This week’s blog is written by Mog Downey. Mog is a co-founder of Development Perspectives and has guided the organisation down many creative paths. ‘The Hero’s Journey’ was one such path that DP decided to explore and here’s Mog’s account of the journey for her:
My heart pounding, my mind racing! I was alone in the forest. The light was fading, it was late, I was late and I was panicking! “Don’t go in too deep”, I told myself. “Find somewhere to sleep”, “move fast”, “and stop thinking”, “start working”.
Between two trees emerged a resting ground similar to a cradle. It was small…I felt small! I had already thought about my design. So, I knew what to do… in THEORY. “Two trees, one string tied tight, throw the tarpaulin over and pin it to the ground in a low triangle”. It worked!
Just as I began to feel calm I was unnerved by the sound of someone behind me. “Help me” she said, “I don’t know what to do”. Totally frustrated all I could think of was me, “survival of the fittest and all that”. There was only room in my tent for one –me! The rain was teeming down. My mind was selfish but my heart won over and I conversed for a few minutes trying to support her. She drifted back into the forest seeming more confident and disappeared into the night.
Sleeping bag, torch, knife, blanket into the tent. The daylight was waning! “Get in and stay in” I told myself. Climbing into my 10euro dunnes sleeping bag I felt ill prepared. The roots provided a fairly decent pillow albeit nothing compared to the 100% Egyptian cotton that I’m so familiar with. Peering through the window of light, the tunnel of tall trees either side appeared like a never ending avenue – to what? I wondered! I was unsure if I was absolutely terrified or in total bliss. I took some consolation by reminding myself that my friends were also in the woods and that the woods were also my friends. The rain thundered down on the tarpaulin like there was no tomorrow, no yesterday- just now. NOW! I was alone curled up in a ball at the merciful foot of two giant pine trees. I felt unexpectedly safe and warm. I drifted in and out of sleep after performing my small ritual. I burnt a little sage, sprinkled a little sacred water from our local spring well. I held my animal spirit guide stone in one hand and the cone of a sequoia tree (giant redwood) in the other. The water was to cleanse any negative thoughts and to cleanse me. The shamanic animal guide was to connect with the animals of the forest to keep me safe and the seed of the sequoia was to converse with the trees to support and shelter me.
The rain continued relentlessly!
At this stage I was 24 hours without food and still the dark night to pass.
At approximately 5.45am I woke dreaming of trees and train tracks. A strong image lingered – one of me lying in a bathtub on a railway line stretching through a huge wood. This image contained a powerful message for me centred on the positive possibilities of rigid manmade paths and flexible natural tracks becoming unified.
I was uncomfortable turning the artificial light on so I waited patiently for sunrise. The natural light slowly dripped through the dense pine trees creating a kaleidoscope of saturated green. I felt a huge surge of euphoria as I packed up my belongings and wandered through the forested cathedral. It’s no surprise that the sun becomes a god for those who wait for light.
Filled with tears I journeyed home
Brave but humble
Strong but gentle
Something had changed in me.