Earth Under Our Fingernails: A Reconnection To The Wild Self


We hear a lot about how we should all be connecting back to the earth. How growing our own veggies and buying organically raised meat will help save the planet. We are also told that working on the land can heal our emotional unwellness. It has been proven that being in nature calms us down, dispels anxiety, stress and even depression. The reason given for this radical shift in our emotional state is because nature helps us reconnect to ourselves. But what part of ourselves are we connecting with?


I grew up on a Welsh Mountain. Until the age of eleven, when we moved to the city, my days were spent outdoors in the wilderness, hanging out with the goats, chickens and the sheep who wandered the mountainside. It was there I met my wild self. I actually had no choice in this meeting, you don’t get to live so closely with nature and stay unwild. Every day, I was witness to death and re-birth, blood and milk. I experienced times of intense joy and wonder at the birth of new life, and times of deep sorrow at the ending of another.  From my head to my toes, from my knotted hair to the earth under my fingernails, each day ended with me feeling fully alive. This aliveness, I believe, came from the connection to my wild self.


The wild self knows that feeling deeply connects us to every living thing. The wild self is the ally to the soul, without it our soul doesn’t get to fully express itself on this planet and then we get sick. An artist friend said to me, “I need to make art for the sake of my mental health“.  Many artists, musicians, writers, video game designers, knitters and basket weavers admit that they need to do what they do, or go insane, or at least be very miserable. They are listening to their wild selves, choosing to embrace its energy rather than suppress it with drugs, alcohol or shopping.


I’m lucky enough to live in a place where I am surrounded by nature…actually, it isn’t luck, after many years of living in the city I found a way to move myself and my family to the wilderness, not as wild as my childhood mountain but wild enough. I had to. My wild self was becoming restless. These days, I’m more likely to have printers ink under my fingers nails than earth (although, sometimes earth too). I’m not suggesting everyone has to move to the countryside to find their wild self, but sometimes getting a little earth under your fingernails does the soul some good.


The “Rightness” of Mental Illness


What if mental illness or emotional pain or physical symptoms weren’t something that needed to be fixed.

What if we knew that “Symptoms”  were our soul’s way of rebelling against the trance in which we live, a trance that keeps us comparing, judging, consuming and not feeling good enough.

What if we believed that sensitivity is a gift, and those who are diagnosed with a mental illness are just “Exquisitely sensitive” beings who are connected with every living thing on this planet, who feel the pain of a thousand year old tree being cut down to make room for Palm oil.

What if all the patients in a mental hospital are actually healers sent here to help mankind.

What if all the children diagnosed with ADHD, Autism and other labels are new souls come to wake us up from our belief that children should be sat behind desks all day learning to pass tests, while children in another country are being bombed.

What if we learnt to ask ourselves, “What is right about this?” rather than believing a society which tells us we need to get rid of our symptom.

I Follow Myself



For nearly ten years, I took part in ceremonies, rituals and sought out healers. I followed many different spiritual paths until one day, I just stopped. Like the journey of The Alchemist, I came to realise that all these paths lead to the same place, that the treasure was under my feet the whole time.  That treasure was self-awareness.


Now, I listen to my inner elder, shamaness, wise woman.

Now, I take seriously the wisdom of my body feelings, even risking being wrong.

Now, I follow myself.