Listening to the Messages in Nature

Sometimes I forget. I forget to go outside and absorb healing from the earth. As much as I connect there and know deeply in my heart the benefits of being outside, when I get extremely ill, I retreat and don’t go out.

Yarrow, Pink focus small

Today, after a few days of being indoors, I remembered to go out.

This is why I need to always remember to go outside ~

I walked up the hill and spotted the grove of buckeye trees where I often retreat. They create a sacred protected magical circle that feels in my heart like a familiar sisterhood.

My first lesson was from the bull thistle. Approaching the grove of chestnuts I ran into a thistle in seed. My jeans were covered with spines that poked my skin. “Pay attention!” they called.

As I sat in the middle of the grove I knew that I would be supported in a mythical journey today. I needed it because my body was in distress and emotionally, I felt off balance. I had offered up a prayer as I left the house.

I sat down and noticed the yarrow plant beside me. I heard it say, “We have all been broken. We are all bleeding. We are all wounded warriors. I can help.”

On the other side of me was burdock and then as I looked around I noticed it was everywhere. Last year, mullein grew under the trees but this year there are just a few. I know that burdock root is valued and much needed in my body ~ it’s strong oily roots are nourishing. I remembered to call on her for healing and strength. She was cooking on my stove in bone broth soup as I sat there in the grove.

Then I heard coyotes in the woods! I rarely hear them during the day but their cry was distinct and couldn’t be misinterpreted. “You are wild. You are free!”

Goldfinch & Verbena wideAs they finished their song, two hawks overhead cried out and echoed “Yes!” then many birds from the forest came to the edge and started to sing. I felt the confirmation and it sent shivers through my body.

My beloved dog, Tulsi, came and laid by my side as the song came to a stop. She looked at me and closed her eyes, “Be still Momma. Be still.”

The buckeye root that I was sitting on agreed with her. “Calm your thoughts.” I often use white chestnut (horse chestnut, a relative of my buckeyes) flower essence for help with my racing mind.

I looked up the hill and saw that the sunlight was hitting the hawthorn tree in such a way that it glistened as if it was covered in magic fairy dust. She assured me, “I will heal your heart.”

The sun then hit my face and in it’s warmth I remembered ~ “We are all light.”

The magic continued as a bee landed on my hand. My focus went to my work. How best can I serve I asked? She answered, “Yes.” I was confused and another landed on my finger. I asked again and the answer was “By doing what you are doing of course: Be you!”

I noticed a chicory plant with one lone flower on the top sitting next to one of the buckeye trees. Ah, yes, mother love. Mother devotion. Not heavy and controlling. Mothering for all with true freedom and deep respect.

There was a light breeze and it blew through the plants and trees softly. And then an orchestra of birds began. So many different songs all converging and making such beautiful music. The insects joined in and it became so loud that everything else paled in comparison.

I closed my eyes and let Living Nature heal me, deep down in my soul… in my belly…. in my heart.

Meditation can be so forced at times. I love it when stillness and silence naturally arises… along with a softening, a tenderness… and a vibrancy. Yes, this is when I feel the palpable presence of Living Nature and realize I am an integral part of Her.

 

 

Spiritual mentor Deb Vail will often become ecstatic over her dog, a simple flower, violin music or a southern Appalachian handcraft. Communing with a subtly boisterous forest brings her joy difficult to contain. Deb, the founder of Sacred Living, has created a service for those with serious illness to find comfort, ease and bit of wonderment.

Restoring Energy and Balance

For more information about my spiritual mentoring practice  ~

I have referred to various stages of restoring energy and balance in my explanation of Spiritual Mentoring. I have adapted these stages from Susan Weed, herbalist. Her first three stages are serenity, story and energy medicine.  She identifies four more stages – life-style, herbalism, pharmaceutical and hi-technology – in her framework.  I focus on the first three in my work and recommend that you seek help from registered nutritionists, personal trainers, acupuncturists, herbalists, physicians and other professionals for help with the last stages. I have also added another stage – give-back – as part of my ‘medicine’ tool-box.

