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

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Making good on a promise...

I wanted to share this story with you from Peter Friebel from Sweden. I worked with him recently and he has very kindly agreed to allow me to share it with you. I trust you will find it interesting. I will post some comments on my experience of this event soon. 

The name has been changed to protect confidentiality.




Usually I am pretty secure in my own abilities and not easily intimidated or discouraged but that day was different. That day scared me. It was "Meet a Tree" day. And I was nervous like hell! Not because of what the game is all about. Nature Awareness has been part of my own courses for some time and I knew what it was all about. I was nervous because this time the reasons for doing it were to learn how to teach tracking which I really burn for to do well. Even if I knew that failing to find my tree was no big deal I felt that it was not an option for me in this situation.

Geoffrey noticed I was nervous and I assured him it was not because I was about to walk blindfolded, hand in hand with a huge dude in a dark forest :-). At the time I was not fully aware of the reasons myself.

"I have been connecting with trees before, I feel good with trees, trust your instincts!"

That was my last thought before the game started. Being led through the woods blindfolded somehow calmed me down a bit. After a long erratic walk I arrived at "my" tree. I almost immediately panicked inside. Was this a tree or a concrete pillar? Nothing. This tree was cold and empty. I felt nothing. Before I fully realized the horror of my predicament, time was up and I was led back by some different but equally erratic path. Behind my blindfold I started seriously to sweat. Was I about to fail the only time I really needed it to come together? What I feared the most, the reason for my nervousness was about to become real. I heard myself saying to Geoffrey: "I will find my tree blindfolded as vision will not help me here".

I did my best not to let Geoffrey in on too much of this internal turmoil as he is a counsellor after all and I wasn't eager to deal with an external analysis of the situation just yet. First things first. Almost immediately I pointed out the wrong tree. Time went by and I felt like I was at it for an eternity. I tried many different "methods" to get a fix on my tree. Nothing worked. I got irritated, frustrated, sad, very tired and eventually I was right up in my head. I knew it and it was at this point I was about to give up.

Something was nagging at me though. One last time I performed my quick exercise to get me back into heart space. Now nothing of what follows probably makes sense but it was what I thought and felt and it was real to me. In my head I said: "Why oh why this tree now?" The answer came: "Cause this particular tree needs to be found by you, now". At this point I turned off my mind. I was actually talking with somebody or something in my imagination. "You mean that instead of me needing to find this tree, this tree needs me to find it now?" Answer: "Yes". I do not know why but all of a sudden I was going to find the tree for the sake of the tree instead. An arrow like the one on my hand held GPS appeared in my mind’s eye and I started walking. At this point I heard Geoffrey saying "whatever it is you are feeling now, trust it!" I remember thinking: "I am not feeling much but somehow I am now creating a reality with only one outcome". Very shortly after that I found my tree.

At the time, I did not enjoy that exercise at all. It had emotionally depleted me. It was later, after processing it as an event instead of an exercise, that the beauty and purpose of it became apparent.

By giving up I succeeded. It took me a long time to realize that what I gave up was of course my ego. It also took me a long time to realize that what I actually found was what connects me to everything else, my higher consciousness.

Of all the times I have played games like this one that one on that day was the one that counted for me. I was judging myself against a standard that was neither real nor important. I was my own nemesis. The switch to doing it for the sake of the tree made me instantly leave all that. I switched from proving something to helping something/someone. No longer did I wait for it to happen, I simply believed that nothing else could ever happen. I was not finding my tree anymore; I was tracking an outcome I projected in order to help. Intuition and creativity revealed themselves for what they are: the voices of my higher consciousness. Not that I fully realized all this at that moment. That all came later.

I am aware that this all may sound like complete gibberish and it probably provides some nice playground for counsellors but I do not mind really. For me that single day was one of the most important and revealing experiences I ever had even if it took me a month to realize it.

Everything that needed to come together came together and when it did it was no longer about me. I think it all was a well-orchestrated conspiracy to make sure I would find more than just my tree! A conspiracy directed to make me find not a tree but a relation with my higher consciousness.

