Working with Nature to Develop a Living SystemBy Andrea on March 15, 2017 — 9 Comments
How the Raven Essence Project Developed
Raven Essences was built on the rather unusual premise that the business is alive! As a creative intuitive, I’ve always chosen to be self-employed, first as a music teacher and later as a flower essence producer. Now I have a many-layered business that feels like a constantly opening lotus. Here’s how it happened.
Passionate about gardening, I was intrigued by the Findhorn project in Scotland where in the 1960’s, the original founders managed to grow huge vegetables and flowers in terrible conditions by communicating with the spirits of the plants. Adopting their meditative approach, opened a whole new world for me. It was easy and natural to intuitively commune with the plants as I aligned with the living intelligence of my garden.
Developing this earthy sensitivity, I gradually let go my musical career and focused on the new project, eager to retain my ‘magical’ relationship with Nature. Early on, I made a deliberate choice not to follow traditional business models. Instead, I continued listening to nature, focusing on the spirit of Raven Essences as a living entity. My ‘boardroom meetings’ were meditations with specific questions: What plants should I grow and which ones should be made into essences? How should the products be distributed and how should I teach practitioners? I acted on the information I received, understanding only much later what was developing through these innovative ideas.
This approach became a constant dance between intuition and common sense. Not wanting to work solely in isolation, I consulted with people I respected and welcomed feedback from clients and colleagues. I also paid attention to my dreams and moments of synchronicity, keeping my heart’s ear tuned to the pulse of the project.
At times, I wondered if this approach was naïve and ultimately unsustainable. Certainly, when looking at the bottom-line, it often looked risky. Meanwhile, unexpected benefits kept drawing me forward. I found myself creating leading-edge products and services for a future that I could have never predicted. As my previous interests became useful ‘compost’ for the project, an organic philosophy emerged. Everything I loved was included — healing, spirituality, ecology, and the emergence of sacred feminine energy. Despite the challenges of a new business, I always felt soulfully engaged and enlivened.
Eventually, I realised I was not just building a business — I was creating an entirely new life, one that was more in sync with the emergent change occurring everywhere. As the project matured, a way of being rooted in ancient and contemporary wisdom deepened within me. Now Raven Essences and its offspring, EarthSong Mysteries, are amongst many living systems emerging on our planet. This phenomenon is part of the urgent call of our manifesting destiny, as we each find our response to the tidal wave of Change.
The Nature of Living Systems
Blinded by self-created brilliance and enchanted with technology, we have forgotten how to work in harmony with the forces of Life. In every arena of society, we are paying heavy penalties; our greedy mechanistic worldview is no longer sustainable. Part of the enchantment with materialism involves our inability to access Nature’s creative, healing energy. We do not even recognise what we have lost. We do not see or honour the regenerative power and self-organizing intelligence constantly available to us. Ignoring our birthright as co-creators with the living Earth, we are destroying the web of Life.
Life always generates new life. By definition, a living system is a dynamic field of creative energy — a wilderness setting, a family unit, an institution, or a creative project. In touch with the natural seasons and cycles, a living system responds and adapts to its larger environment. Like a young child, it expresses itself in its early development through a wide variety of possibilities. When the system has completed its usefulness, it dies a natural death, leaving a rich legacy for future generations.
All living things express themselves through beauty and they flourish in a climate of love.Working with a living system is an invitation to relationship.We are required to nurture our connection with every aspect of the creative field rather than simply managing people and products. Nature never creates anything that is ugly. Similarly, we must appreciate beauty as a coherent force. Our respect for the inherent aliveness and intelligence of what is emerging deepens our connection with all of Life.
In a living system, everything speaks, including seemingly inanimate objects. We tend to focus solely on human interactions, however, a living system welcomes all the voices — the spirit of the project, the building we work in and the immediate landscape as part of the creative process. By including these other elements, a living system draws upon everything in its environment. Consequently, the entire field becomes enlivened with complex, harmonious possibilities. Ancient people respected the spirits of their ancestors and the environment, developing ways to forge powerful ‘agreements’ with Life. When we ignore the invisible forces within our environment, our vision becomes myopic and our good intentions are limited and compromised.
Willpower and determination are useful in most endeavours, however, these are not the essential qualities for developing a living system. When we prize productivity over the well-being of the entire system, the creative field suffers. Our addiction to perfection and our ‘fix-it’ attitudes must surrender to a deeper resonance with Life. For a living system to flourish, we must open our hearts. Then, with intuition, imagination, and a visceral resonance with the forces of Life, new possibilities will naturally blossom.
Fruits of Listening to Nature
Nature is a profoundly wise and generous teacher. Communing with the plants in my garden, I had no idea that I could eventually apply these listening skills to my intuitive work with human beings. Cultivating the ability to perceive and articulate the life-force in flowers, trees, and landscapes led me into the living fabric of this planet. When I began working with clients, this ability helped me sense the life-force moving within each individual. Just as a maple tree has a distinctly different voice than a delphinium, each human being is unique. This may seem obvious, but when we are so culturally conditioned from the cradle to the grave, we often lose touch with our essential nature and fail to grow true to ourselves.
While most healing modalities address traumas that compromise the body-soul, I found myself drawn to the invisible life-force seeking expression within my clients. Instead of solely looking at what was wrong, like a gardener, I was guided to track the ways each person’s soul-seed wanted to grow. What specific elements did they need to nurture, within themselves and their environment, to thrive? What soul-seeds were pressing to be born? There were no cliched answers. Instead, I found myself articulating information and ideas I had never considered. Once again I was a student, only this time Nature was teaching me through the pulsing life within each person.
As this work developed, I continued gardening, listening each year for how the garden wanted to evolve. Though it is a small suburban space, my backyard has become a powerful vortex of healing energy, a place where people love to visit and be rejuvenated. Renovating my home, a 160-year old heritage house, gave me an opportunity to explore the inherent aliveness of a building. Listening to the spirit of each room and decorating according to the visions I received generated a very distinct and soulful atmosphere.
Occasionally I call myself a mid-life midwife for I love witnessing people as they tend their own soul-gardens. What I quietly did for many years in my own backyard, I now do with people around the world. It is a privilege to observe the emergence of remarkable creativity as people grow true to themselves, express their unique gifts, and play their dynamic role in these changing times.