Cultivating our wholeness- The North Facet of Self

Cultivating our wholeness—The North Facet of Self.



“The North facet of our human wholeness is that which enables us to genuinely nurture others, provide for those  less able, care for the environment that sustains us all, defend the lives of future generations of all species, carry forward the life-enhancing traditions and wisdom of our ancestors, and contribute to the vitality of our human communities”

  1. Plotkin


It is 6pm on Sunday 26th October as I write this invitation to join me on a day designed to facilitate personal growth and soul nourishment. I have just returned to my retreat abode in Kilcar Co Donegal  from a long 6 hour walk/wander to the beginning of the Pilgrimage walk to the summit of Sliabh Liag. Rain, wind and mist prevented me from attempting the climb.

My wander has been a nourishing and nurturing experience despite the rain and the fact that I was fasting for the day. The body was hungry but other food was more noticeable, in particular the beautiful magical and life giving environment and places of shelter and nourishment which I encountered. 

I sit in a tiny alcove surrounded by rock, and dense undergrowth. I have a grandstand view of the noisy inlet, waves roll in, and grains of sand receive an unexpected ride towards the gorse bushes thanks to a strong south wind.


As I leave my shelter I lift a post which supports a life jacket and place it in the protection of a tree in the hope that it will be safe there until restored to its rightful place. On the road I remove a few stones and place on the adjoining ditch. They are grateful as they prefer the soil to car tyres. Towards evening two Dublin registered vehicles stop to offer me a lift on the way into Carrick. I politely decline but am very appreciative of their nourishing gesture.

I write this brief note on my Sunday hike as it illustrates two main aspects of this dimension of human wholeness: the ability to nurture others, the environment, and the willingness to find ways of minding ourselves and receiving nourishment. Living from a well developed North facet, we respond from the heart with compassion and  from our soul we see into the depths of others and into the depths of the world. Plotkin names this as “the Nurturing Generative Adult”


This facet of wholeness is identified with winter, the middle of the night, the time of least light and least plant growth. Such a time demands knowledge, skill and fortitude to deal with the harsher elements. The generative qualities of intelligence, foresight, competence, endurance and strength help us through dark difficult times. Compassion, company and caring characterise this aspect of our lives.


The day will include input, sharing, silence, and ritual. We will also spend some time celebrating the lives of people  who have nurtured and nourished us and may no longer be with us. There will be time to give thanks to our environment for its protection and care, time to reflect on our generative qualities and consider how we can give to others and to the more than human world. 

Please dress well for this day, wellingtons will enhance your walking as we spend time in the sheltered, shaded (but sometimes mucky!) area known as the Glen. It could be described as Sligo’s version of the Secret Garden. Walking from a Northern perspective we will be encouraged to view the world and our place in it in a wholehearted and clear headed way.

Please dress in several layers and bring waterproof jacket and trousers if possible.  A spare pair of socks and a small towel would be useful, as would notebook and pen.  Please bring lunch and a hot drink to enhance the nourishment of the day.



Date:               Sunday 30 November

Time:               10am-4pm

Cost:                50euro or whatever you can afford

Booking:          Peter Devlin on 086 3663276 or [email protected]

Venue:             The Glen, near Knocknarea

Meeting Point: Knocknarea car park 9.45am. (Directions:  Coming into Sligo from Dublin, take 1st left turn after the Summerhill roundabout and keep going past Showgrounds, straight through roundabouts, for a few miles until you see a sign for Knocknarea carpark.  Coming from Donegal into Sligo, after crossing the bridge, turn right at the fourth set of traffic lights onto Church Hill, continue past Showgrounds etc as above.)

Deposit:          To secure a place please send a deposit of 20 euro to Peter Devlin, Cloonaghbawn, Ballinfull, Co. Sligo  before 24th November.






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