How to Write the Land

I have a friend who runs Ecotherapy East, bringing nature and mindfulness-based workshops to people, mainly from their rewilded land that they steward in Suffolk. It’s a beautiful place and I visited a while ago with my family to help with a land-tending day. I wondered if we could ever run a writing workshop there together, with my friend Sebastiana focussing on the nature-based activities and me guiding the writing prompts.

That is exactly what we did last weekend at the time of the Autumn Equinox and it was a wonderful success with far more people booking on than we’d envisaged, helping us to see that there is a thirst for these kinds of experiences: to connect with the natural world and the land and build a writing practice alongside tuning into nature’s cycles. It was a dry day (which helped) but windy, bringing challenges to making our voices heard. It was the first writing workshop I’d ever run outside and, even with the wind carrying our voices away, it was a magical experience.

We shared inspiring poetry, meditations, walked a labyrinth (a spiral-shaped maze that Sebastiana and her husband Rob have created on the land), invited participants to find a nature ally (or let the nature being find them) and tune into eight senses – the normal five senses as well as the body, heart and imaginal senses. There was, of course, plenty of opportunity to also write around what is no longer serving them; free form writing on their nature ally and what seeds they wish to harvest and carry forwards.

This experience has sparked an idea in me. I think a seed was probably sewn at the climate writing course in Wales and took root during this half day writing course. So watch this space for some online offerings to open this up to more people…

I’ll leave you with a beautiful poem we shared at the workshop:

I will not Live an Unlived Life

By Dawna Markova

I will not die an unlived life

I will not live in fear

of falling or catching fire.

I choose to inhabit my days,

to allow my living to open me,

to make me less afraid,

more accessible,

to loosen my heart

until it becomes a wing,

a torch, a promise.

I choose to risk my significance;

to live so that which came to me as seed

goes to the next as blossom

and that which came to me as blossom,

goes on as fruit.

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