Wild Ways for 2024

I just tried to entice the dog out into the (very) cold, windy and wet day here in Teesdale, Co Durham. But he’s not having any of it. So I’m settling down to write instead, wrapped up in hat, blanket, scarf and two jumpers: Knitted Up against the cold in the house! 

Here we are nearing the end of January 2024 already, and I don’t know about any of you, but my constantly chattering mind has wanted, as usual, to drive me into anxiety about not being goodly-readyful of shiny intentions and large glittery incandescent goals.

But actually I’ve felt pretty sleepy and directionless, so far.

We can’t always work to the date on the calendar, the external world, the pushing and crashing of social media messages, and the endless insistence on ambitious production, as if we all have something BIG to achieve NOW. And actually, this process no longer feels authentic to me.

So my dreamy-sleepy-winter self has taken over and consequently I’ve been much more in tune with my natural ways and wilder rhythms.

I’ve been able to notice the robin visiting daily at the back door. Noted the owl swooping in front of me twice down the track in the dark. I doodled. I played in the sand. I crooned and I danced. I picked at some threads: sewed, knitted, spun some wool. Twice I pulled oracle cards telling me ‘Come To The Edge’. I sent out web-connecting threads on the wind to my human sisters and friends, and to my unseen supporters and companions. I’ve practised dreamlike visioning rather than goal setting.

And I’ve been waiting for the full moon to shine some light on the matter of 2024.

And now at the end of this first calendar month, I am feeling threads aligning as the moon waxes its way to fullness this week. I realise that everything is in motion; it’s all there. The knitting up into something is already in progress. Nothing to get anxious about.

And today I notice that I am intuitively following the plan I loosely laid out 12 months ago (and then largely forgot about) as I feel my way along the see-saw of between, despite my anxious-making mind wanting me to believe I’ve lost my way. I’m exploring the between-ness of allowing whatever is to be without controlling, whilst taking conscious actions to bring my vision into form, and leaving ample room for the wild frayed edges to have their way when they must.

One of those threads is the launch of Wild Way Retreats – a new venture with my Wild Therapy and Gestalt Psychotherapist friend and colleague Lucy Furniss. Our first retreat is to be at summer solstice 2024 at Embercombe, in Devon, and is unashamedly exclusively for women. And by that we mean women assigned female at birth and identifying as women. A conscious choice for ourselves: to make our passage into facilitating residential group-based Wild Way Retreats easier at our beginning. 

This first retreat feels properly wild as we find our way through the dark arts of e-marketing, booking protocols, plans that might be too much or too little, taking an uncalculated risk that all will work out, and weaving together the threads from our separate baskets of ideas, skills, and dreams. 

The long weekend in June will be a warmly held space for a small group of women who are perhaps searching for a deeper connection with nature, and seeking guidance and companionship to do this. We want to invite women to create with us, and fashion their own threads and dreams from their own wildness. The 4 days and 3 nights sleeping in yurts will offer time to sit in the beautiful outdoor spaces at Embercombe, with invitations to share, and opportunities to explore a personal way of being wild: leaning into the offerings Lucy and I will make from our unique and shared expertise, with plenty of room for the wild unseen ways to make their contributions.

Some of my threads were already woven into my 2024 fabric long before winter sleepiness set in, of course. And it’s not until now, and getting a bit more wakeful, that I discover I laid my path out quite well in my dreams.

Some emerging threads feel surprising to me, some are still a little scary, and some are just over the edge beyond my physical sight but within my vision. And here, my Wild Self beckons me to keep prodding at my dreams, habits and resistances; keep stepping out into what looks like a cold, wet and windy space over that edge, but which promises to knit me up warmly in a wholly Wild Way this year!