Happy Summer Solstice! What a great time for celebrating life and the longest day of the year. The turning seasons cycle and change right along with our own bodies as we live on the great mother, the earth. Without her sustenance and sacred gifts, our vital essence may dim.
In writing to heal, raw honesty is absolutely necessary. As the saying goes, “we can’t change what we don’t acknowledge.” Starting with a journal or notebook is a perfect tool.
This week for the summer solstice I’m talking with author and naturalist Mary Reynolds Thompson. She’s a kindred spirit from California who revels in the earth’s wisdom and shares her powerful messages about healing and recovering Spirit.
SR: What is: Write the Damn Book? How do writers utilize this resource?
MRT: Write the Damn Book! is a program that guides people on the heroic journey from procrastination to publication. Most people who fail to complete their books do so because they don’t realize that writing a book is an heroic journey. They think working on craft and concept is enough. These things are important, but they don’t address the internal challenges we all confront as writers: the demons of self-doubt, the harsh inner critic, the wicked witch of confusion. Writing a book doesn’t just depend on your intellect and imagination, it also depends on your willingness to confront your deepest fears and share your deepest truths. That’s why it’s an heroic journey.
SR: Your own writing is about eco-spirituality. What draws you to that topic?
MRT: I believe that separation from the Earth is the root cause of much of the psychological and spiritual suffering in the world, as well as destruction of the planet. Our sense of separation and superiority is manifest in the way we dam mighty rivers, genetically modify crops, and blow the tops off mountains. Our mechanized, high-tech, high-speed culture also causes tremendous internal stresses, anxiety and despair. People are seeking aliveness–we long to cross the false divide between humans and nature and merge with the Earth again so that we can live and express from our wild souls.
To read some of Mary’s newsletters on the topic, please go to Reclaiming the Wild Soul.
SR: Embrace your Inner Wild (White Cloud Press, 2011) is a beautiful collaboration. How did this book come about and what is its significance?
MRT: Photographer Don Moseman spent 35 years in San Quentin State Prison. I met him at a 12-step meeting shortly after he’d been released. I’d also see him when walking the trails of Marin County, California, where we both live. He carried a camera; I carried a journal. The idea for the book was born after Don started sending me his amazing wildlife photographs. I’d been teaching and writing about the connection between inner and outer nature for years, and the collaboration just seemed a natural fit. The fact that we both felt we owed much of our recovery from alcoholism to our relationship with the natural world, only brought us closer together.
SR: You are on the core faculty of TWI–How do you feel women can truly support each other?
MRT: The Therapeutic Writing Institute, based in Denver Colorado, is the professional training division of the Center for Journal Therapy, founded by Kay Adams. While it is certainly open to men, the area of poetry and journal therapy is dominated by women. I think, in part, this is a reflection of a bigger story: women are training and equipping themselves with the skills and knowledge they need to help shift us into a new consciousness. Women are coming together to support each other in order to change the world.
Mary Reynolds Thompson is a facilitator of poetry therapy, author, writing coach, and guide to the Inner Wild. An international workshop leader, she helps others experience the power of wildness through exploring the connection between the natural world and our psyches and souls. Her book Embrace Your Inner Wild was a finalist for the Best Nature Book of the Year, 2011. Her forthcoming book, Reclaiming the Wild Soul: How Earth’s Landscapes Restore Us to Wholeness is due out in spring, 2014. Please visit Mary at the above highlighted links.
Thank you brave Mary! We need more courageous, nature-loving souls like you in the world. I am looking forward to reading Reclaiming the Wild Soul.
Happy journaling in the wild places!
photo credits: Susan E. Rowland