Letting Go of Limiting Beliefs

4B0F37C3-A42C-481F-BD30-71C67019E8D6Yesterday I was called to do a spontaneous letting go ritual on the land with a friend.
It came to me suddenly at dawn when I was taking some questions out for a walk and I found myself drawn to a particular eucalyptus tree.

It reminded me of an experience a had last year with another eucalyptus. It was on the first weekend of my ecotherapy certification with Ariana Candell of the Earthbody Institute, & we were doing a south shield somatic exercise.

At that time, I had particular hang-ups around body & movement; it was one reason I chose to study with her. I had particular stories and beliefs around, such as “I’m not a mover or a dancer” or “my body is ____” “my sexuality is ____”.

As a result, I was having difficulty dropping into the experience, then I saw all these strips of eucalyptus bark at my feet, then looked up & saw them falling off the trunk, while the upper branches danced in the wind and the new flowers were emerging.

I was just moved viscerally and it was one of my first real conscious experiences of nature as mirror, nature and psyche as co-partners in expression.

Everything alive sheds the old to make room for growth and the new.

I knew I had to strip away beliefs and attitudes that I’d carried for too long and were no longer serving. It resulted in me being much more comfortable in my body, and in the poem ‘Peel Away the Bark Of Yesterday’.

But back to the present: I knew I wanted to do an intentional ceremony and my friend was up for it, so we created a circle with bark and limbs, then wrote out limiting beliefs on madrone leaves, read them one by one aloud to each other, crumbled them, and then threw them behind us.

BYE-BYE!

This time the limiting ideas I stripped away had to with my relationship to money, family, that love meant I had to abandon myself, that I’m not good with kids, & and ideas about how I have to live my relationship with lover nature.

How liberating!!

We both felt energized by the experience by making room for expansion. This is a type of activity we use in Wild Nature Heart programs. But you can do them yourself—I highly recommend these sort of spontaneous self-ceremonies done with intention. Listen to your intuition, get out of your own way, and honor your soul by trusting it knows what it needs.

At the Trailhead

14CEDB17-03F8-4212-9BBE-F35F6239BF01The trailhead can be a magnificent moment. It is a threshold of sorts—the threshold into the unknown. A crossing from one world to another. An excitement and curiosity runs the blood hot regardless of the weather. What beauties and mysteries does the trail hold? How will this rewild me, what aspects of myself will the mountain help me re-member, re-claim?

The threshold also marks our trepidations, our fears, for we know we will be changed by the trail, by the mountain—we will return a different person. With new gifts, new perspectives, yes, but also perhaps new scratches and bruises. The trail may stretch us into a different shape. Truth be told, it is a risk to set off into the unknown. Am I up for climbing this mountain? Is my body capable? Am I prepared? What about my old life, habits, patterns—which of those will the mountain kill off? They may be silly habits and patterns and ways of seeing, but they are my silly habits and patterns and ways of seeing. They are comfortable.

But you cross anyway, because you’re not going for just comfort, but for the Big Life, your Whole Self, because your whole life up to this point has prepared you for the journey. You may not know what is around the next switchback, but you know you will greet it with all you have—you are on the right path. It might not be THEIR path, but it is YOURS. You step from the trailhead onto the trail, with dedicated feet and an eager heart.

AT THE DAWN OF TIME

111B8BFC-EE21-4D35-A6B8-7E5D5AABCFB1National Writing Month DAY 30 (Final Day!!)
AT THE DAWN OF TIME
(Word Count: 1045)

In the distance looms Mt. Diablo. Not as shadow, but as guardian. Diablo–but that’s the colonizer word. The Chochenyo Ohlone call it Tuyshtak, which can mean ‘at the dawn of time.’ I learned this at the Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival from Vincent Medina, a local Muwekma Ohlone poet. He is a leader in reviving the traditional language, & now a co-owner of the new Ohlone Cafe in so-called Berkeley.

What a difference in meaning of those two words: Devil and Dawn.

Tuyshtak is the roof of the East Bay and I can view it from the roof of my home, which is a madrone- and oak-lined ridge above a canyon full of bay laurel, horsetails, flowering currants, poison oak (I call it guardian oak), & redwoods, after which the park is named.

Perhaps we should start calling it by its pre-colonial name. Perhaps all names should be decolonized as we re-sacralize the land. As we re-dream our relationsip to the world-than-human world out of which we emerge.

How ironic I find a deeper connection to the land and indigenous history & a deeper commitment to decolonizing work as I squat illegally on the land in a local public park.

But aren’t we all settlers?

I feel we’ve lost something. Perhaps on some level we all know we’ve lost something. I am dreaming into living/doing/being a new-old way. I want to re-member. I want to re-connect to those ancient pulses in our bloods & bones. I want to re-wild & re-set. I yearn for something real. I want to breathe in & out the Deep Be-Longing.

Something in me is dawning. I don’t pretend I’m living some ancient lifestyle, w/ my REI gear and solar Luci lights. But I find that the more I befriend the trees & water & birds here, the more I greet the dawn, the more I slow down & LISTEN, the more that beautiful dream flows out of me/through me & becomes the real thing—the thing that doesn’t lie, more real than the bad dream of this dominant/dominator culture.

