by Deborah Bartello

In sitting down to write an article for Perelandra Voices, I quickly became stymied over exactly which aspect to focus on. This left me feeling that perhaps the best thing was to try to clearly convey how much a part of my whole life nature has become.

Prior to beginning work with Machaelle in the summer of 1988, Nature was an integral part of me, but in a somewhat removed and hazy way. Nature was nature. I loved it, walked in it, enjoyed it and was soothed by it. But I hadn't yet connected with it as a viable consciousness from which I could directly learn and with which I could speak and actually co-create. I hadn't yet opened myself to the possibility of building that bridge between Nature and myself. After attending all the workshops (some more than once) at Perelandra, the idea of this co-creative reality began to spawn. I decided to run my first test with a garden. This may sound simple to most people, but I am not an educated gardener. I am an artist (I realize these are not mutually exclusive). Although I could easily draw out and design the garden, I was at a loss when it came to the actual technical side of things. This is where I had to rely totally on devas and Pan. I am, however, very skilled at seeing and listening to energy. I am also very good at following instruction when I don't know what on earth I am doing! So, lo and behold, I (or rather we) did manage to create a rather extraordinary little energy/herb/rose garden about which I felt pleased and proud!

Around the same time, I began to experiment with coning in my artwork. I am a visionary artist, and the idea of stabilizing the intensity of the energies with which I work was very appealing and appropriate. I hadn't realized, until I started coning, just how lopsided I had actually been all these years; and what it cost me in terms of my health and balance to try to maintain some kind of equilibrium without incorporating Nature. Needless to say, it was a godsend that marked a definite change in my work and how people received it. Since then, I have also incorporated the coning procedure into all the healing work I do — and with some very profound results. My husband and I teach workshops in spiritual development and the feedback we've received over the past four years is that our work is more "grounded" than most. The effects that Nature has had regarding that are very obvious to me.

Also around this time, I began working with MAP after hearing Machaelle talk about this process. The results on subtle levels, especially in the beginning, were strong and profound as time went on. After about nine months of steady MAP practice, I had a deep feeling that my entire system had been cleansed, re-organized and was now "fused in" to a higher and more easily attunable frequency. Perhaps I should define exactly what I mean by that, but I think that all of you who use MAP know what I mean. It's that aspect of it which you know deep inside is making a major difference, when on the outside it might just look like "this or that." And for sure, there have been too many bigger and smaller "miracles" which MAP has come through with in times of crisis. Suffice to say that I feel privileged and grateful to have my own private medical team that has shown its devotion to me in more ways than I can describe. This has grown into a very, very loving relationship and one upon which I know I can depend anytime anywhere.

In addition, over the course of these years, I have worked very closely with the flower essences and they have helped me release, expand and integrate my movement on all levels. I feel strongly that all the pieces add to one another, and enhance the orchestration of the whole in a very beautiful and healing way. As with all of this work, there is no limit to the extent of support provided. The only limit is the boundaries that we, through the limited thinking of our minds, place upon it.

By this time, July, 1992, I can look back over the years and see the steady and strong development of my own growth with the inclusion of all that Perelandra opened to me several years ago. My relationship with Nature is a very direct and active one and has become so integrated in my daily living that it's no longer something I need to work on in any way. Nature has shown me without question that it supports me and desires to continue to do so as long as I am receptive. In turn, I am more conscious and more honoring and respectful of Nature, and seek to always learn from her rather than simply being a "talker." I recognize clearly that I am not the "greater intelligence" here (what a joke) and that mutual respect, love, awareness, and receptivity to learn how it really is (rather than how we've been conditioned) is much of what co-creation is based on.

If any of you were inside my head, you might be amused at my conversations. If there is a situation where I think a coning can help, you'll hear me setting one up. That could be a trip to the dentist, an important meeting, a healing session with someone, a piece of artwork I'm working on, going to the printer to make sure the job is done right, asking the deva of our business what direction to go in, a "therapy" session for myself, setting up a workshop, cleansing the house and property, balancing my emotions, doing MAP, and, of course, working in the garden! (Obviously I do my shopping myself!) So, I think you get the point. It's certainly not just about gardening. I've learned that it's really more about recognizing that Nature is part of all of me and that I can (and need to) consciously integrate this intelligence into all aspects of my life. Co-creating with care and sensitivity is simply the flow of life moving the way it was originally designed.