Finding Time for a Spiritual Practice

January 18, 2021
Nicola
95 Comments

Over the years, we have asked thousands of people what their biggest challenge is with regard to deepening their spiritual connection. Consistently the number one response is TIME.

  • I struggle to find ‘me time’.
  • Work is very stressful, and so I am exhausted when I am at home.
  • I am a carer, and so I get little time to myself.
  • I have two small children and finding time to fit anything in for me is a struggle.
  • I have a hectic life and balancing all the demands on my time is a constant juggling act.
  • My biggest challenge is to create the space in the day for my spiritual practice.

If any of this strikes a chord, then read on.


Time accounted

I know what it is like to be fighting time.

At times in my life, my time has been full. At its peak, every minute was accounted for from 7.30am to 8pm. If someone wanted some of my time, I needed to look ahead two months in my diary. It took reaching to this point before I realised that there was some underlying issue. I was at breaking point and could no longer cope, so I sought help to unravel what it was.

The feeling of fighting against the clock began during my early twenties.

When I started my working life after university, I was a consultant in an engineering firm. I was trained from the age of 22 to take account of every 15 minutes of my time and record this in a timesheet. I had to continue this practice for the next decade. Every minute of my working time needed to be accounted for. I needed to demonstrate to the minute how productive I was being, and worthy of my salary. This layer of conditioning has stayed with me and takes some unravelling I can tell you.

The conditioning didn’t begin when I started my career. You probably don’t need me to explain that it started at school. I spent my childhood from aged 5 to 18 functioning within firm time boundaries structured and punctuated by a bell. Allocated slots to do things. Time-limited goals to achieve.

I have described my conditioned relationship with time at the outset here, as I believe it is important to voice. When people tell me ‘I struggle to find time for a spiritual practice’, I think the first thing that needs to be acknowledged is our relationship with time.

I sense that when people come across Shamanism as a spiritual path, they often think that they need to approach it in the same way they approach other things in their life. There is the assumption that this practice requires frequent, even daily focus.

One of the things that surprises people about the shamanic path is that it just isn’t like this. This isn’t a regimented daily practice that you need to do regularly in order to achieve results. If it was, I wouldn’t be doing it. I am hopeless at keeping to a routine. I can lose focus quickly and be pulled away or get distracted.

I know we have many in our The Way of the Buzzard community who have different relationships with time at the moment. Some of you reading this are time rich, whether you are retired, on furlough, or unemployed and trying to seek work in a very different world now.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are those of you who are parents looking after a busy family, trying to hold down your employment and working in a stressful job with no light at the end of the tunnel. We are in another lockdown at the moment so you might be trying to work and home-school your children at the same time. Or maybe you are a carer for a loved one, a husband or wife or ageing parents. Or you are bringing up a young family, and there never seems to be enough hours in the day. You might even be conflicted as you are following this spiritual line of enquiry alone, and none of your family or friends understands. Perhaps they even ridicule you.

If any of these scenarios ring true this blog post is written for you. It is written for all those people out there who just don’t seem to have any time to spend on themselves.

I can relate to this. I don’t have children, and I am not a carer for a loved one. However, I can let work consume me. In the past, it has led me to burnout on several occasions and a breakdown. The most recent time was as a result of the last financial crash of 2008. I worked in a large construction firm at the time, and developers didn’t want any new buildings. It took three years for the effects to filter down to my job role, but eventually I was made redundant. During those three years, I believed that if I worked all hours as hard as I could then my job would be safe. It wasn’t. My worst fear became my reality, and I became unemployed.

So, I know what it is like to be in a situation where every minute seems to be accounted for, where there isn’t any space for me.

It was during these few years of my life that I had what I guess would be called a spiritual awakening. There was a quiet voice deep down inside me that told me that things weren’t right. When I created space to allow that voice to be heard, change happened. And I didn’t need to create very much space in order for the voice to be heard. After a ten- or twelve-hour working day, I would get home and cook my tea. Then, one or two evenings a week, instead of watching TV I took myself off to a tiny box room in my home for anything between 30 minutes and a couple of hours.

I had a bookcase there with my spiritual books and my journal and a CD player. I lit some candles and incense, snuggled up amongst the cushions on the floor and did whatever I fancied. Sometimes I would listen to a meditation, other times read my book or write in my journal. There was no set plan; I just did what I was drawn to and followed the line of enquiry which emerged in my mind and body. It was from these few snatched moments each week that my spiritual journey began.

The spiritual work

Resolving the issue of not having enough time is actually the spiritual work. What you are doing is noticing that the modern world has consumed your time. The spiritual work is to find out why this is and then look to readdress this.

The Shamanic path is well suited for this. It comes with a warning, though. It is a long game. This isn’t necessarily a quick fix. I know as I am still working on those underlying reasons why I put other things over my own health and wellbeing, all these years later.

Don’t get me wrong, I have made huge progress. I am no longer in that corporate environment where I have constant demands on my time. I have removed the external influence as I now work for myself. However, I have noticed that by turning off the external influence, the drive to fill my time with work didn’t stop. I was able to notice that there is an internal voice which is driving me much harder! Me.

One of the first things I had to work on was my No. By saying yes to people, I was saying no to me. That took four years of therapy.

I share this because before I go on to explain how the Shamanic path really doesn’t take much time to give you noticeable results, one of the first things you might need to work on in your spiritual work is saying no.

This means putting up your boundaries and ring-fencing your time, for things that nurture you.

Self-worth is another one I know many people can relate to. That you are not worthy of carving out time for things that you enjoy. Work, children and husband/wife/ partner needs always seem to take priority over you. What can you do to readdress the balance?

Of course, some people are in situations where this is so much harder. There might be unsympathetic husbands or wives or young children in your family. You might be a single parent or a full-time carer for elderly parents. But the techniques I am about to share about the shamanic path can be squeeze in around even these. If you have time to watch the TV, if you have time to scroll down and look at your Facebook feed several times a day, you have time for the Shamanic path.

This isn’t a daily practice, and it is very forgiving if you ‘get it wrong’.

