Posted by: Jane Valencia | June 27, 2010

One Story Ends …

A year and a half ago when I started Jane’s Medicine Tree I was in state of wandering and deep transition. My husband and I had surrendered to Mystery in our lives, and in our search for home had ended up in a beautiful remote rural landscape in many ways very different from what we’d ever experienced before in our lives.

At that time I severely needed to return to grounding in my soul, to recover and discover a strong, guiding story — to find my own Medicine Tree.

In this past year and a half I have indeed found new ground and restored or re-story-ed myself to my own nature. I am still very much guided by Mystery and grace and surrender, but find the journey (mostly!) to be one of joy, wonder, surprise. When the darkness and questions and pain and griefs resurface — as they always will — I know that gifts in the loss will reveal themselves, in their right timing. I know how to restore myself to the much larger reality around me — or perhaps it’s more precise to say: I know that I can find harmony within myself and with the larger creation — in time. I can trust in the process and gifts of struggle, though of course I’d prefer to live mostly in the joys!

Jane’s Medicine Tree was a wandering into my landscape of story and dreams to uncover the gold nuggets of truth that have been before me all my life. Before me all my life, but ultimately a far different more resonant expression than I’d ever dreamed. It is as if with each layer of learning and discovery we uncover ever-more potent truths about what the nature of the world really is. Or it might be more precise to say that I experience an ever more alive music, ever-richer in overtones and harmony. My questions remain and continue in cascade. The universe is a deeper mystery than ever, but I’m guided by a music, an image, a scrap of many-colored tapestry, an illuminated landscape that is the Otherworld of my heart.

It is time for me to step out of this story, and to step more resolutely, trustingly into another. A vista has opened that compels my wild heart to no longer just dip my toes in the water, but to dash and leap and plunge across to discover the voices of the land, the plants, the trees, the ancestors, and village, and the music of the world soul and the magic of tale that lives on the other side.

Please join me there if you’d like at:
Singing Deer Healing
and at
Moms Create Culture
… whichever path(s) call to you. Ultimately they are two expressions of the same pathway over the golden hill and into the bright country beyond.

Thank you for joining my story here. Gracias and many blessings as you walk your own story and experience its sweep of wondrous magic!

Posted by: Jane Valencia | May 23, 2010

Another Where Am I?

Crash, crash, bang, bang — ouch, that was my thumb!

I’ve been pretty quiet on my blogs.  But lots of hammering, and tussling, and designing has been going on.  Let me just say that I’m going to have a couple of things to announce at the end of the week.

In a way, I find myself exasperated (though happy).  I’ve mentioned in other posts how crazy I feel sometimes with the many things I love to do, and can’t figure out how to do them all in forms that make sense to me (and anyone else?), and then I went and created even more websites and blogs …!  How was I ever going to tend to all these creations?

What’s happened is that I’ve surrendered–finally–to my nature.  And in the process a few insights have dropped like gold nuggets into my hand, and I just understand how to move forward.  Finally.  On many fronts.

It’s like the entire village in me has finally stopped fussing and nay-saying and offering suggestions and criticisms (which did indeed need to be evaluated!), and they’ve unexpectedly reached consensus.  A hush fills my mind, and all the parts of me are looking at each other, shrugging and saying silently — okay, let’s just get on with it.

More exists to the story than that.  Or maybe not.  Maybe my story is just a simple one really of just trying to find the right form, the most authentic expression, the most rooted, strong, resiliant place from which to step.  Maybe we just have to tussle with our demons and have endless meetings with our clever selves, and scribble ideas and revise them, and then discover that we’re writing down the same things again and again.

Maybe at some place we (hopefully) all realize we’re doing that, writing down the same things over and over, and then something shifts, or we shift, just step into another place in the room–or maybe out the front door and into the open air.  We just breathe and know things from a different place of knowing.  A shake of our shoulders and we know it’s time to set thinking — of that kind — aside and start doing what we knew all along we were going to do.

The feel is different though.  And maybe we really couldn’t have done it back then.  Certainly not in this way.

We finally believe in our lives.  In the particular sweep or flourish of our story.

Anyway, it’s time to have fun.

Are you in a place where you can have fun?   Is there a place you’ve been spinning in your life, that has felt stuck, stuck, stuck?  Maybe it’s time.  Maybe there’s a way open right now, to just stepping out that door and doing/being what you knew all along you are meant to do and be.

What pops into your mind as you read those words?  Quick, catch that thought, no matter how bemusing and strange or absurd it may seem!  Cup it in your hands and take a good, kind look at it.  What do you see?  What do you feel?  What do you know?

I do invite your musings, your observations.  I invite … You.  Please scriven boldly below!

Posted by: Jane Valencia | March 31, 2010

Are You An Inner Tracker?


