Episode 35~Nature is My Gift to Self Connection – My conversation with Deb Collins

Connection to Nature is a Gift to Me

Mark [0:00] Welcome to the Heart of Connection podcast.  I’m your host Mark Randall. It’s wonderful to have you on board to have a conversation about the heart of connection. Just by way of introduction, which might give me a brief introduction to yourself, please.

Connection to Encourage Others In Self Discovery

Deb [0:13] Thank you, Mark.   Thank you for inviting me here today.  We’re meeting and we are at a National Gathering of the Association of Transpersonal and Experiential Psychotherapists. I work as a facilitator and also a life coach in my practice Conscious Work – Professional Development.   I’ve been really involved in personal professional development work well, most of my life, really.  Although I have worked in other ways.  I’ve always been enticed by interest, really.  Oh, that looks fun that looks interesting, that looks engaging, that looks like something I’d like to do. So I’ve had a number of different careers, I guess.  Enabling other people and seeing people grow and develop has been a real kind of thread and passion through my life.

Inner Journey of Self Discovery

Mark [1:03] Is that a connection for you?

Deb [1:05] Yes, definitely.  Absolutely.  When I see, I guess, people respond and people light up.  And people have ‘aha moments,’ or just shining a light on some steps or a place for people to hang out. But they haven’t thought about hanging out before.  And start their own journey of discovery is Yeah, definitely been one of the things I’ve love to do.

Connection to my Self

Mark [1:36] How do you connect to yourself?  Do you have a process?  What’s your – how do you do it?

Deb [1:42] Yeah, it’s a really good question, actually.   I would say that it’s not always as conscious as I could make that.  I take quite a lot of quiet time on own.  So I meditate, and I take quite a lot of time in nature.  I walk, surf and run and just have to get out into nature every day.  When I had a dog that was a lot easier to do twice a day.   These days, you know, I need that thing called self-discipline really, to kind of keep that really front and center. It’s easy or it’s such a temptation to just work a little bit longer and work a little bit harder.   That doesn’t connect me with myself, that takes me away from myself.

Disconnection Experience

Mark [2:45] Do you disconnect from yourself a little bit in that?

Deb [2:48] Yeah, I do.  Yeah, I really do.  Sometimes to get through that list, or to just finish something before the end of the day, you know.  I’ve got an internal driver that has been hard at times to keep quiet, to quieten her. To keep her sort of, from not controlling the whole of me.   So, you’re bringing in that balance and really connecting with self and with heart, you know, it still at my age is something that I really have to remind myself of the value of doing.  It happens so quickly when you give yourself that space, however, it still requires remembering.

Mark [3:41] With practice, does it get better?

Deb [3:44] I think that it’s a yes.

Mark [3:46] Becomes sort of unconscious that you just – oh – there’s the ‘internal driver.’ Hang on, stop.

My Internal Driver

Deb [3:52] Yes, and you can also get familiar with some of the tricks that get played.  She’ll go, sometimes she’ll go, “I will just finish this”, or, “I’ll just do this.”  Then you’d like, I’ll but that just took me another 15 minutes!  Now it’s raining and now I’m not going or don’t want to go outside.  Or now the sunset.  So just getting familiar with where that trickster comes and kind of plays with that too.  It kind of drags you away from that.  So there is, I guess what gets better is our awareness, you know, and our developing awareness.  So the awareness of how important that time is, and that awareness of what’s going to kind of keep tempting me not to have that.  So there’s just this full-on relationship with self isn’t there?

Connecting to Nature

Mark [4:52] When you are out bush or surfing, can you describe – is there?  What’s the connection like to yourself when you’re out in the bush and you’re out surfing, what do you notice, what do you observe, what do you experience?

