A couple of nights ago I went to see some live music.
I’d never seen or heard singer-songwriter Chris TT before, his songs, played mainly on acoustic guitar were a mix of clever folk-protest and psych-pop, with some fun chat in between.
After a couple of funny protest numbers, including one about saving a tree, he introduced his next song as being “as close to the real me as you’ll ever get.”
After all the songs looking outward, Words Fail Me, he said was his attempt to tell the truth about what was going on inside.
It was beautiful and moving, and touched the audience in a way that was very different. We all felt the emotion that the truth can bring.
It's not something we do often but really speaking from the heart always resonates.
It reminded me of a week I spent at Embercombe in Devon. Every morning before we did anything else we sat in a big circle, about 40 of us, and went round one by one saying whatever we needed to about how we felt and what was happening, without interruption. A sort of morning check-in.
For the first few days, I was terrified. It was a big group, and as my turn slowly approached, I could feel my heart pounding and my mind panicking about what to say. The fear kept my words short.
Three days in though and I found my voice. I was able to say something honest and truthful from the heart about what I was feeling and what being there meant to me. I was still nervous, but something changed for me.
You could tell when it had for other people too, and it became a moving, inspiring and powerful morning ritual that I looked forward to.
It’s something I’ve wanted to try at School of the Wild ever since, in our own way. To sit outside with trees, round a fire, in a circle - with fewer people, so it’s not as scary - and everyone says what’s in their heart, and be listened to.
It’s definitely a way to build deeper relationships and more meaningful connections. With others, and with yourself.
We did this by accident last summer in an impromptu day in Vert Woods. This year I’ve persuaded Rebecca Card to lead it, and because it’s better if it follows a structure, we’re using a technique called the Way of Council, used for hundreds of years by Native Americans.
We’ve called it the Heart’s Council and it’s in October. If you'd like to come along, there are only 10 spots available (early bird tickets on sale now).
Before then, Rebecca is also leading a Medicine Walk and Council on June 11th. If you’ve not done one of our Medicine Walks before, we also sit in circle first so you can work out the question you’re holding, then you go off for a solo three-hour walk that somehow turns the land into a mirror for your inner world.
I don't quite know how it works, but something unexpected and helpful always seems to happen.
We’ve known people go out with questions about their career when it feels stuck, for example, or with other life questions, and come back brimming with vitality, and full of inspiration.
Part of the power of it lies in Rebecca’s reflection afterwards.
Read how the last Medicine Walk went at Devil's Dyke here. Tickets available for the next one: here.
And… as a follow-on from last week’s Becoming Animal - a sensory awareness class in the woods - Alistair Duncan is running Sensing the Land on Sun 4th June, a sensory awareness walk around Wolstonbury Hill.
It culminates in a deep time travel experience sat on top of the hill. It’s pretty magic and is an affordable way into what we do if money is an issue.
Author & Curator
Nigel Berman is the founder of School of the Wild.