by Heidi Wedd
Do you walk with the land or on the land?
It may seem like a superfluous question, but carrying it as a companion made all the difference to me as I walked the Bibbulmun track in Western Australia. Up until then, I had been an observer of nature rather than becoming part of the landscape.
I set out on this 963km walk with an intention to deepen my connection with nature. With romantic notions of being alone in the bush, I left inspired and was fast grounded by challenges, both physical and mental. The biggest challenge…. my mind!
As I rested from walking each day, I started tuning into plants to develop my communication with them. This wasn’t new to me. In my early 20’s, I’d spent years studying herbs, plant alchemy and homeopathy, and then gone on to learn Dorothy Maclean’s (Findhorn cofounder) way of connecting with nature. So I had a good grounding, but needed practice.
Delving into the native flowers, rivers and stones I was meeting on the walk was an absolute joy. It wasn’t always easy, but I knew practice was key. And it was incredibly inspiring. With each connection and tiny bit of conversation I had, I became so uplifted and in complete wonder at the vast amount of untapped information, knowledge and wisdom that is ‘in our face’ everywhere we go in nature. Everything has an energy that speaks if we can learn to listen. There is a gigantic orchestra playing regularly, whether we hear it or not. Each flower and tree is singing its song, radiating its vibration, sharing its message if we take the time to open up to it. It was so clear to me during this walk, that once we have experienced a deeper connection with nature, once we realize that we are not separate from it, it is virtually impossible to keep unconsciously harming it. The more we see the connection and effects of our actions, the harder it is to keep doing something harmful.
These communications were the beginning, but I was to receive a much greater gift. It took a few weeks, but as my inner world settled and my mind chatter slowly silenced, the veil between the worlds really began to lift. Here I began to experience oneness with nature. It was not just a theory, it is a reality. The inner and outer worlds were no longer separated, they were complete reflections of each other.
Nature is constantly reflecting back to us our inner nature. When we are deeply connected everything has significance and meaning….. the finding of a feather, a mark on the path, a bird in the tree…. as they occur there is a deeply felt understanding of its meaning or significance, no need for thoughts, just nature speaking and being understood in any one moment. I realised that this is our natural state of being. This is what its like when we are completely present and in connection with the world around us. This is a state of being, that is available to us in each and every moment. It’s not new, most ancient peoples lived in this connected “magical” state, as they lived in connection and harmony with nature.
On the other hand, when we are disconnected or separated from nature, that is what is reflected back to us in the external world. From this state, a feather on the path has no meaning, an animal of significance doesn’t pop out at the precise moment to confirm something – because we aren’t connected. This state of separation and disconnection has become our new normal. As technology develops, we are increasingly living apart from natures rhythms and cycles and in this state.
This walk marked a turning point for me. It took awhile to fully integrate, but it became so clear that reconnecting with nature work is incredibly important. The current way we relate with the earth is like a two year old with its mother – completely selfish and taking. While this is normal for a two year old, we are way beyond that age and its time we started acting like adults towards the nature which, like the mother provides all we need to survive – air, water and food. Listening to her needs and giving back is the way forward in having an adult relationship with the earth. Learning to co-create with her is vital.
Heidi Wedd runs various circles and online courses in shamanic herbalism, herbal alchemy & plant spirit communication. Author of Wild Flower Walker: A Pilgrimage to Nature on the Bibbulmun Track, she is passionate about reawakening and deepening our innate connection with Nature. Her history is deeply embedded with plants, herbalism, homeopathy and midwifery. www.wildflowerwalker.com