Deb [5:07] I think what I love most of all, is the quietening of mind that happens.  And sometimes, I don’t know that I would have when I was younger, kind of aspire to this quite so much.  The blank mind (LOL), you know, like that – just the stillness of not being in judgment or not being in a chattering mind or not being in a self – kind of, you know, not tussling with myself, there’s just a real kind of inner peace.  I might be staring off into the distance or, you know, with surfing, there’s that, lovely sense of you both incredibly still. But you’re also very little alert.  You’re always watching the horizon, you’re always watching what’s coming. You’ve got 360 degrees on where everybody else is. I don’t really look out for sharks, but I would think that there is a sense of, you know, what else is here.  Who else is here in the water with me? So you both incredibly switched on and incredibly kind of calm? Hopefully.

Body Connection in Nature

Mark [6:28] When you calm like that?  Do you notice, do you connect more to your heart? Or you connect more to your body? How would you describe it?

Deb [6:35] Yeah, I don’t really articulate it – as a connection to the heart.  I do have a connection to I think, a whole body sort of sense. You know, my body’s usually really comfortable and just trying to think of a sort of other sports where that might be happening too.  Because I love to ski and do these kinds of whole-body things.

There’s, I think – it’s almost, you know, I would say I’ve got a connection to feelings, thoughts, my awareness and my sense of body and where my body is in space, but I wouldn’t single out the heart so much.

A Presence of Being instead of Doing

Mark [7:22] How do you connect to – how do you experience the connection to others?  How does that work for you? The heart of connection to others?

Deb [7:32] I think, you know, the psychodramatists talk about a thing called ‘tellay’.  Where you have an immediate warm up or a sense of warm up to various beings and them too, me too.  So, I let that sort of operate a little bit and respond to that.  I just, you know, try wouldn’t really be the right word, I don’t think.  I just have a sense of being as open as possible a lot of the time.  And I don’t think that’s always the case.  Like, I probably sometimes come into a room and I’m kind of, you know, thinking about something or I’m not necessarily there to meet those people, but other people in the room.  So, you know, I mean, there’s, I think sometimes I’m probably super present and super available in the supermarket.  And other times, I’m probably not that.

Mark [8:32] Do you notice that happening?

Deb [8:34] When I’m not that?

Mark [8:35] Yeah.

Deb [8:37] Yeah, I think so, yes I definitely.  You know, if I’m, for example, down in the village where I live, and I’m bustling into the shop to get something I mean, it’s not a preferred way of being at all.   It’s not something that I would – I’m just sort of reflecting on that now though.  That sometimes it almost feels like an old me, you know, that used to rush around and bustle around and to rush and get things done. And I think that one is a little bit.  You know, she’s not always as present.

Mark [9:11] Is she more in her head?

Deb [9:13] Yeah, definitely.

Mark [9:14] Alright and by bringing awareness to being more in your head then do you stop and check in.  How do you?

Present Awareness of Being

Deb [9:22] Yeah, I think that does happen.  I think you can really change that state quite quickly with awareness.  You can go to what? You know, who is this?  What’s this identified character, you know, I’d like – I’ve got a rush, why have I’ve got a rush, I’ve got to be served before that person. Why have I got to be served before that person, you know, you can change states quite quickly I think, when you bring that, you know, a ‘present awareness’ to your behavior.

Mark [9:57] And when you do bring that awareness, do you notice it self-drop?  How do-do you notice yourself dropping or do you notice yourself becoming more aware and more open-hearted?

Deb [10:06] Yeah, I think there’s an expansion.  So I think you go from a contraction to, because the other state, you know, where you’re highly identified with rushing or fitting stuff in whatever, you know, you start to really contract physically.   As you said, you know, you really cognitive and you just kind of bang, bang, bang.  This has got to happen.  Then your expectations go up to about how everyone else has to behave and fit in so that it works for you.

Which, you know, of course, it’s not going to.  I think you can drop out of that really quite quickly, and you just slow down, and you are just available, to what’s going on in the space and you notice everything else that’s going on in the space.   And it doesn’t necessarily slow you down, either.

Joy of Connection to Others

Mark [10:58] What do you notice it does to connect to people?

