Season 1, Episode 7:
Wildness, Wild Play and Uncharted Territory
Guest: Lily Horseman
Forest School Trainer
Hosted by: Marina Robb
Lily Horseman has been following the threads of play, nature, community, and connection through many different roles over the last 25 years. She came to work with children through Playwork and with marginalised families in the late 90’s.
Moving to the Wildlife Trust in 2022 to develop nature-based play projects and Local Authority play projects, alongside working in Early Years provision, Lily set up her business ‘Kindling Play and Training’ which she launched in 2009.
She also delivers community-based work through Stomping Ground CIC and EdenVentures.
Lily is also a Director and former Chair of the Forest School Association.
In this episode Marina and Lily talk about:
- Wildness, wild play and uncharted territory
- Risk and our comfort zone
- Does our culture value play?
- Our diminished roaming radius and outdoor life experiences
- Not giving up our WHY?
“The opposite of play is not work—the opposite of play is depression.” ― Brian Sutton-Smith
Music by Geoff Robb: www.geoffrobb.com
Related post on Lily's blog:
When did you last go to the edge of your comfort zone? (includes reference to Colin Mortlock)
Colin Mortlock describes a spectrum of ‘adventure states’ of increasing intensity. It starts with play that is well below a participant’s capacity, ranges through adventure and what Mortlock calls ‘frontier adventure’ – where participants are experiencing challenges close to their limits.
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(transcribed by AI so there maybe some small errors!)
Marina Robb: Hi, Lily Horseman I am so excited. Welcome to Wild Minds. I'm well, I'm delighted to have you here. And I always start with a bit of gratitude. And I know, you know about gratitude. And yes, I would like to start just by saying, I'm really grateful for dogs just been hearing your dog barking. And yeah, I lost my dog a few months ago, and I didn't realise how much I loved her. So I'm super grateful for dogs in my life, how about you? What are you grateful for what you're feeling grateful for?
Lily Horseman: Well, now I'm feeling grateful for dogs because I'm like, clearly because yeah, that's it's strong. I wasn't feeling grateful for dogs when they were barking whilst I was trying to, you know, get everything sounding good here. And, but also humans, I think at the minute because I've Yeah, just find myself in different contexts, lots of different ways working with extraordinary humans, different teams of people, different children, young people, as well, that I'm working with that. Yeah, I'm finding their company and their contribution to my thinking and life. Yeah, really good. Fun. Really good.
Marina Robb: That's lovely.
Lily Horseman: I think, particularly, yesterday was a 10. Top day in that it was very wet. And we had a lot of people and to be working with a team of humans that having taken down 10 laptops, at least, and then a number of dens to still be laughing and smiling and having fun together was yeah, one of those experiences where you go, yeah, these people aren't normal. It's brilliant. Like it?
Marina Robb: Does that mean they're not getting angry? Or what? What's making them special? I'm wondering, because when the rain comes down, it's a long day. It's windy, we've been there especially, you know, it has been quite a long winter. What? Yeah, what do you think it's keeping them? All? Right.
Lily Horseman: Yeah, that's a good question. And I think, I think, I think partly, I'm noticing a lot in the communities that I'm part of, so whether it's through work in particular, whether it's communities that involve children, young people, or communities of adults and teams, there's this sense of care for one another, and kind of, you know, the fact that all through the day, we've been checking in on each other, and, you know, somebody was just making sure I had cups of tea, and somebody else, you know, was just like taking chocolate around and you know, all of that, then that means by the end of the day, you're able to keep being a bit relentless, actually, when, when you could be depleted and, and I think that's where I find those sort of teams that we work with, where actually you don't deplete one another is, yeah, that's really valuable, isn't it?
Marina Robb: Yeah, it is. And I guess, when we think about as educators, but in our settings, I know we spend most of our times teaching outdoors. And I wonder often how, how different it would be, to now be doing that indoors all the time. And, you know, the humans can deplete us or nourish us, or the setting can deplete us or nourish us as well. And the I guess I'm a great believer that the outdoors is, is nourishing, providing you've got those tarps so when you need it, right, right. Because it can be too much. I mean, I don't say I like coming home, I like my cup of tea. I like my toilet. But I can also be outdoors and dig a toilet, you know?
