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Alex Douglas-Kane shares her experiences and understanding of Discover Nature Awareness

Monday, 22 December 2008

Walk your walk and talk your talk...

Track as our Ancestors did.

With Spirit,




And Honour for all things.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

My response to a thread on a forum entitled 'where have all the men gone'.

Hi Guys.

This has been an interesting thread some very relevant points have been made and some not so very relevant. I would like to bring it back to the original point by simply summarising this thread and I trust we will all see the point, which is if you can help no matter how small then why not take the risk and reach out to those who can personally benefit from your experience in order to help them find their way back to their path.

There are four people in a team.

Their names are Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done. Although Anybody could have done it, Everybody was asked to do it, but eventually Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because the job had been given to Everybody. Everybody knew that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realised that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Where have all the men gone? I found one...

A while ago I wrote a small piece on ‘Where have all the men gone’ and posted it on a forum, it was regarding our young men of today and how they may have lost their way and what can we as men do to help and our we as men failing them.

The response I got to it was quite unbelievable to say the least only a few people understood what I was trying to say some of which were women. The majority tried in various forms to absolve responsibility by taking it either personally or handing it over to the powers that be or coming up with some crazy suggestions like ‘gas them all’.

It was not intended to be a personal attack on anyone rather a general statement about us men asking way it was that we are not stepping up and teaching our young men what it means to be a man.

I may be completely wrong here in which case I apologise, but I do feel that we (men) are failing our youth today it is not just down to the government, youth organisations or even women to guide and support our young men. I believe it is down to us men and it does not require a lot from us either. I would like to compliment and congratulate those of you who are doing something towards guiding our young men of today of which I am sure there are a few.

I would like to introduce you to a good buddy of mine some of you may know him, namely J.P. (John Paul). J.P. has decided to do try and make a difference and he has reached out and grabbed the bull by the horns. He has a young man under his charge and since working with him he has been able to encourage to try different approaches to how he leads his life, it is early days yet but already he has stared to change things in his life, even some of his mates are coming onboard because of the way J.P. is approaching it. He is trying to create a healthy community of which the young men he encounters can take ownership of; thereby they are making the choices and doing the work with his guidance. This is a shared experience which in my view is a more holistic approach rather than standing there and telling them were they are going wrong for example in programmes like ‘Boot Camps’.


When J.P. entered into the mentoring programme in Essex, during his induction he became very aware that out of the twenty or so volunteers there, that there were only two men of which he was one, he has just informed me that the other man has since left the programme.

J.P. believes, as do I that our society is rapidly losing or has lost compassion and respect for nature's wonders and that it is up to us as responsible adults to help make our world a better place. Providing bushcraft tutoring for youth groups such as the Scouts, Guides and Army and Air Cadets and for MIND and more recently the Open Door mentoring scheme, J.P. is already making a difference and I salute him and respect him in what he is doing.

His priority is to guide our youth closer to nature, by helping individuals from every walk of life to step back from the stresses of the modern world. He encourages their understanding and respect for Mother Nature not by just teaching them how to survive, but how to thrive and spend time comfortably in the outdoors, being able to observe the daily pattern of nature's wonders as they unfold. J.P. uses nature and bushcraft as a therapeutic tool and as a volunteer for Open Door which helps children in care, young offenders and potential offenders to deal with the problems that today's society throws at them, by teaching them Nature's Ways.

This is close to JP's heart and he always has time and a helping hand for any enthusiastic budding naturalist or Bush-crafter. So, if you need some help or would like to know more about mentoring why not give him a call I know he would love to hear from you.

This charity is based in Grays and according to J.P. they are in desperate need for male role models for mentors, so if you're Male and live in Thurrock or any other area for that matter please contact them through the link above or why not give JP a call on 07927232152 or get in touch with your local volunteers organisation.

Since 1976 Open Door has been involved in many innovative projects in Thurrock, including a low cost accommodation project for young people, Information and Advice sessions, school Outreach and Youth-line to name but a few. As a charity they rely on grants and donations to enable them to help the people they work with. Open Door employs 24 paid members of staff with a further 21 volunteers and Management Committee of 8. In 2005 Open Door provided help and support to over 13,500 people in Thurrock.

In conclusion I know that people have very busy lives today as mine is very busy also, however every little bit helps, helping for one hour can be just as important as a lifetime of volunteering, if you are able to help one young man to get themselves back on their path through some advice or shared life experience you have had.

