I've always felt a strong connection to place. Over the years, I have found myself making really big decisions in my life based on "place" instead of other factors. I chose where I went to college, Ithaca, NY, based on the feeling I got as I looked out over Cayuga Lake on a bright, warm sunny day. I decided to move to Vermont for similar reasons - it was a feeling that led me there. I moved back to my hometown of Delhi, NY for many reasons, a deep connection to my family of origin being one of them, but also because for weeks on end, I dreamt of only one thing - the place. The woods, streams, landmarks, people, structures and hills that make up the place I call home filled my dreams in a way that I couldn’t ignore any longer.
What do I mean by place?
I mean the essence of a geographic location. I mean how I feel when I look at a mountain, or what my energy feels like when I'm quiet and alone in a particular spot in nature. More than just the features of the landscape itself, I mean the combination of beauty, contour, history and tangible energetic quality of being that exists in a particular place on earth.
It feels like a really fine line to walk, talking about place and not explicitly calling it "indigenous", which means, "of place." This is because I'm very aware of my White skin and privilege. Because I'm aware of the massive oppression and injustice done by White people and culture to indigenous people, and, to the places they inhabited and still inhabit today. I'm absolutely on a journey here to learn as I go, and I'm also really aware that exploring and promoting more intentional connection to Earth and place is essential to the health and wholeness of our society and of us as individuals. So I'm slowly and steadily unlearning my own racism and oppressive White culture, and learning the true history of Whiteness and what White culture has done to people and places as I go. And – I recognize that behind the few hundred years (a relatively short time in the span of history) of White supremacy and disconnection from Earth lies my own ancestors’ indigenous connection to land and place.
I'm learning all the time and I'm connecting intentionally with my own place and Earth and asking for guidance as I step more deeply and boldly into this work. One of my weekly practices is spending intentional time connecting in nature. Not just going for a walk for exercise or to take a break from my screen, which I do sometimes. Intentionally connecting means taking a slow, meandering walk in the forest and listening, singing, talking to the trees, sitting, observing the dance of their tops in the wind, following deer trails to deer beds and deer crossings, listening, listening, listening, and learning. Last weekend I was on my weekly date with the Mountain. I told her of my newly claimed identity of earth poet priestess coach, and of my intention to share more boldly and widely this work I feel called to do. My question to dear friend Mountain was - is this okay to be doing? And the answer was a resounding, “YES!”
And so, as I continue to listen and learn, I’m stepping more boldly into what I feel is my work, my purpose for being here living this one beautiful life I’ve been given:
One – To connect more people to the Earth and to her wisdom
Two – To connect women specifically to feminine wisdom and power inherent in Mother Earth
Three – To help people build relationships with Place. Right now, I share one of my places, a cabin in VT, with women during the warmer months, helping them create intentional sacred connection weekends for renewal, rest, and relationship-building with Earth. I also have big dreams to one day have a space to host visitors on my ancestral land in Delhi, NY! Stay tuned!
What does this actually look like in practice? It looks very similar to the work I already do, which is working one-on-one or in groups to build connection, engage in meaningful self-care and find support and accountability as to access one’s own inner strength and wisdom. But it’s also very different.
For example, what I help women create during a solo or small group weekend in Vermont isn’t really about self care. It’s part of it. But it’s really about connection. It’s about slowing down to match our human speed with earth speed. It’s about quieting our life and our minds for long enough to hear the deep wisdom of the birds, of our own gut biome, of the ripples on the water, of the sounds the ducks wings make as they fly overhead. It’s about letting the tears flow when they need to flow, about staring into a campfire under the sparkling stars overhead and letting the weight of the world fall away. We can choose to set down that weight for awhile so we can find a different way to carry it – maybe we choose not to carry it at all anymore.
When I bring a group of women together to read a powerful book written by a powerful woman, it’s not just about the content of the book or the discussion or the support we find in each other. What happens is Earth magic. Pretty soon we’re talking about forgiving our mothers and we’re healing decades worth of old wounds. We’re wanting our weekly meetings to never end and planning reunions for six months out to get to see everyone again. By connecting to books that connect to deep feminine power and wisdom, intuition, feminine spirituality and the female soul, we’re actually attuning our consciousness to the energy field of the Earth. (If you’re ready for a wild ride, check out the March Spiritual Book Club I just announced. We’ll be discussing Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés and I truly don’t know if I’ve ever been more excited to discuss a book than I am for this one!!)
What happens when you allow yourself to really be seen, heard and loved isn’t just about you. It’s about building your capacity to see, hear and love others – including the Earth that needs us to listen right now. Psst – this is really what I’m doing in one-on-one work with coaching clients. Yeah, we’ll work on goals. Yeah, I’ll give you some really effective strategies to find more balance and peace and beauty in your life. But mostly, I’ll listen and see you and support you exactly as you are – whole, complete, messy, and beautiful. You’ll rediscover and re-engage with your power. You’ll hold yourself differently, you’ll talk to yourself differently. You might start singing more. You’ll move your body in new ways. You look around you and realize your life is filled with moments of insane beauty and meaning. Maybe you’ll wake up and realize how grateful you are for all the good in your life right now. Maybe you’ll start meditating every day. Maybe you’ll take slow, meandering walks in the woods and lose track of time, something you haven’t done in decades. It’ll look different for every person, but I guarantee you’ll find parts of yourself you didn’t even realize you’d left behind along the way, and you’ll be amazed.
I’m sharing all of this because: