If Grief Were A Creature

by Melody, A Scout

If grief were a creature that sat on my back

That chased me down and made me crack

What would it say when it caught up to me?

Would it fracture my spirit or bend my knee?

If grief were a creature that stole my heart

That slowed my step and ruined my art

What would it say when it caught up to me?

Would it shutter my throat and demand I see?

If grief were a creature that scared me stiff

That made me flee when I captured a whiff

What would it say when it caught up to me?

Would it rattle my bones and shatter my teeth?

If grief were a creature that stole my tongue

That froze my breath and filled up my lungs

What would it say when it caught up to me?

Would it render me lifeless beneath its cold scree?

If grief as a creature showed up at my door

Devouring my heart and begging for more

What would it say when it caught up to me?

Would it get to the end and let me be?

If grief were a creature that kept me safe

That cloaked me in black and made me a waif

What would it say when it caught up to me?

Would it bring me glad comfort or answer my plea?

If grief were a creature that fed my soul

That taught me to live and made me whole

What would it say when it caught up to me?

Might it bless me, esteem me, and set me free?

Melody A Scout is an author and Intuitive Spiritual Advisor. Her deep connection to the natural world has influenced her work as a Sacred Landscape Consultant and Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner. She is currently writing a book called Soul of the Seasons which explores the wisdom embedded within the seasonal cycles of the natural world and how to find balance and joy in both our inner and outer landscapes.

Am I Repeating Old Patterns or Engaging in a Healing Crisis?

I’ve been in a bit of healing crisis lately, one that has sent me to bed for several days to recover. These difficult passages often create symptoms that show up as spiritual, emotional discomfort that also manifests in the physical. Symptoms of illness can surface as we make ready for a new chapter in life. Transiting from one season to another is stressful and it’s natural to resort to old coping mechanisms. It’s not uncommon to feel restless, disconcerted, and cranky as a result. 

I’m guilty of possessing what can be a hyperactive inner critic. When I’m not feeling well, either emotionally or physically, my first response can be to wonder what I’ve done wrong. I might ask myself, “Did I eat the wrong thing or stay up too late or forget to take my herbs? Is there something I need to uncover or process or forgive? Maybe I need to meditate or pray or get outdoors more.” More often, however, what I’m experiencing is a natural response to a challenging life passage. 
This is exactly what happened to me this past week as I welcomed in a new phase while letting go of some wounds of the past. 

My book is getting ready to go to print and this a HUGE step for me! As part of this process I am simultaneously planning for a new season of growth and releasing of some old patterns and behaviors. So, it was not really a surprise that my decisions have brought up some old fears, self-doubt, and negative thought patterns.

As I battled what felt like a sinus infection and exhaustion, I wrestled–hard–with my harsh Inner Critic. I became overwhelmed with feelings that I could or should be doing something more, something better. Even though I was aware that I was undergoing a huge transformation, I’d forgotten to practice what I often teach my clients: to be gentle and generous with myself, to stop struggling, and allow for a changing of the seasons

“Sometimes your last resort is your best resort.” –Marianne Williamson

Struggling against my discomfort was exhausting and it soon showed up in my body. My sinuses were so inflamed even my hair hurt. I retreated to my bed, feeling alone and pitiful. This time, however, instead of judging my discomfort to be the result of some personal failure, I reminded myself it just might be a signal that a healing crisis is underway. So instead of letting my unforgiving Inner Critic run the show, I asked, “What do I need right now? What is my body and soul calling for?” The answer was immediate, “Rest, support, and gentle compassion.”

Though there were still many details in getting my book ready for print and, I needed to prepare for an upcoming speaking engagement, I cleared my calendar for a few days. I also took a much needed media break and made an appointment with my healing practitioner. I supported my body by taking herbs and drinking lots of fluids. 

Though asking for help does not come natural for me, I engaged in some loving self-care by texting a few of my close Mamma Bear friends, requesting their love and support. Within the hour I received their loving responses. They offered prayers of healing and kind, nourishing words. Another friend brought over some home made soup. Flooded with tears of gratitude, my exhausted spirit drank in the much needed nurturing, providing me with the strength to face old feelings of unworthiness and loss that had surfaced as a result of my commitment to finishing my book and releasing it out into the world. 

Though the release of my grief and self-condemnation was intense, when I stopped resisting, it passed relatively quickly and soon I was feeling more like myself. I know that, though the process may be uncomfortable, my discomfort will soon pass if I surrender to the season at hand and don’t allow myself to become enmeshed in old behaviors and coping mechanisms. I can gently remind myself to enter into the change of seasons with a generous compassion, one that will welcome in a new period of growth. 

Seasons of Reflection: How do you respond to uncomfortable feelings or situations? How to do engage in gentle self-care? What is your soul asking of you?

