Category Archives: Storytelling

2024 – My Year of Wild

‘Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it is about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you.’

Paul Coehlo

It started a couple of years ago and a deal made with the benevolent Universe that I would learn to Trust my intuition. It would be a journey to recognising and reconnecting with that calm, clear voice of authentic Me as separate from ego. But what a journey it has been! My Year of Trust in 2022 brought me dreams come true and an indelible lesson in how to balance what I can make happen and what I invite to let happen.

2023 has been My Year of Light and Love, the next steps on my growth journey. To find balance in how I love, but also to embrace the ‘who I am inside’ and finally allow her to be loved just as she is – Sunshine Reflected. Another incredible year of synergy and alignment and abundance, living my Dream Life. Choosing the way of love over fear always.

In this Love Lightly space, I found a muse with grace and wisdom beyond his years. He has a mind and heart wide open, paying close attention to each one of my details knowing how to take me to my very limits. He has actual depth and insight, resilient, and with a bite that keeps the world in check. So I have finally started writing the book I somehow knew was always in me. I am being pushed creatively and that is showing up in my art too.

At this time of reflection and setting intention for the coming year, some words are showing up in my journalling repeatedly….

If you have read any of my other writing, you will know that I have a firm belief in the energy that connects All that is. I have found that tapping into this energy at a cosmic level is what drives intuition and instinct. Overwhelmingly this energy is good and benevolent, in my experience. So part of my reflection time involves looking for guidance and wisdom from Nature and Universe:

The tree wisdom card I pulled from my oracle deck as I thought about my word for 2024 was the energy of Regeneration from Yew.

I used the wonderful energy of the recent full moon in Cancer on 26 December as a focus for this end of year reflection. The last full moon of 2023 brought an invitation to come back to our hearts as we prioritise nurturing ourselves to become the safe space we long for.

Venus is in Sagittarius at the moment until 23 January, with a clear energetic shift that inspires a celebratory approach to life, love and relationships, moving closer to authentic self. Sagittarius inspires us to recover our connection to our authentic, undomesticated self, to Natural Laws, and to our intuition, being drawn to freedom, authenticity and honesty. During the upcoming days, chances to recognise how freedom and connection aren’t mutually exclusive, discovering how to nurture both the need for intimacy and the desire for independent exploration of life.

A few months ago, I wrote about Reclaiming Wild, all about taking back the concepts of  Wild, Wildness and Wilderness as part of my Soul’s vocabulary – a way of expressing true nature-connectedness, a pattern of my Soul, my Soul Maker and the season I now find myself in living my Dream Life.

What a lovely concoction of Cosmic and Nature energy to feed mind and heart and set intention!

So, on the foundation of two previous words for the year, a journey back to authentic Me has begun. A reclaiming of Wild and Untamed Me, a fully reconnected back to Nature version of Me. Embracing my Wild Heart. Empowering a balanced sacred-feminine, divine-masculine essence of Me. So I am better able to live wholeheartedly and fulfill my Great Purpose.

Me empowered, rewilded, reclaiming my Wildness means pure space is open for empowering Other, empowering Wilderness. I hope by reclaiming my internal Wild, I will be more in tune with Nature. This spiritual rewilding enabling me to better serve the Conservation Collective I am part of. This Collective is all about the job of physical rewilding as a Nature-based Solution for the environmental and social ills of our time.

Rewilding. It is messy and real and imperfect. A bit like Nature really – wild, messy and full of imperfection but Nature knows how to embrace her magic. Understanding more deeply what it means to be human, to be beautifully imperfect, to be wonderfully lost at times. I am excited about embracing my magic and my happy wanderer ways in 2024 – My Year of Wild 🖤

Reclaiming Wild

Wilderness

Have we forgotten
that wilderness is not a place,
but a pattern of soul
where every tree, every bird and beast
is a soul maker?

Have we forgotten
that wilderness is not a place
but a moving feast of stars,
footprints, scales and beginnings?

Since when
did we become afraid of the night
and that only the bright stars count?
or that our moon is not a moon
unless it is full?

By whose command
were the animals
Through groping fingers,
One for each hand,
Reduced to the big and little five?

Have we forgotten
That every creature is within us
carried by tides
of earthly blood
and that we named them?