Lily Horseman: Sure. But I was just wondering whether that layer of potential for discomfort actually means that you look after each you're like, Okay, it's a really wet day. And we're really busy. And, you know, I know, we're all kind of going into this a little bit tired for one thing and another things that are going on in our lives. So then there's an anticipation that you need to take extra care. So it's almost like the potential negative things actually makes you work on the sort of care side of things a little bit more, which then if you're just in a room, nobody's if you're not working on that in the same way. I don't know. Other than also, I've worked in offices where people are, there are people who are nourishing others, but it'll just become a culture. It doesn't become a culture in the same way. You kind of have to create this culture of care, don't you?
Marina Robb: Well, yeah, I mean, maybe we'll get into it as the conversation goes on. But you know, I am wondering about that care being allowing in care saying yes, actually you asking for care and how, how that's not definitely not always been easy for me and it depends on who in It depends on the look they gave me or yeah, what I might be feeling whether I can also offer care or whatever. So yeah, so interesting thing.
Lily Horseman: Oh, but now I'm gonna have to write down lots of things like I'm just talking about reciprocity and the importance of that. I was also just thinking about like, being vulnerable and blah, blah, blah, like there's so like, yeah, opens up so easily, doesn't it?
Marina Robb: It does. And actually, one thing I'm really aware of, as I've been starting to have these conversations, my mind runs super fast, and I can jump, I can kind of go one minute, I'm in the woods, you know, setting up a site with you, and then I'm into, you know, vulnerability and mental health. So I've got to, I've got to slow down, I've got to slow down. I seriously need to slow down.
Lily Horseman: I'll just keep bringing people with you. It's fun. Oh,
Marina Robb: I hope the listeners say stay with me and with us. Let's, let's see. I guess they have freedom, right? We all have freedom. Oh, good. Should we go down that road?
I'm trying to do an intro, and my outro is about this idea of wildness. And I wonder. Does wildness mean anything to you? What do you think of when I say what does wildness mean to you? What are the kinds of thoughts that come up for you?
Lily Horseman: Yeah, it's a good question. So, some of the, my first and second and possibly my third flow, it's so my first thought I was thinking about federal nurse and wildness and kind of being without and kind of on the edge. And that sort of, I know, we've talked in the past about the lovely etymology of, of hags, and how, you know, that word, meaning the hedge rider and that edge, you know, that's kind of that wildness that is, without whatever, the village, the community, their society, and all of that sort of thing. So that that kind of edginess, but then I was also thinking, what's the opposite of wild? So that's kind of tame, isn't it?
Marina Robb: Which domesticated is the word I think of?
Lily Horseman: Is it Yes,
Marina Robb: it is.
Lily Horseman: Domesticated is like domestic, like that's of the house, isn't it? That's the etymology, the origins of it, you know, that kind of, of the home and things like that. So it's, is it about things that are beyond the home out of your, so then I'm thinking about being out of your comfort zone, you know, that kind of that stretch, and that kind of being away from the things that make it easy, you know, the toilet, the cattle, you know, that kind of edge edginess there as well.
Marina Robb: But the weird thing about that, though, is that wildness, feels like, oh, it's uncomfortable, maybe untamed. And yet, the more you go into that, the normal mode, more normal, it can feel, and therefore it doesn't feel so uncomfortable anymore. So, so I don't know, whether for me wildness is just it is it doesn't feel the uncomfortable in a way it feels like, perhaps it's the normal? I don't yet know, I'm trying to figure it out. Is wild? Is our wildness a better description of the fullness of who we are? Or yeah, or is it not? And I think domestication, actually when I think of it, because we can actually we can see each other while we're talking. And I often think a form of domestication could be, you know, almost neatly dressed, I'm pack I have a kind of, you know, like, no one knows what we're wearing.
Lily Horseman: I brushed this bit of my foot. What is that? Is that is that sort of not? Not necessarily seeing that as being the most important thing as well. Yes, actually, to turn up and be here and be connected. The most important thing isn't that we've both taken a lot of time over the how we present ourselves, visually or domestically in that way. But actually, it's about you know, that quality of connection, that quality of, of kind of curiosity, and all of those sorts of things that I think the wild creates for me. So finding that place where I can be really curious and excited and challenged and all of those things, being out of your comfort zone not being a bad thing in that way, you know, like being uncomfortable and being out of your comfort zone aren't necessarily the same thing. Is that kind of, you know, talking about that sort of stretch rather than just sitting with the kind of how it is and accepting that as well. So I think there's something in in that about wildness which He's about just not accepting what you've given what you've been kind of presented with going to actually do. You know, there's another way of doing that, and untamed way of doing that.
