[Back to the Wild] Clare Dakin on the Nature of the Feminine

You can access the audio interview here. This interview was originally conducted by Alison Ramsay and Clare Dakin as part of our Back to the Wild series. You can access the other interviews in this series by choosing “Natural Lifestyle” at WISHRadio.com.

What exactly is a woman? How do we describe the feminine principle? With over 3,000 media messages per day, the majority directed specifically at women telling us how to look, think, be, what to wear, how to make him want you more, how to be successful, slim, funny and fabulous, it’s no wonder there is a lot of confusion, convolution, frustration and depression from both sexes.

For the last few centuries the feminine has fallen into the background of a masculine driven patriarchal world, devalued and even used. This has created a deep imbalance on a micro and macro level of our lives. So how can we restore this balance and accelerate the revaluing of the feminine, which we desperately need right now? Just like we can look to nature and the wild to restore our physical health, we can also look to nature to restore the balance of the sexes and the balance in how we interact with the natural world.

I am so thrilled to welcome one of my most favorite women ever. Someone who I am privileged and honored to know and share with, and one of the most soulful and courageous women I have ever met. She founded the women-powered global reforestation campaign, TreeSisters, after being delivered a life-changing message in a car crash. She is here to talk with us about nature and the feminine, the importance of environmental stewardship and the audacious campaign that will change the world – TreeSisters. Clare Dakin … is here to talk with us about nature and the feminine, the importance of environmental stewardship and the audacious campaign that will change the world Dear, dear Clare Dakin. Thank you so much for being here to get a little wild with us today.

Clare Dakin: Hello. Gosh, what a welcome. Thank you, Alison.

Alison: You’re welcome. I’d love to start with your thoughts on the feminine and how we are connected to nature or plugged into the natural world in a way that is different than men. We are also cyclical like the systems found in nature. So I’d love it if you could talk with us a bit more about those. What is women’s connection with nature and why is this connection so important for women?

Clare Dakin: Wow. It’s a meaty question and it’s a really good one. You know when I first was given TreeSisters one of the reasons I said no was because I really was utterly bemused about what it meant to be a woman. Like, I don’t know – I was one of those women that used to walk around being more like a man and I did being a man really quite well as far as I was concerned.

And I was utterly confused about what being a woman was supposed to be. And I remember one day a woman saying to me, oh, there’s this menstrual workshop happening and, you know you’re all about trying to start TreeSisters and women and empowering women and that you think that’s the most empowering thing. And don’t you think you should go? And I remember thinking God, menstrual workshop? Why would I want to go and do that?

I mean it sat with me and I started thinking well, yeah, a menstrual workshop – actually shouldn’t I really understand more about my body? And when did I really learn about that stuff? And actually, you know some part of me has always thought yes, I know it’s connected to the moon, but I’ve never really paid attention.

And it kept nagging me, so I went along to this workshop by a woman called Alexandra Pope, who I just can’t recommend highly enough. She’s actually Australian, but she lives in the UK now. She travels all around the world teaching women about the menstrual cycle, which a clearer way of saying it is the moon cycle.

Like The Moon Within Us is one of her films and it really addresses the fact that women have been denatured, like actually the moon cycle that moves the tides around on this planet of ours. That everything is actually affected by it because everything – so much is actually made of water including ourselves.

But our wombs, you know our womb cycles; the very thing that separates us from men, the thing that makes us utterly unique, the thing that gives us a fundamental tap into the ultimate act of creativity itself. It’s been so shamed, you know. I was brought up with my period being the curse. Oh, you’ve got the curse.

I don’t know how many women around world, probably millions are brought up with thinking about their menstruation as the curse. And actually what I was taught in this workshop and what my life has sort of radically adjusted since then is that it’s not a curse, it’s a blessing. It’s actually the root back into a fundamental level of empowerment for women. Because our whole bodies are governed by the moon.

Our hormones are governed by the moon. Our energy is governed by the moon– what we’re capable of at what type of the month is governed by the moon. People just don’t understand it, we’re not taught it. Girls aren’t taught it. A lot of women my age, in my forties don’t know it. It’s like part of the feminine mystery that’s been lost – it’s been lost to us.

It’s our birthright. But actually, you know as the moon grows, like you know you just mentioned that, you know women as cyclical like the seasons, well in a menstrual cycle, all four season are there in a menstrual cycle.

And as the moon starts to wax at the beginning of the cycle, like our energy starts to rise. There’s a newness in our body, there’s an ability to actually feel into new ideas, new creativity as it comes to fullness, as we go into ovulation. Our energy is at its fullest, it’s most visible, it’s most vibrant. We are, you know in our greatest creative potential.

And as the moon starts to wane there’s a falling away of our energy and a lot of women struggle there because, you know in a nice linear world of no cycles and sort of classic Western patriarchal consciousness that we’ve had, our energy is just supposed to stay constant the entire time. And it doesn’t.

For women it fluctuates massively through the month. And that period where our energy starts to drop as we draw towards the bleed, like the autumnal phase of the moon cycle. It’s our time of greatest discernment, it’s our great of sifting, it’s our time of figuring out what of the new ideas we had the beginning of the month we can actually really run with. What makes sense for us.

