Hidden Treasure

July 21, 2017

It’s really easy to feel disempowered amongst the chaos isn’t it? That feeling of disillusionment and detachment from life is a familiar one for me, as everything we were told was real and important as a child seems to be slipping away. The safe world we were taught about at school, where we can have anything we want, and as much of it as we want. Where the very institutions which are there to take care of us are falling away – our NHS, our education system, our Government to name a few. The World is in crisis, and it’s highly likely that in this we reach our own personal crisis at the same time.

I recognise this in me. I have come to a place of peace with it all, on the whole, although there is a constant sadness held in my heart for the state of the World. I have found a lot of joy in my life, and the irony is it was the crisis that led me there. Both despair at the world crisis, and also the challenge of working through crisis in my life.

Field of Dreams

So it seems the World is going to pot. What difference can we make?

One of the most powerful concepts I came across when I was searching for meaning in it all was the Field of Dreams. I read about it in a little book called Downshifting, by Marian Van Eyk McCain. The premise of the book is to reduce what we need to live our lives, and through this find a new lightness of being in the World. Marian talks about two Worlds sitting on a set of scales. One World, the World we were born into with all its modern day trappings, consumerism, and false ideals is getting weaker, and falling away.

As it crumbles, we look to build a new one in which we do want to live in. This is building the Field of Dreams. The more of us who step across and start to build this World, the greater the momentum and the more real it becomes, until one day, without us even noticing, it becomes the more viable option of the two Worlds.

So, every action that we each take to build this World makes it more real. I found this concept so encouraging, as it can seem an impossible task sometimes. But it is entirely possible, and as they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s rather exciting really, that we are building it in our life time. It’s our generation who is the linchpin, and whatever our role in it, it is a crucial one.


Creativity as the key to the new Earth

So this leads me onto creativity. We are creativity beings and we are creating this new World. This is the gift of consciousness. So, the question is how are we choosing to create?

Creativity as the key to finding our true purpose in this life time.

Creativity is that thing that we loved to do as a child, where we are so engrossed that we didn’t even realise the time. That thing that we miss meals for and don’t even notice. Creativity is following that thought in our mind which sparks an interest, as random as it might seem, and keeping hold of it until it unravels into something which makes sense.


Hidden Treasure

Working and surviving in modern day living, it can be hard to even remember that passion for creativity that we had as children, but it is still there in us, and waiting to be tapped into.

I read a great book recently recommended to me by Jason called Big Magic, and the author Elizabeth Gilbert introduces a lovely idea I hadn’t thought of before which is our ‘hidden treasure’.

Photo credit: Davidd 


Elizabeth takes the concept from a poet in the mid 20th Century called Jack Gilbert. Jack spent many decades living in a small shepherds hut in Greece, having left his early working life in the factories and steel mills of Pensylvania. It was in these remote hills that he contemplated the eternal mysteries, watched the light change, and wrote his poems in private, returning to America later in life and taking up teaching, he taught that:


“We must risk delight. We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world”


He told his students that they must live their most creative lives as a means of fighting back against the ruthless furnace of this world.

Most of all, he asked his students to be brave. Without bravery, he instructed, they would never be able to realise the vaulting space of their own capacities. Without bravery, they would never know the world as richly as it longs to be known. Without bravery, their lives would remain small – far smaller then they probably wanted their lives to be

Now I find this so empowering in a world where we can feel so easily disempowered. To make our stand against all that we despair about our world, all we need to do is follow our creativity.

Elizabeth posed this central question upon which all creative living hinges:


“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”


I love this idea that within us we have hidden treasures, that we are walking repositories of buried treasure. As Elizabeth shares “I believe this is one of the oldest and most generous tricks the universe plays on us human beings, both for its own amusement and for ours: the universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.

The hunt to uncover those jewels, that is creative living.

The courage to go on that hunt in the first place – that is what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one.”

An enchanted life

So to acquire an enchanted life, we just need to pursue our creativity. That is all. In whatever form that is. It will be different in each of us. It’s simply to go out and follow that which you love. Devote yourself to it, and watch what unfolds. Behold what is unearthed.

It takes courage. But I expect you have already done far braver things in your life to get this far.

In our Shamanic Journey & Drum Circles this month we explored this idea of our hidden treasure, and went looking for it. Many of us received messages when we found it.

One of the common themes which came out of the circles was that these ideas that we receive are gifted to us. They are there, floating around in the ether, waiting for someone to pass at the right time, in the right place, and open enough to receive them. This is a concept which Elizabeth talks about in her book, referring to the American poet Ruth Stone, who would literally feel a poem coming towards here when she was out in the fields, and rush back indoors to grab a pencil and paper, grab the poem by its tail, like grabbing a tiger, and take dictation, letting the words pour forth onto the page. So for this to happen, for the ideas to come our way, we need to be living creative lives. We need to be ready to receive the idea and allow it to be created into reality through us.