Valuing Our Loss

IMG_2747          The Season of Fall is upon us. This is the season of letting go, of loss. Encoded within this passage is the core emotion of Grief. As one of the most difficult journeys to confront and traverse, the precious gifts we receive in Fall come at a great cost. To fully integrate the lessons found here we must give our loss its due with honor and respect.
     Currently I am with my mother as she prepares for her last days on this earth. I’m grateful for the wisdom of the seasons during this time. Though Mom has been ill for some time, the grieving is still keen. Together with my family, we are supporting her as best we can through days filled with many unknowns. Though the lovely and precious support from family and friends has buoyed us all, it does not lessen the sharp pain of our loss.
     Loss and letting go are essential hallmarks of Fall. In the natural world, the deep losses at the end of the harvest are necessary to sustain life through the dark, cold winter and into the coming spring. It is a passage that cannot be hurried.
Pitcher border
     Our world often seems awash with loss. Grief, the core emotion of Fall cannot be managed or controlled. It cannot be rushed, pushed, or denied without consequence. It will have its way with us, like it or not. Without a sufficient container for expression for this powerful emotion, we can be plunged into deep despair, overwhelmed by hopelessness. Left unresolved, our grief can eventually erupts as rage and depression.
In a recent newsletter from Wise Woman Toko-pa I found these sage words about loss and grief…
“(W)hen I begin to feel despair about the insufficiency of our efforts, I remember that despair is what happens to us when we can’t grieve properly. It’s the grief that has no welcoming container, no place to express itself.
“I think we need to have more conversations in our families and communities about this threshold we’re on together.
“There is a driving force in us which wants to step in and make something useful of it all, turn it into fuel for transformation! But another, quieter voice says says stop. Don’t commodify this loss. Don’t be so hasty to write a new story, in which the events of heartbreak are made meaningful, before the magnitude of what’s been destroyed can be witnessed in its entirety.
“Yes, there will be a new world forming from the rubble. Yes, there is something valuable to take from this, I’m sure. But please, let us not turn this heartbreak into something useful just yet. If we do, we will be tempted to walk in our old ways. We will rely on tired words. We will make memes of ourselves.
“Is there a way instead to really bear witness? To let the fog of uncertainty obscure our clarity. To not know where or how we’ll live. To be fumbling and full of grief, because what we always counted on has been struck from our horizon. We may never be so magnificent again….
“(L)et us turn towards to the unknown in the hopes that we find there help us to learn how to walk in a new way, for a new world.”
     In the chapter on Fall in my upcoming book, Soul of the Seasons, I write of the arduous journey through this challenging season. Though the sharp sword of grief pierces our hearts, with patience and a willingness to become vulnerable to our losses, we can once again experience new life.
     “Though it may be impossible to comprehend it when our loss is so fresh, encoded within our grief lays an emotional paradox; that to fully honor and respect what we have lost—to confess just how precious our loss has been to us—is to memorialize our bereavement with a grace and dignity that allows us to start anew.” –from Soul of the Seasons.
Contemplation on Fall:
How do you feel about the season of fall?
What is your experience with grief?
What do you resist letting go of?
How do you honor and respect your losses?
Many Blessings,

Making Friends with Your Emotions


The following is excerpted from my upcoming book, Soul of the Seasons…

I have always felt my world intensely—some might even say, theatrically. I’ve even been called a “drama queen” a time or two. Though the reasons for emotional reactivity are varied and complex, I have worked hard to become a master of my emotional responses rather than a hyper-reactive slave to them. Mastery, of course, is always a work in progress.

As a result of my intense emotional expressiveness I have often been labeled “too sensitive,” or over-reactive, that I’m an attention-seeker. One idea I have always resisted, however, is that emotional expression, however intense, is inappropriate. From my perspective, I simply refused to have my feelings ignored, dismissed, or discounted. In the past, if anyone so much as hinted that I was being “too emotional,” that I should “calm down,” I promptly emoted all over everything and everyone. No reactivity there, right?

When we were little and cute we were more graciously allowed to freely emote in response to our world. Adults might have even found our emotional expressions amusing and perfectly normal. We giggled and frowned, we earnestly cried out our sadness and bitterness and grief. We might have pitched fits of anger when our outer world refused to respond to our inner needs.

At some point—for some of us, painfully early in life—in response to our emotional expressions we were likely told to “grow up” or “settle down” or be “good.” We may have been taught that good girls should not express anger but instead smile and look pretty. We may have been told that big boys shouldn’t cry or show vulnerability. “Shake it off!” might have been the prescribed response to pain and hurt, any anything less showed weakness—something to be avoided at all costs.

“Boys must never be weak,” is a message that is still imprinted in our psyche. When expressing strong emotion we might have even been spanked or called names like “crybaby” or “sissy” or “bitch.” My childhood was filled with messages not so different from these.

There is woefully little sacred space for the expression of authentic emotion in our culture. Instead of being initiated into the wonderful world of emotion when we are young, we learned to judge (or discount or dismiss) our feelings. We may have learned to criticize them as bad, wrong, or inappropriate instead of shining the light of truth onto the nature of our emotional responses. Instead of authentically feeling and then releasing emotion, we have trained the mind to analyze difficult situations. We move away from uncomfortable feelings and make more “rational” decisions.

In our need to detach from our discomfort we often explain away or “spiritualize” our emotions. (Love is the only answer!) We may come to believe that calm (read emotionless) rationalization is far superior to honestly expressing our emotions as they arise. However, our more challenging emotional states—especially those we label “bad” or “negative”—are really invitations to make choices that are in keeping with our Divine Destiny.

Fire spread2For instance, our anger and frustration with life’s challenges can be transformed into the emotional and physical fuel necessary to carry out our vision. Our deep longing for joy can transform the pain and loneliness of a broken heart into the deep connection that lies within authentic relationship. Indifference or a lack of nurturing can be transformed into a more grounded appreciation for our talents and accomplishments. Our hurt and anger over being disrespected can be transformed into a much-needed time of reflection and the opportunity for rebirth.  Fears over an uncertain future can transform into the birth of new visions. And so it goes with the cycles of life, the energy and wisdom of one season feeds and nourishes the next.

Our core emotions of grief, anger, and fear are not character flaws to be pounded into submission or doggedly eliminated. They are part of our holy human state. Our emotions possess sacred medicine, a medicine that helps us to move with authenticity and integrity through the seasons of life. With a willingness to become vulnerable to our humanity and our emotions, we can learn to live with more grace, kindness, and tenderness for all, and most especially, for ourselves.

Our bodies possess an innate intelligence that is infused into our very cells. Each cell is encoded with the capacity transmit information. Our cells not only have their own awareness they also possess awareness of all other bodily cells, and, of the surrounding environment. This sophisticated system of internal (and external) intelligence through cellular communication provides the capacity to function without continually engaging in active conscious thought—that, would be exhausting. Fortunately, we do not have to continually remind our heart how to beat or our lungs to take a breath.

