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Earthed by Rebecca Schiller - Book Review

Earthed by Rebecca Schiller.

To be clear before I begin this book review. This book was gifted to me by the publisher Elliot and Thompson. I’m not being paid to review the book, that’s my choice, and the review is my own.

I knew this book was something I would enjoy as soon as I read the blurb and saw Rebecca’s work with @birthrightsorg and @motherswhowrite.

I finished the book some time ago, but it stayed with me and took time for me to digest how I would talk about it.

On the surface this book is about a family moving to a simpler life on a smallholding, but don’t expect inside knowledge on how to grow your veggies. It’s a beautifully written and woven story of unravelling and gathering those threads back up.

After Rebecca moves to the smallholding she receives a momentous diagnosis that changes, but also helps her move on with her life. At both the same time, the small holding brings peace and grounding, but endless jobs and failures to add to the neverending to do list.

Although Rebecca’s life is very different from my own, I felt a real affinity for many parts of the book. Rebecca heads on wonderful rabbit holes connecting her to the land she has become custodian of. This is something I do often, one thing leading to another in an endless thread of connections. It can be energising and inspiring, but also exhausting. Particularly making sense and clarity of what you’ve found. Many of Rebecca’s threads lead her back to women's voices that have been forgotten. As a mum to three girls myself, I can really understand that need to connect with women and mothers of the past. Gaining strength and wisdom that we are not alone. Women have been providing and caring for their families for centuries, but most of their stories are unwritten. Maybe those women were also chasing threads of connection, but were unable to gather them, or just didn’t have the time. Rebecca writes those stories for some of the women that also stood where she has. This resonates with my own journey of being a mum and beginning nature journaling as a way to better connect with a place that can sometimes feel stifling. Finding my own connections to those gone before us by using the Celtic Wheel of the year to guide me across the seasons and cycles.

Some parts of the book are difficult to read, Rebecca doesn’t hold back on expressing her despair at times. Her diagnosis could be any of hundreds of conditions or mental health issues affecting women and mothers. She uses the land, its stories and connections to heal and ground herself. We are often ‘doing’ in this busy life of ours, being productive. Our eyes the commodity most wanted.

But I think we’ve forgotten how healing doing something with our hands can be. Busy hands for me give my mind a rest, stop my mind racing at a million miles an hour. Busy hands outdoors in nature, touching the soil, gathering food that’s a productivity that should be recommended.

Thank you Rebecca for such an honest and engaging read that left me questioning my own habits and coping mechanisms, but also for your beautiful description of your connection to your land and those that tended it before you. I can’t wait to get my hands on your new book.

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