Photo credit: David Lofink


Making time

Of course there is plenty out there to stifle us, plenty to block our path. In my life I can see that creativity was not given importance in my education, or when I worked in the Corporations. A poor diet slowed me down. Watching TV occupied far too many hours. Student debt weighed over me. The news depressed me. I can see now that every step in addressing these things helped me inch open that doorway to my creativity over the years, to bring me to the place where I am now.

Our Mythology teacher Martin Shaw introduced Jason and I to a regular practice called ‘five minutes of writing’. We read three poems to each other, and then spend five minutes writing, seeing what comes through. We have found it so powerful and often share this practice in workshops. We did this at this month’s Circles, and will be doing it again at our summer retreat in a few weeks time in the Yorkshire Dales, Craft & Creativity. Time and time again I am bowled over by what emerges from those people who share their writings. There are such hidden treasures inside us, just itching to be discovered if only we allow ourselves the space and time.

So my questions to you today are, what are you doing to find the treasure hidden within you? What are you doing to bring forth your creative life?

Whatever your answer, this will lead you to your life fulfilment. Eventually. If you follow the breadcrumb trail.

I will finish now with a couple of pieces I wrote during the Circles this month.


Buried Treasure
Might my soul have been something else in years gone by?
When the wind and the birds were my brothers, entwined together by blood.
Might I have known the inner depths of the mysteries?
Might I have been happier, calmer, more at peace?
Would I have known the meaning of it all, from the moment I developed my own self awareness?
Would my young soul have been a sponge for the divinity of creation, and lapped up every raindrop of beauty as it longs to do now?
Clouded by the rolling mist of civilisation which masks so much richness, buried untold treasures are out there for me to uncover should I allow myself the time to play.


I wonder sometimes if I will see that path
You know, the one I am to follow should the fog clear.
Sometimes the fog does clear enough so I can look ahead one step.
But most of the time I just inch forward with blind faith, trusting that it is there.
I take a step and I look to my feet. I am still on firm ground.
I reach out and feel the leaf tips guiding me.
I tilt my ear and hear the old ones whisper my name from out ahead.
If I reach out maybe I can touch their fingertips, guiding me forward.
I follow the scent of my dreams as my Soul pulls me ever forward.


About the Author


Nicola Smalley is an edge-dweller, shamanic practitioner and writer living in the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Natural Beauty in north 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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  1. Thank you for sharing your poems Nicola. I love the idea of reading poetry to my partner…we are enjoying and exploring ‘sensing’ each other for now, just sitting face to face, holding hands and ‘being together in silence’….. it’s so lovely to tune in to those energetic vibrations we’re often too busy and distracted to see or feel.
    I too am looking forward to finding that field of dreams and my creative pool….hopefully the path will open up for me when I join you on the retreat next month.
    Love light and blessings x

  2. Having read this I realise that I have just stumbled across my hidden treasure, that of working with wood, making musical instruments and listening to spirit.
    As you know Nicola I experienced the spirit of the last wolf with you the other day, an experience I am going today to write about, another hidden treasure I have discovered is the art of writing (maybe not professional but it get’s my point across).
    I will forward a copy to you and will if I may post it on the Born free page.
    Thank you for this Blog as it is the only one I read that interests me.

  3. There does seem to be a shift at the moment that more and more of us are being pulled to rediscover our creativity. For me I guess I am a diverse creator, there are so many creative things to try and I want to try them all from sewing to colouring to man ng dreamcatchers. But it in writing that I am able to cont t and express the deepest parts of me. Sometimes poetry, sometimes prose, sometimes fiction sometimes descriptive pieces. I am a great fan of writing prompts and ten minute timers (i write too slow to stick to five minutes.) I actually prefer to type as I can type faster than I write. I also like to carry a dictaphone to capture those fleeting glimpses.ghat would.otherwise be lost in the bustle of everyday life.

  4. Have you been reading my mind Nicola? Have felt pulled towards these thought for sometime, thought it was getting older and wiser but realise that it is the right time. I am a pleasure seeker by nature and was encouraged by my parents to find joy in all that I do but have recently also had such a strong feeling of fearlessness, an opposite and positive reaction to the news and world events and it has manifested itself in a drawing in to my creative self through photography, dance and developing my interest in holistic dance movement and food. Amazing isn’t it and gives a sense of true fulfilment. Great article and beautiful words. X

  5. Very inspirationa blog as everl, Nicola, and your poems are thought-provoking. May we all journey towards the Field of Dreams! Love and blessings, Jill.

  6. Very interesting. I am naturally creative. I explore this through photography and various crafts. I have knitted and crocheted since I was 5. I also love nature and growing things. I like to observe nature in my tiny yard garden.

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