Annie Geissinger will be teaching Soul Nature at Three Stone Studio on Saturday, March 23rd from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm. The following conversation is a wonderful introduction to Annie’s teaching. Join us in discovering how we share soul qualities with nature.
PS: Annie, I’m intrigued by the way you describe this workshop as “offering a space for connecting with our soul nature, nature’s soul.” Are you suggesting that our soul nature and nature’s soul are the same?
AG: What happens when we look at nature as a sacred reflection of ourselves – and also as ourselves? What happens when we remember, as humans, that we are Earth – we are as much a part of Earth as any other aspect of nature, trees, rocks, clouds, birds… It doesn’t make any sense to think that humanity is separate from Earth, but it’s been part of western culture to think that way.
In this time of expanding consciousness, we are learning how to experience our selves as not separate from other beings. To see who we are as One. And we have to come back to ourselves because we do exist as individuals, each on our own path – so we might feel and see our longing or our task is how to be in harmony, to share a resonance with the whole, where we experience our sense of Oneness. How do I do that?
PS: So yes, how do you do this?
AG: A Beauty Way teaches that we each have soul qualities that are naturally who we are, as individual beings. And those qualities guide us and help us sort out what matters; they are what matters.
PS: What are some examples of soul qualities?
AG: One way to get to your soul qualities is to ask yourself what qualities matter most to you – in yourself, in others, in the world. Some people might say freedom matters, or humor, or compassion. The word matter is key because it helps me see that this is about our embodied nature.
Which brings us back to nature—nature is embodiment. Nature is our body, it is the matter of our lives – and what matters is our soul qualities. Through nature we have an opportunity to develop our experience of our qualities. We can discover how they show up, how they move and dance with us and the world, and how they evolve.
Qualities have a dark and light aspect; they are dualistic. For example a quality such as compassion. We can learn about compassion through having a non-compassionate experience, which happens a lot in our world—learning through hardships, war, conflict, poverty, the list goes on and on. As a world we’ve been so caught up in the shadow, the dark side of our qualities. So in this workshop we’ll turn our focus toward the kindness of our qualities, the light of our qualities. We ask nature, as embodied qualities, to help us out, to be a guide.
PS: How does this play out on an individual or personal level?
AG: If the quality that matters most to me is, for example, compassion, then how does nature speak to me of compassion? And how can I hear that? How can I see it? Taste it? Touch it? Awakening through our senses brings us back to our body’s experience. We awaken to our body as part of earth’s body. This is why we begin with mindfulness because it brings us to our senses.
PS: Can you say more about how nature speaks to us?
AG: Say I’m walking in the woods and I’m connected with my senses, I’m hearing sounds, seeing different forms and colors, noticing smells. Maybe in a moment of stillness I hear a sound that a tree is making in the wind. I slow down to hear it. It’s a soft sound, it’s present, and it’s very gentle and tender, a rustling sound that is like a song. I can listen and let that sound move inside of me, feel this sound as compassion. I open to the possibility of experiencing something about my quality that I may not have experienced before. This can support me in the ways I wish to live in greater harmony with the whole.
And say there’s a part of my life where I get stuck, where I seem to lose my compassion, like my child has a tantrum when I feel least able to handle it. And I know I want to connect to the light of my quality, compassion. In that moment, maybe I can connect to that sound I heard, that reflection of me – meaning that sound that lives within me. That soft, gentle, tender sound. I can pause: Where’s that sound of the tree inside of me? What if I simply BE that quality? How does that support me right now in being with my child?
PS: I love how consciousness of the sensory experience becomes a potent seed that can develop and grow within us, and bear fruit at future times.
AG: Yes, I love that – and nature is always with us, and if we are present, always in conversation with us. We recognize the companionship of the tree and the moving air, as our allies and helpers. Nature is speaking to us as a reflection of who we are.
We can learn to listen through this experience, to open ourselves to the reflection of our own soul that lives in the world. The compassion I hear from the tree, is the same as the compassion in me, otherwise I couldn’t hear it! In this sense it’s a unified quality whether it’s in the sound of the tree or how I speak with my child. And the tree is still there the next day and the next, as friend, to help – to deepen the connection. And the water, the mosses, the birds, the clouds. We can always listen, open our senses. What matters to us matters to Earth.
PS: There is something quite humbling about this process of opening to the companionship of nature. And it feels like a fork in the road we’ve been going down. Which way are we going to take?
AG: Do we always want to grow and learn from these shadow sides of conflict and separation? Or do we want to choose another way? What if we recognize that we’re not separate and alone, we’re one body with earth, and Nature can help us. We can discover the companionship and guidance, the friendship of the natural world as our soul reflected, Nature as our matter.
For more information and registration please email info [at] threestonestudio [dot] org