Our cells also possess emotional memory that can activate visceral responses to certain smells, sounds, or circumstances. These stimuli have the ability to trigger powerful emotional experiences anchored in the past. It’s why, though Grandma may have died five years ago, the smell of cinnamon rolls evokes the same feelings of comfort we experienced while sitting in her kitchen, or how the sound of a train whistle can stir up the loneliness we felt when Dad left us decades ago.

Recognizing the physical resonances unique to each emotion can help us become more responsive to the circumstances at hand, instead of reacting out of impulse. And when we pay close attention to our emotional signals we can more easily identify what we are feeling in the moment—the only place we have the ability to make a choice. With this conscious awareness we can then more artfully navigate the difficult seasons, and appreciate the more inviting ones. We can more effectively meet our unmet needs instead of repressing or self-medicating our feelings away.

Your emotions have much to teach you. Introduce yourself to them. Consider them as living beings with whom you will interact with the utmost love and respect. Be willing to learn how each core emotion moves, motivates, and inspires you. Re-contextualize yourself to your anger, joy, sympathy, grief, and fear. Be willing to see them from a different light. Develop an intimacy with the places where you feel most vulnerable. Let your heart break wide open to your anger—and, to your joy. Learn to dance with both your generosity, and your loss. Make a sacred space for your emotions in your life, a place of belonging that is free of judgment.

Food for Thought:

How do you express yourself emotionally?

Which emotion are you most afraid of?

Which emotion are you most comfortable with?

How do you move with anger? With joy?

With Blessings and Grace,


Melody A Scout is an author and Intuitive Spiritual Advisor. Her deep connection to the natural world has influenced her work as a Sacred Landscape Consultant and Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner. She is currently writing a book called Soul of the Seasons which explores the wisdom embedded within the seasonal cycles of the natural world and how to find balance and joy in both our inner and outer landscapes.

Shifting Seasons

DSCF2895One of the most challenging times on our journey can be when we begin to leave one season and enter the next. During these in-between passages our internal and external landscapes are changing. There are periods of adjustment. In the natural world the days are growing longer (or shorter). The plants and trees are changing. The air smells different. Internally we are changing too. It may seem as though we have a foot in two worlds or that we have no solid footing at all.

Currently in the U. S. we are in the season of fall. Here in Northwest Florida, we are just beginning to feel Fall’s effects. The cooler weather has been a welcome relief from the humid, 90 degree days we’ve been having up to now. It feels good to leave our windows open and our air conditioners off. In Northern Wisconsin, where I was born and raised and, where my children and grandchildren still live, they’ve already enjoyed their first snowfall.


As I work to finish the revisions of my book Soul of the Seasons so I can send it off to my talented editor to do her magic, I too, feel a new season ahead for me. I’m excited with the thoughts of finally seeing my six-year labor of love delivered into the material world, an instrument that I can finally hold in my hands and share with others. I look forward to teaching again, to have book signings and conduct workshops on the valuable wisdom I have gleaned from working deeply with the seasons.

Five Element medicine, the impetus for my book, teaches us that the seasons are not static passage of time. Though the seasonal equinoxes may be marked on our calendars, the seasons themselves are fluid and over-lapping. It may have seemed that a particular season has arrived abruptly and without warning. But if we are paying attention , we can probably admit we have already sensed the coming shifts. It is no different in our inner world.

Leaving Harvest, the season of abundance and gratitude for all we have been given, we enter Fall, the season great letting go. Fall is where we find value, where we respect those things that are precious to us, and, where we let go of anything that no longer serves. It is a time to acknowledge our grief over the loss of something  or something that was dear to us. It is a time to prepare for the quiet rest of Winter.

One of the most challenging times on our journey can be when we begin to leave one season and enter the next. During these in-between passages our internal and external landscapes may seem unstable. There are periods of adjustment. In the natural world the days are grow longer (or shorter). The plants and trees are changing. The air smells different. Internally we are changing too. It may seem for a while as though we have a foot in two worlds, or that we have no solid footing at all. In the natural world, anything that does not serve toward surviving the winter months is released.

During these seasonal transitions it’s more important than ever to maintain balance, to give extra care to our emotional and physical bodies. To look ahead and prepare. This may be one of the reasons many people react to seasonal changes by becoming ill.

We often go along in life as if the next season is not approaching. We might allow ourselves to be lulled by warm weather, unwilling to turn our minds and bodies toward the coming cold and darkness of Winter. We might even become grumpy and morose knowing that the warm days of summer are behind us, that we will have to change our way of moving about in the world, that we will have to drag our our heavy clothes and slow down.

Our ancestors could not afford the luxury of ignoring the coming seasons, often their very existence relied on well-timed readiness.  Many cultures engaged in ceremonies and rituals to celebrate the coming seasons. Meaningful ritual is a conscious action intended to remind us of something we value.

What if instead of ignoring the coming winter we prepared for the coming passages in both our inner and outer worlds through contemplation and preparation? Hygge is one such a tradition. Pronounced “hoo-ga,” hygge is a Danish concept. It cannot be translated to one single word but encompasses a feeling of cozy contentment and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life. Or, ask your elders what family traditions might have been kept at this time of year.

The following are a few suggestions on how one might celebrate Fall and welcome in the coming season of Winter:

Prepare your body for Winter. Start by including some of your favorite cold weather foods and beverages. Include warming herbs and spices into the mix like ginger, cayenne, and cinnamon.

Begin now to slow your pace. Go for a relaxing walk in nature. Take naps. Go to bed a little earlier. Reserve more time for contemplation. Ask your body what it needs.

Examine your inner and outer landscapes for what is truly of value and, for anything that needs to be released. Whether it is a pair of old socks or a friendship that has run its course, release it with a heartfelt gratitude for all you have received by their presence.

Create a ritual for welcoming in Winter. Share a beer or two with friends at your favorite pub or make a big pot of chili for the family. Whether you hold a ceremony and dance by the moonlight or have a cup of cocoa by the fireplace, honor, respect, and value all you have been given.

Take care of any unfinished business from Fall. We often prepare in our outer world by winterizing our homes and your cars. What need to be attended to in your inner world? Is there any unfinished grieving to be done? Are you honoring and respecting all that you are and all that you will become? Do you have someone to forgive? Make your burdens as light as possible in order that your passage through Winter might be more bearable.

Share your abundance with others. We can help to build strength and resilience in the world, whether it’s through giving our excess winter clothes to the homeless or sharing our heart of compassion with another in need. By giving to others out of our bounty we build strong communities and they, in turn, also strengthen and nourish us.

I wish you a rich and contented Fall and a cozy Winter.

With Love,


Melody A Scout is an author and Intuitive Spiritual Advisor. Her deep connection to the natural world has influenced her work as a Sacred Landscape Consultant and Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner. She is currently writing a book called Soul of the Seasons which explores the wisdom embedded within the seasonal cycles of the natural world and how to find balance and joy in both our inner and outer landscapes.

Fall: The Season to Let Go, A Season to Forgive


From my upcoming book Soul of the Seasons

“Following the sumptuous season of Harvest comes Fall; the time for gathering up what is of value, and the letting go of that which no longer serves. There is much to be done in this brief season. Fall is the time to take stock of all that we have received, to recognize the value of our talents and, to fully appreciate the results of all our hard work. It is also the season to deftly assess that which is no longer of value in order to make more room for what is most precious to us in our lives and our hearts.

“Fall is the season where we learn to fully grieve. It is represented by the sound of weeping, the sound one makes during times of deep loss. Grief, the natural emotion in Fall, represents a great letting go. For what brings about our grief more than having to let go of something or someone we deeply valued?”



Forgiveness: The Ultimate Expression of Letting Go

Forgiveness is the ultimate, platinum-grade experience of letting go. It is an act of grace that unties me from the belief that my experience is me. I am not my pain and loss. I am not my shame or inadequacy, my anger or my resentment. I am not a victim. I am not irretrievably broken. I am not what I have lost. Forgiveness doesn’t make everything all A-OK again. It does not require that I admit that what happened to me was right or that it made sense or that it was divinely orchestrated. Instead, forgiveness turns my heart of stone into one that is once again open to love.” –Melody


Encoded within the season of Fall is another precious gift that can only be described as an act of divine grace: the experience of forgiveness. While not traditionally thought of as an aspect of Fall in Five Element medicine, I have included forgiveness here because, much the same as the emotion of grief, forgiveness doesn’t require that we forget our pain or the event that led us to it in order to benefit from its gifts.

The practice of forgiveness has long been entangled with confusing and conflicting familial, cultural, and religious myths. Maybe we were taught to say “sorry” quickly, before we had enough time to express our feelings or figure out the infraction for which we were truly regretful. Maybe we have been told that withholding forgiveness is a “sin.” Perhaps we were goaded to rush past our pain and admonished to “leave the past in the past.” Others may have reminded us that it is spiritually and morally superior to “forgive and forget.”

Standing as uncomfortable witnesses to our pain, others may chastise us for a reluctance to sweep away the evidence of our wounds. A rush to “forgive and forget,” however, can serve to bypass and suppress the grief, pain, and anger that often accompanies loss and betrayal. The one asking for (or manipulating or demanding)  our forgiveness may have their own unspoken agenda. Perhaps they are really seeking some sort of absolution or mercy or a deliverance from the consequences of their hurtful actions.  They may even drag spiritual righteousness into the mix. . .“Well, at least God forgives me!” But if the act of forgiving were so easy it would be meaningless to both the forgiver and the forgiven. . .

“Oh, geez. Sorry I verbally eviscerated you in front of your family. My bad. All better? Off we go then.”

It is never easy to forgive those who have wronged us. It is even harder to ask for it. For in the asking, we must enter into the land of vulnerability, humility, and accountability. Asking another to forgive us requires that we to admit to God, and to another human being; “I was wrong. I hurt you. I’m sorry.” and then to ask, “How can I make this right again?” A determined effort to correct the behaviors that led to the destructive actions must also be a part of the equation of reparation. We must also be willing to give those we have wounded the necessary time to fully comprehend their loss. HINT: The more severe the infraction, the longer it will likely take.

Though forgiveness is not meant to be easy, neither are we meant to cling to our unforgiveness. One of the single most toxic and self-destructive things we can ever do is to stubbornly refuse to let go of whom or what we believe is the source of our pain and suffering. While understandable, these actions are ultimately self-destructive. On the physical level, vigorously defending or protecting our hurt, anger, and pain releases an array of hormones and brain chemicals that poison both body and thoughts. We may stew in the toxicity of our hurt for literally decades, hating those we believe are at fault.

“Our job now (following the death of their son at the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting) is to make our hearts bigger than the loss.” -David and Francine Wheeler, parents of Ben, age 6, on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday

To be true, some deep wounds may be nigh impossible for our hearts to fathom. It is hard to wrap our minds around the level of cruelty or betrayal or violence that has been perpetrated upon us, or upon our loved ones, or too often, by our loved ones. We may be stupefied at the level of hate and indifference that is all too evident in this world. We cannot imagine of how anyone with even the remotest sense of decency or compassion or brain cells could be so cruelly destructive to another being.

Enmeshed in the pain of our wounds we may wonder. . .  What kind of person would harm a child or torture an animal or slowly and methodically chip away at our innate sense of worthiness? Who would want to poison our water and soil, to desecrate the very Earth that gives us life? Who would willingly end the lives of innocents out of religious fanaticism or greed or the need for power? But the daily evidence of these atrocities lies at our feet, bruised and bleeding, or worse. How, we may wonder, can we possibly forgive that?

It’s true, in and of ourselves, we cannot grasp the possibility of forgiveness for such heinous acts. Forgiving requires that we let go of the judgment we have placed upon the situation, our self, or upon others who might have been involved in the experience that wounded us, and that can only be accomplished through the divine alchemy of grace. Only through authentic, grace-filled forgiveness can the sharp manacles of our wounds drop from our wrists, freeing us from the guilt, shame, hopelessness, depression, and despair that binds us to our trauma. The only thing required from us in order to forgive is to surrender–everything we are experiencing. Simple? Yes. Easy? Not on your life.

As we entertain the idea of forgiveness we can begin to soften to the warmth of Divine Love. Instead of continuing to marinate in our bitterness or maintain a desire for righteous revenge, our hearts gradually open. Our healing may allow us to summon the courage to confess the depth of our loss and pain. In the aftermath of trauma, our brittle spirits remain raw and tender. During this period we must tend to our fragile hearts as we would a tender seedling before the harshness of winter has passed.  We will never forget our loss or its aftermath–nor should we–but we can still find forgiveness to both strengthen and soften the most deeply scarred of hearts.

The transformation that comes about as a result of forgiveness is a wonderment to behold. Anyone who has been through this experience can tell you the magical quality of forgiveness or from having been completely forgiven. We feel somehow lighter, freer. We can breathe. We see daylight again. We might lose our desire to suffer, to hate, to exact our personal “pound of flesh.” Our desire for justice will begin to broaden beyond our individual loss and supplants the need for personal revenge.

Often, it is only on the other side of the difficult passage of forgiveness that we are able offer respect and compassion to those going through their own loss. If we choose to let it, our loss can teach us a deep and abiding respect for the fragility of life, a respect that values our strengths, as well as our frailties.

Forgiveness, like the mystical moments of death and birth, is a process in which we can face, both the end of how we once believed ourselves to be, and the beginning of who were meant to be. As a result of this unshackling we become freed from the heavy cloak of our guilt, hurt, and shame. And, though we may be reminded by the sages to love our enemies, they say nothing about having to like our offenders, or their deeds. We do not have to lay our hearts at the feet of those who have wounded us. We can say to our transgressors, “I forgive you, but I cannot trust you. ” We do not have to loan them money or invite them over for dinner or introduce them to our friends to prove we have really done a proper job of letting go. After all, to ignore another’s unloving proclivities would not be making good use of the wisdom our experience offers—that would be a failure to value and honor our loss. Through the grace of forgiveness, we can forget just enough to get on with life and to begin to love again, but not so much that we repeat the errors of the past.

DSCF7417aThe act of forgiveness is ultimately an exercise in divine alchemy. It is a sacred act of grace that changes the way our brain and heart functions; a correction at the highest spiritual level that cleanses our very soul. Through a complete and utter surrender to divine transformation, our wounds and spirits can be cleansed. By washing our newly cleansed wounds in the holy waters of forgiveness, we are able to bind them up with love and compassion, so they may begin to properly heal.” — From Soul of the Seasons, (c) 2017, Melody A Scout

Melody A Scout is an author and Intuitive Spiritual Advisor. Her deep connection to the natural world has influenced her work as a Sacred Landscape Consultant and Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner. She is currently writing a book called Soul of the Seasons which explores the wisdom embedded within the seasonal cycles of the natural world and how to find balance and joy in both our inner and outer landscapes.

Our Violence Calls

DSCF7428aI awoke today in the dark pre-dawn hours to the news of the Las Vegas shootings. A familiar and heavy pain in my heart deepened as I groaned, “Not again!” I scanned my social media accounts over my morning coffee, scrolling through comments that have become heartbreakingly commonplace: “When will it be enough?” “What is wrong with this country?” “How bad does it have to get?”

Amid posts filled with heated debates over ineffectual gun laws, rampant hatred, and mental illness rise the cries of hearts like mine, those that have grown weary of these all too familiar tragedies. We want something to be done. The ache of loss and grief has become too great. We pray for it to just please… stop.

Anger surfaces. We wonder why our leaders, while mouthing their regrets, do nothing to stem these terrible violent massacres of our brothers and sisters. Still, we summon the grace to offer up prayers of sympathy and support, to find deep compassion for all who are impacted by yet another horrific display of violence. I search my heart for meaningful solutions but any answer that comes seems woefully inadequate.

Perhaps the answers we search for often come up short because the violence we see on a daily basis is the result of many, many years of oppression and emotional suppression. There are few safe places where we can admit to our anger and hatred and desire for revenge. We often find little generosity to express our neediness and feelings of inadequacy. We may lack the courage to admit just how much we resent our demanding children, our indifferent partners, our needy parents. With little tolerance for our aching exhaustion or acrid bitterness or the bottomless grief, we shove these unwelcome thoughts and feelings deep into our subconscious. In an effort to soothe our ever-expanding fears our minds want simple, straightforward answers, though our hearts know that none exist.

It frustrates me to no end to admit I do not have satisfactory answers for these complex, layered issues that have been centuries in the making. The causes of violence are complex and charged with emotion. In order to continue to put one foot in front of the other and continue to live a meaningful life I must enter my inner landscape and to honestly confront  my feelings regarding these events that triggers so much grief and rage and sorrow. I must become aware of the dark emotions as well as the light ones. I must both find my joy, and confront my own violent thoughts. I must learn to embrace all of me. I must face whatever this violence calls out in me.

We are emotional beings. Though we often pride ourselves on our ability to reason things out, 95% of our decisions are made for emotional reasons. Little happens in life without either an emotional impetus or an emotional reaction. Yet we remain strangers to our rich inner landscapes.

Here’s what I know about the dynamics of emotion:

All emotion calls for expression. Emotions by their nature demand movement (expression). Whether we express our emotions in balanced or imbalanced ways depends upon our relationship with them; in how we have embraced them, or abandoned them.

Suppression always causes imbalance. The minute we begin to suppress or judge or deny any emotion, we drive our feelings into the dark recesses of our fearful minds where they fester and become caustic.

Disavowing our suppressed emotions separates us from our power. When we cannot or will not own our dark thoughts–the ones where we carry a secret desire for revenge or hatred or punishment or indifference, we remain impotent in affecting a change. Since all emotion demands expression, our denied dark thoughts are destined to erupt–either internally or externally–with varying levels of intensity, the most extreme of which is violence. When we cannot or will not confront our denied emotions we often take out our unresolved feelings on those we love the most.

Expressing our emotions requires the courage to become vulnerable.  We all need a sacred witness to our pain. The most courageous thing we will ever do is to admit to ourselves, to God, and to another human being the truth of our darkest feelings. This should never be done casually, however, or without assurance that who we reveal our failings to has the integrity to hold our confession in confidence with a compassion that is free of judgement.

Having compassion does not condone destructive actions. We can find compassion for another soul whose heart has been crushed beneath the weight of their destructive behaviors without absolving them of the responsibility for their actions. We can also do this for ourselves.  We must learn to tenderly love our most wounded selves while being fully accountable for our words and actions. One way of creating peace in our hearts is to offer a means for restoration for the harm we may have caused others.

Forgiveness is the key to compassion. Forgiveness is a deep letting go of our attachment to our pain. It is not the absolution of another’s hurtful actions. It does not mean that our pain was not valid or that our heart was not wounded. Forgiveness unties us from the belief that we are our painful past. To forgive ourselves is the most courageous and healing thing we will ever do.

We are not meant to heal alone. At times, the weight of our shame, bitterness, rage, grief, and fear can be crushing . Loneliness amplifies the burdens we carry. We can feel shunned and unloved, that we don’t belong. It may seem as if there is no way out of our darkness and we slip further into despair. Without others to offer compassion and encouragement or to present another perspective to our problems, it’s easier to entertain thoughts of harm to ourselves or others. One of the most courageous things we will ever do is to ask for help. The next most courageous thing we can do is to offer help to another in need, no matter how uncomfortable it might make us.

DSCF7799aPerhaps the thing we need the most to quell the explosion of violence in our communities is the thing we need the most in ourselves: To be heard. To be seen. To be honored. To be understood. To be loved. To belong.

Perhaps what we need during these very trying times is to examine the ways we have both embraced our emotional selves, and where we have committed self-abandonment. Spend a few moments today examining your heart space for all the thoughts and feelings this most recent tragedy has triggered. Try to do this self-examination with tenderness and compassion, and, with utter honesty.

With Much Love,


Melody A Scout is an author and Intuitive Spiritual Advisor. Her deep connection to the natural world has influenced her work as a Sacred Landscape Consultant and Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner. She is currently writing a book called Soul of the Seasons which explores the wisdom embedded within the seasonal cycles of the natural world and how to find balance and joy in both our inner and outer landscapes.

In Preparation for Winter: A Time to Turn Inward and Hide

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me lately. I don’t want to do any of the things I normally do. I just want to run away and hide.”

I’ve been hearing these types of statements a lot recently. Friends, colleagues, healers, and clients alike have reported feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by everything from repeated natural disasters to the simple tasks of their everyday lives. But what if there is nothing wrong with us at all? What if instead, our desire for retreat is just our internal wisdom telling us it’s time to prepare for a much needed season of rest?

DSCF2895.JPGHere in the U.S. the season of Harvest is complete and Fall has arrived with Winter right on its heels. Fall is where we prepare for the fallow season of Winter. In Five Element wisdom, Winter embodies the processes of hibernation, death, gestation, and stillness; it is the season where doing nothing is the right and perfect activity. These forces are at play in both the natural world, and in our inner landscapes.

But pressed by internal and external demands for continual productivity, we often fear (the core emotion of Winter) the very idea of slowing down, of taking a break. Though we want nothing more than to quiet our minds and our activities, to retreat into our self-constructed caves of isolation, rest, however, is not a culturally acceptable season in which to linger. Deep rest, however, is exactly what our bodies and spirits crave and Winter’s rest is the perfect prescription for the weary ache that seems to be embedded in our very bones. .

“Imbued with the qualities of contemplation, reflection, meditation, and conservation, enveloped by Winter’s deep rest, we can come to more fully appreciate the core essence of life itself. With its long, dark nights, Winter is the perfect time to work on our inner landscapes. When we make good use of this rest we remain more resilient to life’s changes, able to move with the unexpected without fretting unduly over an uncertain future.” –from Soul of the Seasons (c) 2017, Melody A Scout

Every living being on the planet requires a season of rest to build resilience, and for restoration and rejuvenation. When we press ourselves into over-work and over-stimulation we create imbalance. An imbalance in the season of Winter can show up as anxiety, hyper-activity, fearful striving, adrenal exhaustion, aggression, and mind-racing. Overwhelmed by our busy schedules we may believe we don’t have time to rest, but rest is exactly what we need.

Mother Earth wisely knows the importance of quality rest. The natural world retreats as most signs of life go into hiding. Forced growth and activity during this season would result in death for many beings, so all unnecessary activities die away during the Big Sleep that is Winter.

Fall’s purpose then, is to prepare for the coming Big Sleep by setting aside the necessities that can sustain us both internally and externally. Much in the same way we save for a vacation by carving out time and resources for time off, we can make plans to ensure we have the means and resources necessary for regular periods of rest. Taking small daily breaks that restore body, mind, and spirit, getting quality sleep, and setting aside periods of time for napping, meditation, and contemplation can help us to build resilience and avoid burnout.

As Winter looms on the horizon, take some time to consider the following questions:

What can I do now to prepare for an extended season of rest?

How can I incorporate seasons of rest into my every day schedule?

How do I avoid or resist rest?

What in my life needs a good death?

Winter streamThe power encoded within the act of retreating from our everyday lives is perfectly reflected in this poem by David Whyte.


is a way of staying alive. Hiding is a way of holding ourselves until we are ready to come into the light. Hiding is one of the brilliant and virtuoso practices of almost every part of the natural world: the protective quiet of an icy northern landscape, the held bud of a future summer rose, the snow bound internal pulse of the hibernating bear. Hiding is underestimated. We are hidden by life in our mother’s womb until we grow and ready ourselves for our first appearance in the lighted world; to appear too early in that world is to find ourselves with the immediate necessity for outside intensive care.

Hiding done properly is the internal faithful promise for a proper future emergence, as embryos, as children or even as emerging adults in retreat from the names that have caught us and imprisoned us, often in ways where we have been too easily seen and too easily named. We live in a time of the dissected soul, the immediate disclosure; our thoughts, imaginings and longings exposed to the light too much, too early and too often, our best qualities squeezed too soon into a world already awash with ideas that oppress our sense of self and our sense of others. What is real is almost always to begin with, hidden, and does not want to be understood by the part of our mind that mistakenly thinks it knows what is happening. What is precious inside us does not care to be known by the mind in ways that diminish its presence.

Hiding is an act of freedom from the misunderstanding of others, especially in the enclosing world of oppressive secret government and private entities, attempting to name us, to anticipate us, to leave us with no place to hide and grow in ways unmanaged by a creeping necessity for absolute naming, absolute tracking and absolute control. Hiding is a bid for independence, from others, from mistaken ideas we have about our selves, from an oppressive and mistaken wish to keep us completely safe, completely ministered to, and therefore completely managed. Hiding is creative, necessary and beautifully subversive of outside interference and control. Hiding leaves life to itself, to become more of itself. Hiding is the radical independence necessary for our emergence into the light of a proper human future.

© David Whyte: March 2014: Excerpted from ‘HIDING’ From the upcoming book of essays CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.

Melody A Scout is a Plant Spirit Medicine practitioner, Sacred Landscape Designer, and the author of the upcoming book, Soul of the Seasons which reveals the wisdom of Five Element medicine through the template of the seasons of the natural world.

Beating Our Swords Into Plowshares

sword-forgeSometimes I just don’t want to do the more spiritually elevated thing, I just don’t. The most recent presidential election has been just one of those occasions. In the days following the election results I found myself reeling from the wash of emotions coursing through my veins, cycling through my gut, and sharply piercing my heart. Shock. Dismay. Disbelief. Anger. Fear. Heartbreak. Grief, grief, and more grief.

The day after the election one unsuspecting Trump supporter urged me to embrace the new president-elect and to “give him a chance.” “After all,” he offered, “Trump was so sincere in his acceptance speech and even gave Hillary a compliment!” Poor soul, he didn’t understand why his remarks elicited so much vehemence from me. Too soon! Besides, I replied, where was all this desire for unity and forgiveness throughout President Obama’s eight years of presidency? I hung up on him.  I had not yet sorted out my feelings about this momentous occasion. I was definitely not ready to make up and play nice.

To be honest, my own barely contained rage and grief surprised me. In the midst of my deeply charged emotional response I had forgotten my own wise and oft-repeated counsel: Give yourself time to express your feelings without judgement. Take some time for rigorous self-honesty. See what gifts your rage, grief and fear are offering you.

This is truly a historical point in time, one in which, in the light of Divine Truth, all has been laid painfully bare. With this brilliant Light, ALL is revealed: our hopes; our desires for unity, peace, and community; and, lost possibilities.

The Light of Truth reveals all. It reveals not only what we’ve hoped and longed for, but also what we fear. The depth and darkness of this emotional abyss does not discriminate. It occupies and terrifies us all.

It is no coincidence, I firmly believe, that these events now occur during the season of Fall. Fall, in Five Element medicine, is represented by the element of Metal and the emotion of grief. Fall is the season to grieve our losses, to respect and value ALL of life and to let go of that which no longer serves us.

p1000899a1Metal is the element that best reflects the qualities of grief. Like Metal, grief is brittle and sharp, swiftly cutting to the core of the matter. It surgically slices away any excess. It excises what is dead or dying, leaving only what is essential to sustain life.  This cutting away (loss) is the painful but necessary step in the journey toward restoration and creation.

Metal also represents what is precious, what is truly of value in our lives. In order to make the greatest use of this element, however, metal must first undergo a rigorous refinement process. Under great heat and pressure, impurities are sloughed away. Further refinement comes about through extended periods of hammering and polishing, as metal is crafted into a thing of beauty and utility. What is left is a durable instrument designed to cut and separate. The instrument might be a surgeon’s scalpel, designed to swiftly assist in healing, or a gleaming sword, crafted for battle.

I firmly believe that one of the reasons for all the hatred and fear we have been witnessing in each glimpse into the Dark Abyss of America is due to our collective, unexpressed grief. Unexpressed or denied grief eventually congeals into rage,  lack of compassion, and a deep fear of the future and all its uncertainties.

We have a very long history of loss in our country originating from the way we appropriated the land we now call America from the First Peoples, to the trauma of 9/11, to the spectacle that has been this most recent election.

When we cut ourselves off from the powerful emotion of grief, we will find little of value, little to respect. Firmly anchored in our losses we are unable to entertain even the idea of new life. So deep is our grief that we cannot allow anything in because we cannot let anything go. Instead, we hang onto the tiny scraps of a previous life because that is where we last felt valued. We become nostalgic hoarders of a past that no longer, or maybe ever existed.

The loss I felt symbolized in this last election was acute and personal. I became physically ill from the act that reflected misogyny and oppression, the hatred and the fear. My personal glimpse into the Dark Abyss revealed the many faces of disrespect and devaluation of all things female. (You can read my personal story on this experience here.) My heartbreak and grief over the loss of the Divine Feminine has been crushing, as I know it has for many women. With the outcome of the presidential election this loss was resurrected, sharp and deep, and with it all the accumulated anger and despair of not feeling truly seen.

