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.

Doctors, nurses, specialists. Oh my!

Last week I went to the doctor for my annual check-up and ended up mentioning a few things going on with my body.  A few hours later, I was leaving the office with orders for x-rays and other testing. Because I was so taken aback, I thought I’d share a few things that I wish I would have done to be more prepared. Mostly, this is a note to myself so I’ll remember all of these things through these next months of other appointments!

I hope it’s helpful not only to any of you that are facing a serious illness but also to those of you who  support and caretake others. I suppose that at one time or another that includes most all of us.

BES&Bee1) Always wear comfortable clothing ~ things that are easy to get off and on but also clothes that make you feel good. Wear ‘comfort’ clothes that feed your soul but also make you feel healthy. For me, that would be my favorite jeans and large flannel shirt.

2) Bring a pen and pad of paper for taking notes and to jot down questions as they arise.  (And write down questions beforehand that you have concerning the visit!)  Don’t write your notes on the back of referral pages like I did.  They get turned into the next doctor and are gone.

3) Be sure to bring water and a nutritious healthy snack for after the appointment before you head home.  Drink plenty to flush out toxins as well to keep hydrated and think clearly.  Consider taking cashews which are not only delicious but are also a great source of protein and aid depression as compared to a baked good or chips.  Feed your body and your soul.

4) Have some Bach Flower Rescue Remedy on hand.  You can put drops in your water to drink before, during and after the appointment or you can use the cream form and rub it on your temples and wrists.  This flower essence remedy is a mixture of five essences specifically for stressful situations.  It contains Star of Bethlehem, which is for shock.

5) There are acupressure points on both of your wrists.  It’s about three finger widths up from where your hand connects to your wrist.  If you massage that point, it will help you focus and it will also give you strength.

6) If at all possible, have a trusted someone go with you so they can hear what the doctors are saying in case you can’t process all the information they are telling you.  It’s also nice to have someone for emotional support, should something arise.Pink_Zinnia

7) If you haven’t taken someone with you to the appointment, make sure to have a friend or family member on call so that you can check in with them before you head home.  It helps to run through what was said at the appointment as well as to have emotional support.  They may remember what you told them right after the appointment better than you.   If possible and necessary, it may be useful to have the doctor repeat something important to them over the phone during the session.  They may have different, valuable questions about the issue.

8) After the appointment, drive carefully. If you are upset and need to pull over, please do.  Take your time and be safe.

9) Notice your feelings and hold them tenderly in your awareness.  Allow them and embrace them.  There is no right or wrong here.  The immediacy of attending to the present moment offers its’ peace and wisdom.

10) When you get home, be sure to rest and continue to drink plenty of water as well as to have a healthy meal.  Write down any questions as they arise for follow-up with the doctor and record your emotional and spiritual journey not only for yourself but to aid others that may some day face the challenges that you now face.

11) Be especially tender and gentle with yourself in the next few days as everything settles in.  Depending on what type of appointment you have had you may be facing more tests to zero in on a diagnosis, you may have received a diagnosis that has an easy manageable plan or you may have received an unwanted diagnosis that brings with it much fear, grief and shock.  No matter what stage you are in within the process, allow yourself the luxury of immense compassionate self-care.

More posts to come as I proceed through these next few months of more testing. I hope to honestly share with you my experience and any insights that may be helpful to you or your loved ones.

 

We are the mirror as well as the face in it.

We are tasting the taste this minute

Of eternity. We are pain

And what cures pain, both. We are

The sweet, cold water, and the jar that pours.
~ Rumi

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.

Slowing Down

I’ve come to a point in my life, perhaps because of my age or the fact that my children have grown up and left home, that I understand more fully the gifts of slowing down. And, it’s also a bit frightening to settle in. I am used to moving forward with speed and acuity to accomplish goals and projects ~ some that were as simple as arriving on time or as complex as starting a whole new journey in a business like when we started the farm.

What I’ve found, as I look back, is that much of the hurry was self inflicted and driven. I missed so many opportunities to connect to my family and my surroundings because I was either racing around, distracted or totally exhausted.

There are over 125 million sites on the web now that are about ‘Simple Living’. Intuitively, we know we are missing life. We want to slow down to really see what’s around us and interact with life more meaningfully. We know that we need it for our own health at the very least but we also know, on some level that it’s needed in the world.

There are many ‘how-to’s of slowing down and living simply and they can become more ‘shoulds’ to do and can add to our fast pace or calendar of ‘to-do’ tomorrow.

My intention is to connect to Spirit in ways that are integrated into my way of being in the world instead of being yet another ~ thing to do.

While at the kitchen sink with dirty dishes stacked everywhere, food cooking on the stove, maybe even about to burn, I look up and see a cardinal in the snow-covered tree outside the window. Do I stop everything and take in the beauty while the food burns? Do I keep going and miss the moment and feel sadness and grief? If so, can I be present with the grief itself? Or, can I take a breath, send a prayer of connection and thanksgiving to the bird as I continue what I do and offer yet another prayer of gratitude for the food cooking on the stove, the running water that comes to my sink and yes, even for the dirty dishes that show that there’s been food in my kitchen?

I explore these simple ways of being in the world: sending thankfulness in a prayer when anything at all arises and shows itself. And that means embracing every emotion as well – even the ones that I deem to be unwelcome because I have a belief that it is a negative emotion or because it just plain ol’ feels bad.

What if everything that we feel, see, touch, hear and taste is a gift? The bitter and the sweet: all of it a gift. What would it be like to live in constant reception of ‘what is’?

I’m not concerned with healing or converting myself to some new concept of right living. I’m only concerned with living moment to moment as receptive as possible.

I know that then when I am open to the different parts of myself the tenderness that arises in me allows me to be more kind to those in my life. Everything gets a little softer, a little more sweet and those tiny differences help me to feel a bit more peaceful.

 

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.