I am a writer, performance poet and musician, exploring the diversity, challenges and beauty of life in nature and culture, and especially interested in finding connection and meaning. In a former life I was a medical herbalist.
Peace descends as I step into the woods, like a softly laid blanket. The air is still sharp, although the sun and birdsong hint at spring soon to come. I slow down, all senses open, fully present. Two magpies dart away to either side of the path. I silently greet them, and smile to myself. In such moments I find inner meaning from the signs of nature, not signs placed especially for me, but the latent language of nature, there for all to read if they so choose, if their eyes are open to see. Whatever strikes the eye may have some inner significance. Like the language of dreams, we can find our own meaning, while simultaneously tapping into the deep language of universal unconscious. I cannot walk in the woods without the feeling of stepping into a dream-like world, a magical realm. A world that speaks to me.
The Magical Realm © Janey Colbourne 2018
Red is my blood, green is your sap,
yet below the skin, we are kin,
complementary, breathing each other in,
mutually nourishing, eternally flourishing.
The iron that dwells in the heart of her,
the iron that flows in my veins, are one and the same.
The heart of suns in the wood and the cell.
I am ocean but for a membrane.
When I die, and the ocean leaves my body,
my spirit returns to the sea.
The part of me that is earth, my bones, I will leave behind.
Under the skin, we are all kin.
Below The Skin © Janey Colbourne 2017
Thank you for your words of courage,
words of truth,
words of encouragement
Thank you for your solidarity,
for lifting us up.
Thank you for breaking ground,
cutting the edge,
standing on that soapbox
with daring and drive,
having the nerve to shout out
what many feel in their hearts
but could not find the words.
Thank you for striving,
for years of graft,
surviving on coffee and solitude,
for making us laugh,
cry, hope and dream.
Thank you for creating new worlds,
from which may spread
the seeds of potential,
to open in this world
and change it for good.
To All You Writers and Poets Out There © Janey Colbourne 2018
I have great hope for the potential future of humanity. We have in our hands an enormous opportunity. In times of crisis we can work so well together. The generations who lived through the World Wars experienced what we can achieve when we have to unite against a common enemy. The greatest enemy now is within. It is our apathy and sense of disempowerment, our despair, lack of courage and self-belief. It is so true that we fear our own power. We cannot afford to do so any longer. We face the greatest environmental crisis in human history. Yet all around me I see visions of hope, inspiration, compassion, courageous action, scientific discovery and inventiveness. We have the creative potential to live the most awesome lives of abundance and fulfilment, in harmony with the earth and with each other. I truly believe it. Only our fear holds us back. Communities of like-minded individuals can unite to inspire each other and act together. Let’s seize this opportunity. Let’s write a new story. It’s time to wake up, wise up and rise up!
A Message of Hope © Janey Colbourne
The air is different here, fresher, by the stream in the woods. I sense it immediately, inhaling deeply, the equivalent for my lungs of putting a cool glass of water to my parched lips, or of sinking into the blue ocean on a scorching day. This is where I am most alive, and at peace. I am blessed. This is home. I have an aching nostalgia for a world I’ve never known, a world where we are all fully immersed in nature, a world in which the drone of traffic is unheard. In reality, nature is home, it is where we belong. I come to the woods for restoration. I need do nothing but stroll or sit, allowing my senses to fully absorb my attention. A wood pigeon coos in the canopy, invisible. The lilting stream is medicine to my weary heart. A hoverfly, confident in his waspish camouflage, basks in the morning sun. I find it impossible to be bored here. My eye moves to the stones on the path grinding inexorably over centuries into particles of dirt. I see with my inner eye the microcosm of worms and fungal networks, the bacteria that make the soil a living substance. My awareness extends to the depths of the soil beneath my feet, and below that, the bedrock. Deeper still, the magnetic core of the earth, the heart of fire that holds us, that keeps us close...
The Air is Different Here © Janey Colbourne 2016
Where does the path lead?
Into the woods,
into the elven halls
Step from the painted scene,
step from the photograph,
into the real woods.
As the door opens,
into the heart,
the spiral journey,
the woods within,
as real and verdant,
step into sanctuary.
Walk in the real woods,
open the door,
into my heart.
The Woods Within © Janey Colbourne 2016
We can all find our own source of spiritual nourishment that grounds us. For some it may be a directly obvious spiritual practice, such as prayer, meditation or divination. However, spirituality and experiencing wholeness of self are not constrained to specialised practices. Activities such as walking in nature, cookery, art, craft, reading, singing and myriad others, can be personally meaningful and bring us into a connected state of mind. It is the conscious intent and focus with which we do these things that makes the difference, and the meaning we put into it. If we immerse ourselves in the experience with all our senses and attention, being as fully present in the moment as we can, our minds and hearts can be refreshed. Returning to this regularly and consistently, with a focus on conscious connection, we can build up our inner peace and strength. Eventually we can maintain the connection and sense of being grounded and centred in other areas of our lives and in challenging situations. It is most beneficial if we remain gentle, patient and compassionate with ourselves as we develop this skill. Our attitudes and behaviours can be transformed, given time and patience, and through this our interactions, the lives of our family and friends and those we meet. In this way, with small steps, we can change the world.
Small Steps Change the World © Janey Colbourne 2015