So, what does a shamanic spiritual practice look like? Here are five examples of activities that you might do:

  1. 1
    Seeking the message that an animal encounter has for you. For example, an animal visits your garden that you haven’t seen before, a robin comes right up to you on a walk, or a woodpecker flies alongside you as you drive down the road. When you get home, look into its natural history to understand its behaviours and draw the meaning for you
  2. 2
    You are drawn to a particular tree when you are out walking: an oak for instance. You take some time out to sit under it, noticing the environment it chooses to make its home in. You look into its characteristics and see the relevance as to why you are drawn to its particular energy. Oaks have a particular strength about them and are able to withstand storms. You draw on this in when you need to by keeping a small twig in your pocket.
  3. 3
    You notice the days are getting longer as we approach spring. You set some time aside around the the Celtic festival of Imbolc which marks the start of Spring between 31st January and 2nd February, working with the energies of emergence and what this means to you. 
  4. 4
    It’s the full moon. You put an hour aside in the evening and take yourself off to a quiet space in your home, even if your bedroom is the only place you have. You go on a shamanic journey with the intention of meeting a spirit guide who can help you with a particular issue you are challenged by. You journal your experience and set the intention under the full moon to change your course of action.
  5. 5
    You are tired after a busy day, but instead of putting on the TV, you watch a nature video instead. You light some candles, snuggle up under a blanket and immerse yourself in beautiful nature images and notice how different you feel afterwards. It gives you an idea to go and visit a particular place, either locally or further away and schedule out some time in your diary to do this, for no reason other than to go on an adventure and connect with a beautiful landscape.

If you have time to watch tv, or engage with social media, your issue isn’t having enough time for a spiritual practice. There is something else at play, and it is good to name it: resistance.

The art of resistance

Stephen Pressfield speaks of resistance in his book The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. Here is what he says on the topic right at the outset of this book:

Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life. Between us stands resistance. Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever quit a diet, meditation practice?


Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty and disease. To yield to resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts up and makes us less than we are and were born to be.


The following is a list, in no particular order, of those activities that most commonly elicit resistance.


  • The pursuit of any walking in writing, painting, music, film, or any creative art, however marginal or unconventional.
  • The launching of any entrepreneurial venture or enterprise, for profit or otherwise.
  • Any diet or health regime.
  • Any programme of spiritual advancement.

Steven pressfield

Author | The War of Art

If this speaks to you, take comfort that you are not alone. Resistance stood in the way of some of the greatest minds of modern history. Author Adam Grant gives some fascinating examples of how some of the greatest achievers in the world were procrastinators, in his book Originals: How Non-conformists Change the World. If Martin Luther King Jr, Michelangelo and Nicolaus Copernicus had let their resistance win then the civil rights movement in America might not have happened in the way it did, the Sistine Chapel might not have its alfresco ceiling, and we might still believe the world is flat.

If you would like to read more about these people and their inner battles, I have written about them in my blog Procrastinating to Greatness. The link is at the bottom of this page.

After years of following the breadcrumbs, I now understand what it is within me that means I resist making time for those things that are really important, including eating healthily and taking daily exercise. For me, it is my work nemesis, brought on by an ancestral fear of lack. My spiritual work has enabled me to uncover this over the years. This awareness has helped me put in measures to heal the core wounding that lies underneath my need to overwork.

Stephen Pressfield writes later in his book about Socrates. He says this:

‘Socrates demonstrated long ago that the truly free individual is free only to the extent of his own self-mastery. While those who will not govern themselves are condemned to find masters to govern over them.’

The spiritual work is to develop self-mastery. It begins by overcoming the resistance to creating space and time for a spiritual practice.

Space and time

Over the coming months, I will write a series of blogs on creating space and time for a spiritual practice and include some activities for you to follow that are time efficient!

Here at The Way of the Buzzard, we focus primarily on two techniques: shamanic journeying and nature connection. Neither take very much time, but they do require overcoming resistance. The rewards in return, are huge. You are moving from your conscious into the unconscious and the spiritual realms. It is in this place that you will find the answers you seek and the courage to move forward towards your souls calling.

Let me give you an example to illustrate what I mean.

Last summer, I started to encounter kestrels when I was out and about, both when driving and walking. At first, I didn’t think too much of it, but as I saw more and more, I thought maybe there is something in this. Then one day a kestrel flew right alongside my van as I was driving down our lane and cut across directly in front of me. A few days later, as I was parked up on the edge of the moor writing in my van, a kestrel landed on the ground right in front of me, just meters away from where I sat.

Kestrels hunt by hovering in the air, motionless, looking for their prey. They have excellent eyesight and can even see infrared light. This is useful as one of their favourite and abundant foods is the vole. Unfortunately for voles, they have ultraviolet in their urine. So, Kestrels are able to locate a voles den. They hover above, and when the moment is right, they dive down vertically at great speed crashing into the ground. This is what happened right in front of me.

It is incredibly unusual to witness this at such close range. I know from studying kestrels ( we have created a write up of Kestrel energy in The Mystery School ) that the overarching message of this animal is ‘insight’.

So now, when I need insight into something, I go on a shamanic journey to Kestrel. It is one of my animal spirit guides. This morning I saw a kestrel four times outside my kitchen window. I have never seen it before hunting at the end of our garden.

So, I journeyed to ask for insights into what to include in this blog as I have been procrastinating! In the journey, Kestrel landed on the ground right in front of me and looked me in the eye. I heard the message: “go out in nature. Use nature to still your mind, just as Kestrel uses wind to still itself in the sky. Then focus. Focus your mind to pinpoint the message.’

There was my answer and sure enough, time writing out in nature gave me the focus and inspiration that I needed. The combination of nature connection and shamanic journeying took me less than 20 minutes to get my spiritual guidance.

Shamanism, as a spiritual practice is not time intensive. In summary, my three pieces of advice to share to round of this blog are:

  1. 1
    Lower your expectations as to what is necessary for a consistent spiritual practice.
  2. 2
    Reflect whether your challenge is less about finding space and time and more about resistance.
  3. 3
    Consider what it might be within you that is causing you to stand in your own way. This is the starting point for your line of enquiry through your spiritual practice.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the themes I have covered in this blog in the comments below, if you are drawn to sharing.