Have we forgotten
that wilderness is not a place,
but a season
and that we are in its
final hour?

Ian McCallum

It was a very cold August morning as we set off before sunup on our routine morning drive around the reserve. I grabbed my favourite merino wool blanket scarf at the last minute before the vehicle left base. It was only when we got back to camp I realised the scarf was gone. As the sun rose and the morning warmed up, we all slowly delayered. I had folded up the scarf and tucked in behind me on the seat but it must have slipped out as we negotiated the bumpy dirt tracks of the reserve. It had been a risk to take the scarf along, I knew it at the time.

Two days later, on another morning drive, this time in the middle of my wildlife track and sign test, we rounded a corner and there on the side of the road was my scarf! Not all in one piece though. I had a little help gathering up all the damp scraps of wool, dirt and vegetation encrusted and smelling distinctly wild. Back at base I laid them all out trying to put the wool scarf puzzle back together. Turned out only one small section was missing!

Hyena tracks were all around the scene of the scarf wreckage so the conclusion was that younger members of the reserve’s clan had found my scarf and had a good old play. Some of the holes in bits of scarf look very much like bite marks and the centre of the scarf was ripped by claws.

The pieces of my favourite scarf were carefully packed away as my year of adventure and wandering continued.

As I have settled into my homecoming these past months, I have found time to stitch the hyena-mauled scarf back together. It as been a soulful experience and given me pause to reflect and meditate on Wild, Wildness and Wilderness.

Recently, my mom reminded me about the incredibly inspiring words of Ian McCallum. I started this post with his poem, Wilderness. I can’t express just how much his words resonate with me. I have such a Wild Heart and consider myself a bit of Wildhearted Revolutionary.

In the world of biodiversity conservation, Rewilding has become the latest in a long line of buzz words. We associate this concept as a good thing – a nature-based solution for tackling the environmental and social ills of our time.

But Wild, Wildness and Wilderness are terms very often having negative connotations such inhospitable, lack of discipline or restraint, lack of sound reasoning, neglected or abandoned or a position of disfavour, badlands or wastes.

Today I reclaim Wild, Wildness and Wilderness as part of my Soul’s vocabulary – a way of expressing true nature-connectedness, a pattern of my Soul, my Soul Maker and the season I now find myself in living my Dream Life. I claim my Wildheartedness. I claim my Wildness. I claim back Wilderness for me and all my Soul Tribe.

Stitching my hyena-ripped scarf back together has become a symbol for me of my connection to Wild and Wilderness. My own metaphor for the journey I am on, connecting me to where I have been and where I am now.

A little bit of encouragement today to reclaim your Wildness 🖤

Find your peace in true Wilderness 🖤

One Year Home

View of Mariepskop from Hoedspruit Happy Place

Many moons have passed since she sat on that rocky outcrop high on the Drakensberg Escarpment overlooking Limpopo province. Flat top Mariepskop to her right. The Blyde River below snaking its way into the distance to join the Olifants River and finally meander through Kruger towards the sea. The lowveld with its mixed Combretum woodland stretched out to the horizon prickly with wild energy like only this pure space can.

A Yellow-billed Hornbill calls from a nearby bushwillow while a Fork-tailed Drongo hawks for insects. In the distance the soft haunting song of an Emerald-spotted Wood dove. Down in the valley near the river a Purple-crested Turaco croaks out its familiar song. Then an identifiable alarm call as a Jackal Buzzard wings its way down the escarpment. In the distance to her left Cape Vultures circle the thermals on high, not straying too far from the colony on the cliff face this time.

This is her Hoedspruit happy place. A pure wild space that feels like home. She is grounded here, in tune with the bushveld rhythms. She is comfortably alone in this place of soul solace as she contemplates a decision that will change her life course completely.

As the afternoon draws on dark blue-gray clouds gather on the horizon. Eventually a breeze picks up bringing the distinctive scent of the storm on its way. Then the thunder starts to rumble and the lightning to flash. She is not too worried the weather will dampen her afternoon as her spot sits in a bit of a rain shadow. In the end just a few drops to cool the late afternoon as the sun westers. Her last night in this magical haven brings a close encounter with an uncomfortable troop of baboon trying to find a resting place amongst the rocks for the night. They and she have heard a leopard’s distinctive hoarse vocalisation close by.