The first three stages focus on our inner journey.  Of course, there is a connection between spirit, mind and body so practicing any of these ‘medicines’ will affect all aspects of health.

TigerSwallowtail

This is how I interpret these stages and use them in my practice ~

~ Serenity medicine” is the return to Nature for balance and restoration. There is nothing for us to do other than slow down, open all our senses and allow life and energy to move through us.  Restoration and inner harmony occur because we are receiving what is naturally meant for us.  Much of the focus in my practice is on this spaciousness and receptivity as well as developing a relationship with Nature herself.  Here, we turn off our phones and computers so we can be in stillness and silence. We are present and open in each moment.

Tools for this stage would include being in Nature and paying attention to her seasons, weather, sounds, natural rhythms, flows and textures.  Again, the focus is on serenity, not on adding anything to our list of things to do but rather resting, receiving and allowing.  I may send you recordings, videos, photos and ‘love notes’ as gifts for your heart.

~ Story medicine” is the story that we tell ourselves about our lives, our relationships and our illness.  It is important to honor our story and also to let it organically transform as we move from our minds to our hearts by practicing serenity medicine.  For me, this is the movement from mindfulness to heart fullness.  Susan Weed sorts story medicine into Scientific, Heroic, and Wise Woman types: “Something is broken and needs to be fixed (Scientific).  Something is toxic and needs to be cleansed (Heroic). Something lacks nourishment and wants to be whole (Wise Woman).”  Here we open to our intuition and wisdom for guidance and clarity honoring the truth of who we are.

Tools for this stage would include our dialogue in sessions, emailing, journaling and contemplating queries.  You may also be called to do some creative work from contacting this inner landscape.

~ “Energy medicine” honors the energetic pathways of our body and the universe. My education has been in qi gong and honors the Chinese meridian system. By connecting to the energy of Nature and aligning with the five elements, we can follow the energy flow map in our body for aiding the energy to flow in the proper direction for restoration of a healthy mind, body and spirit. Each element correlates to an emotion, sound, smell, color, taste, herbs and on and on. I often suggest gentle movements, sounds and breathing that aid this energy pulsation and vibration. Flower essences are also part of energy medicine ~ the essences attune our emotions on a mystical level.

Tools for this stage would include simple qi gong movements, breathing exercises, meditation and color therapy.  I may suggest taking flower essences if needed.  We may also do chanting or other sound therapy.

I have added another medicine in my work – “give-back medicine”. We complete the circle, as does nature, by giving back our gifts to life. Without this important stage, our lives are incomplete and we can feel separation, loneliness and deep grief because we are blocking a flow of love to the world. By finding your gifts and your soul signature, we’ll work together to find ways that you can contribute, no matter your state of health or the limitations of your body. Sometimes, it’s a matter of recognizing the ways that you already contribute instead of adding anything else.

Tools for this stage are unlimited because they draw on your love, your energy, your passion. You may give back through writing, praying, creating works of art, contributing on facebook, sharing your story – whatever is right and true for you. The possibilities are endless because you are infinite. And, a reminder ~ offering your presence is, of course, the greatest gift that anyone can give to the world. I once worked with a man with ALS who had lost his ability to move or speak and I was able to transcribe letters to his wife as he looked up for ‘yes’ and down for ‘no’ to find the words he wanted to use. Anything is possible!

Please note that life-style medicine honors the ways that we live our lives. This would include nourishment and exercise so we may touch on these in our work although the focus of nourishment and exercise that I recommend is still directed toward the emotional and spiritual inner journey as compared to the physical body.  And of course, as I mentioned above, these can’t really be separated.  For more detailed guidance in the last four stages of medicine, you would do well to seek other counsel.

I hope this brief explanation answers some of your questions about how I work.

These first three medicines and the give-back were historically part of our heritage and community when we lived close to the land in communal villages.  Because these aspects of our health are no longer self evident or naturally occurring, there is a missing piece in our health and well-being.  My hope is to fill whatever gaps you may have so you may return to a natural state of inner balance and harmony to be as healthy as you are able.

With deep love and respect for our shared paths on this beautiful planet,

Deb

If you are interested in knowing more about my services, please go here.  