Further resources

If you have enjoyed this blog, you might also find these two follow on blogs interesting:


If you aren’t already on our mailing list and would like to be you can sign up using the box below. We hold regular free online events to help you dip into the spiritual practice that we teach and make announcements about these in our mailing list.

If you are interested in learning about Shamanic Journeying and haven’t seen our free  course you can gain access via this link.

And finally, if you wanted to explore going deeper with us, check out The Mystery School as a time-efficient and affordable way to learn about Shamanism and nature connection. We would love to share this adventure with you.

About the Author

Nicola

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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  1. Thank you for this post Nicola. I love how you write with such clarity and vitality. I found what you've shared so nourishing and supportive. I love that kestrel energy is so alive for you and bringing you it's wisdom. I find myself resistant this evening to taking a journey even though I suspect it will bring me medicine and/or insight. Inspired by your words in going to take one anyway and to trust emergence. Thank you again.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Sarah, I am really touched by your reflections about my writing style. I can relate to the resistance you describe myself and I know many other so too. I am delighted you are off on a shamanic journey this evening 🙂 super

  2. Thank your words and sharing your experience. It was just what I needed to read as I’ve been exploring the resistance I've been observing lately x

  3. Thank you Nicola, you hit the nail on the head, resistance! I have no problems getting out into nature and during lockdown I walk in the park and feed my crow friends. Last week I was escorted on my walk to the gate by a crow who swooped beside me. Crow is one of my animal spirit guides so your story has given me something to ponder!

  4. Hi

    Thank you that was very helpful and informative. I think it can become very easy to buy into the idea that you are doing your practice 'wrong' it's refreshing to hear your approach.
    I especially love the connection to nature and as i walk the dog a lot more these days and have become more mindful on my journey, I have noticed the robin. kestrel and in a wonderful orchard I have found the very old gnarled apple trees that I have to touch.

    I have just signed up for your free shamanic journey course and look forward to learning more.

    Kind regards
    Jennie

    1. Thanks for your note Jennie, that is refreshing to hear that you find my approach refreshing 🙂 I wonder what Kestrel, Robin and Apple Tree have to say to you 🙂 and super to hear you have signed up for our free course.

  5. This is such a great read! I've really been struggling with procrastination and resistance, so it's really useful to read your insights and tips on how to delve deeper into why this might be for me. I'm going to spend some more time in nature and flip my resistance into something more productive. Thank you, Nicola.

  6. Hi Nicola!

    Exceptional subject, right on spot.
    I was also a procrastinator until recently when I discovered that in order to start something new, you have to give up your comfort zone, which most of us are not willing to do so. I am studying shamanism with Alberto Villoldo and Dr. Joe Dispenza's teachings. After I understood how to create the life I want, I put my will to work in order to change the way I think, because that's the root of all problems! Happily my strong will, developed during a lifetime, is helping me daily to find time in order to follow the guidance I received. I had my hard times too, working as a carer but now, due to lockdown I am stucked in my country and can't return to UK for work. So…I took advantage of my free time to do what I was trying to do since a few years by now, and this is freeing myself from a job with no time for myself and starting my own spiritual based practice which wil become my new job quite soon. I have learned all my life for this moment! And I created by thought alone ( and soul desire) this free time frame so I can focus solely on what I want to do next. In the end, this lockdown is a great opportunity for many of us, to start thinking about our priorities in life and make the changes, even if the door is cracked just for a little while (time for us), we can see the light shinning bright on the other side of the door and this is the motivation we need in order to take steps towards achieving our goals! I wish that more people find the time and courage to do what their souls are longing for!
    Thank you for this beautiful article, wishing you health, light, love and harmony! Diana

    1. Hi Diana, I have loved hearing your story here and can feel the excitement in your words. I am so pleased you are following your souls calling. The world needs more of this as you say. I agree the pandemic, as hard as it has been for many people, has given many people time to reflect and change course in their life. This gives me hope.

  7. Loved reading this post Nicola and definitely recognise many of the things you write about! I loved coming to the drumming sessions at the bay horse a few years ago now and still can't really put my finger on why I stopped, except that I thought there was time pressure! Exactly what you are exploring here.
    I have no problem getting out into nature but the points about taking time of an evening to do some deliberate spiritual exploration feels hard, which is crazy at the moment given I'm in every night and don't even like TV!
    You've inspired me to do so now. Thank you. X

  8. Thanks for this fascinating blog, I was a carer to a family member for 22 years until 2 years ago. During this time I genuinely had no time or focus on much for me, but I did meditate at bedtime and I did take my First Degree Reiki.
    In the last 2 years I have developed my connection with my Spirit Guides an Animal guides, and have at last found time to become a Reiki Master and Teacher, working with people and animals. The path of Shamanism appeals so much to me. After my first shamanic journey I found myself seeing elemental beings when sending distance reiki, and during my second journey I was joined by a tree spirit who, after we emerged from the tree into the outside again, melted into the tree, once more becoming part of it. Absolutely fascinated!
    Looking forward to the next online event and to Imbolc celebrations with you all

    1. My first thoughts is how well you did to still follow your spiritual interests whilst being so busy – just managing what you could with the meditation and Reiki training. Great to hear you find Shamanism appealing and amazing to hear your experience 🙂

  9. hi Nicola
    lots of wonderful advice and inspiration to explore resistance in our lives
    Brilliantly written
    Enjoyed reading the blog
    Thank you

  10. Thank you nicola fir this blog. I have loved reading it and oh my goodness does it ring true!!!!
    I’m definitely resisting but yet to work out why………

    I’m looking forward to reading more of your blogs.

  11. So interesting Nicola. I know this twisting pathway to finding at first and then maintaining a daily practice. I think I thought initially it was something I had to do rather than something that enhances my life. My daily embodiment practice is now mostly inside, apart from dog walks, during winter but I cannot wait to take it outside again in spring. It isn't something I do its something I am. Some years ago I made a commitment to myself that I would embrace at least one thing a day that involves dropping into body, my sensory self whether it was singing, chanting, drumming, dancing, drawing, writing. Didn't have to be a long time just some time.