Marina Robb: Yeah, there's an Uncharted, like an unexplored way of doing things that are fitting that exists and may offer us different ways of looking different experiences that really, really may benefit us. And if we stay, let's say, within the four walls of our minds, our understandings the way we have been brought up, then we can, the potential is we never get to see or experience those other things. But there is a risk, of course, isn't there?
Lily Horseman: What happens when you go too far out of that comfort zone? And you know, I'm just thinking about it was his faces Mortlock top, he has this model where you look at those different stretch zones, and then that sort of panic and panic, right. That's it? That's a nature word, isn't it?
Marina Robb: What does it mean?
Lily Horseman: It's from? Well, it's connected to pan, you know, the god. Yeah, that's interesting, isn't it? That, that, that sort of beyond the, so we've got our comfort zone, we've got our challenges own, and then we've got this kind of fear and panic. But even that, you know, that panic is kind of connected to wildness in some way that etymologically, like the word root of it is around pan and the sort of the other. And I think that's maybe what wildness is about, sort of the other, not the, you know, it's the kind of the thing that's beyond the thing that's out there. And the thing that's mysterious in some way.
Marina Robb: It was nice that you reminded me of it, of that conversation, that image of being a kind of edge walk or hedge Walker, or, you know, because I just now when he was speaking, I had an image of me kind of, like, on an edge, but kind of popping myself over a hedge. And like looking beyond not quite going there. But kind of looking beyond kind of that curiosity, like, Could I go beyond there? Or is this, I'm still out, I'm still on an edge. I'm not like right around the fire hanging out with my mates, I'm, but who's out there with me and this kind of curiosity, but also this feeling in me, of really needing to be tethered back to that fire, or that that home as well, like, I don't feel if you go, there's a sense, if you go too far, let's say wild, then it feels like it would be too scary as you say panic, but I would feel scared. And so this idea of being tethered, feels quite important. And that makes me think about attachment, you know, that we do? Need I and I think all humans, we also need to feel a sense of home, a sense of place, a sense of attachment. From little being a little child as well as being an adult. Because yeah, because otherwise, it's too scary. It sets us into that panic and disconnect. So it's an interesting subject, isn't it? Well,
Lily Horseman: it is. It's fascinating, isn't it? And I was thinking about that attachment and implies community and you know, the kind of the way you're explaining it as being around the hearth or out of the out of the edge, and all of that sort of thing. It's, yeah, but I think being able to transition from one place to another, and have a have a route out and a route back in is something that I'm finding really, really interesting in, in my life currently having kind of, you know, felt like I've been way too deep in the like, like I said before, working in offices and things like that, where I felt like, you know, this is gone, this has gone wrong somewhere, you know, this is I'm not, I'm not in my comfort zone right now. But then, if you go too far out of the edge and can't actually affect what's going on in the middle, you know, that you almost give up your say, if you go too far out of the URL, the there's a lot in that to unpack, I think but you know, just thinking about that idea of like, if you take yourself too far out of the community out of the society, then it's very hard to influence what's going on internally as well.
Marina Robb: So tell me a little bit about your work because I mean, I know that you're a forest school trainer, and I know a practitioner, and a community worker and you'll define yourself in in your way but but what's you also I think your history is very much steeped in play work. And I'd love to understand, well, a little bit of how you got into play work because it's not something I hear a lot of nowadays. Would you share a little bit about your God, that is? Yeah, yeah,
Lily Horseman: I was just thinking about the fact that you're saying it's not something you hear a lot of these days, I feel like it has been something that as a thread has kind of got woven into for a school quite a lot, like a lot of the play workers that I know, also have quite a lot of themselves in the forest school camp, not all, but some. And there was definitely a stronger movement. And anyway, going back 1010 years or so ago, I was part of a play team in a local authority that would there was over 20 of his in the team, you know, that's huge, really, you know, really impactful team of people. And we had researchers, and we had kind of, you know, like people working all different levels in that team, really extraordinary work. And, and there was a culture and a climate that funded that and valued that. And I think that's one of the things that I've noticed over the last 10 years, 1015 years, is that where that value has seemed to disappear, but actually Forest School as taking a place in the mainstream that that it didn't have previously, you know, I haven't experienced and I've had it before, and I don't know why I keep going back to it. But somebody said to me, Oh, what do you do? Because they were helping me load something into my van and you know, like, open the back door, and there's just a multitude of tools. Right? It creates a lot of questions.
