Finding Alignment in the Wild

Apr 3, 2018

(the following article is reprinted from my original publication in Wild Woman Magazine)


When I am adrift, the ocean calls me.


She reminds me that whatever threatens to unmoor me that day is minuscule when held up against the fundamental, undeniable rhythm of the sea, connected as she is to the massive planetary influence of that scarred old moon in the sky. Mother Ocean is both wild and wildly reliable, grounding.


When I am overwhelmed, the forest holds me.


She reminds me that I am always home wherever there are trees to loom overhead. The fiercer the wind that rocks her limbs, the deeper her roots grow to hold her in place, reaching and rooting as she is, an intuition of what it takes to ride out the storm.

Outside the confines of my thoughts and my schedule and the buildings that encase me and the clothes that define my curves and the responsibilities that define my life, there is s-p-a-c-e.

Space to receive and be nourished in, space to be offered access to the inner knowing that helps me to find direction and alignment in my life.




For many years, I felt out of alignment with who I was. I, like so many women in their early adulthood, followed the breadcrumbs of success as it was defined by the world around me. The university degree, the job, the house, the family. Blessings all, to be sure…

But there was a wild, authentic self that was longing to be seen and heard.


She collected gemstones to wear on her fingers but they clashed with my neatly pressed dress pants and blouses. She craved the open road but my mortgage kept her close to home and hearth. She wanted to dance under the moonlight and I wondered what people would think.



And then I was rocked by the wildest transformation of them all, rocked into awareness, rocked into the knowledge that life wouldn’t wait for me to shuck off others’ expectations of me. Rocked as I was by the intensity of labour, rocked as I was by the fierce love and fiercer reality of motherhood, rocking as I was with my daughter in my arms, warm, huffing with peaceful sighing breath. I came to know that as I was Mother to my child, so was I a child of Mother Earth. So was I a steward of her feminine energy in the masculine, ordered, ambitious, pantsuit-wearing world I also navigated.

I went to Mother Earth often in that first year of my motherhood, and she held me and my big questions about my life and the world and my purpose in it in her branches and her sands and her star-strewn skies. It was here that my alignment – that desire to live a life that was true to who I was and what mattered most to me – began.

The memories came flooding back. The way I found peace on the edge of a lake in my young childhood. The way I found strength paddling a ferocious river, the first test of my courage as a teenager. The way I found camaraderie with my friends as we took long sojourns through the backwoods. The way I came to know empowerment, swimming across oceans and climbing mountains. The way I came to know what I was capable of, where I came from, and, slowly but surely, where I would go next.

As any mother bear in the forest demonstrates for her cub the way the world works and how to be in it, I quit my job and gave away the pantsuits that now pinched at the hips that had become wide and fleshy with childbearing. I could no more bear the pinching of my intuition as I handed my daughter to another woman to care for while I sat miserably in a cubicle.

I put the gemstone rings back on my fingers.

They didn’t clash anymore. Not with the scarves and skirts and long feather earrings.

I began to dance under the moon, just a little at first.

I began to gather circles of women together and realized they were all seeking alignment and connection and purpose and Earth the same way I was.

I came to know the power of women in circle together, the magic and heat and life-force and sheer possibility that we can create together.

I returned to the peace, the alignment, the strength and the courage that Mother Earth had helped me find through the years that I walked blindly through a life that felt like someone else’s.


For when I am adrift, the ocean calls me, and when I am overwhelmed, the forest holds me.


And when I am standing in the truth of who I am and in my fullest power as a woman, Mother Earth connects me to my strength, keeps my fear at bay, and holds the light of my intuition just two steps ahead, igniting the path of my deepest longings.

The Becoming Podcast has been on a short hiatus while I focus on writing my book, but oh what a comeback episode I have for you!

This month, I spoke to Toko-pa Turner, who many of you may know as the unofficial patron saint of many of my circles and gatherings because of the sheer number of times I’ve quoted from the wisdom of her book, Belonging.

Toko-pa is a Canadian author, teacher, and dreamworker. Blending the mystical teachings of Sufism in which she was raised with a Jungian approach to dreams, she founded The Dream School in 2001, from which thousands of students have graduated. She is the author of the award-winning book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, which explores the themes of exile and belonging through the lens of dreams, mythology, and nature. This book has resonated for readers worldwide, and has been translated into 10 different languages so far. Her work focuses on the relationship between psyche and nature, and how to follow our inner wisdom to meet with the social, psychological, and ecological challenges of our time.

Here’s some of what Toko-pa and I talk about in this episode:

> The dream that changed Toko-pa’s life, causing her to question her career and, ultimately, her identity

> How we can court our dreams to support us during times of radical transformation – and the reasons so many of us have a hard time remembering and working with what shows up in our dreamscape

> Toko-pa’s perspective on the message of Belonging after the divisiveness our society has experienced in the years since it was published

> What happened for both Toko-pa and I when we fell out of belonging from the ideologies of the “wellness world”

> How to build community when you’re under-resourced

> “The Big Lie” when it comes to belonging, and how we can reclaim a sense of belonging to the greater family of things, as Mary Oliver so famously wrote

Listen to the episode on iTunes


Show Notes

Toko-pa’s Website

Belonging:  Remembering Ourselves Home, Toko-pa’s book

The David Abram video about animism mentioned in the interview

Toko-pa’s self-guided program, Dream Drops

Companion, the program that accompanies Belonging


Also, while you’re at it, if you enjoy The Becoming Podcast, I would be so grateful if you would rate and review, and even subscribe to it on iTunes.  That goes a long way to helping more and more people find and benefit from hearing these interviews!  Thank you so much!