Though our darkest attitudes and behaviors have been unmistakably exposed during this election, I have also been greatly inspired by the stories by women, no longer willing to keep silent, who have courageously come forth with their personal accounts of abuse and recovery. I am encouraged by the desire to reach out and support each other, and by the dialog, however difficult, that has been opened. I am beyond grateful for the male friend who called me after the election to see how I was doing, not only as a fellow citizen and friend, but to see how this event affected me as a woman. What a precious gift!

I’m also inspired to take right action, to actively do something to correct an injustice, for that is ultimately what our anger calls forth in us. I intend to spend more time listening to people of color and differing sexual orientations and of religious beliefs–and yes, differing political views. I seek to find places of commonality, where, though we have differing views and beliefs, we can agree and work together toward ensuring that all families will be safe and adequately fed and housed. I will work to see that we all worship and love and create with respect and without molestation.

So, what’s next? For many of us, the veil between our hopes and reality, between our ideals and what is, has been shredded leaving us with the stark reality of our shortcomings. For some, the feeling is, “Thanks for finally waking up.” Our work remains the same, however. We still have families to care for and communities to support. We have art to create and people to feed. We have injustices to correct and ignorance to educate. We have our stories to tell. We have love to demonstrate.

Here are a few things you can do right now to help heal the great wound of our grief:

Sit quietly with our own grief–truly value and respect all that you have lost.

Honestly examine that which no longer serves you. Honor and respect it until you are ready to let it go.

Comfort those who are grieving.

Offer a hug to someone every day.

Listen with compassion and understanding to your brothers and sisters of differing cultures, races, gender and religions without insisting they see things your way.


Ask for help when you need it.

Take time for joy, passion, beauty and play–they are essential to healing.

Anger demands action, it requires injustice to be corrected and boundaries to be restored. But before you act, ask yourself, “What is most needed here? Do I need to pick up a sword, a plowshare, or both?” 

Stand up for those who are disadvantaged, who don’t have a voice.

Make space for the deep emotions of others. NOTE: If you cannot be present with someone through their expression of deep feelings and you find yourself offering unsolicited advice, it may be a signal that you have healing to do with your own unexpressed emotions.

As we learn to move artfully with our grief we can then come to respect and honor the loss of others. We can search the ashes of our experience to find what is truly of value, which can sometimes seem pitifully small. Take heart, what remains will be just enough to bring forth a creation that is rich and meaningful. Together we will find how to use our anger, grief and fear to beat the sword of oppression into the tools that will feed our world for generations to come.

With Love and Grace,


Look for more on the season of Fall and how to more artfully move through the emotion of grief in my upcoming book Soul of the Seasons. To pre-order Soul of the Seasons: click here.


When Enough Is Enough

Fire spread2

Honestly, I felt I had gotten past my wounds of being sexually assaulted all those years ago. Really, I did. Today I found myself weeping again over the loss of dignity and honor of all who have suffered from sexual abuse. I wept for my own loss–for all our losses–because in tolerating these types of actions, it degrades and dishonors us all.

During this election cycle I’ve heard many, many reports from women all over the world who talk/blog/write about having flashbacks as a result of watching this abuser (you know the one, he’s running for the title of Leader of the Free World) not only commit sexual and verbal assault and get away with it, but to then laugh in our faces afterward.

Chew on this for a while: Nearly EVERY woman or girl you know has been on the receiving end of some sort of sexual abuse or assault. I’m not exaggerating. Don’t think so? Ask around. Ask your friends, your wives, your co-workers. Ask your sisters–your daughters. Ask your mother.

At age 11 I was groped by an uncle, at 13 I was assaulted by a family member, at age 15 a man exposed himself to me and two of my girlfriends on a lonely country road. At age 20 I was told by my parents I was a slut. Later I was sexually denigrated by both my exes during the course of our separate marriages. So…I know.

I will no longer sit by and remain silent.

Today I came across a post on social media that posed this question: Ladies: Would you rather spend a night of wild passionate sex with (a particular presidential candidate–I will NOT use his name)or take a razor to your eyes? I’m sure the author meant it to be funny but it was about as far from funny as you can get. Reading through the replies, I was stunned to find a number of women willing to choose the former, thinking the whole thing hilarious. The sad truth is, these are just the sort of choices many of us are left with in a culture that tolerates the “boys will be boys” mentality: We either have to smile and put up with it, or face the vicious backlash that results from speaking up. Women and people of color and gays have been “kept in our place” through threats of poverty, job loss, loss of our children, loss of shelter and loss of our dignity. .

When will enough be enough? When will sexual assault become unfunny to you?  When it happens to your daughter? Your girlfriend? Your wife? When will you speak up on another’s behalf?

I do not have all the answers here. Crawling out of the utter denigration and disrespect of the feminine will be long and painful. And, there is as much of an imbalance in women as in men. (Trust me when I tell you some of the most vicious attacks I have received on this subject have been from women.)

What we can do is to tell our stories. We can support each other. We can refuse to let someone travel through the aftermath of their assault alone. We can be a sacred witness–to truly hear those who have suffered from any sort of abuse, no matter their gender, race or sexual orientation. Let us no longer be bound together by our wounds but instead by our strength, our courage, and our voices.

Speak out!

So, I will promise you this:

I vow to speak up on behalf of those who have suffered the unspeakable, who have tolerated the intolerable.

I will not play nice.

I will not smile so you can feel more comfortable.

I will not keep silent to protect your wounds.

I will not laugh nervously to escape the backlash/assault that results from speaking up.

I will not dumb down to protect your fragile ego.

I will not shut the fuck up so you can assuage your guilt and continue on with your destruction of all things feminine.

I will NOT.