Early Autumn Forest Bath

Go ahead and revel and twirl!  Don’t be perfect!  Be wild and wonderful!  Be present!  Be you in the deep, deep woods of autumn!

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October in the woods in SW Michigan, just minutes from my Three Oaks home…

Moving from the heated expansiveness of summer, a refreshing and introspective autumnal forest calls.  Come walk and linger, enjoy scents and colors, experiencing the restoration and inspiration of the trees, plants, and earth.  The shadows are long and the days shorter, heightening our pleasure of the moment.  Falling leaves reveal the skeleton of a tree.  Scent of decaying leaves is both dank and sweet, a curious embrace.

I imagine most of us woodsy fans are aware of the Forest Bath movement, Shinrin-yuko.  (I rambled about Forest Bathing previously in a wintry blog – Winter Forest Bath). In Japan, formal studies are conducted regarding the health benefits of spending time in nature.  A recent study explores the immune strengthening abilities of essential oils from trees and plant life.  ‘Scuse me while I dab on some Hinoki Oil…

Most beguiling is the personal creativity that awakes in a Forest Bath.  If we step into the woods with senses open we begin to feel very deeply.  We let the forest in –  into us, our psyche – and we experience profound pleasure and the rarified activity, play.

Yeah, it sounds “woo-woo.”  Well, it is “woo-woo.”  Let’s just lighten up go with it.

Here’s some sensory forest bath games to explore.

Scent

Find a scent and breathe it in.  Close your eyes.  How does it make you feel?  Where do you feel it in your body.  Open your eyes and follow the scent until you discover another. Repeat.

Pine, I feel in the head,  throat, and heart.   I walk through the woods tracking pine until I discover a fungal-mushroom scent.  This I feel much lower in my body, it is heavy and rich.  Something about the mushroom seems mischievous to me…  Colors seem brighter after the scent of mushroom.

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Vision

Let yourself gaze at something until your eyes go in and out of focus.  Explore trying not to focus on anything!  Find some lovely objects and make a design with them.

I feel connected to my inner child when I do this.

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Hear

Sit in silence.  Close your eyes.  What do you hear?  Repeat, this time with a smile.

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Touch

Here’s a favorite.  Find a tree.  Go ahead and rest your hand on it.  Feel.  Move your hand away, slowly, and see what you feel now.  Ok, umm. Just wow!  Next, silently introduce yourself to this tree.  “Well, hello there, Tree.  I’m Doreen.  It’s so nice to be in your company.”  See what happens…

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Have Fun!

Go ahead and revel and twirl!  Don’t be perfect!  Be wild and wonderful!  Be present!  Be you in the deep, deep woods of autumn!

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Faerie Festival Roundup 2018

I dreamed a dream
of pretty things
Of starlit nights
and Fairy Wings…

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Dust off your wings!  Faerie Festival season is here! 

First, here’s a little bit about faerie festivals.  Then the roundup of festivals I’ve been to, or want to go to, or want to go back to.
But first – Questions.
Just what is a faerie festival?
A bit of a hybrid festival, faerie fests are a little like a music fest, only more family friendly.  A little bit renaissance fair, only with faeries, and in any time period.  A bit steampunk and rainbow tribe.  Only with, faeries.  Expect music, dancing, activities, street performers, craft vendors and lots of creative expression.  Expect – you guessed it – faeries!
Are costumes required?
Nope!  Although, many folks do dress up in costumes though.  And you’ll have more fun!  All kinds of costumes are welcome- ren fair, pirate, steampunk.  Faerie costumes are very imaginative, have fun with it!
Is there food?
All the festivals have food, but some have more selection than others.  Check the website for each fest.  Bring water.
What about shopping?  Is there cool faerie stuff for sale?
Absolutely!  Bring cash!  Sometimes swipe devices don’t work so well in the woods.
Do people spend the weekend or the night?
Yes!  Most festivals have camping or bunk houses of some sort.  Recommended –  bring twinkly faerie lights and such to deck out your tent.  The camp ground and the after hours parties are where much of the fun happens.  Plus you make friends and get to hear impromptu music jams.  And many festivals have the best after hours dance parties ever.
Are pets welcome?
Mebbe. Again, check the websites of each fest.
Tickets?
If you can purchase ahead of time, do it.  Camping may fill up.
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Here’s the Round-up

