The chalice


I fell in love with the silence of the wild that returned while we stopped doing. It resounded as a permission to be wild for my broken heart. Restorative is a word that comes to mind to describe its welcoming.

Listening to nature’s sounds filling up the spaces normally occupied by cars, chainsaws, lawn mowers, construction machinery, human voices, was so soothing, its peace immersing me into stillness, enticing and sharpening my senses to naturally re-wild.

I have heard many politicians describe their reaction to covid19 as a war against this invisible enemy coming from the wild.

But really, seen through the eyes of the wild, our lockdown was a welcomed truce.

I recently went back to a beloved forest nearby and discovered the carpark has reopened now that we’re in de-confinement phase one. I have never been very fond of cars but I would not say I was outright hostile. Yet today I could feel my heart constrict and swell with the disappointment of loss.

I breathed in deeper. There was no one around and I went on my way. I entered the forest like I have come to enjoy it; as if through a portal to another realm. A sacred haven where I feel more whole, maybe even holier. Where my presence lovingly attunes to the qualities, the textures, the sounds, allowing for an exquisite intimacy to naturally emerge and imbibe my being with a reverentially tender serenity, a relieved contentment.

I placed my hands on a tree whose trunk forked in two branches shaped like a chalice. A receiving. I felt its raw purity, its presence. Did you know presence comes from the French pronoun ‘près’ which means close or near?

Presence is a closeness, an intimate relating of oneself to another or a place. It is that homely settling in I experience also in a biodynamic craniosacral setting, when my mind stops interfering; when I disappear to allow the unsullied emergence of a deeply felt sense that is inclusive of my surrounds, of Earth.

A sense of being at home within is inherently tied to a greater container. A presence is always in relationship through our sensory receptors.

I love that this felt sense of ourselves and Earth could be our sixth sense, our Dreamtime sense as the late John Moriarty beautifully points out in his superb book (Dreamtime, 1994).

Rekindling, deepening our presence, our felt sense with Earth would usher a new way of being for us humans. One that wild animals, trees, plants remain naturally imbued with. One that they do not need to switch on because it is always on.

I read, like you may have, about the mysterious and magnificent migratory stories of monarch butterflies, salmon, many bird species… Scientists are at a loss trying to solve their enigma. How could they all orientate to a destination with such precision without ever having been there before?

Because they truly are at home with Earth. She is their submarine, their car, their vessel and their airplane. She is their kin. They do not bar their true paths with dualistic scientific thinking and they do not place technical progress in the way of who they essentially are.

Their truth does not just lie within either. It is always in perspective, in relation with. A wonderfully sophisticated yet simply primal reciprocity that goes way beyond just giving and taking. It does not analyse and count. It pervades the intricacies of their tightly knitted, intimately felt ‘presence-ing’ to fellow species on Earth.

We keep on forgetting to our peril that we are made of Earth. We would not be around were it not for her wild allowance of our presence.

I wonder could this sixth sense flourish again so that we can be truly present to Earth, close to her. The way aborigines, the way indigenous Amazonian tribes dream her, live her.

So here I was back in my nest. I barely had a chance to be touched by the delicate qualities of this tree-chalice, this grail of a wild kind when a man came a-striding in, loudly talking to his mobile phone, like a knife cutting through magic, breaking the spell.

I pulled myself from the chestnut tree and let him walk away. I breathed deeper and sat further down, tending to my heart.

A few moments later children and their mothers filled the silence with their chatter, and their screeching. As I noticed with curiosity my hostility grow, I asked myself this question: how can I be the chalice that holds all this presence, however discordant? How can I be like Earth in other words?

How can I be at one with Earth when all this adverse conditioning is constantly testing our natural abilities at restoring balance? When it feels like the war that is permanently being waged on the wild and its resources is wedging a knife further in our own hearts?

As a biodynamic craniosacral therapist I let my absence allow for a presence of potentially anything, of everything.

There is empathy and compassion there, but my desire to change or fix anything steps out of the way to allow this client's stories emerge without interference.

The main reason my hold can be all inclusive is because I entrust a higher Intelligence at play within my client’s physiology. One that knows its way back to Health better than anyone.

Essential to each session is a surrender to a more-than-human mystery, call it divine if you will. It is the presence of the numinous that allows for all possibilities, and that enables Health, itself an immanent expression everywhere on Earth, to do what it does best: find homeostasis, return to wholeness.

It is by tuning into my felt sense and deepening into stillness that I can reach into and switch on this earth sense, a field of deep permissive promiscuity with Life force breathing Earth and breathing me through her.

Every session is a portal to another version of ‘home’: the relational story between what is and what could be. This internal drama is embedded in the greater whole that is Earth. It will impact as well as be affected by its conditioning characteristics.

Covid19 allowed a wildness that was retreating from us to return because we were forced into ‘hiding’. I have experienced these new conditions as an opportunity to cultivate my earth sense, to dig deeper into her rich soil.

Now as the permission to be wild that was granted by our confinement is gradually lifted, I have to readjust to painful ‘business as usual’ scenarios: construction workers back at work have destroyed trees near my home to make way for a new road leading to a new housing estate. More cars are rushing by. Noise pollution and the biodynamics, the rhythms of life, have geared up again.

This is the time of the sixth extinction. I hear you, this happened before and here we are. Earth survived. Trust the Intelligence at play. And keep digging, for the deeper you go the closer you are to Earth and her wisdom. And her healing biodynamic stillness.

Permission to be wild shape shifts to permission to be profound. What I mean by profound is not some uprooted intellectual performance but an emergence from deep within my earthen well of what it is I am here for. What is home for me now? What is my relationship between what is and what could be? What is my original take on life, my authentic expression of aliveness, and how does it relate to the greater whole? How does it anchor?

Back in the forest, I see myself from another angle: sitting in the woods, grinding my teeth and berating these strangers ‘violating’ the wild where I sought sanctuary. I listen and find the roots of the story behind these triggers. I let breath create another space where I can let go of it all and feel the transmuting powers of a bright current reshape, restore and renew.

Like in a biodynamic craniosacral session as I behold the return of high potency in someone’s fluid self; as I feel the mighty expression of Health’s Intelligence, something truly magical emerges.

The elation that I and my client feel during such an experience may be similar to that of a flower tenderly blossoming under the sun. It is a conflation of many factors that attend to this blooming, this relating between what is and what could be, this profoundly entangled reciprocity between a life and a place.

My covid journey began as a coronation(see my previous blog post) an opportunity to regain sovereignty. It continues with this energetic gift of a chalice, the symbolic source of an elixir, a flowing current with many healing and transmuting properties.

May this chalice be our springboard for a new relating between what is and what could be.


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