Deb [11:01] Well, it becomes, you know, you present.  All of a sudden people, you see people, you know, so your eyes might meet, or you’re in a crowded space, but you don’t feel in a crowded space.  So there’s just this beautiful kind of collective sort of sense of being at one really, with everybody rather than, you know,

Mark [11:30] It looks like a really beautiful space to come to.

Deb [11:34] Yeah.

Mark [11:35] That connection, that sense of oneness with others.

Mark [11:41] As we do that, can we, can the world do that more often?  Or can we, as human beings facilitate that happening more in the world?

Deb [11:50] Well, I think that we, if we know that space ourselves, and you know, like, we were saying how much easier it is to move through the world, and be in the world and be around other people when we know that space, and we touch into that space and move from that other space into that space, just the sheer capacity for us to do that.  For us to be up – to practice that so easily.  And for us to want to practice that.  It that there are more and more people doing that because it’s such a preferred way of kind of living.  And by sheer numbers, the more of us doing that we have an effect on other people, you know, we really do.   They may not even be aware of that ‘presence space’ that we’re bringing.  I think it’s such a natural thing in all of us that other people can drop into it without even that consciousness that we’ve bought to develop that space.

Energy of Connection

Mark [12:56] It’s like real energy there. I just felt it here before, just as you’re talking about it.  Just connecting with you there.  Yeah, sort of dropping into that energy, the connecting energy.

Deb [13:08] Yeah

Mark [13:08] When you talked about that oneness, as we have that oneness, what impact might that have on our compassion, our love, giving back to Mother Earth?

Deb [13:23] Well, I was thinking, when you were speaking about how, you know, it’s almost like we need to – we need to go through other people too – in giving back to Mother Earth.  I mean, I was a bit stuck on the human aspect of this.  So, you know, and I was just thinking about the people that we use to so readily judge in our environment.  You know, and how valuable it is to drop their judgments, and how beautiful it is to connect with all manner of people.

Connecting to Mother Earth

That we in the past might have put into a pigeonhole and gone, oh, they’re not like me, so I don’t want to talk to those.   I find some of my most precious and special moments out in the world connecting to people that I might never have connected with before, simply connecting with them.  To me in a way, that’s a way of connecting with Mother Earth as well.  Even though it’s so indirect, but is it indirect?  You know, because we’re all kind of people of Planet Earth.

I guess my take on it is that we don’t all have to love and cherish and honor Mother Earth in the same way I do.  Connecting up as the people’s – we really need to do and how other people are with Mother Earth in their relationship is not for me to judge or, for me to bonk somebody over the head with.  I want to accept them, and how they are, you know, and kind of not seek to change everybody as we seek to.  You know, nourish and cherish and put Mother Earth more at the center of a sustainable future. But yeah.

Sustainable Living

Mark [15:26] I just been using a cliche in the conversations that by ‘healing ourselves, are we healing Mother Earth’?  I am concerned about where Mother Earth – what we’re doing to Mother Earth.  That sustainability stuff?  Can we, through our connections to ourselves and to others, and that the beautiful energy that we – that we can manifest.  There’s loving compassion there, there’s a real swell of energy, and I am wondering what impact that will have on – giving back to the Earth.

Making my Caring Changes

Deb [16:03] I guess we, you know, we have yet to see.  Whether loving, compassion, kindness and wisdom are enough, you know.  Because I feel like we’re growing it in spades and at the same time, the industrialization of society has rampant systems and ways of doing things in the world that are enormously impactful.  So, you know, I’m definitely in that gathering of people that go, yes, we can affect change by affecting our own capacity to love ourselves, and to love each other – all of each other, no matter what they’re wanton ways.   In a way, I really believe that we really have to embrace, you know, all our levels of the kind of being in the world.

I really hope so Mark, and I think we need activism.   I think we need passionate people to speak up. And you know, and not to just hope that it will happen on a prayer.  I think loving ourselves and loving each other profoundly, and in really deep ways is, you know, fabulous work and a fabulous place to start.

