At the age of perhaps 6 or 7, I am sitting in my room, writing and drawing a newsletter about animals and what is happening to them in the world, the cruelty, the extinction, the need for humans to protect them. I believe that if only people knew what was going on, they would stop this, they would change, they would not want the animals to suffer.

Of course, I soon discovered that this was not how the world worked. Many people did know but did not necessarily do anything differently. That was a very upsetting and formative realization for this little girl that was me… It made me feel like I myself was odd - because how could it be that everyone else just accepted this as normal? Unable to change the world around me, I started to change myself, the little piece of earth that had been given to me and that felt so out of place, making myself smaller and smaller.

I never let go of my love and care for animals and the non-human world but for a while, I hid this sensitive part of me- the one that loved and felt immense pain because of the hurt inflicted on the non human world. I kept this part locked up deep inside to protect my heart. And I also worked hard to change myself in many ways, to perform as perfectly as possible to the standards of the world around me, to control the messy feelings that made it difficult to be alive in the world. It took many years and a journey that was as painful as it was strengthening, to move on from the patterns of self-hatred, harm and suppression of the natural impulse to stand up for all life.

As a young woman I began to remember and reconnect to my love and passion for the Earth and all her beings. There was no specific experience or event that signalled the change, but a gradual healing that was related to finding my way back into my body, finding community and later on Movement Medicine. One day, without knowing how I got there, I found myself on a workshop called Dancing with the Heart of the World. There I reclaimed a crucial part of myself and of my heart. And, I found that there were others who cared as deeply as me, and who encouraged me to be and show more of this part of myself. And the journey has unfolded in many direct and meandering ways ever since.

Of course this story, my story is not over... my love for the Earth has acquired many more layers and expressions and so has my grief for the destruction of ecosystems, species and the many essential elements of life. Now I can feel and embrace these feelings as part of my reason for being in this world, part of my purpose, part of what makes me who I am. And I am committed to keep listening and learning more about what this means in terms of my place and my work in the world. It has been one of my threads through these times of lockdown and I am both excited and a little bit nervous about soon revealing a new offering that is emerging out of my enquiry. I am looking forward to telling you more soon and to inviting you to share in this journey of finding our place in the web of life.

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