Web Of Connection
Context of the here and now and the writer…
I acknowledge the first people of this land, of all the lands. The true custodians who have taken care of the lands and nurtured life, without whom I would not be alive today.
I acknowledge the land, the natural environment, the sacred soils of this country. Nature too gives me life, sustains and nourishes me. For this, I am grateful and pay my respects.
I am not indigenous, but I do belong the Earth.
I also acknowledge the pain and suffering of our first people. The blood shed, the irreversible trauma, and the unthinkable atrocities that was caused by the invasion of your lands. Land that I could never claim, never own.
I acknowledge that this pain and suffering lives in me.
My remembrance of tribal days of living, of close kinship, of walking bare foot on the land and oneness with all things living is alive within me. I remember days of living in ancient times and I long for my return to this harmony with the land and all of life. I remember my lives lived thousands of years ago, a remembrance that lives in all of us. It is only through my dedicated practice and ceremony that I have accessed these memories… an honour and a grievance.
My drive and my passion come from my yearning to return to the harmony of nature, as one humanity. It is nature herself that works through me, an almighty force that is urging me to step forward in humanities current crisis of disconnection.
Once we reclaim our connection to nature, we reclaim our connection to our own nature. This is where true harmony resides. This article series, ‘Web of Connection’ offers a road map back to universal connection, to spirit, to nature, to self. It is a realisation of wholeness… not a process, for all of this already exists within us.
Connection to Spirit
“Know your spirit and you will never be lost.” — Karla Riddell
I realised that ten years of ceremony has taught me how to connect to my spirit, in great depth. I know my spirit intimately. I know the name of my spirit, I know what it (non-gendered) feels like, I know when I am expressing my spirit, when I am guided by my spirit and when I am disconnected and not listening to my spirit…
In a world of cemented walls, cemented lands, steel and straight lines we as a humanity are forgetting who we are. Governed by an external force that is “government”, rules and regulations in business, in society and even in family. Patriarchy has us in its grips, and most of us can feel it taking hold and pulling us out of our body and our power. It is up to us to reclaim our sovereignty as human beings, it is our birth rite to live as we are, to be governed by our own guidance. Once we reclaim our connection and our belonging to the Earth, we come to stand in our power. Once one stands, it gives rise to others to stand, until the day we all stand, side by side.
This is my story of how I came to meet my spirit:
Over the last decade I have experience all kinds of ceremonies, from different linages. In my quest for initiation I journeyed with Hawaiian, Peruvian and Mayan Shamanism from age 19. Inevitably through the intensity of all of these journeys and initiations, it seemed it was my spirit I was searching for. Each having its role in my soul awakening, in my return to standing in my wholeness and my power. I learnt to be a healer, I learnt to invoke through chanting, I learnt to hold steady in the wildest storms. In these storms I was altered, every cell of my being in metamorphous, just like the caterpillar becoming the butterfly. Some were brutal, where I faced my own death, the death of the ego. Shedding layers upon layers of built up shields, grief, shame and guilt.
My quest for these shamanic initiations came to a natural completion, when these processes within me began to happen spontaneously. Eventually my body was so much in control of it’s own healing that these states of transformation would happen on their own accord in everyday life. These days my daily practice involves being in nature, this is where I find healing, clarity and a reconnection to my spirit. The times when I don’t have the power of nature, I remember the darkest of storms that I have faced in ceremony, because it is these times that I have experienced the incredible power of my spirit.
After sitting in ceremony with indigenous women in the Australian desert, and meeting many incredible custodians of this land I realised a profound connectivity. This power of self-healing and listening to the land, this is their wisdom, the longest living wisdom of the world.
I cannot teach anyone how to find their spirit, but I can support them to turn inward to find it for themselves. It has been a lifelong journey, a soul dedication for me. The greatest thing that guides me in the work that I do is trust… the trust I have for the humans that share this world with me. I know what you are capable of, I have no doubt that you can walk your soul’s path with great integrity and compassion.
~ I acknowledge the traditional people of all the lands. I write this with reverence and pure intention. I honour the custodians past, present and future and ask forgiveness if any information is misaligned to traditional belief systems. ~
Connection to Nature
“The land defines us, shapes culture and passes on a timeless wisdom.”
We could never own the land, for we belong to it. There is no separation between our own physicality and the physicality of nature. What we do to the earth we inevitably do to ourselves. The rivers run through our veins, we depend on healthy water for survival. The plants nourish our body, and so, when we modify the organic nature of plants, we impact our own health.
Nature teaches me the way of life, it enriches me with a wisdom that I could not find in any other way. And so there is no distinction between my time spent in nature, and my work in the world. I grew up on the land, in isolation from society, but in deep connection to the natural world. So what has this connection taught me?