Mark [17:41] It’s how do then, put that into action to make things sustainable?

Deb [17:46] Yeah.

Surfing Opens my Essence

Mark [17:48] When you are out surfing, as I’ve been a bit of an amateur surfer (LOL).  Just love sitting out the back.  I’ve had conversations with people out the back.  One of the conversations is they love surfing because it cleanses their Soul.  It’s like a, what I take from that – it’s a connection to greater than themselves.  How do you – do you experience that too, and you’re out in nature and out surfing, that the sort of sense of self, the sense of “I” just dissolves and you connect to the ‘All That Is’ the greater sense of?

Deb [18:28] Yeah, I think, for me, it’s like the boundary between me and the soul and spirit, like the boundary is just less defined.  So I don’t know where ‘I’ begin and end.  I don’t know, where nature begins and ends, and I don’t care to answer the question.

Mark [18:53] What’s it like when the boundaries?

Deb [18:55] Well, it’s just expensive. I mean, it’s just spacious.   I mean, you obviously still have to keep a bit of a self-intact, to kind of get out of the water at some point and not be out there overnight.  Kinda get dressed and go home and eat and do all those things that the self has to do to sustain itself.  There is just, yeah, you just really touch into that spacious place that is incredibly beautiful to hang out in.

The Vastness of Being

Mark [19:33] What’s it like to hang out in there?  What do experience?  Can you describe it?

Deb [19:40] I don’t know how I can describe it because some things are in a little bit indescribable really.  I think, is it a felt sense, is it – sometimes I kind of imagine what the back of my body’s feeling. Or what, as I said before – it’s just in a way that empty mind feeling.  I mean, that’s just incredibly kind of a rich place.  Even though, there are not 1000 images going on.   It’s not like a blockbuster film or anything.  It’s just almost this vastness, is so enticing – is enticing the right word, this vastness is so kind of enjoyable.  It’s just like there’s a texture to it might be.

Mark [20:40] Does your body radiate, do you radiate in it?  Are your cells radiating energetically?

Deb [20:48] I think that people could experience like that.  I mean, that’s not the sense that I have in it.  It’s more that I-I have a sense of dropping in and expanding out.   You know, this, it’s, you know, in a sense, it’s flavorless, and I just know that it feels – it has a, not even a viscosity it’s almost so neutral, that it’s nothing.  And yet, it’s a felt sense and yet it’s kind of – it is something.

Freedom of Mind is the Connection to Nature

Mark [21:33] What impact does it have on your well-being?

Deb [21:37] It has an enormous impact, I think, and I crave that space.  So you know, some people might get it by sitting on a rock and looking out a horizon.  I mean, I do get it on a surfboard, or just taking really long walks, or in meditation.  It is, you know, both restful and rejuvenating.  I think it also just really puts you in touch with joy.  It’s touching into joy, regularly or even neutrality, really.  It’s like a reboot, or kind of deep, restful kind of way of life.  I don’t think it has to be a certain amount of time.  You know, and I’m lucky in a way that I found out through surfing, but also meditation, you know, can bring on that state.

Mark [22:46] How did you find a connection to surfing?  How did that happen, did it just fall into your lap?  Were you drawn to it in some way?

Drawn to Surfing

Deb [22:54] I always was drawn to surfing all my life.   I took up board surfing very late I was nearly 50.  I was actually motivated by fear.   I thought that if I didn’t take up surfing, I was going to be a really grumpy old lady. I’ve wanted to all my life.   I grew up in the 60s and 70s and it was the era of short boarding, and it was kind of like one person per wave and it sure wasn’t going to be that girl.   Like it was competitive and a bit nasty.  So I didn’t, but some girls did definitely, surf when I was a kid, but not my friends so much or nobody I knew really.   Then I just couldn’t get away from it, you know, so I guess it’s like people who keep trying to learn meditation, and you know, some things you just have to keep going back to. And I went back to surfing, and I’d always known the power of the bush, although I didn’t get that till I was about 18 either.  But I used to take women on adventure travel trips into the bush.  And so I knew what had happened to me in you know, when I was about 18, and

