She Who Knows magazine article

Women going Elemental

by Maren Freeland

What would our world look like if we really knew our place in it? If we felt that we belonged. If we felt at home in our bodies, at home in circle with others and at home in nature? If we had a sense of being part of the interconnected web of all life, that we are whole in ourselves, yet intricately woven into mutually beneficial relationships of giving and receiving. If we listened to our deep innate wisdom and felt empowered to act on it…?

When I was part of setting up Landmatters Permaculture Community 10 years ago, I was motivated by the desire to reduce my ecological footprint to a level that would be sustainable on this planet. Against the odds we won our planning battles, met many challenges and persevered. I learned that it is possible to manifest my dream. I live in a low-impact dwelling, grow food in good soil, generate electricity from the sun and the wind, harvest firewood from the trees and collect water from the rain and an underground well. My off-grid lifestyle is simple and satisfying as it’s easy on the earth. But more than anything, living like this for the last 10 years has given me a direct and profound connection with the natural world. It has helped me to appreciate the four elements around me in a very tangible way and it had a profoundly healing impact on me to come to realize in an experiential way, that I am part of nature.

We can’t survive without the four elements- earth, air, fire and water, but we have become so disconnected from nature that we forget about this.

The breaking of the relationship with what keeps us alive, actually makes us sick! There’s quite a large body of research now that shows that in this virtual day and age we suffer, what has been coined “nature deficit disorder” or “disconnection disease”.

Life can be such a squeeze, our daily lives and duties make us run from one thing to another. When do we ever pause and take time to just be?

Women going Elemental is offering just that. It is the pilot project of a social enterprise called Untamed that I’ve set up to share this beautiful place and what I’ve learned over the years. It seeks to offer outdoor experiences that nourish, heal and empower.

Initially I want to offer this to women, based on my own experience of being part of groups of women, which I found hugely empowering and transformative. Being in circle with other women can allow for a level of depth and discovery we don’t often find elsewhere.

Women of all backgrounds and ages are invited to spend days and weekends out on the land with time to connect to nature, ourselves and each other.

A cosy base camp with a warming fire will already be set up. From here the fun and adventure can begin: playing in the elements and venturing into the wild…Time to reclaim your untamed selves – uncover your true potential, feel connected, supported and alive!

As well as having solo time in nature, doing environmental arts and other creative techniques, we’ll also be learning practical skills such as fire-making, wild food foraging and tool handling…it can be very empowering to learn some of these skills which are ancient and forgotten about. No one ever taught me in school how to handle a knife or make herbal remedies from the native plants that grow around me. These skills are instilling a sense of self-reliance – if I know how to light a fire and build a simple shelter I can survive in the wild!

Further reflective time takes place within a group setting so we can share with each other and build supportive relationships. All is welcome here – a safely held space to free deeply held emotions and to be celebrated for who you are and all that you bring.

Ultimately, this is about taking time to pause and listen in- to empower ourselves and each other. To remember that we are part of this interconnected web of life that sustains us and that we are together on this journey at this time in history. The world needs you to be who you are and bring yourself fully. Right here, right now. Let’s go wild and explore together!

 May 2016 – published in She Who Knows magazine

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