It is so alive here, this place. It is so wild here, this place. Her Wild Heart will always be drawn back. She is connected mind, body, soul to the Spirit of this place.

On the bus back to Jo’burg later the next day, she knows what needs to happen next. She is filled with a resolve that surprises her a little. She will leave her homeland following the opportunity that has been presented to her. She will go. She will see the world. She will remain open to any and all possibility. She will let go of the only dream she ever really had to see what chance would bring.

A few months later she boarded a plane bound for the land of the long white cloud. This journey of years unlocked her wandering spirit. Her wandering took her to many incredible places and she was indeed privileged to see and experience the world – its good, its bad, its ugly, its bitter and its sweet.

As the years passed, the dream she let go of that day never left her. At times it was dormant. At times a gentle nudge “don’t forget me”. Then slowly but surely it surfaced again with a calm and quiet yet persistent “you are ready to go home”.

A year ago she got back on a plane. This time bound for home, for Mama Africa. During the many hours in those metal tubes flying above the clouds she remembered back to that day in her Hoedspruit happy place. And so she makes the same deal with the universe, to remain open to any and all possibility.

A year ago she arrived home to a beautiful welcome from everyone – the guy at passport control, her tribe, her family, complete strangers who embody the spirit of ubuntu innate to most humans in this part of the world. Even the African Wilds seemed to welcome her back with its soul solace embrace. That first night back in bush proper, this time in magical Zululand, will live in her memory always for its sights, sounds and smells. The sensory overload of homecoming.

In the year that has been since coming home, she realised why she had to leave and why it took so long to be ready to come home. She has come home knowing who she is, now understanding her Wild Heart in a way that means she can fully appreciate what it is to be given her dream back and what it has cost her.

The universe’s gift in this homecoming has been authenticity. To author a life where she can live from a place of love, not fear. To do the shadow work in a geography that reconnects her deeply to who she really is and so can keep working towards her great purpose. A place of love to learn her life’s lessons. A place of love to genuinely connect with her tribe and soul family. All under glorious African Sky Blue.

One year home….. and now,,,, new dreams, new adventures await…. 🖤

Sunshine Reflected

What follows is one of the hardest things I’ve been nudged to write and share so far.

These are some of the lyrics from a song in the Disney movie Mulan – the 2020 live action version:

I am now
In a world where I
Have to hide my heart
And what I believe in
But somehow
I will show the world
What’s inside my heart
And be loved for who I am
Who is that girl I see
Staring straight back at me?
Why is my reflection
Someone I don’t know?
Must I pretend that I’m
Someone else for all time?
When will my reflection show
Who I am inside?

Matthew Wilder | David Joel Zippel

Heard this song again recently and these words floored me. Cathartic* tears flowed. With these tears a wave of freedom and relief washed over me. An absolute realisation that I am making progress on my life’s journey. I have never really had any sense of this growth before.

I think I am finally beginning to see my reflection showing who I am inside.

I know I strive for evolution, for development, for forward movement in my personal growth. I know I set big expectations for myself and the kind of person I want to Be. But it always seems an endless road, a winding, twisty track through seemingly impassable mountains and in a thick mist so I can never tell if I’m making headway (or heart-way, in my case).

So I repeat… I think I am finally beginning to see my reflection showing who I am inside.

The ‘who I am inside’ is this Beautiful Soul.
She is Sunshine personified.
She is deeply connected to Nature, its rhythms and cycles.
She is highly intuitive.
She is a Creative.
She is neither ‘too much’ nor ‘not enough’.
She is kind, courageous and compassionate.
One of her gifts is creating a nurturing, empathic space where Loved Ones find safety and find soul solace.
Her Heart is Wild.
She comes alive in Mama Africa’s wild spaces where her Spirit wanders free but is never lost.
She is tenacious, feisty and fun to be with.
She is the Little Miss Sunshine her mother called her as a child.
She loves fiercely but lightly – a complete paradox.