I feel sure many people will disagree with me and that is your right just as it is my right to express my views and feelings, what I would say is this, why not turn your views into action. I would be very interested to hear about your experiences working with young people which I would be very happy to post on here for the inspiration of others.

Best wishes to you all and a safe journey.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Nature Awareness - Plant Meditation.

I thought that I would share with you the experiences of two people who were attending a rehab centre and who had taken part I a Nature Awareness session. Both had an experience with an individual leaf from the same dandelion, during a Plant Meditation. This is their account of that experience and how they related it to their addiction.

(Names & Dates have been changed to protect confidentiality)

*** *** ***

Mary (Government Official) Thursday 20th March 2008

At 14:00 hours on Thursday 20th March 2008 together with the group of about 18-20 people I joined in a plant meditation exercise with Geoff. We all sat round in a semi-circle and he explained the object of the exercise to us. We were asked to sit with our eyes close3d and both hands held out open in front of us, he would then make his way round to each person and place a part of a plant, any variety in each persons hand.

I recall to my left was Wendy and Leslie was sat on my right. He explained that when we felt the plant/leaf in out hand we were to concentrate and go through a thinking process of what type of plant, can I eat it, is it poisonous, etc.

As soon as I felt the leaf in my left hand I felt uncomfortable. I immediately did not feel safe with it and thought it was poisonous. I could hear Geoff saying things like ask the plant questions “are you good for me”? “Can I eat you”? He continued with, “Make the plant grow in front of you, see if you can climb into it, does it make you safe”.

I had negative thoughts about everything he was asking me to do; I can’t emphasis enough how uncomfortable I was holding this plant. After a while he asked everyone to open their eyes and for us to describe our feelings. When it came to my turn, I gave him an account of how unsafe and negative I felt with the plant. Geoff asked me what my addiction was and I explained it was alcohol (pacifically wine). He explained that I was holding a dandelion leaf which could be used in the process of making wine.

This statement had an impact on me but I did not till later how big it would become. I put the leaf in my pocket and the exercise finished about 15:30. Along with the group I made my way back to the main building. I had till 15:45 for my next step group. I was waiting around and a few times glanced at my watch that read 15:10 hours all of the sudden was aware of being alone, everyone had gone. I was approached by David who said the group were waiting in the lounge to do my step and it was 15:50.

My watch still showed 15:10 I was but did my step then had a sudden realisation that I still had the leaf in my pocket and a compulsion to get rid of it. I threw it in a bin I looked at my watch to see if I could get it going but it started immediately and I put it to the current time. It has worked well ever since.

I have thought deeply about the above incident and my interpretation is this. By throwing the leaf away I am accepting Steps 2 and believing that a higher power would return me to sanity i.e. believing the leaf to represent a bottle of wine. To me, my watch stopping from when I gained possession of the leaf and starting as soon as I threw it away means that with drink/alcohol I do not have a life but without it I do.

My mum died a year ago. I believe her to be my higher power. I believe she is watching over me and responsible for me having this wonderful spiritual experience. I have never experienced anything like this before and am thankful to Geoff for enabling me to receive this spiritual gift, to carry in my heart always.

*** *** ***

Val (Adolescent) Thursday 20th March 2008

My Re-birth.

It all started on the 3rd of April. It had started by doing something strange at first. I hugged a tree when I was feeling home sick. I got this warm feeling inside my body. My sadness was up lifted and I had high hopes for my recovery. About a week and half later I was walking a long the front lawn (in rehab) when I came across an egg.

This small, fragile blue egg gave me hope. I tried to think from my brain hard why Nature has given me this gift. I could not see why so I shut my head up and used my heart. When I started to do this it came to me. Could this symbolise the re-birth of recovery?? I thought I will keep it warm and explain to the group and Geoff my amazing experience. From that day on I knew I was lucky to know that nature was my higher power.

17th April nature group! I was really looking forward to the group because I always get so much out of it. I was feeling really happy and not taking things very seriously at the start. We all had to close our eyes and Geoff had to put a plant in the palm of our hands. Our task was to ask the plant if it was poisonous or not to us humans.

The plant I was given was a dandelion, but I did not know this at the time because I had to have my eyes closed. I got this really heavy feeling in my body, like I needed to help someone. But the plant gave me this feeling that I could eat it.

When we were aloud to open our eyes I expressed what had happened but I wasn’t sure who was asking me for help. I only realised after the group had told me that it was myself. This felt quite strange and I was worried because I find it so hard to ask for help.

