• Dana Webster

Free Range Change

I've been on a writing and counselling summer break to give my mind, body, and spirit the free range experience it craves, not unlike the chill chickens who wander around the grounds of the Goodlot Brewery in neighbouring Caledon, ON.



Free range time is an antidote to the monkey mind - all those random thoughts that swirl around in my head seemingly with no landing pad, and no resolution. I get stuck in the loop of trying to manage what is rather than allowing my brain the freedom to explore what could be. A few minutes here and there won't cut it. What's required is a minimum of two weeks, for me, anyway.


No set schedule. No set bed time or waking time which, of course, is an illusion at my age but it feels like choice. No need to be anywhere at any particular time (unless it brings me pleasure to get there). I catch up on coveted reading (currently, Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker and Lineage of the Trees by Jane Brunette). I lounge on the back deck that Paul, and two of our sons, Meacham and Grant, constructed a few years ago; I watch the birds at the feeder, the weather moving in over the Hockley Valley, and I listen to the trees answering the call of the wind.


The wanderings of the mind during a free range may feel random at first and, sure, some of them will simply float in and then out again, perhaps to be acknowledged at a later date, too soon to be integrated. But some of them transform from ephemeral to something more tangible, more head-cockingly curious.


What and who has captured my attention recently:


1. Thanks to the recommendation of my kinesiologist, Michelle Falzone, I am experiencing the visceral joys of my bare feet grounding me in Mother Nature - wet grass after a summer rain; hard, brittle blades after a dry spell; heated asphalt on a humid day; the cold grooved divots of natural stone; smooth, untreated cedar planks of our deck; cool, damp mossy pathways; the crumbly dirt of my veggie garden. The soles (souls) of my feet connect instantly and deeply with earth's energies offering me a solid place in time and space.


2. The use of psychedelics for mental health treatment is, finally, finding traction in Canada. The extraordinary efficacy of LSD, Psilocybin (found in Magic Mushrooms) and other natural substances can no longer be ignored when treating PTSD, Complex-PTSD, trauma symptoms, and addictions. For more, watch the Netflix series, How to Change Your Mind or read the book by Michael Pollan.


3. Thanks to my newly-found writing teacher, Jane Brunette, I have discovered the deeply meaningful and soulful relevance of women's mythology. The Feminine archetype explored through story. Yes, please!


4. I'm also exploring the modality of EcoTherapy (thank you, CJ!) which seems like such a no-brainer for me personally and professionally. Science plus oodles of anecdotal evidence, have proven the mental and spiritual restorative properties of just being outside. Imagine augmenting a walk with a trusted mentor, counsellor, or guide?


"The unexamined life is not worth living." - attributed to Socrates. If there's one positive to come out of the last few years it is that we have the lived experience of time for self-reflection, time to ask some big questions of the life we have structured for ourselves. I'm beginning to look beyond that which is right in front of me, beyond survival mode, beyond fear, and I'm rediscovering the something more of which we are an integral part.


My time of free range roving is coming to an end but now I have a few interesting threads to explore more deeply, the meaning of which will become clear in time.


P.S. Sometimes I include links in my blog posts to things/people/services I think you might be interested in. These are not affiliated links, there's no monetary gain for me in them. They are my gift to you. And my way of saying thank you to those who have so positively influenced me. So, go ahead and click through on them; you might find it's just the thing you were looking for.


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