Over the past 24 hours, some people have said to me, “You’re so brave” and I do appreciate their acknowledgement of what it takes to reveal deep truths.
The reason for their comments is that Woman’s Day magazine feature me in their issue this week. In the sensitively written article (thank you so much Fiona Fraser), my experience of childhood sexual abuse is publicly disclosed. What has surprised me since the article coming out is that I wish I had said more because this stuff doesn't just stop at childhood, it can roll on through your life like dominos falling. This is the stuff that society conditions us to keep quiet; that the people who perpetrated these crimes against us, condition us to keep quiet. This is the stuff that eats us up from the inside out and makes us never quite sure of how to place ourselves in this world.
I touched on this with Woman’s Day because the work I do is evolving into creating ways to help other people work with Nature on their healing journey. I do this work because it was Nature that helped me find strength when I felt weak. It was Nature that held me without judgment or ulterior motive. It was Nature that I could turn to with trust when I had lost my trust in everyone else around me. I believe that drawing from my own experiences could create ways to help others too.
Here are five things Nature has taught me:
- All life comes from and returns to Nature, so treat it with care;
- The deeper you look the more you see;
- Energy passes between everything like a gift. The quality of the gift you are giving or receiving is up to you;
- Nature provides and so out of simple respect, it is only right to give something back;
- Nature loves us… yes even us, the ones who have been abused and made to feel like dirt. Nature shows us there is beauty in soil.
It has taken me over 50 years to reach a point where I can start to articulate the extraordinary power Nature has to help us heal and illustrate this power through my own story and experience.
And yes, it has required some courage to allow these deepest secrets to come out onto the page. For that handful of words revealed, there is a whole big dark iceberg of memory, experience, disappointment, shame and anger moving beneath the surface. That’s the thing you see, I found I could heal, but I could not forget. Now I have reached a point where it's all there but it does not own me anymore.
In these years I have also, like so many others, been dealing with the illness and death of loved ones and this has been a whole other journey in itself, yet still connected - life’s experiences flowing together like a braided river.
So how does Nature help with healing? Put simply, I found that when I took time to look into Nature I was able to see the oneness of things and I found strength. We are part of this ecosystem, yet we seem to have forgotten that over the past few millennia. We survive thanks to photosynthesis – plants, trees, we exchange breath. What a beautiful gift. But this works both ways: treat the planet well and it will look after you, the Earth Mother providing life, nourishment and shelter. Treat it with contempt, abuse it and it will stop functioning in a healthy way.
Contemporary society seems to have lost sight of the basic principle of cause and effect: deforest hillsides, and this changes the weather patterns and creates a landscape that cannot soak up the rain, so it floods. Keep telling a nation that everyone is out to get them and so they think that everyone is out to get them and act accordingly. Abuse a child and it loses trust and gains confusion.
I knew instinctively that Nature could help me, that it could heal me.
Within my childhood confusion, I knew instinctively that Nature could help me, that it could heal me. I just needed to get really close to it. I needed to give myself time to observe it and to simply Be in Nature. And yes that can be a simple as hugging a tree. Hey, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.
The more I looked into Nature the more I started to heal.
Each plant, each landscape, has its own unique energy. It’s like every human having a distinct personality. You can see a whole garden, or you can see the different plants and flowers growing there. The big blousy show-ponies, the delicate flowers with the bowed heads, the prickly plants, the furry ones. You start to learn their therapeutic benefits: the plants that reduce pain or inflammation, the plants that heal skin, tissue, bone; the plants that ease anxiety, the plants that can help expel toxins or vermin; the plants that dry, the plants that moisten. You start to see what is called ‘the doctrine of signatures’, the clues of their healing power indicated by the way they grow, and where they grow. Their characters start to emerge – shy and retiring, pushy, wary, exuberant, calm, protective. They start to have a voice, they chatter and shout and whisper and sing. You realise that if you spend time with plants, you can learn from them. With knowledge and observation, what were once insignificant weeds become powerful healers - each with its own energetic force. Medicine men and women throughout time have seen this.
You start to see what is called ‘the doctrine of signatures’, the clues of their healing power indicated by the way they grow, and where they grow.
Since my childhood I have worked to develop my relationship to these energies: sneaking out to the stables to move energy around a lame horse’s fetlock; becoming the tree in order to find answers to questions, training as a reiki master; and as a master energy practitioner. At night, after the day job was done, I studied herbalism, aromatherapy, shamanism, environmental science, anything to deepen my knowledge base of the ways in which we can work with Nature for Good.
My way of working with Nature for Good is manifesting in several ways:
- I make plant essences and elixirs as these are a type of vibrational medicine – capturing the energetic qualities of the plant and enabling you to call on them when you need them to support you through your own stuff.
- I slowly infuse healing plants into the serums, creams and balms I make to help heal and soothe.
- I have developed my skill and offer my service as an energy worker and shamanic healer. Some people get a bit freaked by the word ‘shaman’ but really all it means is, ‘a healer who is in tune with Nature’, or ‘the one who sees beyond’. I will describe more about this work in my next blog.
- I run workshops to help people find strength by connecting with Nature and working with the oneness of things. You can find out more about these workshops here.
- Every purchase of an Archeus product, treatment or workshop place gives back to habitat restoration and conservation projects in Hawke’s Bay.
This blog makes it sound like it was all so Instagram easy. We all know life is not like that. It takes courage. It requires bravery. I make mistakes and regrets and miss opportunities and I get scared and angry and I laugh and hide and put myself out there in the world. I have made friends, moved countries, fallen in love, fallen out of love. Felt nurtured, felt used. All that stuff that we do. But each and every time I needed to find strength, to centre, to get through stuff, it was Nature that helped me do it. Now it is my time to pay it forward and provide ways of Nature helping others on their journeys too.
Here’s to the beauty of life and the wonder of Nature. Thank you for reading and thank you for supporting Archeus. If there is anything you would like to share, please leave a comment below.