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

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)

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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.

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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.