 

Spiritual mentor Deb Vail will often become ecstatic over her dog, a simple flower, violin music or a southern Appalachian handcraft. Communing with a subtly boisterous forest brings her joy difficult to contain. Deb, the founder of Sacred Living, has created a service for those with serious illness to find comfort, ease and bit of wonderment.

Qi Gong ~ The Breath of Life

Qi gong is integral to my life.

Qi is the invisible vital force, the energy, which gives us life. Qi Gong is the practice of building that force within our bodies through simple conscience movements and breath. For me, it is like moving prayer. Qi moves in vibration and in pulsation. Tapping into the energy (qi) of Living Nature nourishes and accentuates the energy (qi) in our bodies.

In my own life, qi gong was one part of the synergistic matrix that helped me to recover from long-term Lyme disease. I began practicing over thirty years ago and, truthfully, through time I would start and stop my practice. As I began to recover from my illness and started practicing qi gong every day, my road to wellness sped up.

Qi gong promotes our health ~ mind, body and spirit. As we enter into the sacred realms of living consciously it connects us deeply with the world around us both in real time and in our understanding of how the energy of nature is constantly sustaining us and giving us gifts. It is the ultimate practice of receiving and giving.

This ancient practice mimics the movement of the five elements; air, water, metal, fire and earth. They correlate to our internal organs as well as the physical features of nature. Each one is bound to a specific emotion. By working with the natural flow of these systems the qi magnifies and sustains us.

Harry and I practice qi gong together nearly every day. We hope that our lives are healthier, longer and more vibrant from the exercise. And we know from experience that the act of doing them together enhances both our relationship and the practice itself.

You can begin qi gong by doing a very simple exercise: shaking. The simple act of standing and kind of jumping up and down very gently and loosely helps the energy in your body to start moving. My teacher said that ‘shaking’ every day for 15 minutes is the perfect qi gong exercise for any of us and it would be particularly helpful to anyone with health issues. Gently, sweetly moving up and down, letting the negative energy enter the ground and the positive to recirculate throughout the body. Add some nice music and it’s actually really fun! Want to give it a try?!!

For more information about my services, click here.
Spiritual mentor Deb Vail will often become ecstatic over her dog, a simple flower, violin music or a southern Appalachian handcraft. Communing with a subtly boisterous forest brings her joy difficult to contain. Deb, the founder of Sacred Living, has created a service for those with serious illness to find comfort, ease and bit of wonderment.

Abundance

Abundance is the ‘in’ word these days. Everywhere you go, you’ll see long articles about how to create it and bring it in to your life but I believe we are missing something: we don’t need to create abundance ~ we need to acknowledge the abundance that is already present in our lives.

We are very rich indeed. No matter how much money you have in your bank account, you’ve got millions of cells working together in your body along with miles of veins that bring blood to your heart. Your heart works unceasingly. Your breath is constant and needs no attention from you to support your life. You may also have legs that afford you the possibility of walking, running, dancing and swimming. Perhaps you have arms and hands that gift you with the ability to do millions of things. You may even have eyes and ears, a tongue with taste buds as well as a nose that all work together and separately to bring you an infinite amount of tactile sensations. And your largest organ, your skin allows you to feel this whole world and be in constant interaction with it at all times.

And here we are in this body with a plethora of emotions that brighten the rainbow of our existence. We feel a range so vast and complete that there are not even adequate words to express the possibilities.

Beyond this personal existence, we are planted here on the earth with an infinity of plants, trees, rocks, birds and animals as well as all of the elements of fire, water, air, earth and metal. They are all here stewarding us, feeding us, sustaining us, giving us medicines for our bodies and our souls.

We are standing in the middle of paradise asking for abundance and yet we don’t even see that we already have it! We are already millionaires!!! We are all billionaires!!!

Instead of looking for the next thing for you to create or do to fulfill yourself, allow yourself to be filled up by receiving the infinite gifts that surround you in every moment. Take the next five minutes to sit in silence just being aware of the miracle of you! Take the next hour to look around you at all the gifts that surround you and acknowledge them all!