Marina Robb: For our hours. Oh, yeah.
Lily Horseman: Yeah, it's a zombie apocalypse Survival Manual, you could do anything and go anywhere. But then somebody thought it was what do you do? And I said, Well, you know, I kind of work outdoors with children, young people, but I also train teachers and professionals who want to work with children and look at practice, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, tactical skill bum. Oh, what, like Forest School? I was like, yes, yes, yes, Forest School, you know, there is a shorthand now, which I'm still not fully used to.
And I should just say, I do Forest School. But yeah, I think maybe, because I've kind of come to that through the Play work route, and through that sort of lens. So and a lot of that was based around this sort of play culture of the, well, it came from the sort of junk playgrounds of the 50s and 60s, post war. And people were saying how children were able to play and create with, with, we're sort of the stuff that had been left behind by the sort of postwar deconstruction of wood and bricks and stuff laying around and children then building their own playgrounds from that. And then it we got into the 60s and 70s people taking that and creating a play work culture around it.
So how do adults act and react in order to support and create that environment? So that was, that was sort of the background of it. And then coming late, then into the 1990s, and 2000s, it became much more about how then do you take that culture and drop it into places. So a lot of the work that we did was in the Play team was taking place to different communities and different places. And so for me, Forest School is just an maybe honing that to a particular environment that I we were talking about earlier, and I find nourishes me. So it's where I can meet my love of being in nature, with my love of play, that play in nature and nature of play. The two things can be together and, and coincide together and look for ways of doing that. So and it's interesting for me looking at how play is represented in Forest School. And there's a lot in there about child centred and child initiated and play and choice. And there's so much kind of subtlety in that that I think, still needs interrogating, I think, by the Forest School community.
Marina Robb: Absolutely. But before we go there, I I'm really fascinated by history and how things come round and round, you know, and what do we learn from that? I mean, even you mentioning that 10 years ago, our local authorities in some areas, had 20 playworkers. And even before that, you know, you're going out into communities that makes me think of access and the power of that, you know, people can accessing those experiences in their communities where they live. So that's got that going on in my brain. I'm wondering about how valuable that is. And then I've got this thing going on about my own life. I mean, I was born in 1969. And, and I and I lived in sort of outside of London, and that's what I remember is being told, we're not even being told, you know, just we just go to what we call the wreck. And okay, so it's not the 50s and 60s, but it's the wreck and it was I can just remember Yeah, junk apart from this, which is weird. All thing, you know is that we would spin on it. I'm sure it was half broken. And, you know, we would play. We didn't have any adults there. But I, you know, I kind of think, gosh, so we've, as children, we were left to our own devices. And you know, we were out there doing our thing. And I don't know that Forest School is doing that. I mean, that's another question. But what's so what? What is the thinking, I guess, of play work? Because I think there's so much to discover in in, in this in the thinking and the wisdom of both the practitioners that are withholding those spaces for those young people and the spaces.
Lily Horseman: Yeah, I think it's interesting that you've identified those two things, because play work. I mean, obviously play, children can do that. They don't need adults to do that. But they're fully capable, fully able. However, there are many different societal and physical things that stop them from doing that. And so play work then is about trying to remove those, those barriers for children to play. Because whether that's about the fact that now? Well, there's that bit of research, which I'm sure you've come across, which looks at generational roaming zones, and it was done quite a while ago. In fact, just going back to it was 15 years ago that I was in the local authority and realising that time passes. Still, yeah. We so and it was around that time, I remember reading this research, and they were looking at different generations. So there was a grandfather of a, of a child who was about eight at that time. And his roaming zone was, he could go down to the reservoirs to fish and that was sort of a couple of miles away. And then what not just that is the journey there on his own in between. And then his daughter, the mother of this particular child in this study, I think could go down to the swimming baths, which was maybe you know, 800 kilometre. No, that's not 100 kilometres we'll be waiting for. Like,
Marina Robb: it'd be adventurous Wow.
