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

Friday, 25 November 2011

Jody's Sit-spot

As a small child, with four brothers and living in the countryside in Devon we were always running around in the fields and woods playing games such as Fox and Hounds. This consisted of one of us being the fox and hunted by all the others. As a fox if I couldn’t out run my brothers and other kids from the village or other young friends, it was important to know how to hide. Using the foliage in the woods to hide was not enough to conceal me – being very still, quiet and calm enabled me to be very close to the hunters without being seen, even though they were sometimes close enough to touch me.

At times like this I was aware that having to slow down and control my breathing and slow my heart rate down after running some distance would help me ‘disappear’. It was quite exhilarating to out fox the hunters and I would laugh inwardly at my stealth! I used the same methods subconsciously as an adult when I wanted to avoid contact with a man on horseback one day whilst out walking in the woods with my dog Zuma (a large and protective Rhodesian Ridgeback). This man was inclined to be flirtatious and forward when I met him on previous occasions in the woods. Although I did not feel threatened by him – especially with a seven and half stone African lion dog at my side – I was not in the mood on that day for his words or the way he would look at me.

I heard his horse first and glancing back up the track I realised he would see me soon, so I decided to climb up a slope with Zuma into the trees where, although to the side of the track, I was still in full view if he had looked up in my direction. I selected a spot quickly, sat down and Zuma automatically sat glued to my side in his especially loyal way. It was important to get him to feel calm and not have the need to growl, stand or show his hackles – which, as a very loyal hound, in tune with his owner, he would have sensed that I was not comfortable with the presence of the approaching person. So, I decided to make myself very small, calm quiet and still as the man on his horse approached. I put just the tip of my finger on the top of Zuma’s head with the lightest pressure – without giving it any analysis of what was required to convey the message of – “be still and do not move” without speaking to him he understood perfectly.

We were in full view had the man or horse looked our way, I now know that our quiet energy enabled us to watch horse and rider pass closely by without being seen, and without attracting attention. We were somehow, very close and visible but yet invisible. We sat for a while watching them continued up the track away from us and then moved from the position which had helped conceal us.

I went back to the same spot with Geoffrey after five years and after a bit of searching we found the same spot again. Geoffrey took on the position of a man on a horse on the track, and was able to see how the moment had occurred and that me and Zuma would have been clearly visible from our spot had we given out the right signals. What I refer to as being small, calm and quiet and transferring this to my dog Zuma is described in different words by other people, such as the absence of concentric rings during a sit spot. Whatever you call it, the impact is very significant and is something from which to learn and may be a useful skill when we become aware of how to use it.

I think back on this moment and the game of fox and hounds and realise that these moments in nature and in childhood could be something from which people can learn given increasing awareness of nature and an awareness of themselves.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Hi, How are things?

Here is a brief transcript from a phone conversation I recently had with someone who had attended my sessions in rehab, we are talking about 'Meet a Tree'.

*** *** ***

Geoffrey: Hi. How are things?

Friend: Hi Geoffrey, Things are really good thanks! I miss my tree though!

Geoffrey: That’s true for everyone. I take it you are not going to a tree then?

Friend: I thought people might find me quite weird blindfolding myself in the local park and going on a wander. So I have yet to do it!

Geoffrey: You do not need to blindfold yourself. Also I find that when people call me weird I tend to thank them, because it means you are unique you are not conforming to how they see their world.

Friend: So how do I find my tree if I am not blindfolded? I thought the whole point was that you were spiritually drawn to it and not to find it by looking with your eyes?

Geoffrey: Well the idea with the blindfold is to show you that you can connect on a deeper level; you can still be drawn by your feelings when you connect with your heart. The blindfold helps me to show you how powerful you really are, by taking your thoughts that tell you what to do everyday and to help you see them manifest into the physical world and from your experience help you to see that by connecting with your feelings in nature often comes that spiritual awakening if you like.

Friend: Oh right. Man I miss those sessions we used to do, but I guess the idea is that I can do that anywhere, whenever.

Geoffrey: Yes that is true, it is up to you if you want to move with it, I am powerless over your outcome, you can connect to your spirit and the spirit of the tree anywhere you choose.

Friend: I may just try and do that this Sunday then!

Geoffrey: Sweet, you will be surprised at how well you do, remember it is about being in the heart and trusting. Do you remember how it affected you back then?

Friend: Yeah, it was weird but pretty amazing.

Geoffrey: Yes it is amazing, what was amazing about it for you?

Friend: I don’t know. I was ignoring all the logic and just letting go like it wasn't me, by trying to remember that I went a certain way actually didn't help, just connecting.

Geoffrey: Yep you got it.

Friend: And you just knew there's something cool about it, being 'beyond all logical thought' and just trusting and feeling I quite like that I guess.

Geoffrey: Nice

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

I am the net result of all my ancestors that went before me...

This is something I talk about to people who attend my courses in particular the Natural Awareness and Nature Awareness courses. I believe that we have contained within our DNA all the knowledge and experiences that our ancestors had and when we need to tap into this we can, thus allowing us to do things we never thought possible.

Sometimes when I need to call on them, I physically turn around to face my ancestors and in my mind I can see them standing there, in all their glory. I then realise that I AM the net result of all who went before me, and with this comes a great responsibility, which I try to live up, sometimes TRY is the operative word.

This puts me in a very powerful place, knowing that I am not alone, that I am supported by a higher power; it gives me the confidence to step out of my box, out of my comfort zone. It allows me to embrace the things that I would not normally dare to embrace. I do believe we are never given anything we cannot deal with, whatever your belief system, if you hold by that statement alone then you are in a very powerful place. Just having that awareness changes things.

The choice is do I embrace it?

Sometimes I imagine being out of my comfort zone as a brick wall. I can walk through it, around it, under it even over it or I can simply walk away from it, but I know that the wall will still be there. However, when I walk through it and I come out the other side I often find myself wondering what all the fuss was about, thinking to myself that was not so bad, it is of course buying into the FEAR of the unknown that stops us moving forward.

And at times when needed my ancestors give me the courage to step into the unknown and boy what a colourful journey it can be in more ways than one…