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

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Natural Awareness - In relation to Addiction what is your highest emotional risk?

I once asked a group I was working with emotionally what is your lowest risk and what is your highest risk, a flood of responses came back at me. Then one of the group turned the question on me, "Geoff What's your highest emotional risk and what is your lowest risk?".


I responded with my lowest risk was to go to war with my guys and my highest risk was to allow myself to cry in public while watching a very emotive film in the cinema.


They looked confused, "surely the war would be my highest risk came the response.


"I answered by saying while there was a risk just as there is in all the things we do in life, I knew that my men and all the other members of my battery were highly trained, I trusted them, we shared very similar experiences, thoughts, feelings and emotions even if they were not voiced, and as long as they were around I knew I would be safe from danger because we looked after each other.


As I related this experience to the group, I drew their attention to the fact that in the same way that they attend AA or have a sponsor, they too are surrounded by people who know and understand them.


However, in my mind there is a difference.


One day I am shopping in Tesco's the next, I go to WAR and then as suddenly as I went I return, then the day after that I take my car to the garage for a servicing.


All the trauma or feelings that this might bring and the issues it may rise, I deal with it in the best way that I can, but there comes a time when I no longer need to go to war. However for them, they are fighting their WAR everyday and that takes courage, strength and an insight to recognise they have much more to deal with and yet here they were really trying to give it a go, to make their life work by getting into active recovery.


I take my hat of to them, I learnt a lot from these amazing people that I had the privilege and the honour to share the same journey with, when we went into the woods to engage with Nature.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Cycle of Challenge

In playing the Natural Awareness games there are many challenges that can take place, however the main issue for all parties has to be around trust.

The addict: Can I trust the therapist, does he know what I am going through, does he really understand, he is not even an addict how could he possibly know, is he any good at what he does, I all ready know about nature, what can nature teach me?

The challenge is to trust, risk and share.

The Professional: What is this weird new age thing all about, were is the evidence, how can someone possibly find their way into active recovery just by playing some silly games and becoming an animal.

The challenge is to trust, risk and share.

The Therapist: I hope the addicts trust me. It would be nice for the professionals to experience what the addicts experience when out in Nature by taking an active part in Natural Awareness.

The challenge is to trust, risk and share.

Where do we go from here? If we do not trust, risk and share.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Nature Awareness - Letter from James

12th March 2011


Hi Geoff


It just occurred to me that "nature awareness" can be interpreted more than one way. My individuated soul becoming aware of nature, or my individuated soul experiencing the awareness of nature. That part of me that's the centre of my universe had assumed that nature awareness was describing me becoming more aware and not that all of nature is aware of me!


I feel that the observer has just realised he's being observed!


James

***

Hi James


Welcome to the real world that's why I also term Nature Awareness, Natural Awareness it is the part of nature awareness that looks at our behaviour in nature such as addiction and our relationship with nature.


It has been my experience that nature teaches us about ourselves. If I take trees as an example some people believe that they choose the tree in the game Meet a Tree, but in fact if the tree does not wish to work with you just as humans then it will not make itself known to you. The same applies to animals.


We are all connected


Geoffrey

***

13th March 2011


Hi Geoffrey


I'm beginning to understand what you're talking about now. It's so fascinating! It seems every time I learn something about "nature", I'm learning something about myself at the same time, and it's very humbling!


James


Monday, 14 March 2011

Zana – Someone is coming

The San Bushmen call the Woodpecker (my favourite bird) Zana, they said that when the Zana calls, it is telling them that someone will soon visit them and indeed each time this happened they pointed it out to me and soon afterwards someone did visit us.

This got me thinking just the other day. I remember as a young boy at boarding school I saw my first ever woodpecker on the school lawn, it was the Green Woodpecker and from that point on I became interested in birds. However, when I left school I no longer pursued my interest in birds, not until I had joined the army and was posted to Germany.

One day I was out walking in the local woods near to my house when heard an usual sound as I was drawn to this sound I looked up and there flying right over me was my very first Black Woodpecker a magnificent bird, simple in colour but quite powerful in its presence and it has become my number one bird. Once again my interest in birds was fired up and it has been the case ever since, going from strength to strength.