(Photographs are my own but not necessarily from each festival they are tucked under)

Friday May 4 – Sunday May 6
York County, PA (Near Baltimore)
A lovely long-standing faerie celebration – 27 years!   The last year at this sweet location as the festival has grown so!
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Friday June 8 – Sunday June 10
Darlington, MD
A friendly and easy meeting of the faerie community with camping or rooms to let.  Don’t miss the Friday night drum and fire jam.
verdant faerie Blogs:
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Thursday June 21 – Sunday June 24
Twisp, WA
This is a meeting of faerie minds and consciousness.  Where you can go immerse and experience true faerie faith.  Seeds of healing…
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Friday June 29 – Sunday July 1
Ouagaquaga, NY
Remote, wild, magic.  This festival is really out there in the woods with tremendous community, spirit, and magic.  A faerie queen on horseback and trolls thrill.  Do camp out…  It’s transcendent.
verdant faerie Blog:
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July 14  – July 17
Western Newfoundland, Canada
Costumes and ugly sticks will be available.
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Saturday August 4 & Sunday August 5
South Elgin, IL
This little sweetheart of a fair is getting better (and sweeter) every year.
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Friday August 24 – Sunday August 26
North Plains, OR (Near Portland)
Glamorous, magical, sizable!  Music and a fantastic dance “floor.”  Camping is extensive the food trucks are amazing!
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Friday September 1 – Sunday September 3
Stuart, VA
More east coast faerie fun because we cannot get enough.
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Friday November 9 – Sunday November 11
Delta Baltimore Hunt Valley
Indoors – Get your Faerie fix in the cold months!  Workshops and fantastic music and vendors.
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A Faerie Poem

The following poem is by east coast photographer,  and faerie soul Cathleen Newberg.  I met Cathleen at Maryland Faerie Festival and she kindly responded to a verdant faerie newsletter with this inspired enchanted poem.  Enjoy!  Thanks, Cathleen for letting me share here!
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I dreamed a dream
of pretty things
Of starlit nights
and Fairy Wings
Of dancing lightly
with feet bared
As if Gravity
no longer cared
My spirit soaring
no longer bound
Celestial  murmurings
such sweet sounds
Expanding, expanding
dreaming the dream
of starlit nights
and fairy wings
~ Cathleen Newberg

Know of any of faerie festivals not mentioned here?

Maybe I’ll glimpse you fluttering by…

 

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Belize & Guatemala Part II

…I was touched to see a young taxi driver holding my mom’s hand and slowly walk her to his old cab with the cracked windshield and peeling window darkeners.

People and Places

People, The Group

Belize and Guatemala happened for me this past January because of adventurers Deb and Bob Stelton, through their mom and pop travel company Mexi-Mayan Travel.

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Deb and Bob Stelton climbing the ruins, Mexi-Mayan Travel

And they really are my mom and pop.

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At the Ruins of Tikal

Forever curious, an inspiration to countless students and seekers, hosts and trip organizers of expeditions since the 1960’s, they are only now at 88 and 91 years young just starting to slow down.

I’ll admit to a tug at the heartstrings.  Climbing around ruins and getting in and out of boats or beat up trucks is a challenge at their age.  I am an arm for my mother to lean on, (darn arthritic knees!) or a cheerleader as she navigates a high ledge, on her butt, backwards.  I am an ear for my dad’s failing hearing, and also sometimes a stabilizer for him also.  It’s not easy for them and sometimes I worry.  Well, enough of that.  You get the picture. We treasure each of these excursions.

It has been an honor and delight to accompany them and sometimes work as guide on many of their madcap journeys.

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Travelin’ in high style!

Talk about gratitude, my life has been rich with culture and experience.  They’ve modeled viewing the world with wonder and curiosity.

Follow their lead, my friends!  Pursue your passions, interests and loves as long as you can!  It keeps the mind, body spirit, strong and supple like a cheetah…

Other than the ‘rents and I there were 12 more adventurers.  All intelligent, mature, considerate, and often hilarious individuals, including 3 archeologists.  All curious about and considerate of the culture of Belizeans and Guatemalans.   Many archeology passionistas who appreciate a cold local beer at lunch.