And then as we draw towards the bleeds our energy thins and thins and thins and we become in way more and more subtle, more and more receptive. You know many of the indigenous cultures have what would be referred to moon lodges or what now is part of the Red Tent movement.

The Red Tents, where women because classically we would regulate and bleed together, would go into the lodges and those lodges would be a time of dreamtime. A time of great listening and tuning in because as women’s energy drops toward the bleed and goes into the bleed we are incredibly receptive.

We have a capacity to be way more intuitively resourced and to be able to listen to an awful lot. Say in the Native American cultures an awful lot of the wisdom that guided the tribes came out of the moon lodges. And it was even considered one of the best ways to disrupt a tribe, to go and destroy the moon lodge.

If you wanted to do the most damage you would go and destroy the place where the women menstruated together because that was the root of the wisdom from which tribes ran their lives. So the ancient cultures knew of this deeply powerful connection to life that women have through their cycles. We are taught to just think of it as a monthly inconvenience or a function our bodies have in order so that we can procreate. You know it’s part of what makes us useful other than that it’s what makes us dirty.

But actually understanding, being tuned into the flow of the moon, being tuned into how it is pulling your energy, what it’s doing to your energy and how you can live more consciously with that so that you can actually plan your month, plan what makes sense to do when. So that instead of just running straight over your energy, you’re working with it. If you can work with it, the whole cycle becomes a source of huge empowerment, real conscious empowerment.

It’s like taking back your woman-ness, taking back your nature-ness, your naturalness, your earthiness. You know we weren’t born to be clean and deodorized and plucked and tweaked and, you know women are earthy. We’re messy, we’re wild.

I mean yes, we can do that. It’s nice to be clean, it’s nice to smell good, but actually our earthiness is a huge source of power, and it’s also a great force of what I could call embodied wisdom. Like to begin to feel how our flow fits with the flow of life that is actually happening on this planet plugs us back into the natural world.

And that is core because so much of the damage that is happening in this world is because we are completely disconnected from the natural world. So if women can start even just with that one thing, with the moon cycle that lives inside of themselves. If we can start to give that back, like remember in our bodies and start following and start living according to our own energy, that empowered state, that connected state becomes like a new ground that we can stand on from which we can live with a different consciousness.

So for me that is how we are primarily different from men. It is a great, great source of empowerment, strength and if you read Alexandra Pope’s books or go in any of her courses she’ll tell you that the menstruation cycle and moon cycle is the primary wisdom teacher, the primary initiator of learning – deeply spiritual learning and awareness sitting inside a woman’s body. That it’s just there.

That if you understand how to operate within that moon cycle there is a wealth, an absolute wealth of knowledge and self-knowledge that can come.

Alison: Beautiful. And we actually put a WISH call with Alexandra Pope so i’ll make sure the link is up so people can listen to it and she goes in depth into everything you just spoke about, so that’s great.

Clare Dakin: If you follow TreeSisters on SoundCloud, you know we do regular meditations that are uploaded onto SoundCloud that you can use and they’re part of the aspect of TreeSisters, which is all about tapping back into the body and listening.

And actually there is an embodied moon cycle meditation on SoundCloud that you can listen to, to actually start to make this journey and start to reconnect. So that is there for any woman or any teenager that would like to actually plug back in if that’s not something that they’re aware of.

Alison: Wonderful. And people can find that on your website?

Clare Dakin: It’s on SoundCloud, so if you just go to SoundCloud, it’s another website. So if you go to SoundCloud and then click on TreeSisters it will be in the TreeSisters bit of SoundCloud – she says sounding really technically clear.

Alison: Yeah. I didn’t even know about SoundCloud. I don’t even know what that is. So in this Summit I talk a lot about our divorce from nature and you mentioned a little bit there that this divorce has caused us to go from our cycles being a place of complete empowerment to being something that has become, you know the curse and dirty and something that has caused us to shame ourselves and be shamed by the world.

And we’ve also in this divorce went from maybe a more tribal culture that respected the planet and respected nature and respected the seasons and the animals and the rhythms of nature to a society that sort of has this take, take, take without any thought for the consequences of that taking. So I’d love it if you could explain to us the connection between how women have been treated and how our planet has been treated over the last few centuries and why it’s crucial that we restore the balance between the masculine and feminine now.

Clare Dakin: Well, I wish – I often wish that I understood like what happened to women? Like what happened between men and women? You know historically we’re told that we come from matriarchal cultures. I don’t know enough history, I haven’t read enough to understand whether those matriarchal cultures were utterly disempowering to men.

I kind of have to imagine that on some level they must have been because the kickback towards women has been so severe and over such a long period of time. And you know in the great cosmic scheme of things has it had to be that there’s been a time of supremacy of women and a time of  supremacy of men for us to eventually come back together and desire to co-create some form of balance. You know I don’t know.

All I know is that there is still a horrendous imbalance on this planet and a pervading consciousness that sees women is less than – which is extraordinary when you think that the only thing that is kind of less than in a woman is her physical strength. And you know there are a hell of a lot of extremely strong women out there who can lift heavy objects. But you know apart from that how is a woman inferior to a man?

You know we have incredibly complementary gifts. I mean men and women are extremely different but we each have our areas of brilliance, our great capacities. It doesn’t make either of us better than the other or less than the other, and yet we live in a world that has devalued women massively in different ways. And you know time and time again through explorations that I make, I come back to the Burning Time.