I see the Woodpecker as a spiritual bird with a message, its undulating flight, reminds me of how life can be with its ups and downs and sometimes just before alighting on a tree, the woodpecker changes its course at the last minute to land on a different tree, and this is how it has been for me in life often changing course at the last minute and then experiencing a new and amazing journey, for example when I was leaving the army I was going to live in Germany where my children live, but at the last minute while serving in Bosnia I changed my mind and for some unknown reason and to every ones dismay, I decided to return to the UK.


And I can tell you I have no regrets, my life has been as colourful now as it was then but in quite a different way. So maybe the visitor who was coming to visit me all them years ago with the Green Woodpecker and again in Germany with the Black Woodpecker, maybe that was my creator.

In fact I know it was.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

The Leaf Cutter Ant and the M25....

While I was in Belize in 1998 I had the privilege to see the power of the Leaf Cutter Ant.

They are amazing little fellows as they walked along with a leaf in their mandibles another cutter ant rides on top of the leaf to fend off parasitic wasps and the trail they lay is so free from debris it is as if someone had gone through the bush with a bass broom and had swept a path for them.

I tried to relate it to us if we were able to do what they can do. I think it would be something like me carrying a car over my head with my best buddy riding on top of it, while walking down the M25 after sweeping it clean first.

Natural Awareness - Tracking as an Intervention

For some time now I have been giving considerable thought to how I can bring tracking into therapy as an intervention to help raise people’s level of awareness, and at last I think I have found a way.

Having tried a particular exercise out on various groups of people who have attended my tracking courses and seen their reactions to this exercise and the way that it has benefited them, I am confident that I can now present it to people with addictions and young offenders etc.

The original exercise came from Tom Brown Jr who was given it by Grandfather. Tom was asked by Grandfather to sit in front of a canvas which covered a set of tracks except for one and it was this one he had to connect with, once he understood how that track worked he was to locate where the next track was. When I read this, it inspired me to look at ways of expanding my tracking skills but not just that, it also fired up my passion to look at how I could bring it to others for the greater good. Since working with this exercise I have been able to expand upon it to the point where people are able to track someone’s intentions from a track laid down inside a given area which has been covered up, the size of the box can vary depending on the ability of the group or individual I am working with and the exercise has many different levels to it.

In terms of working with people and in particular people who have an addiction, this exercise takes them outside of the box and will raise many questions, but importantly it illustrates to them how their thoughts can manifest in the physical world and may even affect someone else’s behaviour.

Last weekend the tracking box expanded even further see Tracking - Telling a Story so, now I have another aspect to explore with people. Perhaps getting them to lay down their life story along a track the group can then follow this story and translate what they are experiencing to the counsellor in this case, myself. Along this story line other things can be brought into play to help tell their Life's Story, things like leaves, stones found at the side of the trail, maybe even the surrounding area such as a particular tree or bush. This would also require the group to have a basic understanding of how to track.

A friend recently shared with me her story which was told through using a boulder with lots of holes in it, she felt the need to plug these holes with other small stones and in so doing it helped with her healing process. There are many more ideas buzzing around in my head. I am looking forward to trying them out very soon as part of the next course on The Art and Science of Natural Awareness.


Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Concentric Rings - Merlin

I took Merlin my European Eagle Owl out for a stroll one day along the estuary at the back of where I live. During this time some twenty people from cyclists to families out for a walk stopped to ask me about Merlin.

What was interesting for me, was on seeing Merlin they were completely captivated I was there just to answer their questions, and while Merlin looked around at the other birds and rabbits. His fans were taking pictures on their phones, they were stroking him and during this time they all had big smiles on their faces.

Just by being in the presence of this powerful bird the energy of the people changed. And as they all walked away I observed their interaction with each other and I overheard the kids saying I can't wait to show my fiends the photos. It was then I thought about the concentric rings that would be sent out to family and friends of these people about their encounter with Merlin.

The next day I was talking to someone who I had only just met and he told about a story he heard on the radio the day before. Someone had phoned in and told the DJ about his experience of meeting a bloke with an Eagle Owl along the estuary. The guy telling me this did not know that the story was about Merlin and myself.

Who knows how far this concentric ring went and how many people Merlin brought joy to.