I just woke up, my head is pounding, the sound of construction and the debris it tosses around is filling my sinuses with dirt and I just want to take off my shoes, drive up the road and run barefoot through the forest.
Shinrin-yoku in Japanese, or Forest Therapy in English is really starting to catch on, but I find this odd. That we have to make it a thing, or a trend, in order for people to do what was once very natural and common.
Sad really. That we have become so disconnected from our natural element. I believe, pun intended, that it’s the root of our suffering. Disconnection from nature and essentially from those around us.
We’re so wrapped up in doing that we’ve forgot about just being. Connecting.
I’m totally guilty of it too, however I have a constant awareness tugging at me and reminding me that this is where I find solace, where I connect and regenerate and heal.
Taking off my shoes and feeling the dirt beneath my feet, looking up through the cedars watching light dance through the leaves. Magical and transformational even if just for a moment. It fills me up.
Pictures flash through my mind of memories from The Hive Centre, just up the road from my home. Running barefoot through the paths, dipping my feet in the brisk spring fed brook, collecting rocks, picking water cress. Divine.
Last weekend I attended a retreat at The Hive Centre titled; Naturally Gifted – Relax, Reflect and Create, lead by my dear friends and co-owners of The Hive Centre, Elsii and Kevin. Elsii is an award winning artist and divine human being and Kevin a musician and expert navigator always steering us on path when we get lost in the forest.
I arrived precisely in time for lunch with my friend Brenda, for those of you who know me you know how much I love a good meal. However, I missed the morning Frequency Meditation as I was strolling the beach with my puppies (they’re actually ten and eleven) Mr. Anderson and Oliver, as I wouldn’t see them for the rest of the day. I just hate leaving my little heart chakra’s on legs but I really needed this after a few months of extreme adversity. Like we need an excuse to fill our cup, right? Oh the conditioning and guilt we carry.
Lunch, a favorite thing of mine at The Hive Centre, especially when Elsii makes it, it is always something notorious, delicious and educational. Elsii likes to throw things in she’s collected from her walks in the forest, edible wild food, and from time to time she runs retreats with the theme.
I think it’s incredible, however I never really get to try it because I secretly pick them out. Sssssh don’t tell Elsii lol. I’m flashing back as a child sneaking my Brussel’s Spouts in the garbage and I’m still picky with food to this date, unless it’s cheese of course. Then I’ll have all of it, even if it’s the catalyst to an IBS attack later!!!
It was so nice to meet everyone who attended. Some of whom I’ve been friends with on Facebook but had never really connected in person. How divine is it to connect in person? Such a difference, face to face, story to story, hug to hug… wakes your soul up.
After lunch we took a walk along the country roads and in the forest collecting plants, flowers and anything else we may have found to create works of art with. I did it all barefoot of course, with a little apprehension cause it had been a while. I was so happy that I did though, it was pure bliss.
In this place there was no past, no future, just pure presence. My body tingled with connection deeply rooted in the earth. My heart was open. I listened to the trees, the sound of the brook rolling over the rocks, the leaves scrunching under my feet, mud between my toes, and the sweet sounds of laughter amongst the group as we ventured through the forest.
Home sweet home.
When we returned from the forest with our collection of wild things there was a silence, and a peace, as we all went to work creatively using what we had collected to express the intentions we had set earlier. My intention was wealth, in all aspects of my life. And after my natural masterpiece was complete I took in a few breathes and asked the universe, “What is this saying to me?”, as I looked at what I had created.
And what it said to me was “Slow, steady, connected, focused”, and I got that, right in the root chakra. That place that was a little shaky and filled with uncertainty from a life of poverty and conditioning. I, we all have been, conditioned to be faster and do whatever it is we need to do in order to “bring home the bacon” I really hate that phrase, I don’t eat pork, but it’s what came to me. And it had been ten years since I left my corporate job in search of what fills me up, however there is still some clearing to do there. We’re all a work in progress, students of life, right?
What I learned from that retreat, and what I am constantly learning, is the ebb and flow of life. That life is a series of experiences that are ever so gently showing up to remind us who we are and what we need to walk us home. Whether it’s the gentle voice of the forest calling us to connect, or the pounding headache reminding us that we’ve been too hard on ourselves.
Your heart, your body, your soul, they know. They are the constant forces ever so gently and sometimes not so gently, leading us in the direction of our highest good. Whatever that might be, only we know, and only if we stop long enough to listen.
I’m ever so grateful for the whispers, and the screams, and for people like Elsii and Kevin who provide others with the space to connect and heal.