Listen! Open up your ears! Look around you! See! Feel everything!! Experience it all!

Give thanks!! And yes, please give thanks! The heaven that you are waiting for arrives in every moment if you chose it. The abundance you are seeking has already arrived! You are alive! It’s all path! It’s all love!

Receive it!! And give thanks!

 

Spiritual mentor Deb Vail will often become ecstatic over her dog, a simple flower, violin music or a southern Appalachian handcraft. Communing with a subtly boisterous forest brings her joy difficult to contain. Deb, the founder of Sacred Living, has created a service for those with serious illness to find comfort, ease and bit of wonderment.

Nature

When we enter the woods, we enter sacred territory. Nature is alive.  Its’ presence is palpable and yet we only glimpse a small part of it’s mystery until we draw closer.  Here, we begin to find meaning and patterns in nature’s relationships and cycles. Here, we find infinite worlds inside the energy of creation.  Here, we are struck by awe and reverence for life itself.

Nature is a mirror for our own soul.  It gives us messages of rightful living and relationship. It shows us qualities of generosity, equanimity, balance, harmony and peace.  It shows us that even destruction bears gifts.

If we dig deep and examine the intricacies of nature’s miracles we begin to realize that we are never alone – that we are constantly supported by billions of living particles of grace and love.

Traveling this sacred path is a new paradigm in the western world and yet it is as old as time itself.

Become united with the beauty you see and receive it unto yourself and then, once again, give yourself back to it.  You are the sun, the moon, the ocean ~

~Interbeing~
The Sun has entered me.
The Sun has entered me together with the cloud and the river.
I myself have entered the Sun with the cloud and the river.
There has not been a moment when we do not interpenetrate.
But before the Sun entered me, the Sun was in me –
also the cloud and the river.
Before I entered the river, I was already in it.
There has not been a moment when we have not inter-been.
Therefore you know that as long as you continue to breathe,
I continue to be in you.

~Thich Nhat Hanh~

 

Spiritual mentor Deb Vail will often become ecstatic over her dog, a simple flower, violin music or a southern Appalachian handcraft. Communing with a subtly boisterous forest brings her joy difficult to contain. Deb, the founder of Sacred Living, has created a service for those with serious illness to find comfort, ease and bit of wonderment.

Flower Essences

Even as I start to write about flower essences, I feel my body lighten, my heart open while an inner smile emerges.  Plants sustain me and give me light.  They are some of my dearest friends.  I have often felt that there are enough miracles in a field of flowers to bring a lifetime of happiness and joy.

When we are able to walk in the fields and in the woods, we get large doses of medicine.  For instance, the living earth transmits energy to our body and the sky gives spiritual inspiration to our heart.  The plants reflect their goodness and love and offer themselves to us.

We take them in as food sources, which is the most basic way to nourish our bodies.  Herbs provide both food and medicine. Flowers are medicine and food for the heart.  The closer a well-grown and much loved plant is to its original form, the better it is for our body

And yet, there are times when we don’t have access to the woods or the fields for native treasures in the wild.  During those times, we have an amazing resource to draw on:  flower essences.  By putting the tops of flowers in water which is then placed in sunlight, the essence of the medicine and gift that each flower bears is transmitted to the water and can be preserved and then used as an attunement.

For instance, yarrow can protect us, white chestnut can slow our thinking, agrimony gives us courage to be truthful about our true feelings, roses offer hope.  The possibilities are endless.

We are living in paradise and have every resource available to us for the unfolding of our soul.

My husband and I make our own flower essences ~ Sacred Forest Flower Essences ~ from the native plants of the Appalachia Mountains that surround us.

The gifts that they offer are too precious to ignore.

Receive their gifts and remember that you are forever sustained, protected and supported by our divine friends.

For more information about my services, click here.
Spiritual mentor Deb Vail will often become ecstatic over her dog, a simple flower, violin music or a southern Appalachian handcraft. Communing with a subtly boisterous forest brings her joy difficult to contain. Deb, the founder of Sacred Living, has created a service for those with serious illness to find comfort, ease and bit of wonderment.