Perhaps this is the beginning of what is meant by right belonging & right relationship–and I find there’s a depth and peace in it. I vow to keep listening. (Vulnerable Mountain Heart)
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For #NaNoWriMo2018, we (Katie and Ryan @wildnatureheart) are each writing our memoirs, our Wild Nature Heart stories so-to-speak, sharing a glimpse of our progress throughout November. We really believe what the organization says: the world needs your story! Everyone has a story to tell—What’s your Wild Nature Heart? We look forward to sharing this journey of vulnerability and self-discovery.
Ryan and Katie
#mywildnatureheartstory

SWEET BEAUTY IN THE BREAKDOWN

3A5E33B5-6B66-4E46-B63F-66BE47646957National Writing Month DAY 29
SWEET BEAUTY IN THE BREAKDOWN
(Word Count: 645)

The mountain is calling me. It is calling me naked into the exposed light, where the vast heat beckons me to crack like scorched soil ready to receive.

I myself must be empty of everything first—Empty of food, empty of distraction, empty of ego, empty of story.

Something in me gives assent. Ok—I’ll dive into the Great Inyo Sea, my name for this strange hybrid mountain-high desert-ocean labyrinth. Ok—I’ll stretch myself from horizon to horizon, until my soul image pops out in high relief, like shards of obsidian from the dry earth floor.

Somehow I already know: all the worlds to which I don’t belong will die in this high desert. I know I will leave them as offerings to the land.

The cracking begins. The mud lake. The mud at the bottom of my being. The shell of my false identities. My fortressed heart.

Oh it hurts—what gorgeous pain is this?

Oh, why is there such sweet beauty in the breakdown?

(Vulnerable Mountain Heart)
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For #NaNoWriMo2018, we (Katie and Ryan @wildnatureheart) are each writing our memoirs, our Wild Nature Heart stories so-to-speak, sharing a glimpse of our progress throughout November. We really believe what the organization says: the world needs your story! Everyone has a story to tell—What’s your Wild Nature Heart? We look forward to sharing this journey of vulnerability and self-discovery.
Ryan and Katie
#mywildnatureheartsto

THE WOUND AND NOT THE STORY OF THE WOUND

desert2National Writing Month DAY 28: THE WOUND AND NOT THE STORY OF THE WOUND
(Word Count: 1435)

From that high place it appeared a lake, pinkish-white and round with promise—a beautiful mark on the land walled in by red rock and a giant sky.

It asserted itself on me, drew me like a fish fishing the man thrashing.

You’d think a part of me would know about mirages in the desert.

But I needed to touch the wound and not the story of the wound.

So I began the descent. With no dragons or wizards, no wise old ones or magic amulets. Only lizards and a relentless voice that carried my heart ahead of my legs.

My sole companions: Death and all my loves. In our work it is called a Death Lodge, a self-ceremony created to have those final conversations as if you really were dying.

Mine took the form of a walking death lodge. We said the unspoken things that needed to find a purchase in the open air, so it could finally float on up and meet the sun.

“To far, too far.”

“No. Go the distance. This is what you came for.”

“This is foolish.”

“This is the end. This is the beginning.”

Which powers in me were having this debate?

I climbed down, sliding over sandstone, through shadows and old stories, found and gave forgiveness, empty of stomach but full of purpose.

It was too late to turn back now—I must touch the wound, not the story of the wound. I must find the gift inside its pain.

I arrived at noon, my thirst stretched out like dune devils as the sun hovered an inch from my forehead like a rune foretelling troubling things.

My feet found cracked mud—it was no lake. It was not pink, but white like a skeleton—dusty evidence of the gash.

The only water came from my face, forced by the startling realization: the stories, my god how much I’d wasted with stories of the wound, and not the wound itself.

I blessed it with the final tear. I blessed it!! Thank you sacred wound.

Dry and new, I turned towards the arduous ascent with a swollen tongue and a swollen heart.

And I ascended hand over fist with my companions: Death and all my loves, including myself.
(Vulnerable Mountain Heart)

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For #NaNoWriMo2018, we (Katie and Ryan @wildnatureheart) are each writing our memoirs, our Wild Nature Heart stories so-to-speak, sharing a glimpse of our progress throughout November. We really believe what the organization says: the world needs your story! Everyone has a story to tell—What’s your Wild Nature Heart? We look forward to sharing this journey of vulnerability and self-discovery.
Ryan and Katie
#mywildnatureheartstory

DESERT VOWS

8D0A3FBA-1B67-44A3-B6BA-AC1CAC6AF53ENational Writing Month DAY 26:
DESERT VOWS
(Word Count: 879)

The ceremony really begins when tears of remorse fall into the desert dust, Like a long-awaited thunderstorm releasing all the heavy, old stories. And it ends with tears of joy swelling like the waxing moon.

This is how Life committing to itself looks on my face.

Why some take a wedding walk
and others a funeral march is not for humans to know.

Anointed with essential oils and wearing a desert gown, others hold hands with themselves while carrying a bouquet of sagebrush and mormon tea.

But me? I take a tougher path. I don’t know why. I anoint myself with blood and sweat—wear a torn mountain cloak, and with one hand hold the hand of death and with the other hold a bouquet of heart-shaped rocks.

The Great Inyo mountain sun shines on both with equal regard—the great witness to the vows I am making…Perhaps they are the same for us all:

Thou shall not abandon thyself.

Do you take this Beloved, lovely creature of the earth to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part?

And with an exchange known only in the bones of the land and the wellspring of the heart the Great Yes is born once again within me.
(Vulnerable Mountain Heart)
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For #NaNoWriMo2018, we (Katie and Ryan @wildnatureheart) are each writing our memoirs, our Wild Nature Heart stories so-to-speak, sharing a glimpse of our progress throughout November. We really believe what the organization says: the world needs your story! Everyone has a story to tell—What’s your Wild Nature Heart? We look forward to sharing this journey of vulnerability and self-discovery.
Ryan and Katie
#mywildnatureheartstory