After waking up to an amazing sunrise, I set off early for the first of the Made of Walking workshops.
This morning Stefan van Biesen and Annemie Mestdagh presented a workshop titled Wanderlust.
Our small group ventured up the hill, finding a shady spot in the orchard. Stefan opened the conversation by talking about a tree that he had connected with many years ago, recounting the story of writing over 40 letters to the tree. He translated three of the letters for us and I found them poetic and very moving. Each letter was a gesture of generosity, of deep thought and meditation on life and our universal connectedness. I found myself thinking back to Norway and the tree at the Hurum Kirke, reflecting on the quiet times I spent in the company of this Elder who had witnessed the comings and goings of so many generations of my family.
Stefan also spoke about energy lines and how trees respond to being planted in certain places as well as human stimulus like hugging and talking. I found these observations a fascinating connection to my interest in dowsing and tree communication.
After sharing the stories, Stefan and Annemie led what I can describe as a tree meditation. We were invited to put our hands into these copper coloured fabric bags, like a lightproof bag you use to get your film into a processing tank (how is that for old school :-)). Inside the bag was an envelope with some leaves inside. I loved that these bags were copper – a deliberate choice because of the connection of copper to alchemy, dowsing and energy conductivity.
Anyway, we were asked to simply feel the leaves and then we were asked to imagine ourselves as a tree and to spend time embodied in that thought – imagining our tree roots going deep into the earth and our trunks bending in the breeze. We were also invited to imagine what sort of tree we were. This was hard as I love them all! As my mind raced thinking about all of these different types of trees, one image came through so clearly I almost cried. I saw my son Lukas, 4 years old, his beautiful face beaming at me and in his hand a fragrant frangipani. A treasured memory and a motif that now is full of meaning.
Without going into too much detail, while we were in our tree bodies, Stefan and Annemie came to each of us, offering non-verbal communication as a means of creating awareness through our senses. What was wonderful was the focus on senses that artists often ignore – touch and smell. These tactile senses are in many ways our most primal senses. In a world that is saturated with visual images, it is so refreshing to experience the privileging of other senses for a change.
I have thought a lot recently about ideas of grounding and connecting with the earth as a form of creative praxis, so this workshop was a wonderful expression of some of those ideas. It is so good to make connections with like minds ❤
It was a truly beautiful way to start the day. Thank you Stefan and Annemie – so much gratitude ❤
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Reflecting on Made of Walking, Cyprus 2018