So what about the tree? When I found it I spent some more time with it and I consistently got a feeling of being afraid and two images in my mind’s eye: a camper and snow and ice blowing over the lake. The place where this tree was standing is heavily frequented by tourists. I noticed the tree had been severely damaged at an early stage in its life. I promised myself and the tree that I would check up on it later.

Last Friday was almost one month later and in the mean time I have done many energy tracking experiments. All of them enjoyable and rewarding. Having finally processed the “Meet a Tree” event, I felt I needed to make good on my promise. As I needed to go to Älvdalen that day, I was able to visit the area where the tree is on the way back.

When I arrived at the place I suddenly realized that a month earlier I was way to shook up to actually register which tree it was and where it was! The only thing I knew was that it split into two trunks high up and that there was a little hole with a pine cone lodged in it. I went to the place that was the starting point one month earlier, closed my eyes, automatically turned a little bit to the left and started walking in a straight line. To my tree as it happened. It took me only 1 minute to track the tree this time!

This time I felt warm standing with the tree and slowly an image started forming in my mind’s eye:

A Large Red Orchid.


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Lost Track Drill & Intuition Tracking

I have been teaching tracking for over ten years now and it still excites me, why? Quite simply each time I go out I discover something new which gives me ideas on how to move my work forward be it in tracking or in wilderness therapy.

The case in question while I was out in Sweden teaching Peter from VaraVild Bushcraft School I was able to take him a few steps further along in the exercises than I do on most courses, mainly because I was doing a 1-2-1 with him and he was already connected to nature from a nature awareness perspective.

On one occasion I was taking him through the lost track drill, however this time I decided to include an extra track which was hidden and required him to track it energetically. Before starting Peter placed his dowsing rod by the last definite sign (LDS), he wanted to try out his own experiment, which of course I was up for, because I knew it would provide me with some new learning for myself. Peter started off tracking using the spiral method for locating a lost track.

What was interesting for some reason he decided to step two metres away from the stick which marked the spot for the LDS. He moved off, and missed the lost track as he spiralled out he eventually paralleled the next lost track which was buried along with an item of mine to show that it was the track he was looking for. It is important to know that at the begging of the exercise Peter would need to tune into the LDS track to get a sense for who he is tracking, this was not needed as he had been working with me all week and therefore he had a good sense of my presence.

As he paralleled, he hesitated and I asked him what was going on for him, he replied he was getting a sense that it was close by, pointing in the direction he felt the track was. In fact he was spot on, but he still needed to locate it. I decided it was pointless to have him continue with the spiral as he would be on top of the track on the next pass. I asked him to investigate what his intuition was telling him. Taking a note of his tracks in case he had to return back to it, he moved off slowly towards the area he was drawn too.

Peter spent some time checking out the area and one occasion I had to ask him to move back because he was standing on top of the lost track. Earlier Peter had told me that in the case of dowsing when the two rods cross, people believe that, that is where they need to look for whatever they are searching for. In fact the spot they need to look at is where they are standing, because the energy is being transmitted through their bodies via their feet, so it was interesting to see that Peter was indeed standing on top of the track he was looking for.

A short while later Peter found the track and the item I had placed next to it, to help confirm that he had indeed found the lost track. What happened next was very interesting. Peter asked me if I would go to the LDS and show him in which direction his dowsing rod was pointing in. I returned to the LDS and picked up his rod, and keeping it in the same position he had placed it down at, amazingly it was pointing directly at him.

Now in my mind, here is another tool to explore with when tracking.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Love Without Conditions: Reflections of the Christ Mind

This incredible book helped to bring me to an understanding about myself and how to deal with some of my feelings. It gave me a tool that allowed me to enter into my heart and not my head. It taught me a simple way of dealing with my feelings and the lessons around forgiveness that I needed to understand in my life, which I am still learning about.

When I first read this book a short time after leaving the forces (1996), it was like an Orchestra playing to me, and the simple tool it provided me with in order to help deal with the ‘Hugh Swirl’ of emotions that were going on for me at a time when I felt I was lost in a world (civvy street) I no longer understood. I can only describe the events that were taking place at that time as my awakening to a higher power.

