Here are a few things you have said about Trackways........
"Ten out of ten for your courses" Anne Marie, Singer & Mother.
"Your courses and all that you share have been of profound importance to us"
Nicky Environmental Consultant.
Really miss 'your' woods, the campfires and the Sunday night feeling that the world will never be the same. Steve Tetlow.
I am still deeply touched by the experience I had last year. I have been meaning to give you feedback. So here goes. Having been passionate about nature awareness for nearly 15 years (and teaching it!) I was and still am blown away at how much more there is to be aware of. And the sense I am still scratching the surface. Most of all even more than this was the joy of watching my daughter being at home in the camp and woods, at 3.5 years old.
Generally I was amazed at the amount of activities on offer, the enthusiasm and skills of the helpers. How the camp seemed to function so smoothly. I felt a strong semse of support and community holding the camp. I loved that the children seemed to mostly become all our children.
On my way home I could feel so much more - as if my senses were magnified. I was also extremely happy. I have truly learned this weekend how the Great Spirit has communicated with me in a very personal way. Such a wonderful experience.
I am so looking forward to being with you, and my dear friends again in a few weeks time.
What a great weekend that was. It is etched deep into the memory. Simon Fullalove.
Really enjoyed the children?s camp and I appreciate the hard work which went into its organisation and the contribution the helpers made. The kitchen worked really well and when I finally got up the courage to use the shower, it was lovely.
A brief note to express my thanks for the enthusiasm for life that you shared with us this weekend. As I said at camp, the word inspirational is all too often used today without any emphasis on what that actually means. However, inspired and empowered is how I feel after the time I spent with you, the helpers and my fellow students (although we are all students at one level or another!). Paul Webster.
Seriously I owe it all to you and Trackways that I've found what I belive to be my path for the second half of my life. Graham Hunt.
Dear Thomas, Just to say thanks again for the wild craft survival course, I had a very rewarding time with a really lovely group of people. Louise Brookes.
Thank you Thomas for this comprehensive and well structured video material. After joining the "Wild Craft Survival Skills" Trackways course the videos on Udemy have helped me to integrate the different basic aspects of bushcraft. As you recommend it I have started to experiment with these ancient techniques and so far everything I have tried is effective and beneficial, guiding me towards a more holistic understanding of nature. Especially the detailed corrections on the fire making processes which have helped me to learn from my mistakes instead of giving up after a few attempts. Your teachings cultivate a positive attitude and an understanding of the principles of bushcraft which I find highly inspiring. I can definitely recommend this course to everyone interested in bushcraft.
Since attending my first Trackways course last summer I have really notice the effect it has had on my life.
Each thing, each piece of knowledge taken away has been laid down or should I say reawakened in my mind and has changed my view of the world around me, making me appreciate the little things more. Until I noticed many of them, I had no idea of the wealth of knowledge that passed me by. After the first course, primitive survival, Thomas said ?be careful when you go back out there, you will have quite a culture shock? and he was right. On leaving the woods, woods that had been my home for only three days??it made me realise how far I had been in those three days and that made me excited. Each course I have done (its four now) has had something different to offer, sometimes the lessons learned have been uncomfortable and I have resisted but I know now that if it has been uncomfortable it has been a lesson worth learning. One thing all the courses have had in common have been that I never quite know what to expect, I gave up trying to guess and I try to stay in a childlike space of surrender and allow myself to be blown along by the breeze that blows through all Thomas? courses. I have given up trying to find out exactly where I am going to land. I hope I never quite find out and that will mean that I am still evolving and growing. The courses have all left me with an increased love for this world of ours and have stoked my passion for her and a desire to look after her.
The work I have done with Thomas speaks to me in a way that nothing else has, it has revealed glimpses of a far larger world and it is a world that I want to know more about.
The more time I have spent in and around this work the more exiting it gets, I meet more people who think in the same way and are trying to follow their hearts and it becomes clearer and clearer, I know it is possible to change the way we live and stop destroying our selves and our planet.
In the Summer our family went on a family camping weekend run by a chap called Thomas Schorr-kon, a student of Tom Brown Jr. I had been introduced to the idea by a chap I have met through my business consultancy work. An ex senior manager at British Telecom, and the last person I would have guessed would be into this kind of stuff. Shows what I know.
As we got to know one another we both began to let drop little things about our respective practices. It turned out that he has been learning from Tom Brown Jr. for a number of years and regularly helps in running courses when various shaman from North and South America visit this country. It is amazing the people one bumps into if you just keep your eyes and ears open Smile. I have been thinking for some time about how to get my wife and kids even vaguely involved/interested in things of s spiritual nature. I guess my intention became strong enough for me to pay attention when Dave mentioned this camp. However, even when I looked at it on the website www.trackways.co.uk I didn't really understand how close to what I had been looking for it would prove to be.