  12. Just what I needed to read at this time, thank you. There are crows nesting near my home, only a few, and I hear their conversations within this small group of crows and hear the distant replies from the big flock that roosts about 2 miles away – now I will look into their meanings. They sit in the branches just out side my bedroom, and on my roof!
    I have signed up for the mini course and am looking forward to working through it. Xx

    1. I love the crows are speaking around you Penny. I wonder, as you work through the mini-course you will come to a guided shamanic journey. You could journey to Crow and see what their message might be.

  13. Thank you Nicola, I really enjoyed reading this blog. I love your practical suggestions and intend putting No. 5 into practice as a starting point ?xx

  14. Thank you for your words Nicola – always makes things a lot clearer. It did take me a while to realise that you don't need to do elaborate, time consuming rituals. The simpler and more down to earth the better for me. I need to work on the resistance bit now ?

    1. Absolutely yes, simple ceremonies are the way to go. Its all about intention, from the heart. I too am still working on resistance for a variety of things!

  15. Thank you for sharing your latest blog ‘Finding Time for a Spiritual Practice’.
    I really resonated with this article and loved your honesty and flow of writing. A real natural. Could also resonate with your Kestrel story as I had a similar story but mine was an owl.
    I agree resistance plays a part too in finding time. I am a Shaman practitioner (newly trained) and loved your personal story.
    Thank you ❤️

    1. Thank you Angie, you have written such kind feedback here. I am so grateful and also delighted that you liked my blog. Congratulations on completing your Shamanic Practitioner training. I am excited for you as to where it might lead 🙂

      1. Thank you . It took me a few years as my beloved Mum passed whilst I was training and had a break as could not concentrate. I am so happy I have found Shamanic work as nature is entwined with my soul.
        It has helped me also to move forward with regards to losing my mum, my best friend❤️

  16. As someone who often feels constrained by time, and who is actively working on setting healthier boundaries and recognizing resistance this essay resonates. Thank you Nicola

  17. You write so lovely Nicola, such an interesting piece and i have to say with the help of The way of the Buzzard i am really finding the me that says No , notice signs, i am writing poetry , journaling oh so much . I must Thank you both from my heart! I was always connected to nature from a very young child, helping injured robins, rabbits etc, i know that i lost it as life took over me but it is well and truly back and oh so much to give.
    Yes it is so true, i thought you had to really commit to this but its not like that , i have a weekend sometimes where i do all the lovely things i have learnt and it is just amazing what comes through .
    Look forward to the next blog blessings to you both x

    1. Hello Marcia, I am just so delighted to read your words here and how your connection is well and truly back. And the poetry, journaling and finding your No too. Just amazing. Thank you for sharing and for your kind words about my writing 🙂

  18. Thank you so much for this Nicola.
    I think you must have our house bugged as this hits home on so many levels ?
    I know that one of my problems is not valuing spiritual matters, music practice, journaling and so on. It’s not “proper work”
    18 months ago I was involved in a serious motorcycle accident with my brother. We had some physical injuries but head injuries were the main issue. I’ve only worked part time since and not very often so there is a guilt about not working and spending time on frivolities.
    I think this knew path will be very healing.
    Many thanks to you and to Jason.

    1. I am smiling at your comment. Isn’t it funny that I have hit the mark here with what I have been musing. What I am working on is also what so many others in our community are working on too. Diane mentioned about your accident. What a thing, and to see where it has led you too, being stilled through your recovery. As it happens I am just editing the chapter of my upcoming book which covers how the work ethic was installed into our culture during the Industrial Revolution. A great book to read about this topic is ‘How to be idle’ by Tom Hodgkinson. He shares some fascinating concepts, some of which have been very challenging for me to read and get my head around as they are so counter to what has been ingrained into me. I recognise that guilt you speak of. Thank you so much for your note here and I am delighted we have crossed paths at this time in our respective wanderings through life 🙂

  19. Really interesting. Thanks. It has taken me several years to lightly go about my days and take time to notice and be curious. Sometimes I gently laugh at myself for not noticing something really obvious!! I sometimes only take a moment in a day to connect and other times I have the opportunity to have many hours in nature. I live high on the moors and there are many little trees I chat to on walks.

  20. Thank you Nicola for this timely and wonderfully written insight.

    I'm new to shamanism and have often questioned my approach and whether I am doing enough. I know that I have an element of resistance and just as I am trying to build in the habit of daily exercise, I will aim to build in some time for myself to open up more.

    I am working from home and home schooling as a single mum and quite often feel exhausted. But, knowing that those moments I spend reading something spiritual or writing in my journal are steps towards my practice has cheered me up no end,

    I live on the doorstep of the Surrey Hills and often go for walks and I always encounter a beautiful robin that comes very close to me. I have two that visit my garden everyday too and on the odd occasion a woodpecker. They always make me smile, but never have I thought to journey for a message. Now I will. Thank you 🙂

    1. How lovely that you have robin friends, and yes, do journey and ask for Robins message. I can’t imagine how hard it is to work from home and also home school as a single mum. Hats off to you Laura, amazing. Yes, those moments you spend reading or writing in your journal all mount up and are incredible important for your path. It is lovely to read your note here 🙂

    2. Here we go Laura, we have a write-up about Robin in our Mystery School. I have copied it below. It might be of interest.

      Robin natural history

      The robin has a distinctive and beautiful song. As with all songbirds, the male robin sings to assert its territory and to attract a mate, and the robin is one of the only birds to sing in the night. It usually sings all year round although it is quieter at the time of moulting in the summer.

      They always seem to hang about in the garden with humans and don’t mind human company: in fact, they seem to seek out human company and are relatively unafraid. They come to you – not for food – just to be with you to satisfy their curiosity. They are known as the gardener’s friend and stay close to us as we carry out garden activities such as the digging of soil where we reveal earthworms which are amongst their favourite foods.

      However, whereas they are tame in the UK they are shy and timid on the European continent. This is because robins are hunted and killed for food and for sport as with most other small birds, and so they are warier.

