To get your own copy of the DNA Series, click on the image above to go to my web site...

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

Monday, 30 July 2012

The Tree with Spines

In September 2009 I attend the 7th Wilderness Therapy Symposium in Boulder, Colorado where I presented Natural Awareness to a group of wilderness therapists from all over the world. During my six hour workshop I took a group through Meet a Tree. One of the members in the group was from South Africa who I shall call David as I watched him moving through the forest blindfolded it became clear to me that there was some 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 from 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 intervene in a very supportive way. I usually ask them what is going on for them, what are they feeling and what can they relate that feeling to, together we explore their response to the questions and what they feel the answers to their experience/feelings might be.
When we have done exploring and they are happy to continue I then get them to refocus by carrying out a small exercise and asking them to tune into their tree by feeling it with their heart, then I set them off again. Their sight-guide in the meantime is observing the whole process from 5m away and in my experience they are without doubt are gaining lots of insight about their partner and more importantly about themselves during this time.
Once David 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 some very long branches; these branches were all located on one side of the tree, reaching from the ground upwards, the other side was relatively 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, and went on to say that 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.

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.

No comments: