This month I attended a conference in Ireland entitled “Psychotherapy and the Natural World”. It was held in Glendalough, an ancient monastic site from the 6th century right near the Wicklow Mountains, about a couple of hours outside of Dublin. Apart from a bunch of therapists coming together to share the latest research, the art and science of eco-therapy, case studies and ecological concerns, it was also about our own experiential processes and the therapeutic effects of being outside in relationship with nature through group and solo work. I could share so much more information here but will do so over time in other blog articles on these topics.
What summed the experience up for me on this topic was a chance experience I had after the actual conference. I was on my way to do some more sightseeing before my way back to the airport. I remembered a colleague at the conference mentioning to me ‘Victor’s Way’ which is a 22 acre meditative garden or forest space owned by Victor Langheld who is now in his late 70ies. He had imported various huge sculptures made from black granite and other materials from India for this purpose. It was a beautiful sunny and warm early September day and I had a couple of hours to spare, so I checked it out!
I was surprised by the beauty and the peacefulness, while the statues were deeply thought provoking. It may be because of where I was at, in that moment of time, or feeling so ‘open’ after the conference amongst the deep green and luscious natural beauty of Ireland. Either way I wanted to get a chance to share this with some of you.
But writing this I faced one main challenging dilemma. I didn’t want this blog post to turn out overly lengthy and lose readers through boredom, nor was I sure how to otherwise best convey a physically felt depth of the embodied experience out in this natural environment just in text. I took many images to document the walk, which may be a better way to 'describe' it in a visual way. My wish to share some of the thought-provoking sculptures with their descriptions, may not even come close to the experience. Reading and looking at art or images in general can put us into a meditative space. Though it requires an intention and a willingness to take a little space and time and space for this, to really let it ‘sink in more’ and experience more deeply.
It becomes even more powerful when physically moving and walking around them in this beautiful woodland space.
After contemplating all of this, I would like to share this photo journey along ‘Victor’s Path’ with you in the hope to:
Provide a short reflective exercise in a ‘different way’ - through the art of words and images (it could take about 15-20 minutes)
Encourage an explorative journey into your mind and heart to mimic virtually ‘as if’ you are wandering through this particular enchanted forest and contemplative space
Allow some deeper reflection about your life right now, where you are at, and what you could take from these thought-provoking sculptures, the words for their associated descriptions, and the images of nature
Take any of the ideas that stand out for you to contemplate further through a mindful, meditative nature walk in nature (or/and journaling) for yourself
Get a sense of desire to connect more with nature and art, in your own local areas - even in urbanised environments (green areas, parks, garden)
Allow a sense of adventure to travel there yourself and experience it in “4D”!
I was particularly blessed to meet the owner by coincidence himself just before I wanted to leave again. What followed was a very enlightening conversation about a variety of topics and was in awe learning about some of this man’s many worldly adventures and his thinking. Sometimes a spontaneous detour can lead to all sorts of unexpected events!
I hope you enjoy some of this and allow yourself to drop into the imaginary and symbolic.
Next time you are in Ireland perhaps you might go there yourself and meet the man himself that created this space.
Let the journey begin.
Click here for the Photo Presentation.