      They have a wide diet of spiders, worms, insects, berries, fruit and seeds, and although primarily they hunt in the day time robins have at times been seen actively hunting insects on moonlit nights or near artificial light at night

      When it comes to choosing a site to build their nest the robin is particularly creative, selecting from anything which can offer shelter including a depression or hole, crevice, machinery, old boots, watering cans and flower pots.

      Robins are extremely territorial and will fiercely attack other robins who encroach in their territory and have been known to fight to the death.

      There are many folklore tales which include the robin and it is heavily featured in our Christmas celebrations too. The link with Christmas has come about because postmen in Victorian times wore red jackets and were given the nickname “Robins”, and the robin featured on the Christmas card is an emblem of the postman delivering the card.

      The robin develops its orange breast as it approaches adulthood. As a juvenile, it has a brown breast and grows its orange feathers after its first moult. A breeding pair of robins will raise as many broods of chicks in a season as they can. They will have at least two broods a year and three successful broods is not uncommon.

      Robins don’t live very long, and on average most robins will die after 1 year old, however, if they escape territorial fights, predators and survive cold winters they can live up to 8 years.

      Message of Robin

      The message Robin has for you is around friendship. Robin is our most sociable of birds. Whereas most other birds fly away from humans, the robin comes closer, curious as to what we are doing. This isn’t just robins in our gardens, as robins we come across out in wild places display the same characteristics.

      If Robin has come to you there is a message here about friendship. Maybe you are needing to widen your circle to find friends who are more aligned with your outlook on the world?. Maybe there is a friend who is in need of your support?. Maybe you have drifted away from a friend and are drawn to reconnecting. Maybe you have had a disagreement with a friend and it needs working through.

      In the right environment, a friendship can thrive and robins are very sociable in the UK. But this isn’t the case on the European continent where they are persecuted and so wary of humans. You need to create the right environment for a friendship to unfold. So if you are in need of more like-minded souls to share your journey with, you need to put yourself out there in the right kinds of environments to allow friendships to grow.

      Another message of Robin is that you have a beautiful song to sing. Look for singing groups and look for opportunities to use your voice. Singing has so many health benefits and is undervalued in our society. It lowers stress levels and strengthens the immune system. It helps with sleep and is a natural anti-depressant.

      So many people at some stage in their lives have been told they can’t sing and it has knocked their confidence. If this is you, work with Robin to help you find your voice again. Look into local singing circles and you never know, this may lead you into new friendships over time too.

  21. Hi Nicola, thank you for this beautifully written article and for the honest sharing of your own experience. I certainly recognise my own struggles with resistance here, I was going to say past struggles but then again, i doubt it should be an awareness to be put to one side! Practice for me started very simply with noticing and noticing led to writing,and taking my noticing into my quiet time. Even the smallest of intentions will grow and become part of who we are. Love and blessings xx

    1. Hello Abi, you describe so eloquently about the importance of noticing. Thank you. And thank you for your kind words about my writing. This is really lovely feedback to receive 🙂 with love Nicola xx

  22. Hi Nicola
    I’ve only just drifted into your blog. It is beautifully written. You have really inspired me to look at and explore my sense and experience of RESISTANCE.
    I am time rich at present but do I use this time to follow my spiritual path? Not often to be honest. There is always an excuse! I now live with my partner, a person who is very driven to routine and doing. I struggle with this energy and find myself following his path and not mine. Your blog has “opened my awareness” to this.
    I probably knew this before I read your blog and was resistant to acknowledging it. I feel a change coming. A few weeks ago I encountered on a beach walk, a little Robin, who darted out of a hedge and landed at my feet. I stopped, smiled and said “Hello little Robin” I also commented on his fat belly and smiled again. I think that was my first smile for a long time. Thank you little Robin.
    Thank you Nicola, for inviting time to write your blog. It has made me smile again and has really inspired me to begin my spiritual journey. Firstly I will be learning more about little Robin. ??

    1. Hello Nicola, I have loved reading your story here. I can relate to what you are saying from times in my life, and I also still struggle with that resistance myself. I think it is a life-time thing 🙂 I am delighted that my blog has inspired you. I will post our write up about Robin in The Mystery School..

    2. Here we go Nicola, a write up about Robin:

      Robin natural history

      The robin has a distinctive and beautiful song. As with all songbirds, the male robin sings to assert its territory and to attract a mate, and the robin is one of the only birds to sing in the night. It usually sings all year round although it is quieter at the time of moulting in the summer.

      They always seem to hang about in the garden with humans and don’t mind human company: in fact, they seem to seek out human company and are relatively unafraid. They come to you – not for food – just to be with you to satisfy their curiosity. They are known as the gardener’s friend and stay close to us as we carry out garden activities such as the digging of soil where we reveal earthworms which are amongst their favourite foods.

      However, whereas they are tame in the UK they are shy and timid on the European continent. This is because robins are hunted and killed for food and for sport as with most other small birds, and so they are warier.

      They have a wide diet of spiders, worms, insects, berries, fruit and seeds, and although primarily they hunt in the day time robins have at times been seen actively hunting insects on moonlit nights or near artificial light at night

      When it comes to choosing a site to build their nest the robin is particularly creative, selecting from anything which can offer shelter including a depression or hole, crevice, machinery, old boots, watering cans and flower pots.

      Robins are extremely territorial and will fiercely attack other robins who encroach in their territory and have been known to fight to the death.

      There are many folklore tales which include the robin and it is heavily featured in our Christmas celebrations too. The link with Christmas has come about because postmen in Victorian times wore red jackets and were given the nickname “Robins”, and the robin featured on the Christmas card is an emblem of the postman delivering the card.

      The robin develops its orange breast as it approaches adulthood. As a juvenile, it has a brown breast and grows its orange feathers after its first moult. A breeding pair of robins will raise as many broods of chicks in a season as they can. They will have at least two broods a year and three successful broods is not uncommon.

      Robins don’t live very long, and on average most robins will die after 1 year old, however, if they escape territorial fights, predators and survive cold winters they can live up to 8 years.

      Message of Robin

      The message Robin has for you is around friendship. Robin is our most sociable of birds. Whereas most other birds fly away from humans, the robin comes closer, curious as to what we are doing. This isn’t just robins in our gardens, as robins we come across out in wild places display the same characteristics.