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The group at the Mayan ruins of Tikal

More People, Local People

A few words about the people of Belize. They are funny, kind, patient, and generous.  Names of businesses and street signs reflect their humor and generally easy-going nature.

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More good natured monkey bizness…

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Out in the jungle some funny guys transformed this tree stump into cigar smokin’ creatures with pebbles as eyes and sticks for cigars, can you see?  Oh, and the tree moss as hair.

Our local guides took care of us like family.  Once even ingeniously packing a home cooked lunch feast (made by one of their sisters in the wee hours of the dawn) which we enjoyed at a ruin in the open air replete with china plates!

I was touched to see a young taxi driver holding my mom’s hand and slowly walk her to his old cab with the cracked windshield and peeling window darkeners.

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A verdant house with a red sofa in San Ignacio?   Yes, please!

In San Ignacio the dogs are plump and adored.  They wander the streets freely and bark all night. All night.  They bark all night!  All.  Night.  Yawn.  Supposedly they are watch dogs, but I think they are more just party animals.

I’ve been to Guatemala about 6 times.  Here too I find the people are kind.  Traditional Mayan spirituality is intriguing and very alive in Guatemala.  If you can experience a Mayan shaman ceremony or visit a Maximon shrine, go for it!.  The shamans will speak directly to the gods on your behalf, building a sacred ritual fire.  Maximon is the saint of drunkards and whores.  He can be bought off with offerings of cash, booze, and cigarettes.  I mean just do it!  Can’t hurt, right?

Places

In San Ignacio we stayed at the Rolsen Hotel.  The Rolsen sits atop a hill a bit out of the hustle and bustle of downtown.  Modest and clean accommodations, very kind and helpful staff.  Nice Pool.  Although the coffee was dreadful, the breakfasts were hearty and the fruit plate was super fresh.  Best thing on the menu – Pork Pibil.  There is a lovely view of the city from the dining room.  And it’s easy to get a cab or tour company and take excursions from here.  We used the dependable and friendly family-run local tour company,

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Restaurant at the Rolsen Hotel (See the green house over there?)

BTW  – we about fainted over the food at San Ignacio’s restaurant The Crave.  So yummy!

Also the Belize Zoo is lovely place, small in size with lush flora.  I am not keen on zoos but this zoo is more of a rescue center.  I petted a rescued jaguar!

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A walk through the Zoo.
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Junior, a rescued jaguar.

In the Peten area of Guatemala we stayed three nights at the remote  El Sombrero Lodge.  Run by an Italian woman who came to visit as a young lady then fell in love with the land (and a man) and never left.  She is assisted by her adult sons.  This lodge was my favorite on the trip.  Outstanding service and delicious home cooked meals (they baked me a birthday cake with only an afternoon’s notice, and served it warm for desert!)  The lodge is tucked in the jungle on a crocodile filled lake (no swimming).  I found the rooms utterly charming – screened-in thatched roof structures.  You will hear the howler monkeys!  Some rooms are more “communal” then others.  You may hear your neighbors!  The lodge generates their own power (which goes off at night unless you make other arrangements), keep their own bees, and serve the honey with homemade pancakes.  Excellent coffee.  The owners are highly knowledgeable about Mayan archeology and offer excursions to nearby ruins by boat, horse, or car.  The road to this place was exceedingly bumpy, but worth it!

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El Sombrero dining room
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Walkway at El Sombrero
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My lodgings at El Sombrero
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The bar at El Sombrero
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The lake at El Sombrero
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The boat we took to see ruins at El Sombrero
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Happy horses

 

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Tree roots in Guatemala

Deb had the brilliant idea to finish our trip at the most luxurious of the three “hotels.”  So we were off by a scenic boat ride to, The Lamanai Outpost Lodge.  Private, quiet rooms, service, food and cultural and ecotourism activities here were first rate.  Hot showers, air conditioning, comfy beds, beautiful landscaping, hummingbirds everywhere.  24 hour coffee is forever in the communal room. Our hosts mysteriously and repeatedly offered drinks on the house.  Was it something about us?  Or is it the norm?  Hard to say…  Regardless, cheers!