Lily Horseman: This actually could go to the swimming baths, it was, you know, a short bus ride away, so And she's got that that roaming zone. And then the child who was then a child in the sort of, I think this study was around the mid early 2000s, and could go to the end of the street. And actually, now, can that child, the son or daughter of that child? Can they leave their garden? Can they leave their bedroom, and that's, there's something about the diminishing of experience that children can access by themselves, that is real life experience, children and accessing a lot of really interesting and varied stuff. But it's often through screens and through tech, but actually that tangible, real life, outdoor experiences is diminished a lot. So that's why we're then I think, as also as a culture and a society looking for ways to replace that, like, what do we do instead? And I think that's, you know, I'm sure that's one of the reasons why Forest School has gained so much traction, because it's got this. The story about children having that free access to nature, but then, like you say, is also with an adult supervising, which is very different from how you played as a child and how I played with a child and isn't better or worse, it's just different. And I think the other interesting thing to notice is that there are still children who are playing out and it is normal. And the part of a cooperative of practitioners and some of my colleagues are working on housing estates locally here doing work, like we used to do 15 years ago, and just turning up to parks and recs and supporting and spending time with the children. They're extending their play that they already do, they already play out. But they're meeting them there. And, and there's also at their end, trying to make sure that the play is seen as something that's not antisocial. I mean, that's one of the other things is that children playing out, it can often be perceived as antisocial behaviour, if you look at it from the outside, so again, it's like how do we counter some of those narratives? Yeah, it's, it's really interesting, isn't it? Well,
Marina Robb: well, I was just wondering why I'm still stuck because I I'm always interested in the ground grass roots level, but also policy, you know, because they're not they're not exclusive. And so what was going on? Do you think in a local authority that was going yeah, this is valuable. What was the mindset of that? Because there's so little investment now in that in really that freedom and what that means, I think, although again, I'm going to be always inevitably Looking at things from just what I know, which is not very, but what do you what's going on at that time in mindsets that we're going Yep, this is really valuable. Why were they valuing it
Lily Horseman: was a big government review. So if we go back to 2008, there was a Dobson review, government review about the importance of play, and, you know, lots of people involved in children's play, commenting and contributing to that, which then led to money. That's, like proper, big money coming in. And, and every local authority had to have a play policy, it was, it was like, it was coming down from the highest level as a directive. And where I was in Bradford. Now, we're already well ahead of that, partly because of the particular vision and expertise of people who are working for children's services there. Which meant that we were able to, you know, really, really roll with what was happening, but that was happening and right across the country. And it was it was being guided by, by, by government money and priorities shift and change and political perspective, shift and change, and, you know, money for players now coming much more out of the voluntary sector, and out of that, you know, third sector funding and in small charitable trusts rather than big sledges of it coming from from Yeah, from central government. And that changes things.
Marina Robb: Yeah, I mean, that does change things. And I, you know, both of us involved in the voluntary sector, as well through community insurance companies. But when we put that on voluntary sector wildl It's quite engaging in some ways, you know, we're here, we're working, hopefully on the ground, listening a little bit more. Oh, we can't we can't do it, oh, can we can't get the money, deliver that it's very hard. So I absolutely think that we absolutely need the vision, and the expertise of where we people being listened to and enacting those things because I am, I'm still you know, as a as a trainer, like you i in for me, I didn't have that background in play. And I didn't, and still have so much to learn about the value of play, I definitely came in much more about nature, you know, from nature, connection and nature background. So I, I think it's, it's hard to understand the value of play, particularly if you, boy, if you didn't have it, but also, like, I know, a colleague that we know, from America, John Young, you know, he would talk about unconscious competence. So you don't know that you know, it, you don't know that it's valuable, and until you maybe lose it. So why is but have such an instinct now, having worked with so many groups that play, freedom, choice, all these things are so important. And I wonder what you think having really been quite rarely I think, in this in this area for most of your life? Why is play important? Why should we, if you believe it, why should we be valuing this? And it's a huge Christmas, I know, there's tonnes of research, but yeah, just share with us from your, from your expertise early. Why, why what is play? And why should we be doing it?
