I love that the word Centred, in the dictionary it means to be “well balanced”, for me these words have very different connotations. The word “Well” refers to an old and ancient belief that women where Well keepers. not just attending to the water springs from within the Earth or distributing healing waters, but they were keeping us well. The midwives, the nurses, the “Goodwives” are all titles that have been used to describe women that looked after our well being. Women of today are still all these things. They are the Well Keepers of the families, the community and they are holding full time employment, caring for their elders and walking the dog late at night. I am not detracting here the contributions of Men. I am recognising the terminology referring to Women throughout the ages.
So are the Women Well? I have been a keen follower of the Red Tent communities for some years and the conversations are still leading to how the world views are continuing to show us the same news headlines. They still report on salaries to the largest workforce of women is underpaid, over worked and struggling. We forget that women in nursing makes up 88% of the overall staffing, that nurses are frontline staff in a Pandemic. Then there is women’s pensions, still up for debate as many have been short changed into 2021. The Well Women of years gone by are still the Keepers of Today, but there are age old controversies that continue.
To Balance means “evenly distribute”, in terms of health, wealth, and responsibility and so on. When things are in balance in alignment that is when flow of all these elements are equal. If distribution is equal then the load is weighed out, everything is just, right and stable. For Women to be Well Balanced, there is still thedistribution of All things to be considered.
How do you feel today? Are you “well balanced” and in your flow?
There are many weights we carry and many emotions around the family, community and our own self care that need up holding in the day to day. To be Centred is to be in alignment to yourself first and then into the world feeling energetically, stable at least. Sometimes the feeling if not the weight can be address. So where do women go to gather themselves, talk, be heard and be witnessed. We don’t gather at the well-springs anymore, so where is the modern day well keepers place?
Can you feel it? the energies of the solstice where high vibe people. On the 14th of December I experienced so many synchronicities it was like magic had landed on the planet. I feel I am now searching for a deeper meaning and understanding to this world of ours, this Oneness we hold as the earth beneath our feet. I feel like a new name is growing. I understand that Mother Earth and Gaia are names that have been used and I like them, but I feel Grandmother Earth is coming up as an appropriate relationship description. Yes, I said, relationship. If we hold our Earth our Planet in sacred reciprocity isn’t this Earth a Wise Elder after all?
I moved house at the beginning of this year so you could argue that I have had plenty of time to get to know my place and my space this year. I did all the usual clearing and cleansing of a new home with incense, sound, clearing the hearth and the modern day ritual of decorating the walls. But something was missing….
I grow up in this part of the world and you would think that is enough to create a sense of belonging. But industrial towns have a different story. My grandparents like many, came here for work making me the second generation of my family to be born to this town. So you see I don’t have lineage here, so does that make me feel like I belong? How do we create a sense belonging?
I think it is a complex set of rites that take place over time. This involves relationships not just to people, but to the land. It is an investment of time, connection and emotions. Life experiences foster a sense of relationship at pivotal moments both within ourselves and with a place. The relationship we develop with the land can be the place we go to express those complex emotions, whether that is the physical home, garden or the town. It can be that favourite place where we take a walk that sooths us. A path that we foster comes to be familiar. Just like a meeting of two minds who become friends, the land becomes the friend as we walk a repetitive path. In this communion we take in the land marks, its contours, and changing aspects in the year. As we walk the thoughts, the words, our emotions are expressed inwardly and outwardly as our feet caress the land beneath us.
At one time we would have had rites and ceremonies that did this purposefully and we would have held the land in sacred reciprocity. When the land becomes sacred to us then we have reached a sense of belong as we feel a connection and value the communion with the land not just to the land. I feel this is when belonging becomes anchored. The words that come to mind when considering anchoring into a place as home are, “what have you planted here?” Is it a deep connection, energetically, emotionally, historically,…..or in reverence and respect as keeper to the land, place and space?
To anchor into a state of belonging is when we feel at home to the land and within ourselves. To truly feel like we belong, is to develop the same state of a relationship to our inner selves.