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View from the restaurant at Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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Restaurant at Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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Lovely view from my cabin…
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The river ride to Lamanai Outpost Lodge
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The river ride to Lamanai Outpost Lodge

Beautiful Ruins

Finally, we visited many ruins…  I’m sorry the names escape me (there were so many!) but here are a few favorite pictures…

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My feet on the top of a ruin
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Me

Thank you for reading! I’d love to hear about your adventures – please comment!

More Links

Here’s the itinerary for the trip:
Belize and Guatemala – A Mayan Ecological Adventure

Belize & Guatemala Part I

If you’ve more interest in Mayan culture, and scent here’s a little Mayan Story I wrote:
Sex and Scent – A Cautionary Mayan Tale

And here’s another blog about Guatemala and coffee from a previous trip:
Smelling the Coffee, Generosity of Spirit

 

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Me again…

Belize & Guatemala Part I

Careless as I might be in packing clothes, not so with perfume.  Not always.  But mostly.  Laying the potential fragrances out ahead of time to sniff and dream gets me in the mood.

Scent & Faeries

What perfumes to bring on a jungle faerie hunt…

“A cozy one, a sexy one, one for the weather, and a wild card.”  Inviting advice offered  from friend and blogger Julie Johnson of The Redolent Mermaid to my quandary on a last trip.

I confess that mostly I’m a last minute packer.  Sure, I have grand plans to pack  two-three days before a trip and then re-pack the day before,  removing half of the stuff, etc.  But no, mostly, I just end up shoving everything into the suitcase last minute.  Yoga mat?  Check…

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Hmmmm – packing bags in my bag…

Careless as I might be in packing clothes, not so with perfume.  Not always.  But mostly.  Laying the potential fragrances out ahead of time to sniff and dream gets me in the mood.  And it’s an adventure to see if the way I predict fragrance interacting in an environment will play out in just that way.

For this jungle faerie hunt I selected a small vial of rare Hawaiian Jasmine in oil for my weather (tropical) scent.  A gift from a friend who procured it at a farmer’s market in Kauai it seemed an obvious choice.

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Rare Hawaiian Jasmine and Butterfly

A small potent vial of verdant faerie’s Butterfly was my cozy scent.  More of an aromatherapy scent than a perfume, Butterfly is bright with Geranium and Mint, and grounding with Clary Sage.  It is perfect for jet-lag or the disorientation that sometimes accompanies travel.  The bottle is now empty…  Somehow it’s brightness was a soothing tonic.  Helping me to feel stronger and ready for adventure.

My sexy  scent was verdant faerie’s Eau De Parfum, Duskblossom, a rich scent with a seductive heart of Jasmine & Tuberose and a complex narcotic patchouli / tobacco base.

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Duskblossom

On the trip I ended up slathering Butterfly on my wrist to wake up and then layered my sexy pick DuskBlossom on top, day and night.  During the day I would occasionally layer on the straight up jasmine.  I found the Hawaiian Jasmine and Jasmine-heavy Duskblossom perfect for the jungle.  It’s heady seductiveness lured me into lush jungle spirit.  Blooming, thick, both ethereal and and of the earth.

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The wild card was J. Hannah’s award-winning Skive.  I especially love to take this one traveling because of it’s nifty eco-lux and travel ready packaging.  The scent itself is always a surprise to me, although I’ve known it for several years.  And its smokey, woodsy, musky, tea scent always brings out unique nuances in the environment I am exploring.  I reached for Skive just once.  At the Lamanai Lodge deep in the jungle.  On a night when I got the itch to enjoy a scotch at the lodge bar.   Stay up late listening to the songs of night critters as the Howler monkeys finished their last throaty bellows.  The smooth smokiness matched the scotch and the sounds.  I felt far away.

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J. Hannah’s Skive with its leather ‘glamping’ wrap
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That’s my scotch over there at the Lamanai Lodge.

Once, as an experiment I put some drops of Butterfly into a pair of smelly sneakers.  My brilliant idea did nothing to mask this funk.  Then they just smelled like funk and Butterfly.  C’est la vie. They are now sitting with good ol’ baking soda.