There are actually no accurate figures for how many women were burned during the Burning Time or drowned or God knows what other – you know so many different ways they found of killing women. But given that the world’s population was so small back then it was actually a large percentage of women. And you know it was women who lived alone or herbalists or teachers or midwives, women who were in their power in some way, who were in their deeper feminine strength in some way.

And you know for whatever reason the church decided that those women were dangerous and they would make it, you know basically life threatening to be a woman in her power. And so we were tortured in horrendous circumstances in incredible injustice. And it was sort of burned into our consciousness at the deepest level that to be an empowered woman, to be an empowered independent, nature-connected woman was sinful in the extreme, was heresy, was devil worship, was a shortcut to eternal damnation.

You know when that’s the death of a few women it’s one thing, when it’s the death of millions – you know I cannot even really begin to get my head around the impact of that at the psychic level, at the level of the collective consciousness.

But I know in just about all my female friends, some of us at some level carry the fear of being too much. Like there is a fear, a fundamental fear within feminine consciousness about being too much, of needing to keep ourselves on a leash somehow, needing to stay safe, needing to not push it, you know and especially around the male ego to try and, you know ensure that the male ego stays fine. So there’s a – it’s a big leap going from the Burning Times to now, but I feel like that was a fundamental point in time when women were profoundly wounded and disempowered as a species that separate ourselves out – I know we’re the same species, but we’re so different.

And since then we’ve been taught in so many ways to become the thing that is appropriate within our culture. So, you know when I think back to myself and my own confusion about what the hell does it mean to be a woman, I’m not surprised now when I look back because we’re not taught to be women.

We’re taught to be a version of a woman that is acceptable within our culture. Actually what a woman is when she’s deeply rooted in the physical, when she’s fully creatively expressed, when she is deeply given to her pleasure, when she is deeply given to her creativity. Now how many of us know what that actually looks like or feels like because we’re so used to being the thing that is acceptable, that ensures that we will stay safe, that ensures that our partners won’t feel overshadowed by us or toss us out or that we’ll lose our children. Or we’ll be – you know in the ‘50s they were still performing hysterectomies because women were too emotional and that was the way you tried to calm them down.

I mean you know what women have gone through and what women are still going through in multiple cultures on the planet is absolutely extraordinary. In many cultures are women are considered the property of the community, they are there purely for the bearing of children and the raising of families. And they have no power, they have no say, their intelligence isn’t considered useful at all.

Their creativity isn’t considered useful beyond their appropriated abilities. Children as young as nine and 12 are giving birth to other children, they’re getting married off. I mean at the deepest level there is an acceptance that she – that woman has a function to perform to serve the masculine -basically. And it’s done untold damage.

Now, I know it’s wildly different in Western culture. You know there are some ways in which we can see that there is still not equality, but you know we’re hugely free. We’re hugely lucky and in many ways deeply respected or more respected. But there are cultures on this planet that it is still terrifying. I just cannot imagine living in certain places.

And so there has been a culture of suppressing and taming and conditioning women to show up in a certain way that is considered acceptable. And when I look at that and I look at the natural world and what we’re doing to the natural world, and how we’re using the natural world, and how we are utterly taking her for granted considering that she is just there to be used for whatever we can use her for.

We don’t need to thank her, we don’t need to take care of her; we can just continue to remove her resources, strip her and destabilize her and just assume that she’ll continue to take of us. It’s the same kind of a consciousness. It’s the same – you know it’s the same blindness to the deeper beauty and value of the natural world. And the subtlety and the exquisiteness of the natural world and the deep subtlety and exquisiteness of women.

You know I’m constantly terrified about the news that comes from the various war zones about how rape is used as a primary tool of war these days. You know, and not just human rape but rape using bayonets and bottles and anything that can rip the inside of a woman to pieces. Because the knowledge is that if you destroy that part of a woman’s body, you destroy that woman.

And if you think about the vagina, that part of a woman’s body that is the birth canal for the next generation, that is the most sacred – sacred part of a woman. Wanton destruction of that is like the destruction of the capacity to bring forth the next generation. Now to me it is much terribly much different from fracking that we’re doing, or the tar sands that we’re doing, or the bombing and mining that we’re doing. We are shredding the intricate, delicate ecosystems. It’s like the umbilical cord of the planet that we are utterly connected to, that is our root to health.

We are harming it with our eyes open; we’re harming her with our eyes open. And so that’s an extremely longwinded way of saying to me how we are treating women in this world, how women have been treated in this world and how the natural world herself is being treated is coming out of a very, very similar consciousness. And it’s a consciousness that sees the feminine as less than.

Not deserving of protection, not deserving of valuing. And that is the, you know that’s the wound out of which my awareness that TreeSisters actually had a place and was needed. Because it is an initiative that brings together the healing of women and the healing of the natural world with the restoration of the natural world and the empowerment of women where two sides of the feminine are brought together very consciously. Because to me the story of women is the story of nature, or the story of nature is the story of women. And neither are acceptable anymore.

Like you cannot continue to disempower or think less of half the world’s population. You cannot continue to trash the life support system on which we depend because future generations deserve to be left more than a dying planet. Like that is not an appropriate legacy. And if we’re going to turn this whole thing around – and the women are needed as much as the men. The women and the men coming from a different consciousness, one that actually honors the feminine. One that understands that protection of the natural world has to come top priority if things are going to turn around.

