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Rose is a rose…loveliness extreme

We’ve been back from the cooler climes of the Northern Hemisphere for a month now and the summer we’ve returned to has been brutal. Two days ago we reached a record breaking temperature of 48.9 degrees celsius, the hottest place on earth according to some news reports. Extreme heat like that silences and suffocates everything in its wake. It might sound dramatic, but it feels like we’ve been in survival mode for weeks. Another valuable lesson in surrendering to the dictation of nature and a frightening glimpse into our global warming future.

But thankfully today I’m exhaling deeply and breathing in the sweet smell of rain. The forest is alive again with the sounds of the animal world. After nearly 5 years living in this wild and sometimes extreme landscape, I remain in awe of the power of the natural world. I’ve come to realise that to flourish in this wild place, I must also be fierce and irrepressible. To stand steady amid the chaos and boldly express my own true nature. That’s when the magic happens.

When I first arrived here from Sydney, I felt like I’d landed on another planet, surrounded by world heritage forrest overlooking a lush river valley, loveliness extreme. Once the honeymoon period of amazement wore off, to my surprise, instead of finding the peace and serenity I’d hoped for, I found it very hard to ground myself. For a long time I felt like a feather trying to land constantly swept up in the turbulence of making a life for myself in this wild country. You can’t help but feel the full force of nature here.

On reflection, my time here has been so much more than a lifestyle change, it has also been a period of personal rewilding, a journey back to my own true nature. By eventually letting go of some of the the stuff of life and observing and listening to the natural world around me I started to remember what it felt like to belong, universally speaking. And to have the courage to look inside myself for the answers. We are the most sentient beings on this planet but we often feel the need to look outside for the solutions instead of trusting our own intuition. Despite our intelligence, we humans are easily domesticated. Whether its through fear of rejection, longing for acceptance or not wanting to disappoint or rock the boat, we can easily lose sight of our true nature. Our inner jury can be very persuasive, that shit is old and deep.

In his book Let Your Life Speak: Listening to the Voice of Vocation, Parker J Palmer discusses what it takes to listen to the timid wild animal that is the soul:

What a long time it can take to become the person one has always been! How often in the process we mask ourselves in faces that are not our own. How much dissolving and shaking of ego we must endure before we discover our deep identity — the true self within every human being that is the seed of authentic vocation.

The soul is like a wild animal — tough, resilient, savvy, self-sufficient, and yet exceedingly shy. If we want to see a wild animal, the last thing we should do is to go crashing through the woods, shouting for the creature to come out. But if we are willing to walk quietly into the woods and sit silently for an hour or two at the base of a tree, the creature we are waiting for may well emerge, and out of the corner of an eye we will catch a glimpse of the precious wildness we seek.

You don’t need to find an isolated hilltop like mine to reconnect with nature and yourself. If you can create daily opportunities to check in with the natural world wherever you are, it will become easier to remember who you are and what’s important. I’ve often thought we humans are a lot like Gertrude Stein’s rose in her poem Sacred Emily, losing and then hopefully, eventually regaining our identity. In spite of it all, we are who we are, loveliness extreme.

A post of mine doesn’t seem complete these days without at least one poem by Mary Oliver. Her quiet observations of the natural world resonate so strongly with me. The Journey has been my companion for quite some time now and mirrors a little of my own journey back to my true nature, my rewilding. By acknowledging and feeling gratitude for my connection with nature, it has become easier to listen to the wisdoms of my own unique life experiences. To become the narrator of my own story and to be my own guru. x Amanda

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Mary Oliver



  1. jacqueline de jong says

    Mooi weer Amanda! Knap geschreven xxx

  2. Maxine Cooke says

    Dearest Amanda
    I feel overwhelmed and speechless every time I read your deeply moving, thought provoking and heart rendering words. Your ability to transcend us from our everyday thoughts and feelings to touch the spring of the true essence of our life forces. Thanks for sharing with honesty your inner feelings and being. Much love xoxo

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