Later on before I went to sleep, I put my egg, plant and shell that I received from peers on the floor and sat down. I thanked my higher power for helping me see sense. Also what I found out about the dandelion was that it had something to do with the liver and kidneys. This was very strange because in acupuncture the pin that went into the kidney spot on my ear sprung out and flew across the room. The kidney represents emotions, nervousness and trust and he liver pin was throbbing.

After my meditation with my higher power I went to sleep. I was trying to get to sleep there was this force that wanted me to let go. So I decided to wear my hair down the next day. This was quite a big thing because I haven’t worn my hair down in about four months.

I had a really positive day and I was really happy as well. Later on after dinner I went into my room because I wanted to do more meditating with my higher power and also to say thank you for my day.

As I got into my room I could not find my egg or plant, it had been thrown away in the bin by the cleaners. I was so devastated and I started crying and I could not control myself. I left my room and walked to the gym. I found a girl and told her what happened. She helped me to calm down, so I went back to my room and went to sleep.

All night I was thinking what I should say to the cleaners, so in the morning I went and found the cleaner who clean my room. I told her I was upset and that it was something that meant a lot to me and my recovery. She said she was sorry and that it was all that could be said.

Later on in the morning the girl who I went to see about my egg and plant was in the IT cafe. I said to her that we should go outside and relax before the next group she grabbed yesterday’s paper and went outside. When we sat down she turned to the back page.

And there was this picture:

I couldn’t believe my eyes!

I will explain what it means. (Picture to follow)

1 + 8 = 9 = Completion (egg cracking) & Transformation (angel)

Yoke = Surrender (yellow/orange)

Green = Emotion. I am done with crying.

This is my transformation my re-birth.

I was so amazed and felt connected again to my higher power.

The cleaners were the ones who threw my egg and dandelion away. This symbolises the cleaning out of my old behaviour. I feel very lucky because I have this strong connection with my higher power. I get a very warm feeling inside and I feel safe, this is how I know I am in touch with nature.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Heres one for the road...

Dance as though no one is watching
Love as though you've never been hurt before
Sing as though no one can hear you
and live as though Heaven is on Earth

Monday, 8 September 2008

Nature Awareness once again has helped someone to discover another side to their life...

Independent Study

Quite separate from my research a smaller study on ‘Meet a Tree’ was carried out by friends of mine, during several of their workshops, they facilitated three games on separate days, the number of participants taking part and the results of each game are as follows.

1st Game: three out of three participants found their trees. 2nd Game: two out of three found their trees and in the 3rd Game: two out of three found their trees.

The following observations were made during the 1st Game the participants (known as the Bricklayer, the Roofer and the Youngman). The Bricklayer pointed out his tree immediately. The Roofer had a near miss and then went on to find his tree later, without assistance. The Youngman wandered around the woodland for a while, before correctly identifying his tree. The Bricklayer apparently formed a real bond with his tree and returned to it many times throughout the weekend workshop. He stated that his experience of ‘Meet a Tree’ had made a real impact on the direction that he would like to take his life. When the Roofer (who was successfully overcoming an alcohol issue) found his tree, he became very emotional to the point of crying. His wife stated that she had never seen him become that emotional in the 20 years that they had been together.


I have just received some feedback from my friends who carried out the above study. The bricklayer and roofer having experienced ‘Meet the Tree’ apparently decided to take a friend of theirs who suffered from agoraphobia into the woods to play ‘Meet a Tree’.

It turns out that this person has now lost their agoraphobia. I have asked for written conformation of this report. I will keep you posted.

Monday, 25 August 2008

The Special Mother : by Erma Bombeck

Most women become mothers’ by accident, some by choice, a few by social pressures and a couple by habit. This year nearly 100,000 women will become mothers of special children. Did you ever wonder how mothers of special children are chosen? Somehow I visualize God hovering over earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As He observes, He instructs His angels to make notes in a giant ledger.

"Armstrong, Beth; son. Patron saint...give her Gerard. He's use to profanity."

"Forrest, Marjorie; daughter. Patron saint, Cecelia."

"Rutledge, Carrie; twins. Patron saint, Matthew."

Finally He passes a name to an angel and smiles, "Give her a special child."

The angel is curious. "Why this one God”? She's so happy."

"Exactly," smiles God, "Could I give a special child to a mother who
does not know laughter? That would be cruel."

"But has she patience?" asks the angel.

"I don't want her to have too much patience or she will drown in a sea
of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wears off, she'll handle it."

"I watched her today. She has that feeling of self and independence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has her own world.

She has to make her live in her world and that's not going to be easy."

"But, Lord, I don't think she even believes in you." God smiles,
"No matter, I can fix that.This one is perfect - she has just enough selfishness."

The angel gasps - "selfishness? Is that a virtue?"

God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she'll never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't realize it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a 'spoken word'".

She will never consider a ‘step’ ordinary.
When her child says 'Momma' for the first time,she will be present
at a miracle, and will know it!"

"I will permit her to see clearly the things I see... ignorance, cruelty, prejudice.... and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of
her life, because she is doing my work as surely as if she is here by my side".

"And what about her Patron saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in mid-air.

God smiles,

"A mirror will suffice."

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

ARE we the only animals?

We are the only animals that if kept in the zoo and the door was left open we would call out ‘SHUT THE DOOR YOUR LETTING IN THE COLD’, whereas every other species would be running out the door to freedom and returning to nature.

Source was a friend of Thomas Schorr-kon.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Where have all the men gone

I have just been speaking with my friend JP, we often talk about the men in our society and where are they.

JP is doing a mentoring programme at the moment and there are only two men on the programme to support the young men of his area within Essex.

I often hear men complaining about our youth and why does the government not do something about their behaviour and we see on TV the results of their behaviour being acted out on our streets, what with knife crime etc.

And yet it is mostly women from all ethic backgrounds doing mentoring work I remember when I did it was mostly women but at that time there were more men. JP told me that the programme he is on said that the young men do not want to attend because they want male mentors.

So my challenge is this, our young men are crying out for good male role models so were are they why are we not stepping forward to help guide them, to show them right from wrong and to lead them by example.

I think its time we men started to behave like men and take up our rightful position we can not leave it all to the government etc.

There are of course men out there doing great work with our youth but I do believe we need a lot more.

If this has pushed any buttons for you then maybe it is worth taking a look at why if this has not pushed any buttons for you them maybe it is worth taking a look at why not.

With the best will in the world our young men need us, so come on guys step out and do it… you are more qualified than you know.

Best wishes


Friday, 6 June 2008

A Drop of Water By Luci Hammond

Picture yourself as a drop of water. Now see yourself in a vast river, surrounded by millions and millions of other droplets.

The river rolls along its journey, and you travel with it, sometimes noticing and sometimes not.

The rivers path is sometimes rocky and turbulent, but you hold on to the other drops around you, sometimes you separate, but you return and the river eases its flow. You were frightened but you knew it would bring you back.

The rivers path is sometimes gentle and calm and you have time to view the things around you, to enjoy the journey.

On this journey, you are surrounded by other droplets, but there are millions more you will never know; yet you are part of the same river.

Those around you will change, depart, return, new ones will come, and old ones will leave for good, yet they remain part of the same river.

The river may sometimes get contaminated by an external force that leaks into your very being, but the purity of the river itself will eventually bring you back to your natural clear state.

Where does the river flow? It flows to the Great Ocean. It does not choose it just flows.

Other rivers flow into the Great Ocean. Rivers filled with the energy of trees, of animals, of rocks, of plants. They all flow towards the same end.

What is the Great Ocean? It is here that all energies meet.

The universal energy

As the sun rises above the Ocean, drops evaporate and are carried back to the rivers to continue the flow of life. There is no separate human energy, no tree energy, and no plant or rock energy.

We are all one. Hold a tree and know it, for it is you.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Every time I climb a tree

Every time I climb a tree
I scrape a leg or skin a knee -
And every time I climb a tree
I find some ants
Or dodge a bee
And get the ants
All over me;
And every time I climb a tree
Where have you been?
They say to me -
But don’t they know that I am free?
Every time I climb a tree.

By David McCord 1962

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Letter from Holland.

Hi Everyone.

I thought you might find this letter useful to read. This is why I do what I do... to have the honour to be a part of someone’s journey, to share in that and to learn from them about my own journey and to discover who I am is truly a great privilege.

I hope you enjoy it.

Sending you all lots of Love, Light and Joy



Hey Geoff,

How are you? I really loved speaking with you last time… I promised you that I should write some of my experiences, I’ve had during the natural awareness games, down.

I am not much of a writer, when paper and pencils come in mostly I am out, he he he. But okay I have to learn, and I really do not know why it is that I don’t like to put my feelings or emotions on paper.

I hope my experience could be helpful to you.


My name is Yolanda and I am a 39 year old recovering addict from Holland. I am in the lucky position that I have joined the game of "find you’re tree" (Meet a Tree), that all happened almost 1.5 year earlier. I really did not know at that point what I could expect from it.