      If Robin has come to you there is a message here about friendship. Maybe you are needing to widen your circle to find friends who are more aligned with your outlook on the world?. Maybe there is a friend who is in need of your support?. Maybe you have drifted away from a friend and are drawn to reconnecting. Maybe you have had a disagreement with a friend and it needs working through.

      In the right environment, a friendship can thrive and robins are very sociable in the UK. But this isn’t the case on the European continent where they are persecuted and so wary of humans. You need to create the right environment for a friendship to unfold. So if you are in need of more like-minded souls to share your journey with, you need to put yourself out there in the right kinds of environments to allow friendships to grow.

      Another message of Robin is that you have a beautiful song to sing. Look for singing groups and look for opportunities to use your voice. Singing has so many health benefits and is undervalued in our society. It lowers stress levels and strengthens the immune system. It helps with sleep and is a natural anti-depressant.

      So many people at some stage in their lives have been told they can’t sing and it has knocked their confidence. If this is you, work with Robin to help you find your voice again. Look into local singing circles and you never know, this may lead you into new friendships over time too.

  23. I enjoyed your article very much. I was furloughed at the end of March last year, this was a shock to my system. I had never had so much time before. I have worked full time from the age of 16, and now at 60, I do not want to go back to my old life of working full time or for that matter for anyone else. They made me redundant in the summer which was a relief. I am now discovering more about my spiritual side.

    1. What a year Liz, and what a change this has brought to your life. I can relate to that feeling of not wanting to go back working for anyone. I am excited for your journey and change of direction that is unfolding. Delighted you enjoyed my blog too, thank you for your comment here 🙂

  24. Talk about the teacher coming along when the pupil is ready!!! Your words describing inner resistance to doing things is so timely. I have a long list of things I ought to have done today but did not dig deep enough to get sufficiently motivated to do them. I'm not beating myself up about it as I understand why I am at this point but remembering this article will, I think, give me the motivation that get on better tomorrow. So thank you.

    I also found your description of how to understand the messages from nature hugely useful and a good starting point for my journey.

    Thank you so much.

  25. Inspiring, heartfelt words, Nicola. Thank you so much. Looking forward to joining you this evening for Imbolc celebration.

  26. Beautiful .. I have reached a stage in my life where I do take time for me .. I love being out in nature and caring for my animals. I’m very drawn to robins, buzzards, water (streams) and woodland and want to learn more about Shamanic journeying because it really resonates with me. Xx

  27. This is very timely for me too! I've been furloughed since March, so in theory I have more time but somehow I've never been busier?! Its hard to stop and yet I seem to get so little done. 'Resistance' is becoming a neon sign saying pay attention to this! Today in the woods, a beautiful blue wing feather of a Jay suddenly appeared out of nowhere, right in front of my face and danced to the floor (even though there was no wind) like it was trying to get my attention… I will look up Jay after reading your blog. Also I just wanted to say wow and thank you so much for last nights Imbolc celebration, my partner and I loved it and both had powerful journeys. Amazing work you are sharing. ??

    1. Hello Suzie,

      I am really pleased you have enjoyed my blog and it has been timely. How interesting you are noticing your pattern of resistance now you have lots of time. So delighted you enjoyed our Imbolc Celebration too. Just wonderful to hear 🙂 Thank you so much for your words.

      We have a write up in The Mystery School about Jay. If you would like me to send it to you drop me an email at nicola@thewayofthebuzzard.co.uk 🙂

      With warm wishes

      Nicola

  28. Thank you Nicola; like you I worked in construction and also have worked in telecoms and other large machinisitic corporates most of my career – a polar opposite to the child I was born as and the sensitive adult I became. A fairy daydreamer trapped in an Excel spreadsheet.

    Kestrel energy came to me just before my breakdown and all through the years I returned to the work that broke me in the first place. Then she handed over to Crow.

    All your words resonated; I am on the journey to look at my resistance to living life on ,my own terms and to walk away from this societal glorification of 'busy'. I am also navigating new things I am finding out about myself as I go along and thus am altering and modifying my life to accommodate the only way of being I am able to be fully myself in, not just survive in as an empty carcass.

    Bright Blessings for Imbolc. xx

    1. Hello Katie, thank you for your note here. You have a beautiful way with words. I love the phrase ‘A fairy daydreamer trapped in an Excel spreadsheet’. It reminds me of something Jason said recently – he sees excel as ‘prison cells for numbers’.

      I wish you the very, very best in your explorations. I have a couple of blogs that have come to mind. One is The Great Escape, and the other is Letting Go… My Way. They might be of interest (or might not!). If you would like me to post the links let me know, otherwise you can find them in our ‘blogs’ page.

      Also a book has come to mind too. I am about a quarter of the way in and it is really interesting. It is called How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell. Also I like How To Be Idle by Tom Hodgkinson. This books might help you understand your resistance (or might not!). If you are a theorist like me and enjoy reading you might enjoy them.

      It is lovely to be in touch 🙂 xx

  29. This is only the second blog I have read Nichola. The first one was this month's which I enjoyed and recognised myself there. So I read this one. I am finding resistance to 'doing the work' both internally and externally,and blaming the external forces as it's easier than addressing the real problem…me. I always tell myself I don't have time to read anymore, but in truth there is. It's just a question of priorities, and mine need to change. Thank you so much I shall be visiting kestrel very soon. Very helpful blogs, much appreciated.❤️

    1. Delighted to hear you have read my blog – your second every blog! You have summed this up really well ‘It’s just a question of priorities’. Thankyou so much for your kind words, and enjoy Kestrel 🙂

  30. Hi Nicola, thank you so much for this email. It sums me up in one. Everything you've written is totally right. My biggest problem IS resistance and I couldn't agree with you more.

    I have stopped playing my piano as I thought was down again to time, but when I think how much I am on my phone – using Facebook, emails, reading other blogs etc, when I could be using the time for my piano and new shamanic journeying course and my spiritual practice.

    I thoroughly enjoyed your article and can't wait to read more. Thank you again! Susan.