It taught me truth, reflected my truth, reflected my true nature and continues to show me that I am never alone. It reminds me that I am eternally supported and that it is only in my full surrender to the Earth that I may receive this support. The Earth teaches me to slow down, to release my human patterning of doing and striving. I lose all need for striving, and I lose my ego identity of ownership. I come back to the realisation that my purpose in this world is to be in service to the Earth. To listen deeply to her, to open up my feeling body to become one. There is great power in this, for the force of mother earth works though me when I align to this purpose. When I lose connection, I lose alignment, I lose the grace of flow and I begin to push against the stream, against natural lore. It is as if my soul signed a contract when I came into existence, it would have said something along the lines of, “I dedicate this life to being in service to the Earth. I accept my responsibility and accept all consequences of actions that are not harmonious to the natural lore.”
Where is spiritual sovereignty in this? It appears that living in harmony with nature is sovereignty, as this harmony is also a harmony with myself and all of humanity. Eventually, when we are living in this world long enough, we come to see that the outer world and the inner world are in constant relationship. The environment does not encapsulate us, it is us. There lies the beauty… we are one tiny speck on the Earth and… we are the whole universe. So everything in between must be a part of us.
Our journey of reclaiming our connection to the natural world is the greatest service we could be, not just to the Earth, but to humanity. Once we collectively return to our belonging and our interwoven connection to the fabric of life, we will no longer have the drive to take from the Earth or eachother. Reclaiming our connection is a natural re-harmonising, from the inside out. Nature does not strive to be better, it simply lives.
Connection to Body
The body, it is what makes us human. So is our mind and our spirit separate or one? I would say both!
A powerful perspective was shared with me by an indigenous elder this year.
“What we do to the Earth, we do to our bodies.”
So would we poison our own waters? Our blood? Would we dig bits out of our body and cut ourselves open? Would we pillage our vital organs and strip ourselves of energy?
Hearing this Elder speak of this reflection really struck me, I could not help but see the correlation of mental health and sickness in our society, in our own people. Whilst it paints a painful picture, it also enlightens a new way, which funny enough… is the old way.
I must too make it clear, that one person’s sickness is not a reflection of how they have impacted the Earth, because once again, we are all connected, we are all responsible. This depth of connection shows us how vitally important it is that we all contribute to a healthier humanity and a healthier planet. In fact, those who are well, who can see and feel the current day have the greatest power to catalyse change. I would go as far as saying we have the responsibility.
“Responsibility should not weigh us down, it should make us strong.” ~ Karla Riddell
Back to the body now, the humanness that we are. I feel like I need to make a disclaimer here, as there is SO much information out there about the body. So my disclaimer is:
“This is my own understandings accumulated from my time in this human body.”
The body is in constant relationship to our spirit, our mind and the Earth. So every harmful thought is reflected in the body. Our spirit spans beyond time and space, and so every physical existence it has ever had, is still held in our physical existence. Much like our DNA holding imprints from our ancestry and their lives lived. We cannot have a spiritual journey without experiencing it through our body, we cannot bypass our body… that may be what they mean by “spiritual bypass”. There is no short cut, we must feel all things inside of us.
I recently had a powerful realisation, when I was struggling with the suppression of the feminine ways of existence. I realised that a woman’s strength is actually in her ability to feel. Tears flowed out of me, it was as if I could suddenly embrace all of me. Embrace the extreme depth of my feeling and no longer feel it as a burden. I realised I am living in my greatest expression as a women just by feeling as deeply as my body can feel. I reclaimed my strength of feeling the land. Of course, this comes with feeling pain and trauma, but is also carries immense power, as the Earth holds the greatest capacity for healing and endurance. It also has great beauty, a beauty so vast that it can be experienced in all places, all of the time.
So, there is no denying that if we wish to have a strong presence in the physical world, we must have a strong connection to our physical self, our body. How… well, that depends on the human.
For myself, it is a simple and strong dedication to three aspects.
What I eat.
What I give my energy to.
Where I receive my energy.
Where I receive my energy:
Healthy connection to the plants I eat — “all plants in their natural form are medicine”
Daily practice of meditation and time in nature. A walk in nature is what gifts me with the greatest clarity of insight and connection.
Embodiment practices — conscious dance, traditional yoga and massage (both giving and receiving)
Writing… yep, this very process of writing is a time of giving to myself.
There is a good place to end. That felt very personal and vulnerable sharing the ways I receive energy. My hope is that in writing and sharing my own ways of connection, it will support connection in others.
In deep gratitude to this body, this Earth, this country that I call home, the custodians past present and immerging, the care takers of this Earth that have existed and that exist today and to all of those who have read this. Thank you. May you reclaim your belonging.
About Karla ~ www.sacredhunahealing.com/karla/
About the Young Shaman Foundation ~ www.youngshamanfoundation.com
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