Did I answer your question?

Alison: I absolutely love it. Sorry. Go ahead.

Clare Dakin: Did I answer your question?

Alison: Absolutely. That was a brilliant answer. And it’s a really great segue into the next question because now that we’ve sort of covered that and we can see where we’ve gone astray, you know how can we look at this in a way where we can find solutions?

How can we look at ourselves and how we’ve sort of fallen off course and find a way to see ourselves and a way to bring on healing? And I know that TreeSisters is based on the framework, which is the map.

And I’ve got the maps up there on the bio page if the listeners want to have a closer look at them. And so could you tell us more about the maps and how we can look at the maps and use the maps as a way to bring on this healing and to look at balance in a new way?

Clare Dakin: Yes. So the map is something that came to me in meditation when I finally said yes to TreeSisters and asked what a TreeSister actually was. So I think the map is brilliant actually and I can say that because I don’t consider it mine, I consider it something that was given to me already formed and I’ve been learning about it since.

So when I asked what a Tree Sister was, I was told she is a woman who makes five choices. To be considerate, to be encouraging of each other, to be intimate with the natural world, to be responsible for the protection of the natural world and to be courageous with her gifts. And I remember at the time thinking wow, that’s amazing, that’s beautiful. And I’m thinking oh, that’s five. And I drew a five-pointed star. Then I said okay, where do they belong?

And consideration lived in the head, encouragement lived in the left arm, intimacy’s down in the left leg, responsibility in the right leg and courage in the right arm. And I kind of looked at it and I thought this seems to make sense. Like it made sense in my body looking at this thing, but then I didn’t think anything more and I put it away.

I went back to a few weeks later and I looked at it and I thought God, that’s a human being. That really is a human being. And actually knowing a little bit about energetics, encouragement and intimacy on the left side. So if you look on the map that is on the bio and you actually imagine lying down in it, you’ll see intimacy and encouragement on the left side and responsibility and courage are on the right.

And in a sense the left side of the body is receptive so it’s like the in-breath. It’s how we draw in, meridians that run in on that side and then energetically we run out – our energy goes out on the right hand side. So many people would say that the left side is receptive and the right side is active, or that we listen with the left and we take action on the right.

And so one way of looking at it is the feminine being the receptive side of our nature sits on the left, and the masculine being the active side of our nature sits on the right. And so I was looking at this system of balance. It was like wow, okay, you’ve got left, right and then the head observing. So I got five cushions out and I set them down on the floor and I started going from cushion to cushion trying to feel into what these words actually were.

And then I started taking out to groups of women and sitting groups of women on these cushions and going around and moving positions and finding out what was going on. And these two maps emerged from that. And I feel like they have fundamentally educated me, and they have also helped me fully understand why TreeSisters, like what it is that I’m actually doing. Because initially I didn’t understand why women.

You know I just wanted to do something for men and women because as far as I’m concerned if you’re dealing with climate change, you’re dealing with reforestation, you want to do something significant, it’s going to take all of us. But the message just kept coming back, no, just the women, just the women. I thought why, why just the women?

And this map answered that question for me because when I looked at it what I could see is that the left side of the map is being completely devalued. Now the left side of the map is encouragement in the left arm and intimacy in the left leg. Now left arm represents the receptive half, it’s the in-breath of the heart – encouragement. It’s our capacity for love and relationship, it’s our need to belong, it’s a longing for a place to feel cared for, to feel loved, to feel valued, to feel worthy.

It’s our need for each other, it’s a place for community, it the place of sisterhood. And you know it’s like the value of the family, it’s the value of the community. And essentially the heart, you don’t take it to work, you know. You can’t put a fine actual measure on it. Emotionality and emotional intelligence is barely valued. The potency of our capacity for relationship is not really valued. It’s not an output that is seen as being hugely worthwhile, and yet it’s the currency that makes the world around.

You know it’s actually the most important thing to all of us pretty much. Like our need to belong, our need for a place. So this is the place of the sisterhood and TreeSisters. It’s what can happen if women get together. The place of intimacy is the physical body; it’s our relationship to the physical, whether it’s our own bodies or the greater planetary body. It’s the doorway to our sensuality; it’s the doorway to our sexuality, our physical intuition, our deepened knowing. It’s our plug, it’s our roots back into who we really are as part of earth.

And when that is disrupted, when we don’t feel ourselves as part of earth, when we don’t realize that we are made of rain and river water and soil and grass and the oxygen that comes from the trees, when we think that somehow we are separate, then we can start to trash our planet. So the left side is the in-breath of ourselves, it’s the feminine principle that operates from the heart and operates from the body.

So at the macro level you could say it is our capacity to feel into the health of the system, to feel the collective human heart, our need for each other as a global family and also our direct relationship to how the health of the system, the physical body of the planet actually is. The right leg is the place of responsibility. It’s our ability to respond from what we know, so if left side is down, if we’re in effect not listening at the level of the heart and not listening at the level of the body, then how can we know what to do?

So our ability to respond is predicated on what we’re responding to. And if we can’t feel, if we’re not actually tapped in, then our doing is going to be completely dissociated, which means that we can do whatever we want without actually feeling or sensing into the consequences, which is what is happening. So the right arm in this particular map is the place of courage, and that is the place of giving our gifts and servicing something.

