Working outside in nature has been one of the the biggest blessings of my life. After you lose the initial reluctance of being soaked when it pours with rain, or having the feeling your fingers will drop off in the frost (smiles) there comes a point of realisation that our true nature actually resonates with all that is, no matter what and becoming a part of what every other creature is experiencing even on the days of the most awful weather, nature will sing a harmonious tune and have you join in if you relax and allow her to. Little robin redbreast has been a good true friend to me throughout many bleak winters. He follows me into my cabin when I'm putting my wellies on, waits for his crumbs when I'm eating my sandwich at lunchtime and 'helps' when I'm weeding. He sits on the wire and sings in the snow, reminding me to see the joy of working outside even on the coldest of days and makes his nest in the trees during the springtime, often near where I am working so he can easily drop down to the freshly dug earth to feed his young ones. There is a resonance there, even though we are different creatures, he and I are just part of the one-ness of everything and we are all connected. Neither of us need words to know that by working alongside one another we help one another and in turn our naturally joyous nature is able to deal with matters of survival a lot more effectively.
I write this really as a reminder to anyone that may be having one of those 'off' days. Spend a little time outdoors, away from the television and allow yourself to truly feel what it is to be a part of the bigger picture. Stand on top of a mountain, look down at the people running around like ants below you.. how big do your problems really feel up there when you put it into perspective? Nature will talk to you if you allow her to and you are open enough to receive her messages. And don't forget, as the spirit of nature moves through your soul and you start to feel balanced and harmonised with the one-ness of everything, give thanks, open up your heart and send love to the Great Mother and the universe. Giving a little of your love back helps bring everything that is back into balance in a world that sometimes feels full of turmoil and unrest.
I feel truly blessed by the Great Spirit for guiding me to work with nature. It can be the most humbling and rewarding of jobs but is never ever boring. Giving thanks and gratitude for the blessing.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ANIMAL TOTEMS
One of the most beautiful things working outdoors is the fantastic connection with nature and all wildlife. Often myself and my co-worker will experience times when we are left open mouthed in awe as a bird of prey circles over our heads calling or some strange lizard is found hopping amongst the plants. Once we had to rescue a snake that had become entangled in the netting around one of the pots, was duly taken to a sanctuary, was stiched up, given antibiotics and then released back onto the field opposite the nursery. There are often messages that come with the sightings that we share and help us through our day. I will post a few of the ones that we share, that you may share in our joy too. Yesterday, we went for a walk after work to a place called Frensham common. Sat in front of a lake as the sun sparkled said nothing, just enjoyed the silence and being in the moment when a huge swan took off, flew really low, circled over our heads, beating its wings so loud that the whoosh whoosh could almost be felt, then landed back in the lake. It touched us both deeply. This is what I found in my animal totem book. I hope you too will find something here that may touch your own soul.
ANIMAL TOTEM OF THE DAY
(shortened descripton taken from Ted Andrews fantastic book 'Animal Speak')
Awakening the True Beauty and Power of the Self The swan is one of the most powerful and ancient of totems. This is reflected even in its name. For those with this totem, the emotions will become more sensitive, and you will find yourself becoming more sensitive to the emotions of others as well. The swan is usually pure white indicating this is a solar symbol. Its neck is long and graceful. It is one of the swan's most distinguishing features. The neck is a bridge area between the head (higher realms) and body (lower worlds).
In the swan totem, as you begin to realise your own true beauty, you unfold the ability to bridge to new realms and new powers. This ability to awaken to the inner beauty and bridge it to the outer world is part of what swan medicine can teach. It can show how to see the inner beauty within yourself or others, regardless of outer appearances. When we are capable of this, we become a magnet to others. This is reflected in the story 'the ugly duckling'.
The swan is a cold loving bird. They do not like the heat and can stand the cold very well as long as there is food. Those with this totem will find it easier to stand colder climates than warmer. Because of this, the swan also has the direction of the North, and its symbolism should be examined as well. The largest of all swans is the trumpeter. Its named for its loud trumpeting call. The whistling swan is our most common. The sound it makes is more of a whoop. The mute swan best known in America is named for the belief that it loses its voice as it reaches maturity. It is not truly voiceless, but it does epitomise the idea of strength through silence.
Swans are powerful birds that can break a mans arms with the beat of their wings and have strong beaks as well. They are devoted parents and mate for life, some live as long as 80 years. They reflect the power and longevity that is possible if we awaken to the beauty and power within ourselves. The swan is the totem of the child, the poet, the mystic and the dreamer, filled with mythology and folklore, usually as traditional symbols of beauty and grace.
They were sacred to Aphrodite the goddess of love. They were depicted pulling the chariot of Apollo. Zeus took the form of a swan to make love to Ledo, a mortal - reflecting the ability of a swan to link different worlds and dimensions. The swan fills folklore and fairy tales. Many speak of young maidens who turn into swans by putting on the magic garment of a swan's skin. If the skin were found, the beautiful maiden had to remain human and marry whoever found the skin or do their bidding. The swan has thus become a link to the faerie realm of life.
Many of these tales involving swans ended tragically, hinting at the primal life-changing power of beauty when released freely. It hints of the control necessary to work with such energy. From Greece comes the mystery of the swan song. This belief taught that the swan sang its most beautiful song just before it died. The swan song has come to be synonymous with poetic fancy. The swan can teach the mysteries of song and poetry for these touch the child and beauty within.