Tuesday, 31 December 2013


Here we are on the eve of a new year…

As arbitrary as this is on one level, on another it reminds us that we are always on the verge of becoming new…again and again and again.

We are always in movement, and we are always in a state of potential.

This beautiful piece of nature reminds me of our multi-layered magnificence, the power of potential, and the anticipation of bloom.

My intent for 2014 is joy, adventure and freedom!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Fire in the Heart

They say that chanting (kirtan) burns away the impurities of the heart…

On Saturday, I immersed myself in chanting at a Bhakti Fest in London.


If you have never experienced this, imagine a large hall with high ceilings. On the burnished wooden floor, cast a scattering of rugs and cushions. People appear seated cross-legged, bodies draped in shawls; friends, neighbours, strangers sit close together while children mingle and explore.

A group of musicians occupies the far corner next to a beautifully decorated puja (altar) hung with flowers and illuminated with candles. The harmonium begins to drone, the tabla player "tock tocks" with a hammer to tune his instrument, and the chanting begins…slowly at first in a gentle call and response, then gradually climbing to shimmering crescendos. The sounds soak in from outside and build up from inside; your body beings to relax; your heart finds a new rhythm.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Otter Country

I just finished Miriam Darlington's Otter Country: In Search of the Wild Otter. What a beautifully written book.  It is one of those books that subtly affects your consciousness as you travel with Miriam around the UK in her search for wild otters. In exquisite prose, with her poet-sensibilities, she infiltrates our imagination and lays down a mesh-work of rivers, streams and teeming tributaries. She brings alive the watery world of otters; she exposes our complicity with the annihilation of their habitat while at the same time not losing touch with the magic and possibility of their returning presence.

Miriam, and therefore her readers, travel from a state of curiosity about otters to a more subtle, mature and sensitive awareness of their needs, habits and unique qualities. She moves through the challenges of either startling the otters or not finding them at all to being able to sit quietly for hours and almost become part of their environment. She begins in a camper van, traveling north in search of the wild where she assumes she will find otters, and ends sleeping out among the textures, smells and sensations of her local river life. She conveys this alchemical process with humour and a rueful awareness of the challenges of human/animal interaction. She writes: "As we have expanded and colonised, the wild has become knitted around us, in a living, breathing mesh. The otter is truly among us" (123).

She stirred questions in me:
How do I move in my environment?
What tracks do I leave on all levels?
How often do I still myself in a way that allows me to really notice?

                                                                     © Julia Doggart 2014