The camp was run in one sense at a very practical level - classes on tracking, stalking, bird language, flint napping. The kids loved it. They got to do things in a herd without mum and dad. They got to mix and mix-it with kids of their own age, and I got a chance to see them learning experientially both the overtly taught skills and those that come with having to get along with people. Judy also enjoyed a lot of this stuff. We had a chance to join in fire stalks and smear one another with charcoal from the fire to blend in with the night. We had a chance to go for a walk and create a song-line on the way out so we could recreate our journey by re-singing the song (an aboriginal practice).
And there was a whole lot of other stuff going on at another level. The instructors talked overtly about a philosophy that held many elements I understood - the importance of thanksgiving, levels of reality/experience (the living dead, the spirit-that-moves-among-all-things, the world of spirit, the void), the power of the mind. They talked about rituals that had significance in themselves and that were also a gateway to other aspects of experience.
They also talked about things I have been hovering around understanding in a way that gave me an additional glimpse of these things - widening ones sensory perception, holding balance between wide-angle vision and focus, the power of envisioning, respect.
I am being very general in a way. I could also be very specific like how my chi kung practice helped me join into dance sessions in a way I have never managed before - dancing with trees and sharing the lead Smile - at least never without large quantities of alcohol. About their notion of the art of invisibility in nature. About "fox-walking". About making a necklace for my wife (even one that other people have admired) out of things in the woods. Maybe I will get time to write about some of this stuff in the future.
What I decided to write about was my first experience of a sweat lodge. At about four o'clock one afternoon the process began. The people who wanted to participate were asked to gather wood for a ceremonial fire and large stones and rocks to be used to heat the sweat lodge. I went off with a wheelbarrow to collect some rocks from a nearby quarry. What I didn't fully realize was how long and craftily steep the path was down to the quarry. I loaded up the barrow so that it was comfortably heavy but that I could still push despite the flat tyre. I then got back to the long (3/4 mile) uphill drag. As I began to push it up I realized it would take me forever. Lately, I have been experimenting with a phrase "If I really believed in this stuff what would I do". I thought of envisioning and how Thomas had had experiences of making things true and his encouragement to experiment with this stuff. So, I did. Instead of making it an uphill push I made it a downhill push and happily pushed my barrow back down the hill to the camp.
As dark began to descend the ceremonial fire was lit. We were encouraged to pick out stones and charge them with the idea of things we would like to take into the lodge with us. All kinds of things went in - love, freedom, compassion, birds tweeting and teddy bears (well it was a family camp). There were various rituals to be observed. At one level I could see their manifest value and at another level I experienced the mindfulness they encouraged as I remembered not to cross certain lines and walk in certain directions in order to respect both my hosts and the spirits they were calling in.
Finally, nakedness and entering the furnace. Imagine if you can a small domed tent. About five feet high in the center and 10 feet in diameter. Completely sealed around the floor and door opening with dirt and blankets. No light or air from outside. In the middle a large pit to contain the red-hot stones brought from the fire outside and, just to add a little spice, an old fashioned stove built up inside so parts of the metal glowed red-hot. Around the pit there was a gap of about 2-3 feet around which one could just about squeeze. Now put about sixteen people in there, stumbling around in the semi-darkness. One tends to get fairly switched on to what you are doing for fear of tumbling into the pit or branding one's ass on the stove.
Oh joy, I got the position of honored guest. Which basically meant squeezed up behind the stove opposite the door, in the hottest part of the lodge. Then the water and leaves go on the stones and so the fun begins.
We were encouraged to be careful about what our intentions were going into the lodge, what we wished for etc. as "It will come true". I had been meditating on compassion so I hoped for both some deeper understanding of this and an improvement in the relationship with my wife. Well, they did both come true.
I could write for ages on the detail of what went on in the lodge - the rounds of calling in the spirits, prayers for ourselves, speaking from the heart and prayers for others, and releasing the spirits - the man who experienced his own panic at not being in control, the way the group energy helped him to stay and how he found a voice - the learning of gratitude for simple things as overwhelming thirst and heat exhaustion was eased by a small drop of water etc. I won't - but I would encourage anyone to give it a go Smile .
During the four hours spent in the lodge I came hard up against my own vulnerability as I lay naked in the dirt, gasping for air, hoping people would leave so I might stretch myself out a bit and ease my legs and back. How I desperately wanted to stay but had to resort at times to sticking my nose out of the bottom of the tent for a lungfull of air. How I like to think of myself as being able to provide a holding space for groups but could hardly bring myself to speak, let alone think about what to say or think about others welfare in there. And I touched compassion for myself and at the same time compassion for the people who find it so hard to stay in my groups and confront some of their demons. Quite a simple thing really but it made complete, direct sense to me at that moment as I struggled and accepted being Barry.
The relationship with my wife has improved through the simple expedient of being easier on myself and experiencing her as someone I love (and acting on it as well). Again a pretty simple thing and one I would like to have convinced myself I was doing before. And I believe I was, to the best of my ability. Maybe it was that my ability to do these things improved a bit.