When we experience feelings we often externalise them, sometimes by holding others responsible for the way that we are feeling, and yet all they are is a gift, they are showing us something about ourselves that we do not like or are uncomfortable with. Paul Ferrini wrote in his book that when you experience an emotion so strong, then in that moment all that needs to take place is for you to sit with the feelings, feel the feelings, close your eyes and look inside at the feeling that has presented itself to you. Try not to give the feeling a name a name, because once we name it we move away from what the truth is, that's inside of us.

Just sit with the feelings, talk to them, tell them you accept them for the gift that they bring you, tell them that you embrace them and that you forgive them and yourself, and now that they no longer serve you, release them to the light, you do not have to understand these feelings, just be with them.

I can only tell you this, for me it worked and many of the feelings I felt then have never returned and if they do, then I guess I wanted to hang onto that them a little while longer until I felt they served me no longer.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Merlin and the Parabolic

I was sat around the camp fire this morning at 06:30hrs having a cup of Dandelion coffee, Merlin having eaten was settling down for the day, when suddenly he was surrounded my around 30 song birds, consisting of blue tits, great tits, long-tailed tits, chaffinch and sparrow.

I did not pick up on the initial alarm call; it may have been very subtle and to be fair I was still prising the sleep from my eyes. As I sat and watched how they responded to Merlin’s presence, it was clear that some of the birds stayed well up in the canopy which was around 15-20 metres in height. The closest one went to around 2-3 metres from Merlin and this was a Blue Tit.

Merlin in the meantime was completely un-interested in them, perhaps he thought they presented no threat to him, or maybe because he is captive breed his responses may be somewhat different to that of a wild bird?

At one point Merlin ruffled his feathers, trapping air between them and shaking of any loose feathers. This year Merlin has had the biggest and longest moult I have ever experienced with him, I checked with some friends and their birds were moulting heavily as well. We concluded it was due the weather we are having, I decrease, immediately after Merlin ruffled his feathers the parabolic flock of birds suddenly went wild. The warning calls change to scalding headed up by the long-tailed tits mainly. In fact I had the sense that the Long-tailed Tits were the main guys in the group, I will need to check this out further to see if there is a lead role here for some birds.

Notably absent were the Blackbirds that said I had only observed one or two Blackbirds in the area that I am working in. After my brew I headed off to check on my client, and as I returned I became aware that two Magpies had now moved in on Merlin, the song birds had settled down and started to move away from Merlin as I left camp.

Again Merlin paid the Magpies no attention, and the Magpie’s left as I entered the camp site. Having merlin presents me with a great opportunity to observe how other birds respond to him and it allows me to pay close attention to their calls and how they change given different situations.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Lessons from an Eagle Owl

I was in Gambia about ten years ago with the British Army Ornithological Society, who are serving and ex-serving members of the British Army. We were carrying out a water bird survey from a riverboat from the estuary near to the capital all the way up to Senegal. After five days on the river we pulled into a camp site for a twenty-four hour rest period. Soon after going ashore my friends were eager to go straight out to see as many birds as possible. I declined to go, as spirit asked me to spend time with our Expectation Leader. I was told that my friends and I would not see any birds that evening, however in the morning I would be in for a treat. It transpired that my chat with our Expectation Leader was exactly what she needed; she said she was missing the spiritual connection, whist living in Africa. My friends returned disappointed having not seen any birds. Later that night we were very excited as we received information on where we could find a Verreaux’s Eagle Owl, its roost was in a Giant Plum Tree.

That night in my dreams I was given a vision of a large wood, at this time I did not realise what relevance this would have. As I arrived for breakfast, my friends (apart from one) were all rushing out the door to go and find the eagle owl and appeared quite unwilling to wait until we had eaten. John and I sat down to eat and after breakfast, we went to find the owl, on route we bumped into our friends who having not found the eagle owl were now heading off to find Sand Grouse. They asked if we were coming. I said I would meet up with them later. I felt inside that I really just wanted to connect with the trail, with the earth and enjoy what nature had to offer as a whole.

