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From Pain to Purpose – An Adult Picture Book 

By Paul C Pritchard on Thursday October 15th, 2020

Image: Libby Perkins

Looking to Nature for Inspiration

Libby Perkins’ refreshing and honest account of her life in these times will bring a resonance with your own journey. She has created a gift for humanity. In writing, 108 Days 108 Ways – How I Save the World, we are taken on a mesmerising reflection of the human condition through the photos of animals in nature. It’s humorous, heartwarming, full of wisdom and above all faith restoring. It’s a delight, and yet, it asks the reader to go further, to reach a deeper sense of reconciliation with our inner and outer landscapes. In this interview, Libby ponders the creation and intention of this wonderful book. 

What is your prayer for the book and its invaluable messages?

My prayer is that people in uncertain times may find an anchor and a place of connection through the unique collage of words and images. The book means different things to different people. Some people are inspired to spend more time in nature and say that this one thing has been profoundly impactful. Others have been inspired to establish a creative quest, to pray more, to embrace ritual and ancient practices such as yoga, to explore new ways to self care, to foster supportive relationships and to seek assistance from health practitioners. 

The animal photography and pictorial book format acknowledge and express the inner child, who is often feeling overwhelmed and confused during big times of change. The words and story are more from, and for, the adult self, and include imprints and reminders from and for the higher aspects who know and drive alchemical possibilities in all of our lives.  When I witness someone move through hard times and become a better version of themself, it inspires me. Observing triumph over adversity is a powerful medicine that can activate a similar momentum in others to rise up into the new. Since ancient times, myths and stories contain transmissions that activate the impossible to become possible. 

Do you have to be in a healing crisis or have something going on to enjoy the book?

I wrote this book at an intense time in my life when I needed an outlet of expression to make sense of, navigate and transform my own personal healing crisis. It was a sadhana (spiritual practice) prescribed to me by my teacher Uma who said to me “This story must be told”. I trusted her wisdom and direction, and in truth writing this book most probably saved my life. It was birthed with a very clear intention to support others as I support myself. However, as with all creativity, I whole-heartedly believe this book has its own intelligence and soul, and that it will find those who it may serve in ways that are beyond my own comprehension. 

Alt text here“The person I am with forever is me. The relationship with myself is eternal so I choose to be my own best friend.” – Unknown

Often when I am overwhelmed or in a healing crisis I just can’t bring myself to read. I don’t have the capacity to process information. Your book, in its simplicity and depth, bypasses the highly stimulating cognitive processes and yet offers the sweetest subliminal inspirations and nourishment. Comment …

I have always always loved animals, and I can only assume that as I practiced expressing my truth within a spiritual container this marriage happened between my adult story-telling self and my very essential child-like nature. It was as though they secretly collaborated in a way that even for me, the writer, was a mystery unfolding before my eyes onto the pages. I spent thousands upon thousands of hours pouring over photographs of animals in the natural world and it was as though something guided me to select certain images and match up words to tell my story. 

I have no doubt there were unseeable forces hearing my prayers and guiding me. I believe this quality of magic is transmitted through the book to others in a way that is beyond explanation or logic, and as you say, “bypasses the highly stimulating cognitive process”. 108 Days 108 Ways offers inspiration more than theoretical information and instructions.

What’s the significance with 108? 

108 is an auspicious number that is believed to harness magical and mystical forces. It is a prominent number from the Vedas (and other ancient scriptures) and represents the wholeness of existance.108 is denoted in sacred geometry as a powerful number, for its multifaceted multiplication and division patterns. It also connects the Sun, Moon and Earth because the average distance between these formations is 108 times their respective diameters. In Ayurvedic medicine there are108 points on the physical human form that are said to connect with consciousness and provide portals for healing. Plus, in some parts of India the emergency telephone number is also 108! In truth, the number 108 and the title of this book, (like with the animal images and words), really just arrived in me one day while I was living in Bali practicing a lot of yoga, and so I followed the creative inspiration. There are other fascinating references to the significance of 108 across different cultures and philosophies noted in the book. 

Why is our resonance with nature and other creatures on this planet so soothing and often so healing?

