When my mental landscape shifted dramatically some years ago I had to be outside as much as possible, immersing in nature. This was the strangest experience because I wasn’t brought up with the outdoors. My family cannot name all the birds and trees, I had no concept of the cycles of the moon and felt no great desire to spend long periods of time alone in nature. When that changed and the natural world exploded into life I felt compelled to walk barefoot for miles across endless fields or over autumnal Welsh hills blanketed with rain and mist. If my life were different I would have probably just set off walking and never stopped. But I had just started uni as a mature student, my daughter was still young, I had not long met Andy and we were forming a life together… I suppose what I’m saying is that I made a choice to focus on these things instead of following that calling, and it was the right thing to do. Instead of going off into the wilderness or looking for a teacher across the other side of the world, I set down strong roots in Wales and focussed on learning what it is to be part of a community. I have heard people say that the calling must be followed or you lose the opportunity but I don’t believe that; that story is part of the hero’s journey, not mine. We can grow as much within a small community as when exploring the world. The lessons are all there if we choose to see them. But still this life of immersing in nature called to me in myriad ways so I worked to weave together all of the elements of family, creativity, community, nature and my own self-directed evolution. What this taught is that at any one time only one or two of these aspects might be prominent or even visible to the outside world, and it is ok if other people don’t understand this. How could they know everything from the small section they see? I know what exists on the inside, I know the bigger pattern. Regardless, nature and the need to be closer to her keep surfacing. And I am here, living this life, without having to have sacrificed my then fledgling family for it. These lines are part of a longer poem, Dharma, written on the overnight train from Varanasi to Kolkata, India.