Soon, I saw in the distance the large woodland, the one that I had seen in my dream. As we were heading towards the woodland we were about to pass a tree on my left, spirit told me the owl was in this tree. As I approached with caution the owl who was indeed in this tree, took flight from cover. I could not contain my excitement as I watched it fly towards the large woodland. It was then that I realised that this was The Giant Plum Tree. It is interesting to note that we all had the perception that the Plum Tree would be very large in size, while in fact it was only about 20 meters in height, perhaps this is why the other guys missed the owl not realising the Giant Plum Tree was not such a Giant after all.

John and I soon relocated the owl and we enjoyed magnificent views of it before setting off to let the others know where it was. As I spoke with John on the way back, I became very aware of my thoughts, I was aware that I could easily ride on my ego. I joked out load, saying to John how it would be fun to hold this one over the guys, some of the thoughts in my head were “guys, you know you wanted to pay someone to find the owl for you.” “well, I found it!” “It will cost you!” It felt like one up man ship. As we continued talking it seemed with each word and thought these things became less important.

They ran off to locate it, only for one of them to return a short while later asking me to tell him exactly where it was. I eagerly showed everyone where the owl was and it gave me great enjoyment seeing the pleasure they had in seeing the owl.

The joy and the reward was in seeing the owl and being guided by spirit, recognising the information I was given was the truth, being able to tell the difference between my thoughts and spirits, pinning down my ego and doing what was right for the greater good of all.

Later I reflected on the words Eagle Owl and what they meant. Eagle: represents Spirit. Owl: represents Deception. Clearly spirit was involved here, had I completely bought into my ego the deception would have been on myself.

I thank our creator, mother earth, nature and of course the eagle owl for teaching me about myself.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Troubled Moose

At 4:00 pm I left Idre (Sweden) in my Landrover to drive to Mörkret (Where the National Park is) to pick up 2 families for a "Peter's Fish 'n Grill" which is a nice evening out fishing and grilling sausages somewhere in the wilderness.

I arrived with the families at the remote place I selected. We needed to walk about 2 km to get to a little lake with a small shelter and a fire place. 2 hours later while grilling sausages we saw a moose walking on the other side of the lake. (not a big lake maybe 40 m across) It glanced at us but didn't care we were there and it went about its business of eating small twigs. You can imagine that the people (all Dutch) were very happy to see a moose so clearly and for such a long time. Suddenly 3 other fishers came over a hill on the other side of the lake and both they and the moose were startled. Strangely enough those idiots started to scare it of by screaming at it etc. The moose ran away.

A few minutes later, when the fishers where unpacking their gear, suddenly the moose came charging over the hill, ears back in her neck. Even before I saw the moose I felt an adrenaline rush myself. The moose stopped a few meters from the fishers, turned and showed her flank, ears back and neck low. This is very unusual and aggressive behaviour for a young moose like that. Suddenly it felt like the moose and I were in a tunnel and I told it (in my mind) to turn round and walk away as these people meant nothing good with it. Immediately she looked up at me, ears focused on me. She calmed down immediately, turned and left. Apart from being flabbergasted from what just happened I was very happy she listened.

Half an hour later we packed up our stuff and wandered the 2 km back to our cars. After about 1 km I saw the tracks of the moose walking on our path ahead of us. With only 500 m to go the track indicated the moose had stopped and turned to listen. I told the group that probably at this point she heard us coming after her. From that point she had moved to the right. Based on her previous behaviour I was a bit anxious but I still was confident she did not have any problems with us. I told the group (why did I tell the group this?) that she left the path to come back in a curve and watch us come by on the path. Sure enough, close to the cars she was standing beside a little cottage about 2m from the path we walked on. I told my group to just walk on past here feeling happy to see her but not pay too much attention to her. She just stood there watching, ears up, pretty relaxed. When we had past she turned and wandered off.

I have never experienced anything like it neither the actual behaviour of the moose nor my own actions that evening. It was a great day!