Last weekend I drove to Exmoor for a gathering organised by Robin Harford, the best forager I know. (I’ll take every opportunity I can to learn from him.)
Robin is an intuitive forager. His method is to use all of your senses to get to know a plant: sight, touch, smell, and only when you’re 150% sure, to taste.
It's a warm and sunny day. The kettle's boiling on the fire, birds sing and flit about in the trees.
We are 12, sitting on log stumps in a circle: it's the beginning of School of the Wild's first ever full day in the woods.
We have a few activities planned and begin with an opening circle and check-in. One by one we go round and speak in answer to 3 questions:
The talking stick that Alistair found just outside the circle proves perfect for the job, and in the way of sharing circles the world over, it's picked up in turn, giving each of us the opportunity to talk, one at a time without interruption, until we're done.
Pictures from our most recent event: A Day in the Woods with Fire, Conversation and a few Exercises
Spending time in the woods round a fire, sharing food and meaningful conversations with lovely people, and practising skills to feel more connected, aware and alive.
I'm still feeling the benefits.
What's not to like? Fire, great people, relaxed atmosphere, awareness building, spending time in a wood, shared food and discovering a new skill to make smoke 'not get in your eyes.'
What a lovely day with lovely people in a lovely place. Thanks everyone for being so present and so mellow.
Simultaneous Awareness is a way to use your senses to become aware of everything that's happening around you at the same time.
Apache Scouts like Stalking Wolf had this extraordinary ability.
Developed by Ben Rayner after a serious skydiving accident, and then time spent alone in the wilderness, Simultaneous Awareness is based on Native ways of experiencing and relating to the world.
It includes easy-to-learn tools and techniques that will help you discover a profoundly different way of being.
In this short video, Ben explains more about it and how it can bring benefits.
Simultaneous Awareness and Natural Movement, June 5th. More details and booking on Meetup here.
You use them every day to gather information about the world around you. Your senses that is.
You have sight, smell, touch, taste, hearing... you have amazing powers of consciousness, reason, and creativity.
But your body is chock full of 'extra' senses that you may not even be aware you're using, like some of the mysterious powers that other animals possess.
You can access them if you drop out of your rational, thinking mind.
If you pay attention to what you feel in your body, you can detect and feel things around you that you can't see: objects, movement, emotions...
To try this out, at our last School of the Wild session, after some centring and grounding exercises, then fox walking and owl vision to get into the 'zone', we walked blindfold through the woods.
The results were extraordinary.
Friday April 22nd was a pretty big day for the planet.
170 countries signed the Paris Climate deal at the UN, and it was also Earth Day, a movement who's ambitious aim includes planting 7.8 billion trees, and making cities 100% renewable.
At a time when the planet needs us more than ever to make choices that are nourishing for body, soul and the Earth, at School of the Wild we're passionate about ways that bring us closer to nature.
Author & Curator
Nigel Berman is the founder of School of the Wild.