    1. It is marvellous to hear you have found my blog helpful Susan, thank you for sharing. I am warmed to read that you will be picking your piano up and other things that are helpful for you 🙂

  31. So interesting, and nice to know I am naturally following some of these practices already . I like the fact that there’s no pressure to always be practicing

  32. Thankyou for this interesting article, it took me over fifty years to learn to say no but as soon as I began to consider "my" time first before agreeing to others demands things began to improve for me mentally and spiritually .
    However I would like to mention that habit is also something that can bind us to our old ways. Despite having the time the habit of getting up for work at a certain time every day then showering and making breakfast in a particular order can be hard to break. The pandemic changed this for me and I consider that as one of the good things to emerge from a difficult situation. We do many things because they are expected of us or because it's just "what people do" but the pandemic created a new way of looking at our lives. I hope other people found the positives from it because I certainly did and I could never return to the bind and grind of my life pre pandemic. I would urge anyone to switch off, sit in silence and create their own retreat in their own home . The benefits I have found are almost beyond description. Your emails and blogs have been a huge help for me please keep up your fantastic work.

    1. I have loved reading your reflections here Wendy. That is fantastic that you found a positive through the pandemic in this way. As it was unfolding, I wondered if this might be the case for some people, as they had chance to pause. I am so delighted to hear that you blogs and emails have been a help. Thank you so much for this feedback! That is really good to hear and we appreciate the note very much.

  33. Beautiful words I have been on my journey for some time it's been hard rewarding inspiring and gained much knowledge from beautiful souls. But sadness always seems to catch me up fill me with fear and here I am again standing alone in the darkness searching for the light the answer take my pain and deep sadness help me find my way back.i am of on my first shamanic retreat this weekend camping in nature rejoicing in the spring eqinox playing my drum finding me and sharing in song ceremony and kin manship a place of spiritual enlightenment healing and growth I find your words touch my heart and inspire me to fight another day gratitude and blessings always Angela x x

    1. Hi Angela, I am just made up for you that you went on a shamanic retreat. Just perfect for the soul. Thank you so much for your kind words here 🙂

  34. Hello Nicola and everyone, this blog is just what I needed. I must say though that I have no problem whatsoever taking time out in nature but I have a lot of resistance to stopping and relaxing when I'm at home and getting to bed before 11pm, which I know would be beneficial for me. I reflected on this and I was able to find out why, I think, I resist doing this, journaled about it, and have counteracted my thinking with saying, 'but if I make the time to relax, I will have more energy and be more productive in creative ways and in activities that I enjoy doing, then that's more enjoyable and beneficial for me' but can I actually stop and relax or get to bed at a decent time? No!

    Do you Nicola, or anyone else, have suggestions on how I can change my habit of being constantly on the go and fit stopping and relaxing into my schedule and therefore, get to bed at a beneficial time for me? I feel I really need help with this as I've been struggling with this for years.

    1. Hello Martina, I am so delighted you enjoyed my blog!
      I am smiling at your question. Oh, if only I was the oracle on this. It is something that I am and have been working on myself for years. In fact, I have written a book about it! Yet I still struggle.

      The ‘habit’ comes from a lifetime of conditioning, a culture that values and rewards ‘hard work’ and ‘productivity’ above all else and ancestral trauma passed down in the very make up of our bodies, our DNA, that we don’t have enough.

      We have held shamanic journey circles in the past about this, and the advice people get from their spirit guides differs from person to person, as you would expect. Often there are many, many things people could do, and so the trick is to find ‘the next step’. This is what our spirit guides can assist with the most – finding what this is.

      We have a course about this in our Finding Time for a Spiritual Practice course in our Mystery School. If you were drawn to taking a look, you can find out about our school here: https://thebuzzardtribe.com. You could join for a month at £19, do the course, and then leave if you like having got the nuggets you are looking for.

      Many of our regular shamanic journey circles are on this very topic (but from different angles).

      Reflecting on this now and my own process, three things stand out that have worked for me:

      1. Awareness- seeing my patterns and understanding the underlying causes
      2. Diarising down time – actually putting it in my diary. Often this means making appointments with friends to hang out, to make sure I actually stop.
      3. Front loading my day with the things that are good for me before I set to work.

      The overarching thing though is to identify the core language that is within you that is driving you to do things that aren’t good for you or what you want. And then rewrite this. This is what my book is about, and it takes an ancestral perspective – that we inherited this core language from our ancestors because of unresolved trauma they experienced.

      I don’t have the issue you have with not going to bed. I am done mentally and physically by about 8pm so bed time comes easily, by enlarge, unless it is mid summer! But I do have an issue with ensuring I prioritise time for play.

      I hope that helps, of sorts?

      1. Hello Nicola, thank you very much for your help and advice. It is very useful. You are correct in saying that because of a lifetime of conditioning, we are expected to be constantly productive and as you said in your blog too, that non-productive activities don't really have any value in the capitalist society, which I think is terrible. I have nearly always done my own thing – travel to other places to visit and find work, on my own, pursue spiritual practice, which my family would think I'm mad doing, and spend a lot of time in nature, now with a big interest in trees and their natural history/healing, among other things.

        I will have a look at the Finding Time For Spiritual Practice course in the Mystery School and maybe just sign up do this course. Funds are limited at the moment. Thank you for the suggestion and for your 3 tips to help with making time for spiritual practice. I'll start off with finding stillness at home and in nature and hopefully receive some guidance from my spirit guides as to what the next steps should be for me.
        I just have the last lesson to do in the Healing of Tree Medicine course. I like the suggestions you make there, to sit against a tree and merge into its energy, do a shamanic journey to my favourite tree and do a tree pilgrimage. I must admit I've really taken to the Lime Tree. I didn't know it existed until recently and when I found out about it, there are SO MANY positive qualities to it, it's unbelievable! I love the shape of the leaves and the flowers and the way that the leaf the flowers emerge from, is a lighter green, compared to the other leaves on the tree. The red buds that the leaves emerge from are so pretty as well. I'm a big fan of this tree now and am delighted I looked up online about the qualities of the tree.

