Monday, October 06, 2008

Wales - Tir Penrhos Isaf

I'm not long back from a few days with Chris and Lyn Dixon on their permaculture holding at Tir Penrhos Isaf in the forests of the Snowdonia National Park - huge heartfelt thanks to them both for all their friendly hospitality and inspiration. The visit has given me lots to think about and helped me make some very unexpected connections.

I was hoping to help them with their barn conversion but the weather had other ideas - I think I can say I've experienced real Welsh rain now and its WET even by Scottish standards.

...we did get a wee bit done in between the torrents though...

During the torrents, we had fascinating chats about their work and how they have nurtured their 7.2 acre plot back from its grass covered, sheep-grazed desert state in 1985 to today's glorious fully-fledged permacultural diversity. It's a tale of patient observation and a gentle, Taoist approach to life and work.

The Healing Power of Horses
Horses? I never thought I'd write about horses!
We also talked a lot about Lyn's work which was a real eye-opener for me. Lyn describes her work as "Horse Listening". Riders come to her with horses with whom they are having problems. The fascinating thing is that it's almost never the horse that has the problem. For a start their saddles etc may be fitted badly or their diet may be wrong for them. Also, the horses will sometimes reflect their riders' own structural problems, eg back or hip restrictions, but above all it's the riders' attitude of having to be in control and using bits, spurs and whips to force their will on the horse that is self-defeating. Learning to meet the horses in their emotional/empathetic world can be a deeply healing experience for the riders.
Chris and Lyn's work with land and horses resonates deeply with my own experience of treating people: a gentle listening approach is the most effective. (Maybe the rider is a bit like your mind and the horse is a bit like your body?) If these ideas can help the land's regeneration as well as riders' problems what else might they achieve?

The Precipice Walk - just a few miles above Chris and Lyn's place.

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