Lily Horseman: There's, I'm just casting around the room looking for a book which I tagged yesterday. Jackie Kilvington, is it I think, when she talks about players like breathing, it's exactly that, that like everybody is it's an instinctive thing. Everybody breathes. And that it's like a really fundamental thing to life. But actually, sometimes people struggle with that, and need a bit of support with that, or need support structures to bring you like, oxygen masks, if you're, you know, unwell. So sometimes we need to support that process. But actually, given space and time everybody plays and it I think it's that fully basic human needs that exists in all of us to play. And I think that's what's important is about being having permission to do what's important to you having that autonomy, having that space and time to follow your own needs and interest in the things that excite you and the things that light you up. And then for me, play is also about them, connecting with other people and finding other people they get. And it's feels like such a vital human way we do so, you know, just in the supermarket that weekend, and a little baby in a car who's in a shopping trolley who's looking looks at you and then you sort of look behind something like that person's like, you know, and you don't even need to talk to another person you don't even need to know anything about that other person, but you can connect through play, that there's something that sparks other people up and sparks you. For me as a human, I think that's why not just a professional interest in play, but actually, as a human, I love to play and be playful because it, it feels like it sparks me up and makes. Yeah, makes everything more exciting and unbearable. Actually, there's Brian, Brian Sutton Smith says the opposite of play is not work. The opposite of plays depression, which is huge, you know, that's just like, when we look at actually how so many people are really struggling and really, you know, finding a lot of there's a lot of anxiety, a lot of stress, a lot of tension in people. And if if that is true, that the opposite of depression is play, then, actually is that what a lot of was missing that, that opportunity to be playful? And
Marina Robb: you I have a quote that you that I picked up? And you said, when you open your minds creatively, you can be creative about life choices, too. I just thought that was lovely. Well, I've got something you've written. So in the notes, I might, I will, I'll definitely refer on the website to these things so people can look looking and further into your work and your thoughts. Haha. But yeah, when you open your minds creatively, you can be creative about life choices, too. That really stuck with me, because I didn't know I'm gonna I'm gonna be an emotional woman. And clearly can I keep having these strong feelings? And I'm doing these conversations, but I feel quite moved by that, Lily because, ah, this notion that we have choice, it could almost bring me to tears. You know, when you don't feel you have choice when the world says stop? No, no, no, no, you can't because of the way you look or the way with your your background or your income or the school you're in, you know, all those No, no, no, no choice. And then you figure out, I can't maybe maybe there is a crack. And I love this notion that you open your minds creatively that might happen. What do you think? What do you feel?
Lily Horseman: Well, so you and I talk quite regularly and kind of been co what's the word like, questing almost and without a goal, which I'm very much enjoying. And I think, last I was just think about the last time we talked about this idea that, that all rules are made up? You know, that's just a part of it. It's an extension of that same thing is that
Marina Robb: you said that, and I have not been Sorry, I interrupted, because I was like, did you make? Well, I'm so excited. You mentioned that, because that's the thing that's been sticking in my brain for about a month, you said that, actually, that all rules are made up? Yeah, do carry and
Lily Horseman: they are, you know, it's just a it's a kind of, we come up with conventions, and then we uphold them nuts, you know, and, and I think sometimes, there is that, that playful part of me that is like a five year old is like, but why? But why? You know, and, and that that part of children, there's just like, okay, but tell me why and people? Well, it just is like, I'm not sure if I've ever, maybe I wasn't told it would just is it? No, maybe I never accepted it. But why, you know, and looking at, you know, I've always been quite interested in, in how structures work and how systems work? Because I think that's part of that question of like, foot? Why, you know, why are we doing things this way? Why? Why is that happening? And? And is that working for everybody? And how can we shift it? If not, why what stuck that if things won't shift, then then what are the what are the sticking points? And? Yeah, I think it is it is part of that and my own interest in in choice and, and control which comes with choice, right, you know, which is being able to make choices for yourself as a human and move through the world in that way. We're doing it in such a way that you're not creating chaos and hurt for other people. I think that's the that's the tricky balance right there. Isn't it that that choice and control as a human is great, but actually how does that impact on other people? as well? Yeah, that's where it gets really complicated. Yeah,
Marina Robb: it feels strange, though. Because, you know, we're both, as you said, working often with teachers in different groups, but when I think of schooling, I've got a 16 year old, my youngest and I'm sort of thinking in a way I'm telling her but the older you get, the more freedom you get. I said, you know, you won't have to do all of it in this way. Now. And I think about that, that was my experience that I felt the older I got, the more choice I had. And, and I, it feels kind of back to front in a way that I felt I had to wait almost until I was, well, when I actually said, Okay, I'm not going to, we're actually having a complete breakdown and not being able to cope made me realise, okay, I need to find another way, right. Or it was basically I think, as an adult, is when I started to realise I could have more choice, but I never felt that, particularly as a young person and I thinking about the system, the school system that we're in, and I'm absolutely grateful that Forest School, the forest school approach has entered so many mainstream schools as a potential to be part of a child's life to have a space where there is more choice, there is more autonomy. And, of course, that deep relationship with the natural world, which is an extension as we started this conversation, it's an extension of what it is to be human, you know, to have other relationships, the other, but, but I'm also struck by how little choice there seems to be currently in the mainstream and how we can be, we can leave school, so many of us can leave school feeling not good enough or that we haven't achieved what the rule like you said, the rule is we have to achieve. And it's not it's not just if we don't do it, it's our fault.
