Digging In The Dirt: Welcoming Denise Andes

Sarah Oblinger Welcomes Denise:

I have a degree in Horticultural Therapy. The motto, while I was a student, was: Digging in the dirt will heal you. And I did a lot of digging after I graduated. I taught developmentally and mentally disabled adults how to dig in the dirt. And make compost. And grow gardens.

At the same time, I was digging around in the dirt of my inner terrain due to a deep depression. While I was teaching my clients how to double dig garden beds, I was digging myself out of a hole.

Before I could begin digging, a lot of inner brambles had to be cleared. I process painted. I worked with a somatic therapist who was also a Sensory Awareness Leader. We cleared a lot of brambles together before moving back to Kansas from California.

Did I know I was ready to dig when I met Denise Andes? No. I just wanted relief from a second bout of depression, that had arrived with anxiety. So I started working with Denise on the depression and anxiety thing. Through a nine month bout of chronic hives. Through both of my parents deaths. And back home to myself. But it wasn’t until she recently shared her piece, The Shovel and The Shaman, with me that I fully understood why Denise, with her presence and her teachings, showed up in my life and why I continue to work with her: I was ready to dig into the richness of my inner terrain.

For all of you, with a passion for digging into your inner terrain, here’s Denise’s piece on The Shovel and The Shaman. I am happy to announce that Denise is going to be a guest blogger for Nectar. We look forward to sharing more of her with all of you.

Welcome, Denise!


“If you bring forth what is within you, it will heal you. And if you do not bring forth what is within you, it will destroy you.”   -Gospel of Thomas

I like to dig.

Maybe it’s a Texan thing.  I like to dig in dirt, rocks, water, ideas.  I like to dig into paper, mark-making with erasers.  I like to dig into a rigid diaphragm. I savor the pulsing area that is reclaimed.  This space that is left holding nothing…this space that is left holding everything.

I love to listen deeply here.

And because I feel as though I was born with a shovel in my hand, I have made it my life’s work…this digging into the different realms of being…emotional places, physical places, spiritual places, cognitive places.

Yes, I also like to plant.  Though, in my work…I prefer to help you with the shovel part of things…so that you can remember the empty area…the endless spaciousness inside of yourself.  

And…..this is what it is like….me holding the shovel for you….                                                                         

The Shovel and the Shaman

i gather the strength

of the wind in my hands.

i press it intoyourchestintoyourheart.

my hands are silent and wide.

i feel them sinking into your flesh, leaving a devastatingly tender path to your grief, to your joy.

it feels endless…

stars dripping from a night sky.

it is the grief of so many generations,

that settles quietly,


into your body.

it is this unspeakable place

of reckoning.

of you.

being in your skin, at long last.

and staying there.

denise site Denise Andes  is a Neo-Reichian Body-Centered Psychotherapist, Shamanic Teacher, CRT, and LPC. As an artist and writer, she has woven eidetic imagery and shamanic healing over the past 25+ years into her private practice in Santa Fe, NM. Denise is delighted to find her practice filled with artists. Her joy is helping people to land in their bodies and enjoy it! She works extensively with developmental, shock/trauma, and self-acceptance issues.

For more information on Denise please visit her website .



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One Response to Digging In The Dirt: Welcoming Denise Andes

  1. Lila April 12, 2016 at 5:06 pm #

    I love this poem, thank you.

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