I would like to share a brief aspect of my experience and deepening connection with nature during the lockdown in London. I’ve always had a strong affinity with nature, which continues to increase. My Master’s dissertation with Alef Trust enabled me to explore the topic of “Nature as a Healer”, through a phenomenological study of the experiences of wild swimmers in Kenwood Ladies’ Pond on Hampstead Heath.
The current pandemic provided a different kind of opportunity to pause from everyday life and experience the beauty of nature on a more profound level. Whilst some people responded to the circumstances by keeping themselves busy with an outward focus, I only desired to retreat inwardly and connect with the powerful creative energy I could feel. This time that was being offered felt like a rare occurrence and I didn´t want to miss out on the opportunity to experience the potential of what could arise.
During the lockdown we could only venture outside for a daily walk, so I spent a lot of time in my favourite parks and woodlands in North London. An unexpected benefit of lockdown seemed to be the rare opportunity for nature to thrive.
One thing I noticed amid the unusual stillness was the abundance of birds. Being in London, I was surprised to see such diversity. I have always enjoyed looking at birds, but have never paid them much attention. During these months, the number of birds seemed to significantly increase. I saw blue tits, parakeets, a woodpecker, a falcon and a kite. I found it hard to believe that all these birds were in my area of North London. The woodpecker somehow appeared near the window at the back of my house for three days in a row, and the blue tit every morning for almost a week. Just two weeks ago I even rescued a thrush from being mauled to death by magpies. With another person’s help, we took the thrush home to be collected and nurtured back to health by the RSPB.
It became apparent to me early on that this quantity of birds was quite unusual. I felt it was more than mere coincidence that those particular birds should appear at certain moments and for a specific duration. I’m not sure what led me to it, but I started to look up the spiritual significance of each bird I saw. As I studied the meaning associated with each bird, I came to realise that it was mirroring what was happening in my life at that very moment. Looking into the spiritual significance started to confirm blessings occurring in my life, affirm things that were happening and also serve as warnings. As I continued to track these, I was amazed by the accuracy.
According to various shamanic traditions, birds are messengers from the spirit world. For indigenous tribes such as the Aboriginal and Native American, paying attention to the signs in nature are very much a part of their waking life. Traditions such as shamanism and Shintoism, which I resonate with, have a core belief that everything is connected and interrelated. Everything has a spirit, including nature. Shamans also carry the belief that if we pay attention, nature provides us with the messages we need to guide us in our lives. However, we need to be in a receptive space to really hear and see these messages.
We are usually so involved in our busy lives, rushing around and working. City traffic and pollution don’t usually afford us this luxury of witnessing and experiencing nature in such ways. The lockdown provided a space and opportunity for me to connect and hear nature in a way that I haven’t experienced previously, unless in the wilderness or a deserted location.
As the lockdown begins to ease, I continue to be guided every day by the birds I see. Their spiritual significance always seems to relate to what is present for me. The synchronicities and resonances feel important. Interestingly, birds have also been entering my dreams in the past few days. I am sure there is something deeper I should know, and I will continue to be guided by messages from the spirit of birds, as my connection with nature continues to expand.