In cultural mentoring–a method of design for enlivening healthy, sustainable culture wherever we are–we speak of “Inner Tracking”, the questions, explorations, and awareness someone might have when tracking animals in forest and field, or in your own neighborhood, but applied to your own inner landscape. Your own inner wilderness.

In Tracking in outer nature (you know, the everyday world) we look for signs of animals and then attempt to discover the story, to discern the story vividly enough that we can actually “see” the animal moving in the landscape and sense what it was doing, when it was doing it, and why. Animal signs can be the tracks themselves, with how they have “aged” (worn down, been smeared by rain, etc.) by time and weather. A sign can be the grasses munched off in a particular way. Or the scat at the base of a tree. It can be the walnut shell appearing on your foot path (when no walnut tree is even in your yard). It can be the certain agitated bok-bok-begack! of the chickens that lets you know that a cat has entered the backyard.

Tracking animals involves those detective questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How? It involves gathering information, feeling into the questions and possibilities and not committing to any potential conclusion. It involves looking from the narrow-before-you (tracks on the ground), to the wide-vision around you (what are the trees, shrubs here and how might they shelter or assist these animals? What is and was the weather and how did it and does it affect the story here?)

Tracking is about looking and feeling into story. Expanding your perception. Holding past experiences and what you think you know gently because invariably what you think is a raccoon print before you will reveal itself to belong to a cat if you follow and work it long enough. Initial impressions and appearances can be deceiving!

Sound familiar? I have no doubt that you are an Inner Tracker, exploring the realms of self and purpose–who you really are, and what you’d be most authentic in doing in this world. Divining where your passion and purpose meet with the outer landscapes needs and wishes–the passions and purpose of others in your shared wilderness–the challenge and opportunity, isn’t it?

Right now I’m deep in my own inner wilderness, mapping and tracking within it. I have been wandering about pursuing a particular story. The story is the not just the guiding vision in my life, but the outer expression as it meets up with yours. I’ve long held this notion that it was a shining gold lion, proud and magnificent, ready to tear me up if I didn’t step and act with care and perfection. Today the creature feels like a mischievous kitten scampering and leaping and playing under a watchful mama cat’s eye.

And my guide and mentor through this exotic savanna that turns out to be the patchy, weedy back lawn (beautifully weedy, with flax and sunflowers growing up from the chicken feed scattered everywhere)–my guide and mentor today is my younger child.

This young girl is magnificent in her vigorous energy right now–urging me to play tag with her in the backyard, or hide-and-seek, or follow-the-leader in games of intricate rules that I struggle to hold in my head. She has me play jump-rope with her in the living room, and she designs mazes for me on paper with beautiful rooms and landscapes and magic items strewn about. Her eyes sparkle with mischief, and she tests my awareness with games where she sets up her Polly Pockets and all sorts of miniature items, then shifts just one or two things. Which ones? How much did she move them?

Her energy is incredible. At 9:30PM she starts dancing and wants me to dance too. She plays an invisible violin, singing the melody, and has me sing a drum accompaniment (my music teacher self is so delighted …). I absolutely know that she is a key to my universe right now, and yet my mind yanks with old stuff–self-created commitments, a warped sense of duty to household rhythms and routines. What has happened to my endlessly creative self? My passionate 8-year-old inner child who could/be anything, anywhere, any time? Who had so much physical and sassy energy? Somehow endlessly creative has come to mean endlessly creating to-do’s for myself–even if they are creative projects. Gah!

Inner Tracking tells me to just hold these observations lightly–they likely do not mean what I think they do. The animal nature of myself that I track is all these revelations and none of them. What I can do–and be–is to feel into this animal self that is me, lean into the direction of purpose and play, allow myself the grace of tasks and the fire hidden in the moment, and anything else that unfolds as I move through the landscape of my day.

And remember the animals. That they conserve energy — resting between times of hunting or foraging. They may pursue something to great lengths when especially hungry, but will usually strive for something simple, easy for them–while also being watchful, scanning the landscape, listening for bird alarms or strange noises, something off. In the natural world animals, plants, and beyond are their own selves, moving according to their nature and style, and responding to outer pressures and events according to their nature. We do this too. And as animals change their behavior when it becomes clear (usually through outer pressure) that it no longer serves them to be how and where they are, so too is it with us humans.

How are you alert in your own life? How do you move back and forth between moving through the tasks before you and scanning for new ways of being, new information coming in from elsewhere (the outer world, Spirit, ….)? How can you–and me!–just relax into what’s before us (if our lives aren’t in danger–and if it feels you are in danger, are you really?).

Words from my child: “Mommy! If you didn’t make your posts so long they wouldn’t be so boring!” (she jabs at the computer screen). She wants me off the computer so she can go joust. I’ll let you imagine what that means!

In the meantime, I hold her words lightly, and head on out. I’m off to adventure in the landscape of my day. How about you?

On the prowl for mischief and magic!

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