I just did what was asked me to do. Under the guidance of my partner I was brought to my tree. Blindfolded I felt my tree and connected with her. After a couple of minutes my partner brought me back to the beginning. Geoff asked me if I was ok. I was okay. I was now ready to go find my tree. For me then a miracle happened.

In one straight way I walked to my tree and without any hesitation I said “this is her; this is my tree” My partner with very big eyes at that point said ........”Yes it is” Off course I was happy that I found my tree. I felt proud, happy, peacefull and special.

At that point I had really no idea what so ever that this game was a life changing experience for me. That would work down in every level of my life, and most important for me, in my recovery.

During the week after the came, I felt at peace and experienced a feeling of being useful. The feeling of being useful I haven’t experienced for more then 24 years at that point. So that was a major feeling to have for me. It gave me hope and faith that there was deep down, inside of me a good person. Through the year after that, I have to admit, that I never thought about finding my tree that day very often anymore.

Although I talked to Geoff a couple of times there were other thing we discussed. A couple of weeks ago two friends of mine were going to visit Geoff in the UK. They asked me if I would join them. They made my day asking me to join them.

A strange feeling came over me just a couple of days before we were leaving Holland. I told another friend about it. I told him that I had a feeling deep inside of me that something important for me was going to happen there. I could not tell him what off course. It was just a feeling that I noticed.

The first days in the UK were good. I felt good, was happy to be with my dear friends and enjoyed the surroundings. I had a really good time. The third day Geoff asked us if we would like to assist with the game that day. Off course we would. I, to be honest was a little excited inside.

When we arrived in the woods, Geoff started to explain the game to the non addict group, the group of addicts and my friends. All the people were listening, but I felt a little restlessness in the group of addicts. They reminded me of the time I did the game for the very first time. Although I did not play the game this time, I guided a person, I was excited again. There was a smile on my face and a warm feeling in my stomach.

I guided the lady around for the first game, (tunnel vision). I watched how she connected with her tree. And noticed that the restlessness slowly disappeared. After several minutes I guided the woman back to the beginning. Geoff asked her if she was okay. She was okay. So now she could go and find her tree.

I think I was more excited then her at the moment. I hoped so much for her to find her tree and experience the benefits of it all in the future. I was in a distance from her and not paying to much attention to her anymore. I really enjoyed the surroundings, the other people looking for there tree, the sounds of birds, the smell of the woods.

I was having a great time and was feeling so happy. My eyes started to get wet at some point I guess it were tears of joy. The lady was still looking for her tree, and in one split second she turned around and pointed in a direction and walked over and found her tree.

I looked at her and said yes that is you’re tree. And immediately started to cry, (as I am doing now). I gave her a hug and apologised for being so emotional. I noticed that the woman, (just like me when I did the game my first time) was not realising how important this experience could become for her in her future live. The thoughts of that made me feel so happy inside.

I watched all the other people and my eyes stayed wet for the rest of the day. I realised that through guiding another person, the power of the game I played 1.5 year ago kicked in my inner soul again. I realised that I could with some exercise, tune in to that inner soul whenever I want to. What a lucky person I am that I had the chance to experience such a powerful tool.

After years of denying my feelings, didn’t want to feel them. Hiding my emotions behind a poker face, and realising that because of that I did not even know anymore what I was feeling or in what kind of emotion I was.

Today I learn to recognise my feelings and emotions. I do not have to hide from them anymore. The find you’re tree game was for me a very important event in my road of recovery. Because of the game I learned how to tune into my deepest inner soul. I learned that my thinking is not always telling me the truth; I learned that I can trust my HP (Higher Power) if I choose to connect with him.

And I also learned that this is an ongoing process. Once I had played the game the healing power of it is doing its work day in day out, if I keep tuning into the feelings instead of my thoughts every now and then, if I take moments of silence and connect with that feeling, I am convinced that I will grow as a person and the healing process keeps going on.

Thank you Geoff for this great experience.

I love you and am so proud to call you my friend.

Lots of love, joy and laughter,


Saturday, 23 February 2008

If I were a Tree...

I think I would have started out as a Silver Birch and then changed into an Oak and end up as a Yew... What tree best illustrates who you are?

The Deer’s Cry

I arise today

Through the strength of heaven:

Light of sun,

Radiance of moon,

Splendour of fire,

Speed of lightning,

Swiftness of wind,

Depth of sea,

Stability of earth,

Firmness of rock.

The Celts called this a Lorica-which means a bit like a chant or a prayer. It is at least a thousand years old.