        1. I love the Lime too. I love how their seeds spiral down to the ground – it is so beautiful! I have just updated my comment to you yesterday as there is an underlying/ overarching piece of advice that supersedes everything. The overarching thing is to identify the core language that is within you that is driving you to do things that aren’t good for you or what you want. And then rewrite this. This is what my book is about, and it takes an ancestral perspective – that we inherited this core language from our ancestors because of unresolved trauma they experienced.

          That is great that you might be interested in that Finding Time for a Spiritual Practice course 🙂 and that you are enjoying the tree spirit medicine course too 🙂 thanks for letting us know

          1. Hello Nicola, thank you very much for this invaluable piece of advice. That sounds a lot like the cognitive behavioural therapy I did a while ago. I think it's identifying the language/what I'm thinking, at the crucial point when I know it's time that I should be stopping to relax, but I continue to do things. What's my line of thinking when I get to that point and how can I rewire my thinking and act on it, more importantly. Sorry for dragging this out but I feel by writing about it/thinking out loud, helps me process things. Thank you for your help again.

          2. Hi Nicola, when you mentioned in your reply 'The overarching thing is to identify the core language that is within you that is driving you to do things that aren’t good for you or what you want. And then rewrite this. This is what my book is about, and it takes an ancestral perspective – that we inherited this core language from our ancestors because of unresolved trauma they experienced.' can you tell me please what's the name of your book?

    2. I used to struggle with this and I empathize but after the lockdown I realized that things did not need to be done immediately, they do not need to be done so often and sometimes not at all.. my revelation came when I reached my sixtieth birthday and I understood that I had a lot more years behind me than ahead. I wasted a lot of time over the years doing things other people expected me to do but now as I think I may have only twenty good years left thirty if I'm lucky I do what I want and ignore societies expectations. If there are cobwebs in the corner so what? If the lawn is longer than it should be who cares. Time lost will not come back so it is important to meditate, walk in nature, sit and watch the sunset because no one knows what is round the corner as the pandemic proved to us all and tomorrow your circumstances could prevent you from doing these things.

      1. Hello Wendy, you are correct. Sometimes we do need to be reminded of these things. It's good to remind myself that like what happened with lockdown and covid, no one knows what's going to happen next. I also have one or two friends who recently have had family members diagnosed with cancer or other serious illnesses and only have a short time to live and that includes my 86 year old mum who passed away at the end of March this year. Although she was a good age, she didn't want to go when she did. She had a week of really bad illness and passed away at the end of that week unfortunately. So things like that, should make me realise that life can be short and you just don't know what's around the corner and to make the most of life when you can.

        Nicola said that a lot of our habits are from years of societal conditioning and the expectation is there for us all to be constantly productive. That is true. On reflection, I would rather be productive doing the things I enjoy doing and I can be a heck of a lot more creative doing those things and to me that's more important. So thank you for the reminder Wendy. I will start off with finding stillness at home (hopefully on a fairly regular basis) and outside in nature, and allocate time for me and doing the things I enjoy doing, which is A LOT! I hope you enjoy your remaining golden years and look after yourself. Lots of love and thank you. Martina xxx

  35. FINDING TIME FOR PRACTICE… This is a super helpful narration Nicola and affirmed for me that I don’t need to find more hours in the day. I do however need to make more meaningful use of all my moments. I may be missing messages from nature and spirit because I’m not pausing often enough along the way. I feel I can embrace this journey with your valued support and your words of wisdom. I’m inspired me to reset my ‘way of being’ allowing my journey to unfold, piece by piece How delightful and exciting Thank you for such great advice and encouragement Nicola. You are a shining 🌟

  36. Thank you Nicola. I have very much enjoyed reading this and it’s funny I have been resistant I realise. I’m poorly in bed so have “found” time to read this and indeed complete one of your on line courses about Spirit animal medicine! I have no excuse to not make time for these things which make me happy!

    1. Sorry to hear you are poorly but that is great you have space now to delve in to some of our materials 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment here Donna 🙂

  37. Hi Nicola,
    firstly I would like to thank you for sharing your wisdom and techniques for improving the use of time.
    I too have spent my life overworking and trying to prove my worth to the world. I completely stopped my business 2 years ago to find me and who I am which like yourself has been quite a journey so far. I now realise my resistance to my creative and spiritual practices due to your own sharing. Basically if it’s not bringing money in it’s not worth doing is the inner critic voice which is coming up strongly for me at the moment. I am also overwhelmed with how to organise time for myself but for work it’s so easy. Your tips on how to combat this I will take with me every day and try and push through it.

    1. Goodness, I can relate to your note here Kaye! I am so pleased you enjoyed my blog, and thank you for your thanks. We have a course on this too, that is in our Mystery School but we brought it outside of the school and made it available for non-members. If you are interested, hop on over to our home page and you will see it there. It has activities in there that help shed more light on the things you have mentioned here. Thank you so much for your note 🙂

  38. Hi, this so resonates and makes sense but also provides some clarity.
    After the Wheel of the Year yesterday 23.01.24, I decided to try a journey to the lower world using my beautiful drum (thank you). It was pretty amazing as were Robin, my companion, Woodpecker and Slow Worm. The messages were very clear. Slow down, take your time and connect with nature. Last night we set intention. This year my intention is to align my life with nature.
    Today was pretty awesome and offered so much clarity with how Shamanism works. Thank you, thank you.
    Then I clicked on some of your links. Oh my word, Resistance. Excuses. Fear of Failure. so don't do anything but hide behind our material and technological worlds. I have learnt so much about myself and realise what a journey I am now on.
    Today, no radio, no social media. Yes a few phone calls, but I put my phone on mute to do the drumming. Without feeling guilty.
    I cannot thank WoB and all the people in The Mystery School and on the various evenings. Somehow, a huge foggy cloud has lifted today and revealed the wonders of the world we pass by. I have decided to stop chasing myself time wise to get to clients, instead focus on this, myself and my animals. A huge weight has lifted and I am closing my business. x

    1. This is amazing to hear, thank you so much for sharing your story Leigh. It is incredible how shamanic journeying and nature connection leads us to these life-changing insights. I am SO delighted 🙂

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