First I would like to acknowledge my lineage.
My name is Melanie Tongmar, and I'm so pleased you've joined me here! Because ancestral wisdom and lineage is so important in informing who I am, I'd like to introduce my ancestors first.
My paternal line is Thai (Tai) - indigenous to central Thailand. We are water people, living on river and sea, surrounded by coconut palms and banana trees. We are storytellers and fierce warriors, and I am a continuation of a line of Mo Phi - both my grandfather and great-grandfather were the village shamans. My father gave me the gift of a fiery heart, artistic expression, and of deep philosophical and spiritual contemplation.
My maternal line is Celtic - specifically Briton, Wales and Gaul. A deep love of nature and animals, literature, history and poetry runs deep through my motherline, along with a pioneering and adventurous spirit. My mother gave me the gift of her deep love of nature, of engaged spirituality and social and environmental activism. A true rebel and visionary, my mum taught me to stand up in the face of adversity and injustice. She showed me there is more than one way of being in the world.
My ancestral lineage is reflected deeply in my own way of being in this life.
Despite a comparatively bohemian upbringing, I spent 25 years of my life struggling with depression and anxiety, because what I felt was rarely aligned to the world I saw around me. I wanted to fit in, but as a highly sensitive, animistic, and creative child, I was constantly told I was not enough, and that what I experienced and felt was wrong. And my parents, with all the best intentions and patience they could muster, felt that if I didn't "toughen up" and desensitise I wouldn't survive in the world. So they approached me with strong discipline and tough love, which continued to invalidate my experience. I felt punished for being myself.
I was also burdened with the emotional baggage of others from a very young age, and never taught what was my own and what I didn't need to carry. I remember holding space for "grown-ups" from the tender age of 7, used as an emotional dumping ground, and feeling distraught and highly anxious because I could not discern my own feelings from theirs, or their pain from my own. I didn't know about boundaries at all and this carried on for many years, within many relationships.
The only thing that I could count on for the space to be free, was my own imagination and nature itself. The trees, the creeks, the rocks, the animals, spirits and the clear energy from plants and the earth - they had no expectations of me. And through those relationships, and my insistent creative expression of painting, drawing and writing, I survived, dragging myself through.
Then, via the breakdown of an important relationship in my life in my early thirties, I came face to face with myself and my deepest fears of being unloveable and not necessary in this world. It was the darkest, deepest pit in my life, and I spent years fantasising about my own death. I sunk into a black void, with no map and no means. Only crying into the earth and the clinging to my art, which by then were just dark scribbles on scraps of paper. I couldn't manage anything more.
At the bottom of the pit, unable to end things and unable to move forward, I could only listen. I began to understand the earth's whispers to me, and it came through my art. Slowly, my scribbles became sketches, then sketches with colour. Then watercolours and healing mandalas, into full-blown abstract expressionism, the energies I felt around me. Painting lifted me to a place where I began to engage with the world again. I did quite well with my art, and with encouragement from the artistic community I found a reason to keep going. I clawed my way back from the pit. I made the choice to be a mother, on my own, and spent the next seven years in a blitz of motherhood, painting and sitting in nature listening to her messages for me. My spiritual practice deepened, and slowly, piece by piece I found the lost parts of my soul.
And along the way I made some great discoveries:
My core values
Ecocentrism: I value nature beyond how it can serve me as a resource or a form of entertainment. This is in line with both my animistic beliefs and my value in relationships - the interconnectedness of all life.
Sovereignty: your wisdom, your power, your knowledge and your ways of knowing. It is all you.
Love: Love as divine compassion, the background music I aim to cultivate in all that I do.
Relationships: We do not exist in a vacuum! We exist in interconnected relationships that form the essence of who we are - not just with people, but the earth, the animals, the rocks, the water, the stars...
Integrity: by both definitions - I value honesty and ethics, and also wholeness, non-polarity, of honouring and working with both the yin and yang, the light and dark, the fire and the water.
Self Responsibility: No one is here to heal anyone else. We are all responsible for our own healing, our own emotional intelligence, our own energetic management. Your experience begins and ends with you.
Embodiment: wisdom and knowledge embodied in our beings. Integration so that we no longer simply sing a song, we ARE the song.
A few personal bits
I spent my childhood
Helping on the land. Making faery houses out of moss and sticks in the garden. Painting and drawing, dancing and reading. Living in my own world. I loved people but needed much time alone.
My Family & Other Animals (Gerard Durrell), Jitterbug Perfume (Tom Robins), Mists Of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)... for starters...
The Dark Crystal. Crystals, planetary conjunctions, mystics, shamanic ceremonies and rites of passage. Most little kids were terrified by this movie. I was enthralled.
Thai street food. On the street. In Thailand!
Dark. Dry. Unexpected.
I get the best carparks EVERY SINGLE TIME. It is my super power.
I'm a painter. Like a full on, exhibitions, arty farty abstract painter. I paint metaphysical landscapes. Painting is the great love of my life.
In Bundjalung country (Northern NSW Australia) on large reforested acreage, with a creek, wallabies, koalas, echidnas and a zillion different birds. We are on 60% solar power, are now listed as a conservation area (we have an endangered vine growing on the land) and are self-sufficient with a bio-dynamic, permaculture veggie garden, a plethora of tropical fruit trees, chickens, muscovies (like ducks), a dog and horses. Is it heaven? Yes it is... but it takes work!
Melanie is a Self Sovereignty and Nature Communion coach and facilitator. She is an animist and an Earth Whisperer, whose spiritual path beckoned from an early age, as a direct descendant of traditional Thai shamans. Melanie has over 30 years experience consciously walking a spiritual path, grounded in earth-based practices that acknowledge our planet as a sentient, cosmic being.
Melanie works experientially with nature therapy, ancestral wisdom, ceremony, ritual, creativity, and nature spirit for deep insight and for holding a safe container for gentle warriors on the path of emergence and reclamation of their truest, most sovereign selves.