But again, if we’re not plugged in at the heart level and the body level to what’s needed in this world, how will we know what it is that we’re actually giving our gift towards? How will our gift have meaning or a reference point? So I started looking at this map and saying oh, my God. In a world where the masculine has been prized over the feminine, the masculine being the right side of the map, the masculine principle in its healthy form being growth, being expansion, being – knowing what needs to be done and doing it.

It’s strategy, it’s science, it’s linear, it’s solutions, it’s incredibly necessary. But without a feedback, without the wisdom of the feminine being in place it’s just going to grow and use and expand without any sense of the consequences. And this is what we see in the world. And this is what I suddenly started to realize is oh my God, left side of the map is down, the feminine principle in people, in culture, in our governance systems, it’s not valued.

The right hand side is completely valued, but it’s unrooted, it’s got no feedback system. So in a sense there is only one destination for a patriarchic culture. And in a sense, when I’m saying patriarchy what I’m saying is shadow masculine because the light masculine is an absolutely beautiful and valuable principle energy, just in the same way that the light feminine is, but the two are designed to go together.

As soon as you have a masculine principle that starts to devalue the feminine, that starts to stop listening to the feminine, that considers her less than, he starts to become dominant, he goes into the shadow. Now this isn’t me saying men are crap and women are fantastic. That’s not what this is at all. The masculine and feminine principles live inside of all of us, so this map is all of us.

Each of us have the capacity to breathe in and sense how life is and to breathe out and to take action. This is about those principles living in harmony inside all of us so that our doing is informed by our being. So in a sense, she inside us feels how things are, so that he inside us knows what to do. And if she can’t feel how things are, how is he going to feel what to do? He’s not going to know what to do. And so his doing is going to be destructive. And that is what’s happening.

Our doing as a culture is profoundly destructive because we’re not plugged in; we’re not rooted. The place of intimacy on the map is being deeply, deeply wounded. And in fact what we’re doing is we’re marching all over the indigenous cultures of this land trying to teach them – trying to shame them around their intimate relationship with the natural world and how that is backwards and less than.

And actually the faster we can help them move towards our culture, which is to trash the natural world and to use it. To use it to create substances that we can then poison her with and we can then waste and throw back into large trash holes. You know that’s the way – that’s the more advanced way that our culture is going and it is profoundly misguided.

So actually what needs to happen is the reinstatement of the feminine principles. The left side of the map has to be brought back on her throne. The masculine needs to realize that he is profoundly misguided if he’s not listening to her. Now yes, we can drop that down to a level of humanity and say wow, okay, so on one level this is about men and women because this is about a world that has gotten way more masculine leadership than feminine.

And yes, we need more feminine leadership. We desperately need more feminine leadership, but what the hell is feminine leadership? You know it’s all very well the Dalai Lama saying the world will be saved by the Western women. But right now the majority of women on this planet are walking around being men.

Because we don’t know what it actually means to be rooted and tapped deeply into our core feminine energy. We don’t know how to listen to the primary wisdom that runs through our women’s bodies. And if we do, do we actually feel safe to bring it to this world?

Because deeply in our psyches we have an expectation that what we bring will not be received. So what this map shows me, you know why TreeSisters is completely built upon it, you know all aspects have become plain, everything – how we’re building the charity, how we’re actually running the organization, how we’re running our team, all the content that we’re coming up with through our materials, all the teaching that we’re going to be doing.

Everything is built on this map. Because there is a radical message in it and that is that you don’t just start by saying to people will you go and do this? Will you go and do more? Will you please go and save the world? Will you please go and reforest?

Will you change your behaviors?

Because that’s the fourth position on the map, that’s the right leg, that’s responsibility. The reason that isn’t happening is because the third position on the map, intimacy, isn’t in place. If we are not rooted, if we cannot feel ourselves to be connected, A, we’re exhausted because we’re totally unresourced, our most natural tap into the planet isn’t in place. B, we’ve been doing and doing and doing from empty, from an unresourced place for so long, the majority of us are absolutely shattered and burnt out.

C, we’re so demoralized by that, it is so completely painful that we’re numbed out. So you’re asking us to do something that we don’t relate to, that we can’t feel and that we feel too exhausted to do. So change isn’t happening and change isn’t happening because of those reasons. Because the left side of the map isn’t in place.

We don’t care about each other enough to think that it’s worth trying to change our behaviors here so that we can save the people over there because we don’t feel connected to them. The heart is down. Beyond the people in our nearest and dearest family, the heart is down. We’re not acting like a global family.

So you don’t ask people to just go and take action first because the reason why it’s not happening is because we don’t have the strength to do it yet. So the map gave me an order that made sense. First of all consideration, you wake up, you see the state of things. You look and you see – oh my God, do I really want to leave this world to the children in the state that it is?

Am I really, you know living in a way that I can live with? Probably not. What do I do about that? I have no idea. How do I feel about that? Absolutely terrified. What can I do about that? I need to go and hang out with some other people. Like the second part of the map, encouragement. The first thing we need to do is strengthen ourselves.

