What’s going on beneath the surface?

What’s going on beneath the surface?

“The Map is not the territory”

Twenty or so years ago I heard those words on one of the first personal development courses I went on.

It was a year long training where we spent weekends in the New Forest discovering how we communicated with ourselves and uncovering the stories and beliefs that we used to shape our worlds.

Some of those stories were useful, and some it was time to let go of!

During that year, I remember that we did high ropes courses, jumping off telegraph poles to grab trapezes, we took night walks and learnt incredible things about nature – did you know that there’s a type of moss that will burn as an ember for hours, and some grass that tastes like marzipan, and owls triangulate their sound to hunt?

I also remember that phrase: The map is not the territory.

Basically the way I understood it, it was saying that someone’s outward behaviour, what they show you, doesn’t mean that’s their true self.

Their behaviour is just one part of them, not all of them.

The same for how we see ourselves. We may think that we’re not good at something, and that may be the story we tell ourselves, but is that really true?

Is that really true in all areas of our lives, or just one area, or was it  on just one occasion?

I was reminded of this phrase again today when I visited the national cave centre in Wales and this was the first view that I had:

It’s beautiful.

Lush, rolling hills and rich green trees, and in typical Welsh fashion, it had just been raining, so everything felt more vibrant and alive.

Seeing the hills, it would be easy to take that as the story of the land.

Their beauty would be enough to satisfy most nature lovers.

However under these hills lay the most extraordinary caves, rich in their own beauty:

There was a cave as big as a cathedral and equally as impressive, there were waterfalls, rivers and incredible rock formations of all shapes, sizes and colours.

I love being in (large and spacious!) caves. They make me feel so deeply calm, connected and peaceful, and yet when I shared the images on instagram, someone commented ‘Caves are a no go for me’.

Same caves, different story and experiences.

Neither is right or wrong, they are just different.

When we encounter a person, a behaviour, a situation, we tell ourself a story about it and them. This story will be based on our own experiences, expectations or what we’ve been taught

We like things to be clearly one thing or another. To be black and white, right or wrong, good or bad, but that is rarely the case.

Seeing the hills today, with their hidden treasure reminded me that on first sight we rarely know what’s going on beneath the surface… with people, behaviours, hillsides, even sometimes with ourselves.

If a city was to be built on top of this hillside, the grass would indeed be gone, but the beauty under the surface would still be there.

The caves only came to light because two brothers were brave enough and curious enough to go and explore.

What if you had that same sense of curiosity about the things and people you came across?

When we take the time to ask:

What story am I telling myself about this person, behaviour, situation, feeling etc?

When we take the time to be curious about:

What’s going on beneath the surface…

We might just be surprised at what we do discover.

After the storm has passed

After the storm has passed

Storms don’t come to teach us painful lessons, rather the are meant to wash us clean” – Shannon L. Alder

The other day I was scrolling through facebook, when something caught my eye.

It was an article about a prehistoric forest that had been uncovered after a recent storm.

When I first saw the photo, I thought, “Wow, I’d love to see that”, and was about to scroll past, when curiosity (and a little voice inside) got the better of me and I read the full article:

“A prehistoric forest which was buried under water and sand more than 4,500 years ago has been uncovered by Storm Hannah.

The petrified trees lie between Ynyslas and Borth in Ceredigion county.

The forest has become associated with a 17th Century myth of a sunken civilization known as ‘Cantre’r Gwaelod’, or the ‘Sunken Hundred’.

It is believed the area was a once-fertile land and township protected by floodgates.

The remains of the forest’s trees, preserved in the local peat, have been exposed by low tides and high winds.” BBC Website

Borth! I couldn’t believe it, for some reason I’d assumed the photo had been taken abroad, but Borth is my closest beach – it’s still over an hour away, but it’s an area I’ve visited regularly the whole time I’ve lived in Herefordshire – about 7 years now.

I quickly looked at the date of the article, it was only a few days old, the chance of the trees still being visible was high, so with the call of trees and the beach, how could I resist a trip to see for myself!

Even low tide aligned with a perfect day to the beach.

It was incredible to see.

I chatted to a few other people walking around the forest remains, one woman had travelled three hours to visit, and another 2 hours.

I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve visited these beaches, and I had never known about the trees.

Yet a chance scroll through facebook, a trust in the curiosity to read more, the divine timing of coming across the article and the perfect time of low tide, allowed me to combine a few of my favourite things; trees, beaches and adventure.

The uncovering of the trees reminded me of the power of the storms to reveal what we didn’t know was right under our noses.

The same is true for life-storms.

Not all storms are here to destroy us or tell us to turn back and seek shelter, many are here to reveal more of our truth to us.

In the SHEro’s Journey, the second stage of the four part journey is the Significant Challenge. It’s during this stage that we can feel as we’re in the eye of the storm, feeling tested to our limits.

Some people see this as a time to turn back, or a sign that they’re on the wrong path.

But like storm Hannah and the prehistoric forest, sometimes the storms are here to reveal the treasure that lies within.

The challenges of life storms give you a chance to review your choices, to decide how committed you are to what you’re after. They offer you the opportunity to grow and become stronger, to deepen your resolve so that you can move closer to and achieve what you desire.

Storms can reveal to you what was once hidden, in the case of the beach it was the prehistoric forest, but what treasure do the storms reveal about you?

The Importance of Reclaiming The Moon

The Importance of Reclaiming The Moon

Women have always been deeply connected to the earth, and to the wisdom of nature.

Through her menstrual cycle, she is connected to the cycles around her, such as, the seasons, the moon phases, the ebb and flow of the tides, and the cycle of life and death.

Once upon a time, this wisdom, this understanding of the mysteries of life, were passed down from woman to woman, from mother to daughter, but over the centuries things began to change.

These, once revered, cycles that were honoured as a circle, began to be seen as inferior to a line.

The circle that had no beginning, or no end, and no hierarchy, was replaced with the line that had a bottom and a top, and a superior and inferior position.

The mysteries and connection to the earth began to be rejected. Intuition, emotions, and healing were ridiculed.