Lily Horseman: Yeah. And last, the Compassionate that was like, oh, yeah, it's an arbitrary rule, you have now failed, you didn't even know the arbitrary rule existed until you failed it, you know, and it's, it feels like, that's a lot of similar way, my experience of being in my late teens, early 20s, and then go like, what were those another arbitrary rule that I missed? Oh, okay. Right. Oh, you know, good. To the point where I think, well, certainly, you know, have a good sense of being in my late teens and teams and just thinking, what if I didn't, what if I didn't even try to play that game, whatever that was, that I can't I can't lose, if I'm not even trying to play the game, you know, just like, and then that sort of, yeah, like you're saying that sort of opting out or not being able to cope and being outside of falling, falling off the falling off, but then finding a way back in and being, I feel much more able now to move in there. So that's an ageing thing, as well. So there's something really lovely about getting older, that means you kind of can be a bit more compassionate with yourself and go, Yeah, well, you know, what, that would be nice, didn't happen, you know, one of the things that, that perhaps, consumers a little bit more when you've got energy for that matter, you get older, you're like, Well, I'm not going to do for that. So you know, I'm not even gonna try that. You know, I think it changes in a different way
Marina Robb: you can be Wilder it and we haven't, right I don't know if we'll ever get to what that really means. But it's there's a sense of me of, I can be Wilder because I because I can come back. And that's not just physically that's also within my own inner world I can imagine greater or I can trust, take a risk, you know, because I can kind of find my way back. That's how I'm sort of seeing it and I guess because I did get lost. I do want to know that I can get back somehow or that someone yeah, there's or like you said, I have enough in a compassion to be kinder to myself or to hopefully have somebody that can be kind to me when I'm not being kind to myself. And that is that does get easier when we get older. Well, I
Lily Horseman: was just thinking we've got these internalised voices and we you know, this thing says like Well, I'm I can't do that I'm that's not for me and that kind of imposter syndrome being a thing a lot. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
Marina Robb: A lot winging it. What are we doing but
Lily Horseman: not always feeling like we should be allowed to do that all the time. And you know, made a life out of doing that. It still feels Yeah, gonna get called out. Oh, no.
Marina Robb: Yeah. Well, yeah, we could get punished. We could punish good. Oh, no. Find out. Why we put out there then. That made me think of Brene Brown and she's got to come in at some point, hasn't she that that immediately as you've got, you've got to get you've got to go into the arena. Oh, and then I think instead of the Reno like the boxing ring, I'm thinking of like, you know, the gladiators the lions, like, You got to get in the arena. And, and, yeah, and hopefully I guess have enough of whatever that is to, to not get annihilated somehow
Lily Horseman: right. Is that the wildness and is that the world and it's just putting yourself out there like that kind of just, you know, letting things fall a little bit like, going back to that thing about vulnerability, you know, like, letting things like the facade fall away letting the kind of control drop from you and kind of giving it up giving up your power to, I think, working with children and young people, there's something so powerful about giving up your own power to the people that you're with. Okay, we can try that. Yeah, why not? Well, I don't know how it'll go. But there's only one way to find out, you know, sort of that way of being with children, young people, and it kind of, you know, it, it surprises them sometimes, because it's so used to people going, No, no, you can't do that. No, like, you can? I mean, I don't know how, it's just such a different way of approaching the world, isn't it? So? I think there's some that's, that's got a sense of wildness. And it isn't that sort of untamed being, we don't know, the route to get there, we're just gonna fall into it and see how the river takes, you know, when we watch up, and rather than planning things so carefully, that we can't, we can't fail.
