Once upon a time there was a little girl. We will call her Star. Star was very young but she knew a lot. And she had already seen a lot. Her skin shone in the light, her eyes were deep brown and her wild black hair had curls that fizzed out like fireworks. Star was a child of nature and used to know how to communicate with the trees, the fish, the plants, the animals, the water, the sun, the moon and the stars. But she had forgotten.

Star had been on her own for a long time now.

Time is a very malleable thing - it can feel long or short depending on what is happening. Star knew this. She had a memory of her Mum's shining eyes and her Dad's hands reaching out to hold her but nothing else apart from a song she had heard.

She had been stuck and alone for too long, but three days ago something incredible had happened - she saw a light shining in. Star had been so used to being curled up in the dark that she didn't know how to get out at first. She had been telling herself that she must stay inside, that it wasn't safe to come out, that she would destroy everything, or be destroyed. So she had stayed inside, forgetting all she knew, apart from one thing - she never forgot the sound of the blackbird singing, or the feeling of freedom it gave her.

So when light started streaming in, Star remembered the sound of the blackbird singing.

She stayed a few more days in the dark, just feeling the space above her that had opened up. Waiting for the courage to somehow stretch up and get out of the place she had been trapped in. But the strength didn't come. Star stayed inside even though now, finally, she could get out. She was afraid. She didn't know what she might meet outside. Would she be eaten alive? Would she be even more alone with all that space around her?

Days passed and nights went by and Star started to feel things she hadn't felt for a long time. She felt the breeze blowing her firework hair and a giggle erupted from inside her. It felt nice, the bubble of a giggle that came up from her heart.

She felt the warmth of the golden sun as it shone on her skin and it was like she was being warmed from the inside and outside all at the same time.

She felt drops of rain touching her eyelids, her face, her hands and she licked them off, remembering the freshness of the waterfalls she used to play in.

And then she remembered why she was in the dark place.

A surge of pain went through her like a lightening bolt as she re-lived the moments her world fell apart... when she ran and ran away from the noise, the confusion, the darkness...until she found this safe place where she could shut down and hide.

The memory brought great sobs, tears of despair, loss and heart-wrenching, physical stabs inside her. Star had run from this pain, she didn't want to feel it. and yet, right now, with the wind, the sun, the rain there with her, she felt like she could sob for eternity. She felt held.

All of the feelings that had been stuck in time came out and were heard, witnessed by the wind, the sun and the rain.

A great gust of wind tipped Star over and she tumbled out. Shocked, she stopped crying and gasped as she felt her hands sink into the grassy earth, covered in daisies. Her head was spinning from all of the feelings and new experiences. She lay on the ground and felt the earth support her.

With her head down on the earth, she opened her eyes and looked into the green grass around her. There were ants walking through the stems and she followed one with her eyes until it disappeared into the daisies. Sitting up, she saw a willow tree and followed the sweep of its leaves up to the branches, softly blowing in the wind.

And then she saw it - a blackbird was sitting in the tree and in his mouth was a daisy-chain crown.

The blackbird flew down and dropped the daisy crown onto Star's head. As it landed she felt a rush of warmth flow through her and she sighed in relief. The blackbird landed on her shoulder and started to sing.

Star smiled from a deep place inside her and took her first steps on this new land with her power animal, her daisy crown gift and a courage that she had forgotten she had. She looked at the world with tear cleansed eyes and saw how interconnected she was. She felt her breath rise and fall in time with the dolphins in the sea, and she knew that now, she was ready.
Watching the birds and the dogs, all of the animals, I am continuously struck by their absolute total capacity to be exactly who they are. Babies do it too – when you look in their eyes, they are absorbed by you and you have a chance to be absorbed by them. A sparrow is 100% sparrow, no pretence, no shame, no wondering what it would be like to be an eagle or a worm. It is sparrow.

Running through all of the (non-human) animals I know and love in my mind’s eye, I see that this is a trait they all share.

Watching sparrow sit on a gate and chirp, scratch, chirp, listen, chirp, scratch… I see a being that knows how to embody every aspect of itself without holding back.

A sparrow doesn’t go on a quest to find its true self. She is just sparrow. Until she is not. And then she is dead.
They fight, they build nests, rear young, eat, drink, form relationships, scratch, dust bathe, fly, chirp… Each action done with complete commitment.

Inevitably, I then begin to compare their example of presence and commitment to myself. I am learning to be like sparrow. To eat when I am eating, to speak, to sing, to listen with such wholeheartedness.

Sparrow doesn’t have ego, or inner work to do, that’s not her path. But I do. And it is that inner work that has led me to be more like sparrow – not wanting to be someone different, not needing validation for living on planet earth. Sparrow owns her spot on that fence with clarity and grace. If challenged she will fight or acquiesce but each is done with full commitment.

I was talking to a good friend today about my current project – combining my three websites into one and designing a logo. Just like sparrow, I am bringing all of myself into one space, sitting fully on the gate, singing, with all of my feathers blowing in the wind. Sparrow doesn’t assess whether she will be accepted before she sings. She doesn’t compare her song to the blackbird’s song. She just sings. She knows, on some level, that she is exactly who she needs to be – sparrow. And so she does her sparrow thing.

During this conversation with my friend, she asked me many questions. One of them was “What are the words you would use to describe what you are doing in your work?”

I closed my eyes and felt my body held by the earth, I felt the wind on my face and the warmth of the sun on my skin. I heard the birds singing and felt them there in the trees, part of my experience, close but untouchable.

George Monbiot came to mind – his re-wilding – bringing back the wolves that then eat some of the deer, allowing trees to grow and rivers to reform, deepen and consolidate due to the new boundaries given by the trees.

I realised that I equate my life and work with the coming of the wolves, the re-wilding that George Monbiot speaks of. I tried for many years to hold back the process, tactics that many will recognise – eating nice food, emotional and physical intimacy, chatting on about stuff, keeping busy… all lovely things but they can also be used as a distraction from feeling deep pain, fear or hurt. And if it is not felt, it can’t be let go of, so it stays with you, hurting.

Resistance is not a pleasant occupation and yet I tried it for many years – resisting the call of my heart to be really seen. Which means I was resisting all of the connections and collaborations that could be made with a brave and visible heart.

The wolves can come in many forms – physical and mental illness, loss, accidents, divorce, redundancy… whatever pulls the rug out from under you. Their purpose though, is not to cause suffering but to show you how your river can run through the earth in all its power, sustaining you and those you meet. They come to shake you out of your old outmoded ways and show you who you really are. They come if you have not been listening to the call of your inner wild heart.

I am not sparrow. I do question and doubt sometimes, I do take time to work out who I am and why I am here. But something has happened recently. My river is running more deeply and I have made friends with the wolves. And now it is time for Woodspring – Finding Your Wild. Here you will find all that I am, wrapped up into one. I hope there is something in here that touches your wild spirit, and if something does, I look forward to seeing you soon.