In our land

September 23, 2013

1308e404It felt like I was floating in the clouds, every muscle in my body relaxed, my mind clear of thought, my heart soft and at peace. It was as if I was drifting in and out of a deep meditation, and yet the process to get to this blissful state had been unconsciousness, and so easy.

Choosing the shore side of Malham Tarn as our bedroom for the night, snuggled up in the warmth and comfort of our bivvy bags, our bellies full from our chippie tea, we looked at the sun and estimated it was around 40 minutes from setting. Yet it seemed only seconds afterwards that I heard Jason say it had now dipped below the horizon.

As I gently opened my eyes time stood still, a moment captured in my breathlessness, as I saw a sky dancing with orange, yellow and purple tinges reflected in the stillness of the lake water. The image was broken with even more beauty as a family of ducks glided in and eased themselves onto the glistening surface, sending ripples lapping gently upon the shore, just metres from where we had settled for the night. I lay there drifting between partial consciousness and partial dreaming, watching as the light faded, gradually being replaced by the expansiveness of the universe. Stars awoke above me one by one, the Milky Way floating above me as I floated here on Earth. The universe and I were At One that night.

For me this is what the Way of the Buzzard is all about. It’s achieving that state of peace, of connectedness, wanting for nothing, enjoying everything, but happening in our land, in the beauty of our landscape. Not in a meditation circle in a community village hall, or in a yoga retreat center high in the Peruvian mountains, in in a sweat lodge with the Native American tribes. I am not detracting away from these places and experiences, as they all have their place, and if you are drawn to do this then its absolutely the right thing for you to do. But my belief is that they are not of our way, our culture, and our land. They are also not accessible every day.

I may not feel like going to that yoga class on a Monday night after a busy day at work, or it may take me many years of careful saving to afford that enlightening trip to India. Yet we the immense beauty of an extraordinary gift right on our doorstep.

Nature is our teacher, our healer, and our guide through our lives here on Earth. And it is only by immersing ourselves in her, through our own spiritual practice, that we can hear her wisdom, and receive her gifts. At one level we all do it, whenever we feel something different as we go for a walk in the countryside.

The Way of the Buzzard is simply stepping this up a gear or two, at a pace that is entirely led by ourselves. We are our greatest teachers, if we listen to that inner voice, and we can hear that voice at it’s loudest when we are out in nature. Through her we can find our true selves.

About the Author


Nicola Smalley is an edge-dweller, shamanic practitioner and writer living in Anglezarke on the edge of the West Pennine Moors in Lancashire, England.
Following a career in corporate sustainability, she now runs The Way of the Buzzard with her husband Jason. Her passion is anything connected to nature and the mysteries of the Earth.

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