Monday, 26 November 2012


Best sidekick ever.

See that first sentence in my last post? This one:

"The core practise of the art of wildness is, I've decided, to let my body move." 

Well that jumped up and bit me on the bum. To cut a long, shameful story shortish, during the last week I've been reminded that my daughter needs to let her body move too. Needs. One way of describing how she behaves naturally is Sensory Seeking Behaviour. It isn't a 'Special' Need but it is a strong one in her, albeit without any of the other things that can sometimes appear along with it. It is not unusual in kids who have spent time in institutions, and as good as we believe Snow's orphanage to be, it wasn't one-on-one or well-equipped.

I'd realised that this may be an issue for her when she was younger but as she did so well at school I just let it go. Sigh. Not knowing that she was suffering emotionally and physically. How did we unravel this sorry tale? Well she told me - again and again - that school (and, it transpires, home) gives her 'tummy ache'. After a long time spent messing about with food, amounts of food, liquids and bodily functions, I finally woke up and heard what her body was saying.

This was so liberating for my girl. She is happy again - and she had not been recently. She is wild and she is happy. And so the Universe has brought me to my teacher again. The one I was first called to in 2001, five years before I saw her face. "So you want to live in my wildness and set yourself free, eh? Okay then, let's see how that really looks. Let's see how you deal with the lack of peace and the mess and the reality of 'wild'! Have at it."

I was responsible for listening to her in ways other than the obvious and I didn't. She does not have the awareness yet to translate her body's voice into words. Both these things are going to change and, here in it's earliest days, this blog will change too. It's going to be about about both of us learning the art of wildness.

Clearly, I'm starting from a position of ignorance and naivety. It could get messy around here.

Monday, 19 November 2012

making space

The core practise of the art of wildness is, I've decided, to let my body move. I spend long hours at a desk or laptop and yet, I'm not doing that moving. Sure I walk the dogs every day and run up and downstairs in our four storey, tiny cottage but I had visions of myself running like the wind down country lanes celebrating my wolf-spirit, hoop-dancing in the garden to a hip soundtrack in a boho-stylee or even sweating it out with a fitball and weights. Yeah...not happening.

Yesterday I was hijacked by pain from a sinus headache. As a migraine sufferer I can tell you, give me the migraine and take the sinusses, please. I'd tensed up so much as a reaction that I just felt locked all over. Also powerless and angry that my weekend had been ruined.

I eased myself into my favourite yoga pose, child's pose, balasana. I do it with my arms stretched out above my head, not at my side. It is a resting pose that stretches out the back among other things. I felt knots pulling apart and also - as usual in this position - a deep sense of surrender. Not in a submissive way, but in a grateful, releasing, safe way. And my body began to speak to me.

Last summer I took a series of yoga classes for the first time. A friend and I found a lovely teacher of Anusara, heart-centred yoga and went weekly for some months. Having never been a yoga-type, it was a revelation. I remember saying that if I could do a yoga class everyday I would feel like a goddess. It's true.

Sadly this was all just months before Friendgate and soon the studio and teachers underwent some changes. I could no longer afford to take a weekly class and so I stopped.

Last night, as I lay in balasana, surrendering, my body woke up and told me that I need yoga. That it needs yoga. Gentle, for now, because I've tied it in tight knots and nothing is able to stretch too deeply. But yoga lets my body express itself. Be wild. The voice was forceful, pleading.

My teacher taught us that yoga makes space in our bodies and thus in our lives and I witnessed this again and again. So here's my start point: five minutes yoga a day (unless I feel drawn to do more).  Some easy cow-cat movement/chakravakasana and then some time breathing deep into child's pose/balasana. let's see where that conversation takes me.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

animal healing

I'm here teaching myself the art of wildness.

I need to have a good element of 'wildness' in my life. I need time in it and with it. That way, I'm better when I'm domesticated. I don't get resentful and stir-crazy and snarly. That wildness isn't necessarily big, spacious, tooth and claw wilderness, it just needs to be outdoors (preferably), natural, unshackled, multi-sensory, slow, organic, non-digital. It needs to be mostly me on my own but not always. I need animals around me to help keep me present.

In meditation, my guide told me that I need to remember how to shapeshift and do it regularly. Be in my body in its wildness. Let that part of me be expressed and allowed to run. I'm all up in my head and my soul and that is essential but my poor 'soft animal''s been held captive by the very spirit it so lovingly carries.

One of the best ways for me to let my body be in the driving seat is to use my senses. This photo makes my mind and spirit react with memories and stories but for my body it's all about the senses. There's a woody, almost peppery taste that floods through my nose and rests at the back of my throat; there's the feel of the leaves on my skin - damp, cold and just losing their crispness; the springiness, still, of the grass beneath them; the sounds of them rustling against each other and the tapping of a nuthatch feeding on the birdtable nearby. The colour, purposefully dampened onscreen but so vivid in real life, like cold flames almost overwhelming my eyes. And most of all, the feeling of edges blurring. Of the energy, still strong in these fallen leaves, moving effortlessly between me and them, perpetuating Life.

Monday, 12 November 2012


This is something I posted elsewhere in July 2011. I guess they came back.

the tale of a dog who is not gold

Once there was a dog born the colour of gold. Bred to be the companion of emperors in their palaces, the guardian of temple treasures. In time, to be the carrier of golden babies for the benefit of her keepers. But the Dog Spirit does not recognise palaces, temples or gold and without truth in her world the golden dog faded. The keepers sold away her babies and sick for the lack of a whole life, she lost her golden fur and her skin wept for all her losses. The keepers would keep her no longer and left her at a place of wood and mud, howls and broken hearts.

However, the people in this place knew about the Dog Spirit and knew that it was the true treasure. They knew what it needed. They found other people who knew their own Dog Spirit and recognised the bond between two and four-leggeds.

With her new kin, the dog who had been gold went to a home of stone and wood, love and open places. Slowly she felt the return of the Dog Spirit and the coming of a whole life, and her fur returned. Only now it was changed.

It is no longer golden. Now she is the colour of a rich earth and sun-ripened crops. Of seeds falling home to the dirt and of morning sun on the bark of trees. Watch closely or you might miss her as she moves freely beyond palaces and temples. Now running in the sacred places of dirt and claws, leaves and feathers. She is Nature, she is Wild and the Dog Spirit shines bright through her eyes.