I experience myself as an animal on the earth. An organism on the earth. My senses are designed by nature, to experience nature. It feels ‘right’ to be in nature because I was designed to be in nature. Everything I require to live is part of nature. Everything in nature is therefore in relationship with me. Nature is my home. I believe we resonate with nature and find her healing and soothing, because we are designed to. We are living in a modern world that tends to disconnect us in so many ways from that which we are born to be in relationship with. So when we do choose to connect with nature, we experience a ‘rightness’. Like with a mother and child, there is an interconnectedness, an essential reliance and there are codes that link us together. We are all children of nature because without what she provides we would not survive. What could be more soothing and healing than being in right relationship with that which sustains our very existence? In saying all of that, nature can also be activating, scary and destructive. The whole truth is that she is everything, just as we are, and so even in that there is a deep resonance.

Alt text hereIt feels ‘right’ to be in nature because I was designed to be in nature.

What are some of the most nourishing and simple things that we can do in nature that are free?

I heard this adage once “fit and free” and remember thinking “wow! I really like that!”. I feel a certain satiation when I choose activities that cost no money and keep my body, mind and spirit feeling fit and well.  I personally haven’t found anything more effective than nature that fits this description. It changes day to day what is most nourishing and simple for me. Some days I need to walk slowly, left-right, left-right, consciously using my time in nature to slow down and ground, as a meditation of sorts. As my senses reconnect with her codes very organically I begin to remember more equilibrium. Other days I may feel sad and just need to lay on the earth somewhere quiet, or sit beside water, curl up, pray, cry, stroke my skin, breath in the smells, notice the sounds. Wisdom comes to me in these times when I sit quietly in nature, answers to my questions arrive, creative ideas flow, this is a different kind of nourishment. If I am angry I may run like a wild beast along a forest trail and scream out to the sky, until my breath can’t keep up with me. Or I might light a fire and offer leaves, sticks and other natural objects to the flames to let go of and burn through the barriers I feel inside. Personally when I am angry sitting alone with a fire seems to alchemise so much. 

I believe the more time we spend in nature the more attuned we become to the elemental combinations each of us uniquely need day by day to bring about more inner balance and harmony. I like to walk the same forest trail most days, over the months and years something begins to feel bonded and the whole landscape begins to show me her secrets. Observing the same tree in different seasons for years, can, in and of itself, tell so many stories. Of course visiting new places brings a different kind of delight that can nourish and sooth in a more adventurous way. It’s really just about getting into nature and following the body’s signals I guess. Then there are times venturing out is not possible for whatever reason, so taking a few minutes to notice the sky or a tree through the window can still very much nourish and soothe the senses and rest the mind. Being with a family pet, a friend, or partner, on a chair  or rug in the backyard, in the sunshine can also feel deeply enriching. I also love to watch my shadows in nature. I love seeing my shadow dance and move amidst the many forms that surround me. Something about watching my shadow move with me in nature mystifies me.

If you could go back in time and speak to young Libby, what age would you intervene and what would you say?

Oh gosh. I would intervene at conception and say “Babe, this is going to be one hell of a ride. When in doubt, go to nature.”

Do you think the book is a readable-meditation?

My immediate answer to this question is, “yes of course!”. Reading, focusing the senses and awareness onto one thing, one story, with the intention of greater alignment for sure qualifies as meditation. The content in this book is written to foster remembrance of deeper truths which is also a trait of meditation. 108 Days 108 Ways was written in Bali, on a pilgrimage, as an assigned sadhana from my teacher, within a sangha. I was practicing yoga each day, embracing Ayurvedic lifestyle principles, and I had a strong prayer for wellness and to serve others. I am not perfect, I am imperfectly human, but I know the integrity I was holding during this time of writing and my greatest desire is that this book will align those who read it in some way with an inner and outer power, and also with nature: Each of these qualities also overlap with the theme of meditation. 

What’s your current favourite picture in the book? 

Hmmmm? This question is like asking me if I have a favourite child! My Mum really didn’t like that question. She would always say in response to it,  “I love you all differently but equally”. It’s a bit the same for me with the images in this book. I spent years writing and editing this one piece of work, all the while with these animal friends staring back at me, ushering me on. We have become like a book family of sorts. But if I had to say right here and now, P206 the photograph of the blue-tongued giraffe licking a tree would be my pick. Because it illustrates just how much I love trees and nature. Just like being in nature, the images resonate differently each moment and day depending on what is alive inside.  

Alt text hereThe Blue-tongued Giraffe illustrates just how much I love trees and nature.

Your book raises awareness around self-care and a deeper awareness of this mysterious web of life that we are a magical part of. How can people who feel separate and disconnected move forward?

