starfish Model in the form of three conversations. One conversation is about the power of the Wise Woman archetypal energy and how to bring that wisdom into the core of TreeSisters. The second starfish conversation is how individual women can bring their gifts into TreeSisters as a way of collaboratively achieving our mission.
The third conversation is an inquiry into how the vast array of teachers, facilitator, and coaches within the network can become a co-creative element within our new non-profit business model.
In 2015 we are shifting from being a charity that requests donations to support our mission to being a charity that offers educational on-line courses as a means of both achieving our mission and funding our organization. Our ultimate vision is that our courses will fund our organizational costs, thereby enabling us to channel all of our monthly network donations straight to the trees.
On March 9th we had our first in a series of the Instructor Starfish calls in which we created our container of inquiry around the following question:
In what ways can TreeSisters tap into the brilliance and passion of our network’s vast array of facilitators, coaches, and instructors as we co-create a new “educational services for fees” business model?
Clare began the call with a meditation around the educational matrix that TreeSisters has created as a guide to what makes a TreeSisters course unique. There are six major elements that create the TreeSisters course signature and that contribute directly to the emergence of nature-based feminine leadership.
These elements represent the qualities that can be counted on when you sign up for any TS course (whether it is one of our custom courses or a course offered by one of our partners or the network):
- Themes that grow and strengthen a woman’s root connection to Self, Sisterhood, Soul/Spirit, and Nature
- Body based facilitation where possible to strengthen embodied listening, intuition and creativity – experiential journeys as opposed to talk shops
- Consciously seek to build relationship between women and create a shared experience of sisterhood
- Celebrating the feminine principle/feminine emergence and the uniqueness of woman while celebrating the masculine principle and men
- Consistent focus on self as part of nature and learning through/from nature
- Invoking the New Story
- Has a positive vibration that inspires and builds the energetic field of the New Story
This matrix really hit home for the instructors on the call. We all believe it really highlights what makes TreeSisters unique in the transformative education field. After some meaningful sharing about this matrix, we shifted our dialogue and explored three particular questions that come under our key inquiry:
- In what ways can we create win/win relationships in which TreeSisters hosts courses that make great teachers’ work available to our entire network whilst also fundraising directly to cover our organizational costs?
- What would need to be in place so that instructors would be inspired to partner with TreeSisters as a means of actively building and maintaining TreeSisters while promoting their work to a wider network?
- In what ways can TreeSisters support aligned courses and instructors within our network that are not directly part of our official organizational offerings?
This first Instructor Starfish call is only the beginning of catalyzing a network wide dialogue that seeks to bring our entire network into our core vision and to be co-creators with us.
I will be posting the harvesting from our calls, but in the meantime, if you have any thoughts, ideas, or comments about this, please post them here in the blog’s comment section and let’s begin a digital starfish dialogue together.
(If you would like to be added to the Instructor Starfish mailing list please email firstname.lastname@example.org , subject line: Instructor Starfish, and request that you be added.)
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.