Like we have to get strong. We need to rebuild the heart and rebuild the body so that change even begins to feel possible. We need to reinstate the feminine principle. And that means the value of the heart. What we love, what we need, what helps us move back into our heartfulness, what helps us move back into our valuing of each other.

What enables us to feel strong enough to open, to care for those beyond our immediate family. That needs to happen. And then the opening into our bodies – this is why the moon cycle for women, it’s crucial for us to begin to resource ourselves – especially resource ourselves in a way that makes sense for our bodies and our energies. Because if we start to tune in and feel connected to the natural world, the natural progression from that is that we need to protect her. We feel connected to her, we care for her, we relate to her, then we start to protect her.

So TreeSisters isn’t just about saying to people, will you go and plant trees? It’s about the empowerment of women primarily. The empowerment of women being about bringing them together, finding what bonds us, finding who we can be together, and then tapping us back into what it really means to be women through our bodies so that we can re-empower ourselves, step into our power, reclaim that thing that was so terribly lost in the Burning Time.

Plug back into our natural course as women. And from that place start to take action. And from that place – that’s the right leg, start to understand how our gifts and our creativity can be given in the place of courage. So I talked a lot about the left hand side of the map because that’s the missing piece at the moment and that’s what needs to be put back in. But when that is put back in, the right hand side of the map starts to make sense because it’s in relationship to something.

So courage becomes that doorway of right, okay, in the face of all of this, how do my gifts make sense and how can I contribute them in a way that brings more deeply into who I am, so that I can serve from my heart. So if you want to make the map personal, if you want to try it on and explore it inside yourself, then simply ask yourself, am I willing to get real? Am I willing to face the facts about what’s going on? Am I willing to actually look at my life in relationship to what I know is happening out there?

Am I willing to look at my heart, at my relationships and figure out what of my relationships is actually nurturing me? Which of my relationships are actually nurturing me? Which of my relationships are draining me? Why am I allowing myself to be drained? What do I need more of in my relationships to strengthen me?

How can I reach out to more of my sisters and build the sort of quality of relationship that I actually long for? How can I greatly increase my connection and my capacity to listen to my body? How can I walk more consciously in nature, not just in my mind?

Do yoga or swimming or whatever it is that I’m doing in a way that actually has me deeply tuned into the physical so that I can start to listen through the physical. How can I look at all the actions that I take through a more mindful lens, a more conscious lens that means that I take action in a way that actively serves the creation of the world that I want to live in? And how can I start to feel into the ways that my gifts can actually contribute to the sort of world that I want? How can I start to open more of myself so that my fullness is lived and I get to live as the version of myself that I was born to be?

Those are the questions that are embodied in the map for all of us.

Alison: Beautiful. I love listening to you talk about the map, Clare. Oh, my goodness. I kind of get taken to another place. So let’s go into the story of TreeSisters. Yeah, let’s just briefly – just briefly tell us the story of TreeSisters and how you found yourself an unlikely leader as you say.

Clare Dakin: Well, it was one of those things I never saw coming, but you know looking back it was always coming. And you know how you look back in your life and you think oh, that was pointing towards that, and that was pointing towards that, but at the time if anybody had told me that I would be doing now what I’m doing now I would have told them they were absolutely mad. I was – you know I was a coach. I was a coach and a therapist, I was somebody that really liked to work one-on-one, I just really liked a very small, a very safe life and I had no real big dreams.

And I was always an environmentalist. I was always somebody who really cared about the natural world. Like I really love this natural world. I really, really, really love this natural world and actually in a way – I mean I know it is all of our primary relationship, I mean she is our primary relationship. But for me she was my primary relationship because I just never really dealt terribly well in my human relationships, but I completely worshiped and loved and just, you know who I am kind of made sense to me out in the natural world.

And so for a few years I guess I was starting to feel like something was nagging on the inside sort of saying there’s more here, you need to be giving your gift in a different way. And I’m starting to feel frustrated and I couldn’t figure out what it was. And so eventually I put down all my coaching work and just said okay, I’ll stop.

Like I knew if I didn’t stop nothing else would actually take its place because I was so good at doing what I did, and I was so good at hiding within what I did. And good at telling myself that if I stopped doing that, you know the world would fall apart and I would not have any use, and therefore wouldn’t be a decent member of society and all the other things that we tell ourselves to stop ourselves from taking risks. And I picked up an initiative in Southern India, which I completely fell in love with. Project Greenhands.

It is an agro-forestry initiative, a massive tree planting initiative. And I was studying the social strategy because they were bringing all sectors of society together to work on reforesting their land from 17 to 33 percent. They wanted to do it in ten years and it required 114 million trees. And they were just doing it. And they were doing it on a shoestring. And I was looking at this saying that is the first initiative I’ve seen in this world that actually says we’re taking seriously what’s happening. And okay, over there they’re losing their rivers.

Twelve major rivers have run dry, which I can’t even begin to imagine how frightening that must be. So it’s up close and personal. I mean you know the weather is becoming up close and personal for all of us, but in some places when they’re facing out and out famine, Africa, India, Australia in places, it’s – you know it’s getting really up close and personal.