Marina Robb: Yeah. Gosh, that's lovely. And I'm also thinking of, we don't know the route to get there. But if I can have an image of Yeah, being within a group of young people, adults, and we don't have the map, but we're all kind of leaning into each other a little bit, and everybody's being valued a little bit, you know, we have like, oh, you might have something or I might have something, and then I think of the forest is like, you know, all these different things that are growing there that bring something and if we you know, and if we can pay attention to that. You know, then perhaps, well, I've seen it all the time, Lily, and we've talked about this how, you know, that we just can't see, we're never going to be able to see everything. So we really need the other, the other human the other perspective, the other, you know, tree or whatever to, to spark something that we couldn't do on our own. And then yeah, that I love, I don't I don't know where that's going, but I feel it. But that's something about trust as well, isn't it, it's something about, if we can lean into the unknown, there's there could be quite a richness there.
Lily Horseman: I've got a practical example that that what you're, you were sort of saying you drew a little picture, with your words of a group of people sort of leaning in and kind of not knowing where they were going. And for a few years with our one of the groups that we work with regularly, we would go on these quests where we wouldn't have a destination. And I've tried to sort of share them with adults, and it's never quite as successful as it is with the children. I think because people have their first thoughts and their second thoughts and their third thoughts while they're doing it. Whereas children are just in it, we're doing it. And so on these questions, each person would have a stone with black on one side, and plain on the other side. And each point where we didn't know, or just when we were a bit bored of wherever we were walking, we've kind of somebody make a proposal. And then we'd all like prepare our stone, like what do I think about this? And then everybody would show their stone. And if everybody was in agreement, we would do the thing? And if somebody didn't wasn't in agreement, we both Okay, well, you've got a different perspective. What have you seen that we haven't? And sometimes it could go on for a really long time. You know, one, one group of children wanted to go this way and one group of children wanted to go that way. And we will I remember being stood for a really long time, just like just outside our main camp with eBay. Okay, so, so you all think we should go this way, and this is what they're saying. So let's try again. So if we're gonna go this way, it's the black dot only shows us half and then this one child just went, what about we've run down that hill, and it's just thick over for growth. Okay, so the proposal is we'll just remember, everybody's in agreement. Yeah. We'll just fully alone, we've got the bottom line. It's just such a lovely example of consensus isn't easy. Okay, so we just need to find a way out. Let's just run by Get ready for this? Yes, we all agree. Brilliant go. And, and that for me was Oh yeah, no, I'm just thinking about Mel Harrison it talks about that Sociocratic Model. Exactly an example of that, you know, just how do you how do you hear everybody's voice? And how do you treat somebody who's not in agreement as somebody who isn't disagreeing with you, but who has seen something differently? You haven't? Because that's the only way you can find a way out of their situation. Okay, so what have you seen that we have? And what are you thinking about that? We don't know? Rather than, you know, majority, you're out voted, which is such a, yeah, it's such a different way to, to process the world, isn't it? And I just sometimes wondered, you know, how will those children be when they grow up? And they they're the ones who are trying to hold space for other people? Will they take any of that sense of, okay, well, maybe they've just got a different perspective that I've not seen yet that they can take into how they follow the world.
Marina Robb: I love that. And I think that's a that's a wonderful place to end this conversation, I think because, yeah. This idea of lots of paths out there and, and choices and opportunities to follow and who we who we listen to and outside of ourselves, but also inside ourselves feels really important. Lily, how do people find out about the trainings you're offering or the things you're interested in? Do you want to just let us know that would be great. And we'll put stuff on the website as well. But it's so nice to, to speak to you and know that there's so much more oh, we're only scratching on the surface?
Lily Horseman: Licking the spoon. Such a face of like stuff to talk about? Yes. And yeah. So I have a website in which I haven't updated the blog for 1000 years. But if you imagine all the things I might be talking about there on there, that's probably for the best. But I do use social media as well. So it's kindling plan training is my website and kindling. kindling, Lily on Instagram.
Marina Robb: Lovely. Well, we will definitely write that up. So people know. And I think I've just heard your dog saying come on the Li. It's time yet.
Lily Horseman: The sun is shining. You've got a lot of wet tarpaulins. Let's go outside.
Marina Robb: Yeah, that was a direct message I reckon from that from your beautiful dog and what a lovely full circle back to our lovely dogs, our friends. Yeah, yeah. Thank you so much. See you soon.