Her shadow side is sensitive and struggles with equanimity. She has absorbed false messages over the years of “too much emotionally”, “emotional rollercoaster” “too smart”, “high maintenance”, “too independent”, “too needy” and “unlovable drama queen”. At the same time she has also received the message of “not enough” in many ways. In her fear of rejection she will cling on for dear life, singular in her focus to prove she is worthy of love and acceptance. She will twist and contort herself to be who she thinks she should be based on the perceived expectations of others. So counter-productive, this leads to overwhelm for both her as well as the object of her love.

My growth journey is seeking balance. To take the best parts of the paradox of loving fiercely while also learning to love lightly. This can only happen in authenticity. In giving myself permission to be the ‘who I am inside’.

So how has this realisation of progress on this journey come about?

A year ago I set out on an adventure to return to my homeland. For a short time or more permanently, I had no idea. I just knew it was time to come home. On the plane journey back to South Africa, I made a deal with the Universe that I would remain open to any and all possibility. That I would Trust in the Universe to guide this homecoming. That I would allow ‘who I am inside’ to show up and connect me to this next chapter.

I have already shared in previous blog posts from 2022 what eventuated from this year of Trust as I showed up openly and authentically in this time of homecoming. In the course of the year, I made so many incredible connections. Beautiful Souls who I have been privileged to meet and spend time with – my anam ċara (soul-friends). In showing up as ‘who I am inside’, I have had this Sunshine side of myself reflected back at me in countless human encounters. These encounters may have been mere moments or the start of lifelong friendship, even reconnection from past life. My heart is so full of gratitude for these genuine connections, especially my besties who have really challenged me in recent weeks to lean into some of my imbalances with kindness and compassion. Thankful for the pure space opened up in the Spirit of Ubuntu. And now also grateful for how I have been able to see myself reflected in this pure space of genuine connection.

‘Who I am inside’ has been quietly showing up along the way even when I thought I had locked her away safe behind the walls of ego. She shows up in my writing more often than my ego would like, I think 😊 In building up the courage to write this piece, I went back and read through previous posts. A few stand out to me now as being quite inspired considering when they were originally written. Linking to them here to add a little more context to this very raw and honest post about the ‘who I am inside’.

Candy-striped Sneakers

Period Poverty

The Conservationist

Wild October

My Charmed Life

2023 is my year of Light and Love, the next steps on my growth journey. To find balance in how I love, but also to embrace the ‘who I am inside’ and finally allow her to Be Loved Just As She Is.

Finding the courage to write and share this has been such an act of vulnerability as well as a renewed commitment to that deal with the Universe – remaining open to any and all possibility.

Do I think I have found my way through the mist to the top of the mountain? No way! But I do know with absolutely certainty that I am on the right track and I will stay true to my path.

I am putting this part of my Story out there in the hope it finds its intended audience. I truly believe my growth journey of trying to make sense of my place in the world is not unique. It is part of the human experience. We are all on our own quest for love and belonging. I sincerely hope these words come across your path if you need them. Please share this post with anyone you sense may need to read these words.

May you find hope, encouragement, inspiration and a peace of spirit for your own journey. May you realise that your ‘who I am inside’ is precious and beautiful and if you let that version of you see the light of day, ‘who I am inside’ will be reflected back at you in all their glory. Pure Love. Just Love.

This is what our sad world needs so desperately – Pure Love. Just Love. 🖤

*I love the word ‘cathartic’. It has the same Ancient Greek origin as my given name – Cathryn – relating to ‘pure’ and ‘clean’. I also love how the meaning in our modern use is connected to emotional release. As a Cancerian (sun, moon and rising sign!) and an Enneagram Type Four I am extremely emotionally driven. This part of my character continues to prove my greatest strength but also my biggest weakness (and growth area). Love 💖& Light ✨

Love Grows Here

February 14… Love Grows Here

…in vulnerability

…in genuine connection

…in letting go of ego

…in kindness

…in honest words always

…in shared free spirit

…in self-awareness

…in sanctuary

…in sweet affection

…in holding space open for one another

…in loving lightly

…in Nature’s nurturing energy

…in our Wild Hearts

…in finding Home in each other

It is the soul language of Anam Ċara

Evermore…. Fire & Rain

It is a poem. A poem about Loving Lightly. With his permission, we are sharing a little of how this connection is playing out for us 🖤