So I was studying the social strategy and I figured I just wanted to understand how it worked. I didn’t know why – I was kind of possessed by it. Like I was supposed to be fundraising but I just wanted to understand why is this working, how are they doing it. And right at the point that I felt like I’d nailed it, I got it down to seven points, I had this car crash. And in the car crash there was a message. And you know I crashed the car into a tree, which is the great cosmic sense of humor at its best. And when I hit the tree there was a blinding flash of white light, and in the white light were two words, ‘the experiment’. And I’m sitting in the car looking at these two words thinking what on earth is the experiment?

And this voice said humanity is running out of time, but it’s not over yet. But it’s going to take all of us rising to the challenge to get through what’s coming. The single greatest threat facing humanity is fear of failure and we can get over that fear by calling everything that we do an experiment. Because you can’t fail an experiment, you can only learn.

And I remember thinking oh my God, that’s brilliant even though I was sitting there in this complete mess. And then I stupidly said, what’s the experiment? And back came, you have to reforest the tropics within ten years. At which point I had a complete life flashing before my eyes moment and realized that if I said yes to this job, it was going to require me to basically become a completely different person.

It was going to challenge every fear, every inadequacy, every weakness in my system. It was asking me to do everything that I didn’t want to do. And I said no. I freaked out and I said no. You’ve got the wrong person. You cannot be serious. That is out and out unfair. And it’s one of those moments where when you’ve spent years saying okay, I know I’m here for something; please tell me what it is.

Okay, I know I’m here for something, please tell me what it is. And when life said right, here it is. It feels utterly crap to say well, I’m terribly sorry, but that’s the wrong job. You know? Actually sorry, no. Great idea, wrong person, try someone else. And then you know walked up the road home sort of carrying pieces of car with this same voice in my head saying okay, well the first project is TreeSisters. And this is what it’s for and this is what it does and blah, blah, blah.

And the women are needed because the women are the feelers and it’s a felt relationship with the living world that was lost, but the women have to start to feel, they need to extend their nurturing capacity. They need to extend that care of the family, that care of the home to the greater home, to the greater family. Feminine leadership will take care of the whole human family. Feminine leadership will take care of the home, the planet.

The women are the womb carriers, the women understand the womb are this womb and this voice just kept going and kept going and I’m listening to it thinking, oh my God, it’s right. Oh my God, of course, yes. That’s brilliant, that’s brilliant. I understand, yes, sorry, no, you’ve got the wrong person.

No, sorry, completely got the wrong person. You know, it’s brilliant, it’s brilliant, I get it. I see why it’s needed. I’m terribly sorry. I just can’t do it. Like don’t ask me to do this, I don’t understand what it means to be a woman. And it just kept going and I plunged into depression for about nine months because it was like the brightest light shining up the darkest shadows in myself, you know.

I did not want to start a global movement; I did not want to create a network. I was a loner. I was not a sociable person. I was desperately shy. I was not a public speaker. I was incredibly insecure, you know. And at the same time I was sitting there thinking okay, so what do you want, Clare? Do you want to stay small all your life?

Do you want to stay apologetic all your life? Do you want to be afraid all your life? Do you want to live, you know a safe life? Do you want to live in a world where women actually step up? Do you want to live in a world where women actually say, you know what? I’ve got something to offer, I’m going to give it. You know if you want to live in that world, are you going to model it? Are you going to just get on with it?

What’s going to win – your insecurities or your dreams? What’s stronger in you – your courage or your fear? And, oh my God, you know, not just for me but for all of us. And actually men and women. You know what is going to win? Our courage or our fear? Because right now our fear is winning and our courage needs to.

And I think I am a profoundly unlikely leader, you know profoundly unlikely leader. And I still can hardly believe that I’m trying to do what I’m doing, but I couldn’t do anything else now. It’s like this time that we live in; this crisis that we live in is the most profound invitation for us to just get over ourselves and step up and just say, you know what? We’re needed. Like it’s not enough to be a member of this species that is just trashing this planet. I want to be a member of a species that I’m proud of.

And that’s sort of a species would actually, you know understand that with the level of sentience that we have, we can consciously trash this planet or we can consciously turn this planet into something completely and utterly stunning. And I want to be part of the latter, not the former. So that’s what I’m trying to create.

And you know TreeSisters is, in effect – well it’s the manifestation of all the instructions that I was given in the crash, which is can you create a global network with women? Can you help empower them? It’s the map, you know. Can you educate them?

Consideration. Can you bring them together? Encouragement. Can you help them remember what it means to be a woman? Can you help connect them to their bodies so that they actually are rooted in the deeper wisdoms? That’s the whole moon cycle. That’s the opening our bodies, that’s the embodiment process so that we can learn to connect. Can you help them live in ways that are more respectful to this planet, reducing our footprint and planting trees?

Can you help make it normal for every single person to start giving money for trees every month, so that rather than just taking all the time and warming her up, we’re giving back and cooling her down. And can you help them start to give their gifts to contribute to the creation of a world that actually works?

So that is the blueprint of TreeSisters and that’s what we’re trying to create. A global network of women who are actively reaching out to support each other, actively dropping into their bodies to strengthen themselves, actively trying to live in a way that serves the creation of a different kind of a world and actually trying to give their gifts. That’s TreeSisters.

Alison: Beautiful. So tell us how we can help TreeSisters, Clare.

