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

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Tree with spines

In September 2009 I was in Boulder, Colorado where I was presenting Natural Awareness to a group of wilderness therapists from all over the world. During my six hour workshop I took the group through Meet a Tree, by now most of you will have guessed that I really like this activity.

One of the members in the group was from South Africa who I shall call David and as I watched him, it became clear to me that there was a resistance within him to engage in Meet a Tree. He made several attempts to find his tree however he kept heading in the opposite direction to his tree. It is important to beware that the activity is not always about finding a tree; it is very much about exploring who we are and looking at the situations that are presented to us within the game and our relationship with self in nature.

While people are taking part I am watching them very closely, I am looking at their body language and I am checking out their energy and where I feel it is appropriate I will intervene. I usually ask them what is going on for them, what are they feeling and what can they relate that feeling to. Be it an addiction or whatever, together we explore that based on their response to the questions and what they feel the answers to their experience/feelings are. I then get them to refocus by carrying out a small exercise and asking them to tune into their tree, then I set them off again. Their sight-guide in the mean time is observing the whole process from 5m away and no doubt they are gaining lots of insight about their partner and more importantly about themselves during this time.

Once he was happy he set off again, this time taking a direct line to his tree which was a good 50m away and required him to move through a cathedral of trees to get to it. I observed him continually trying to get to the trunk of his tree through very long branches; these branches were all on one side of the tree, reaching from the ground upwards, the other side was reality clear of branches. As I watched him trying to connect with his tree, an image of hedgehog's spines came to me.

At the end of the activity we processed people's experiences of the activity. I asked David if the branches had anything to do with his life right now. He replied yes, his family were dumping all their problems on to him, he felt this was because he was the only non addict within his family and that he no longer wanted their problems, he wanted to push them away and the long branches were an expression of how he feels about them, as he explained this he was clearly quite emotional about his situation, he felt wanted to keep them away, that he no longer wanted their problems.

I have no idea how David got on, on his return to South Africa and do you know what, nor do I need to know as I have learnt to let go and trust that things will work out for the greater good. I am not here to fix people. I am but a small part of their journey and that for me is an honour and a privilege.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

wow geoff that really is an amazing story and do you know what i really hope that david finds a solution to his problems as i belive that finding a solution does not always mean going looking for one a solutions is quite likely already looking for you as you say you always belive that things will work out for the greater good i belive that the solution looking for you is a major part of that your tale has really inspired me and for that i thank you .

best wishes in what ever you are doing or plan to do