Discovering Wilderness

I discovered the wilderness and, and then I started to take other women into the bush and give them that experience.  And I just saw a deep, relaxing, you know, like, I remember the first time I was working on a, we used to do a trip out in Central Australia.   When I watched indigenous elders, women sit down in the dirt and the way they would just sit within men’s comfort into the dirt.  The nice little plumes of dust would go up around them.  I thought, now that’s a comfort.  Now that’s knowing.  Now that’s the peace of being one with nature. 

Now that's the peace of being one with nature. Click To Tweet

The way they sit in the dirt, you know, and we would sit down but not in the same way, you know, white people were really kind of a bit awkward.   We’d be worried about the dust and the ants but I saw firsthand what kind of connection to nature and that incredible comfort and that incredible life-giving kind of peace that was coming from doing business in a riverbed.  I guess I just really have worked in my own life to really cultivate that in the outdoors.  Just by hanging out there really.  Being at one moment uncomfortable, and then at the next moment just incredibly comfortable by lying on twigs or having ants walk over you or just by letting go.  Just by opening.

Connections ~ Energetic Gift to Self

Mark [26:00] That looked really powerful as you were sharing it.  What was it, 18 years old as it was really powerful?  What was the service really powerful?  What was it, what was that grabbed you at 18?

Deb [26:15] It was the experience really.  I was with somebody who loved the bush and I hadn’t had that exposure to the bush really and we threw off all our clothes and we went down this riverbed just on the stones, you know, when you just go over river stones and we spent half a day just kind of frolicking really in this beautiful river space.   I’d never had that relationship with nature.  I’d never allowed myself to kind of be a child of nature and be – I just allowed – It was just the water was rushing over the top of us, we were sliding.  We just being done by nature, you know, and being held by nature and being.  It was absolutely beautiful.  It’s so vivid for me still and it was 40 something years ago, and it was profound.

We just being done by nature, you know, and being held by nature and being.  It was absolutely beautiful.  Click To Tweet

Mark [27:23] As your sharing the story, my heart just resonating as your sharing your story.  It’s just amazing to be in the space with you.   In drawing the conversation to close, I always invite the guest to share any advice for young women moving through, from your experiences?  Any advice for young women or young men as they take your journey?  Like following your journey, what advice would you give them?

Advice to Younger People

Deb [27:53] Lovely. Well, if they wanted it (LOL) because that’s always questionable. I think it really that takes time in nature.  You know, because one of the things that we know is that when we, in modern times when people grow up in high rise apartments, the disconnection from nature is bred into younger people these days.  We know the propensity to this kind of has experienced through devices.  So I would say, you know, where possible, put down the device and just go and be open to a conversation with nature that isn’t from your head, but is from somewhere else?

Save your beautiful little piece of Nature

If the conversation doesn’t have words, or if it has a few notes of a song, or are you just lying on the rock and absorbing the sun, have that conversation, it’s our greatest teacher.  I think we’ve only just begun the conversation in modern life with nature.   Of course, my fear is that we’re going to have so little nature left that will be harder and harder to glean.  So your connection to a beautiful place that you want to hold dear, and you want to see is still there in one or two decades that will be won or lost by your interest in that place.

So never underestimate your capacity to actually save a beautiful little piece for the future. But you need to have a relationship with that place, to want to save that place.  So, but it also doesn’t need to be wilderness.  It can be a tree in a city park or it can be a weed growing out of a wall. You know nature and life is just so resilient. So you know what, what little bug and you save from being squashed on the road? Or you know what, where’s your conversation?

Mark [30:12] Thank you.

Deb [30:13] Thank you.

Mark [30:14] Thank you my lovely conversation.

Deb [30:15] Yeah. Thank you so much.

Mark [30:16] Well done.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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