Setting a sankalpa/intention and establishing a creative quest for myself was an essential key to moving through my own deep and challenging transition time. In life I oscillate between moments of feeling disconnected and also connected (which is human). However, even when I feel disconnected I still hold some power. I hold power to choose to move in ways that reconnect me (or I can choose not to). Setting quests helps me to make a contract with myself, to commit to choices that increase my likelihood for connection. Quests can be anything. It could be to cook a new recipe each night for a month from my favourite food blog. It could be skateboarding to work for the summer instead of taking the car. It could be watching the sunrise each day for the duration of a holiday; or lighting a candle each night at the dinner table and saying thankyou for the food. The connection can exist in relationship to the quest, no matter what it is. There are as many paths as people and infinite options are here. 

I am a fan of questing, especially in tough times, because I have personally seen the greatest transformation in my own life has come from this approach. As the days roll on, questing becomes a valuable point of reflection, a relationship forms between the quest and questor, it becomes a mirror, and in that alone, there is a sense of connection. Taking small healthful actions for a designated period of time (and staying with it) also builds a sense of self respect, integrity and strength, plus it has a forward focus so it draws us towards the outcomes we desire. If there are lapses in the commitment (which can be very natural) this too can become a point of connection, through enquiry, self forgiveness and the willingness to get back on the horse and resume the mission. Questing can involve the smallest gesture each day, however, if it is aligned with and fuelled by a wholesome intention, I believe it alerts us to something inherent inside that feels good, worthy and well orientated to our personal purpose and place. 

You are not accidental. Existence needs you. Without you, something will be missing in existence. And nobody else can replace it. That’s what gives you dignity. That the whole of existence will miss you. The stars and the sun and the moon. The trees and the birds and the earth. Everything in the universe will feel a small place vacant which cannot be filled by anybody except for you. — Osho

Libby Perkins has generously kept the book price low, at only AU$10.80 (US$7.75) it’s a luxurious bargain. In its digital PDF format it’s the perfect gift to have close at hand on various devices. A beautiful gift collection hardcopy is also available. Here is a link to a free preview … https://108days108ways.com/book-sample 

~

How does nature soothe your mind, body and soul?

Naturally, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

Much love Paul and Team UPLIFT

How do you feel about this article? Join the conversation.

 

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14 Responses to From Pain to Purpose – An Adult Picture Book 

  1. I would love to have a hard copy of your book (or several!). I cannot find any source for ordering. Please advise, barb

  2. I immensely enjoyed Libby’s thoughts and words, which I feel very connected to so much that I decided to email her directly to express my feelings. I found tremendous serendipity in her work because I just completed the second draft of my new book “Emails to myself – Suggestions for a Good Life, which is a compilation of emails I sent to myself with powerful thoughts that froze me in my track while walking in nature. To wrap it up, I also lived in Byron for two years, and in an A-frame house in Billinudgel that had a python living in the attic. How’s that for signs from the Universe? This is a woman that is a gift to humanity for the strength she is showing by sharing her powerful wisdom with all of us.
    Pay attention People of the Earth, these events are rare.
    Paul keep up the wonderful work, I love your newsletters.
    Bodhi from New York City

    • Hi there Bodhi from New York City 🙂

      Thankyou for your kind words.

      In some ways its such a small world right?! Sounds like there are some real synchronicities in this sharing of our creativity.

      Wishing you good things for your own book and thankyou for taking the time to express your appreciation.

      I will look out of your email.

  3. Dear uplift family!

    I wrote something 2 years ago when I was very sad. I will send it to you and you may publish it, if you like…

    It’s called “Consolation of the night”

    Nature is alive and wraps us in her loving wings in wind, water, sunrays, moonshine… We have to connect and will be healed…

  4. Wonderful article, thank you. One of my greatest sources of inspiration (awe, mystery, and wonder) in Nature is the Cottonwood Tree Stars. If you Google this, you will find lots of information and pictures about it. Cutting the fallen twigs at the right spot reveals the stars. One of my hobbies is doing this and giving them to people, who, as one 8 year old girl said, “This is another one of those miracles of Nature, isn’t it?” People learn best when they are motivated from within. My sense is that if people get in touch with the awe, mystery, and wonder of Nature, then the Earth will be treated more respectfully because they will be motivated from within to do so.

    • Hi Ellen. Its lovely to read that you enjoyed the article. Thankyou. I looked up the Cottonwood Tree Stars as you suggested. WOW! How delightful to see parts of the galaxy reflected deep inside the branches of trees. Somehow this exactly resonates with the very essence of the book. I agree that when we become in awe of nature we are inherently moved to respect and protect her.

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