Clare Dakin: Well, one of my current rants at the moment is around making a fundamental choice. And that choice is about the sort of a mother that we want to leave our children in the hands of. Because right now we are destabilizing our mother planet to the point that she’s having more than a few hot flashes, she is actually becoming incredibly destabilized and will only become more destabilized.

And we all know what it is like living with an erratic person that we don’t know how they’re going to show up in the next five minutes. It’s extremely destabilizing to ourselves. So right now if we do not make a choice to do something, we are in effect by default choosing to leave our children in the hands of an increasingly destabilized and ultimately psychotic mother planet.

And to me one of the first things that we need to do consciously is actually choose – make a choice, a conscious choice what sort of mother we’re willing to leave the next generations in the hands of. And once we can actually make that choice then we can start to figure out, okay, what are we going to do with that? How is my life going to change?

What can I actually do towards the creation of a different future? And TreeSisters is one of the things out there that can act as a support for that journey for a personal – you know a personal journey for an individual or a group of people. So was the question what can you do to help TreeSisters?

Alison: Uh-huh. Yeah.

Clare Dakin: Well, at the moment we are fledgling. We’ve moved beyond concept into reality. We tried – we came out very early with TreeSisters because we wanted to see if we could actually co-create through the network that grew. And that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to co-create at all levels.

And one of the fundamental things that we’re trying to do at the moment is fund ourselves through the network, so as a charity we didn’t start with a large bequeathment or a large chunk of money in the bank. We started from empty basically with an idea, with a vision, with a call with what we were given. And we’ve been starting to build. And so TreeSisters will become what a network in effect makes of it. It will become whatever that call lands as in a woman and turns into through her. So we need – at the moment we need your help to spread the word.

So we need you to come to our website, we need you to come to Facebook, YouTube to go find our films, to spread them through your network, to invite your friends. To really have a look at what we’re doing and see what of it makes sense to you. We need to find access to larger donors who would actually like to help cover the cost of the initial campaign creation.

There are so many tools that we want to create. There are team members that we need to bring in in order to make the bigger dream of this an actual reality, to properly build the infrastructure that can take this thing to scale.

So we’re looking for those members of society who are in a position to be able to actually contribute in a larger way financially, who want to be connected to something that has great meaning and great potential and who want to be actively involved in it. So spreading the word, exploring what you have some connection to, making a fundamental choice to put your energy towards the future that you want.

Looking at the map itself and understanding how it can resource you, how your heart can be served, how your body can be nurtured so that you’re doing comes from a more embodied, informed strengthened place. And really taking the call of TreeSisters. You know what is it inside you that could be offered? What are your gifts? What do you love to do? What brings you alive? What do you love to share?

And how can that contribute to the creation of this mission?

And if you want to know what the mission is, just go back to the map to educate, to get through, to bring women together to help them embody, to help them take right action, to help them give their gift. That would be a way in which your gifts, whatever they are, can contribute. And my invitation is take that framework, take that invitation into your body like a seed and let it grow. Because TreeSisters is wildly creative. It’s like a waterfall.

When she gets going inside you it’s permission to dream wildly, to unleash sides of yourself that just don’t want to be suppressed anymore. That just say, you know what? There is more in here and I am ready to give it. I don’t know what that’s going to look like and I don’t have to know what that looks like, but I’m willing – I’m willing. Here it is. Like just use me and see what comes through.

Alison: I’m going to really encourage women to really feel that out as well. Because I know for me personally, when I found TreeSisters and I let that seed sprout in me, amazing things happened. And I kind of opened up.

Especially after doing the map work with you, Clare. It was just a really truly a profound experience for me to open up to that and to engage with it and really look at myself and look at the map and look at, you know how I can become more embodied and where maybe I’m holding myself back. Yeah, honestly, it has just been profound for me – yeah – letting that all into my life. So I really encourage women out there, if this speaks to them to explore that and to visit the Facebook page. It’s a gorgeous Facebook page. Just put in the search engine TreeSisters: women seeding change and you’ll find the TreeSisters page. And the website is treesisters.org.

And there’s lots of lovely resources, videos and blogs that you can have a look at. And be in touch – be in touch with the sisterhood because there’s a lot of wildly beautiful supportive women out there that you can connect to. So I really encourage everyone to do that. And this has been amazing, Clare. I just absolutely adore speaking to you. I just have one last question for you before I can let you go.

Clare Dakin: Indeed.

Alison: And that is what is your wild wish for women.

Clare Dakin: My wild wish for women is unfettered utterly shameless joy. I wish for women that they get to feel more pleasure in their bodies, more express dancing, more creative flow, more self-given permission, more unadulterated love, more feeling of belonging. More knowing who they are than they could ever have wished for.

And that the joy and the personal authority that comes out of that is directed towards the creation of a world that will turn this beautiful planet of ours into a thriving, beautiful, soulful, sustainable place. That’s my wish for women and my wish for men.

Alison: Halle-freakin-lujah, Clare. Can I steal your wish? That was exquisite. Thank you so, so much. I just love you. Thank you for sharing your time with us. Thank you for joining the Summit.

Thank you for you. Thank you for having the courage to take on this mission despite the fact that you had to face all your fears. Yeah, thank you for you, Clare. And thanks for TreeSisters.

Clare Dakin: Thank you so much for giving me the time, Alison. I deeply appreciate it.

[Back to the Wild] Clare Dakin on the Nature of the Feminine

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