Belonging is more of a decision to be,
To be home within and where I Am,
I Am home.
For me I feel it is both the internal and external sense of being. One can’t be achieved without the other. Believe me when I say if the outer world is not fitting, the inner one is disturbed. So for me the land and the inner landscape are both important in unison. “What have you planted?” becomes a question of presence of the inner landscape and the outer landscape.
Last month I took up a FaceBook challenge, a Quest. The idea was to create a journey with a bag of tools and set off to embrace a sacred space. I found myself under the large spruce tree in my garden, on the bench, in the shade. A favourite summer spot, this time with my bag of tools. The idea of this Quest was to carve some self-care time and to re-evaluate how time is spent in everyday existence. What we do, what we love, what we have forgotten. What is joy? What is self-love? And fun when we put it into alone time.
I found myself sat in front with a sketch pad and pencils. As I sat each day I just allowed, I fell into this silent space and surrendered to the pencil and paper. I was completely immersed in a dimension of calm. I was captivated by the subtle hues, the absence of thought and the silence.
What I set out to do was find a direction, a journey, a quest. What I found was the pause button, to still life in chaos and hit mute. A state of polarities appeared. The chaos of challenges in life and a sense of stillness. The state of polarities attracting for the higher perspective. I didn’t find this great journey or adventure in the planning but what I did find was an inner state …. the eye within the storm….
Or the profound words “what you are seeking is already looking” (St. Francis) now I understand…..seeking calm amid the storm ….. A state of being. The eye within the eye……
This morning I heard voices. I clung to the table in front of the window and eyed out into the daylight as I saw two people walking briskly by, I remember that, they walked side by side. I froze, they laughed, as they snaked the path into the greenness and were gone. It seems so long since I fixed my sights on other people. They were dressed for hiking with sturdy foot wear, like mine, I remember them stuck in the mud.
You know I wasn’t even sure at this moment that my voice actually still worked, I hadn’t spoke for so long. I hadn’t even talked out loud to myself, not a word, not a hum, a song, a phrase, nothing. I’m now aware that I need to be ready, I need to rehearse my vocal cords.
I have been following a set routine to last the day, finding comfort in the conformity. The cabin now seems familiar and I feel I have come to know every floor board, the ones that creak, where the drafts come in, where the sun rises, the sound of the birds, the stream running at the back of the cabin and the wind and the sound it makes brushing the leaves.
Something is not right within me. I see the world outside, people walking, talking and laughing, I stay quiet within, I hold my breath within, I keep myself within. There is fear within these walls and fear outside of these walls. I no longer have the presence of comfort. I feel I can not rest. So why do I stay hidden when I want so much to be found, to be rescued?
The fire is a necessity for warm but it plays on the walls and disturbs me. I keep the back of the chair against the wall and my feet up. My breathing is that of a creature in the forest running from a predator. Every rib over extending, aching from back bone circling to breast with a final stab at the sternum. My stomach tightens pulling inwards bringing a secondary duller pain in the core of me. All muscles from feet to throat pulled to contraction even my neck gripped so tight it was painful to swallow.
The wind, the leaves, the rocking of the branches above the cabin all as if just behind me. I turn sharply. “Nothing, think, think outside not near, it’s all outside not in here. Wind, whistling behind me, not in hear, outside. I wake an hour or so later. “What happened”? I am tightly wrapped in my blanket, I listen again. Chest tightens, round two begins.
I think this is day four. I found treasure today, I feel that this cabin is giving me favours. I was sure I checked everything everywhere when I first arrived but granted I must have been so tired. Anyway… this gift appeared on the floor under the window. Dusty and brown matching the wooden floor boards, no wonder I had missed it, especially as no light enters under the window at any point day or night.
Back to the point… I found a notebook and pencil like a shopping list notebook, small and thin but what a find. I thought how great I can log my days, like a captain’s log. This will give me so much to tell them when I am found, all the questions, I will be all over the place trying to remember. I’ll start to track back put down the first day, the second, till now.
The strangest thing happened today. I sat outside after first collecting the water and berries. I just looked at my place, like really looked, I don’t think I have ever been so visual before. I now only have time on my hands, only the days pass so I just seem to notice the green. It’s amazing I know you will think I am going mad, but everything is so green. I won’t write more now, wasting paper.
I hear the birds at sunset as they gather themselves high in the trees. In the cabin the light fades from hues of orange, to blues to black, mesmerising me, enticing me to close my eyes. In the last light I push the table in front of the door, position the chair ninety degrees, my arm on the table top, I rest my head, my eyelids too heavy to lift…all is dark anyway. The cabin is now my shelter, a square shack, old and tired, draughty too. I have not heard the door handle rattling at night so I now sleep some hours in the dark. The wall opposite the door is made of stone and after pulling boards away from the centre to reveal a fire grate, I can light a small fire. In the grate was a tin pan, a cup and a spoon and camping flint. My feet are still so cold and I use the blanket I found here to wrap them at night. But they are so terribly cold. The fire produces some heat but it loses to the draughts eventually. The floor is made of wooden boards and the spaces between the slats means only the chair can be slept on, but dawn breaks with sun, always the sun.
My days have been spent venturing outside of the cabin. I wake to the sound of the birds, such a noise…and hunger pains. Only a few feet away is a stream, just across the path, a safe distance to collect water I heat in the pan and drink. I found berry bushes at the side of the shack too, probably planted by the previous owner. I can survive on this for a few nights as I am sure people will be looking for me by now so if I just stay… they will come. Occasionally at midday I think I hear voices, like on that first day. I am unable to climb that embankment it seems too steep and wet from the rain. People are close… I know it, so it will only be a day maybe and I will be found. I feel I need to remain here near the shack, to wander into the woods again would be so foolish. I would only enter the muddy paths again and the rain would purge down… like that first day. I am resolved…resolved to being found. I have no map, no compass to find my way back …I can’t be stranded again like that frozen day. No, staying here is the only option now, soon they will come…I know it.
I hear voices and look skyward. The light through the leaves streams yellow into my vision. I squint, the hiss of the rain has stopped. I hear birds and movement from a subtle breeze waffling the greenery. The path I came along is adjacent to a banking of terraced trees. In the darkness it looked dense and dark. In the skimming light I can now see the boarder of the trees at a high level.
“Maybe there is a wall under the foliage? I definitely hear sounds, speech or breeze? I don’t know.”
I am unable to move without pain. My feet feel as if all circulating blood had been replaced by ice. I wriggle my toes stabbing axon to axon. Cold wet and fragile, I move, yes… I move one foot with a pained gasp, my lips splutters the wetness out into the air from my soaked face. A deep inhale and the other foot is free. I flip sideways to a more solid area of grown grass. My thighs ache into my knees and this sudden movement races into my pelvis shooting metal rods into my hips. I stop, stand and bend the knees and then straighten completely to free the cramped joints.
“Do they know I’m down here are they coming to rescue me?”
I stand for what seems like an hour. I have no way of knowing how long I have been ridged into this mud. Now more alert, I have kick started a powerful force of adrenaline which now arrows through my veins. My mouth wet, now dry, tongue engorged, lips pitted and crack, I taste blood.
I’m alert, my senses have gone from exhaustion to hypersensitivity, now a different trembling is upon my muscles. There is a loud drumming in my ears, percussion on my chest wall. My eyes now are failing to see through light and give false double images, I try to blinking rapidly to regain my sight. My wet skin now pins as pores heat up the more I move. I feel my bare feet change to full dexterity but I stumble. The forest floor feels like pine needles that stab into the soles of my waking feet. The smell is becoming overpowering as if someone has thrown a damp pine branch onto a fire and the scent is carried into my brain and my nose is aching all the way through into my sinuses with the pungent poison.
I hurry, bent over, scurrying, up ahead I see a shed,
“I know this forest” and without hesitation I heavily fist the latch and shove the door open.
One room, one single room inside, one table one chair. There is a blanket on the chair as if left just for me. Someone… knew…. I was coming.