Interestingly, the lush intensity of the jungle softened all the fragrances, and I was really digging DuskBlossom with Butterfly as I wandered around under massive vine covered trees investigating endless variations of miniscule mosses.

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Copal

In the off-the-beaten-track shop of Miss Garcia I hit gold in the form of Copal Resin.  Miss Garcia opened the door of her pink shop to us on a Saturday night.  Her smile and transcendent Saturday night copal smudging scent greeted us. Still soft and fresh, she unwrapped the copal and cut me off a 1/4 pound piece.  I mentioned I wanted to tincture it for perfume, and she instructed that it should soak for 9 days, a sacred number as per the Mayans.

I left the shop floating on an incense cloud basking in the radiance of the kindly Miss Garcia.

I will tincture some in organic alcohol and oil.  For 9 days, as recommended.

Incidentally, Copal is a resin from the Copal Protium Tree.  It is used mostly as an incense but can add a lovely incense base note to perfumes.  A bit like Frankincense only sweeter and more ethereal.

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Miss Garcia

 

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Miss Garcia’s shop.

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All the gorgeous imperfections.
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Cutting it is like cutting a very firm cheese
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The tree is nicked to cause the resin to flow.

Mayan Faeries – The Alux

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The faerie hunter.

This dapper fellow and frequent travel companion is my dad.  In addition to being an incredibly literate professor, he shares my curiosity in faeries.  He always gets his question out in the most serious and professorial of manners, asking our local guides what they know of the Alux (pronounced ah-loosh) a Mayan sprite or faerie.

As children our Belizean guides were cautioned not to go into caves.  In the caves the Alux lie in wait and will get you.  And parents are advised to have more than 1 child as the Alux are less likely to talk a child into going off with him if a sibling is present.

“Does anyone ever come back from there after being caught?” asks yours truly.

“Ummm.  No.”

Now, doesn’t that make you just a touch suspicious?  Don’t you wonder what it’s like in the land of the Alux?  Maybe it’s super nice and the children don’t WANT to come back…  Hmmm.

Belize & Guatemala Part II coming very soon..

In the meantime for more scented beauty, check out Julie Johnson’s blog –

The Redolent Mermaid

Do you travel with perfume?  How do you decide what to bring?

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Winter Forest Bath

I walk slowly and use my senses. Or come back to my senses! For this experience I’m not trying to identify plants or birds. I’m not counting my steps or trying to work up a sweat. I’m just being, in the forest, in winter.

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My favorite forest primeval, Warren Woods State Park, lies sleeping under a blanket of snow and the spell of winter. I am out in the woods, practicing winter Shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing” – a nature inspired body-mind spiritual practice. By experiencing the winter forest in a liminal meditation state, through my senses, and without agenda, I’m connecting with nature and practicing meditation in motion.

The simple and dreamy practice of Shinrin-yoku comes from Japan and is encouraged by the Japanese government as a way to decrease stress, elevate mood, strengthen the immune system, and improve quality of life since 1982.

I walk slowly and use my senses. Or come back to my senses! For this experience I’m not trying to identify plants or birds. I’m not counting my steps or trying to work up a sweat. I’m just being, in the forest, in winter.

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With the absence of the leaves and plants, sounds are clearer, yet at the same time the snow mutes. Rasps and groans from the trees cut through the crisp air. The chatter of birds, woodpeckers rapping, an occasional soft thump of a heavy snow dropping from a tree limb. The curious sound of my feet in the snow makes me laugh out loud.

The landscape is awash in an endless array of subtly magnificent shades of cobalt, grey, browns, and white. A solitary snowflake sparkles like a faerie kiss on the snow – white, blue, or gold.

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I pause and feel the snowflakes land gently on my face; I follow a single snowflake on its path fluttering down. In the air lies a hint of the scent of fresh linen (washed in unscented soap, please). In the winter forest there is scent, but at the same time, no scent. The scent of snow is almost more of ‘scentsation.’ I open to the idea of feeling the scentless scent.

 

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Eventually a chill creeps in. I wish I had brought a thermos of tea. I could have stayed longer! Next time. For now I return to my car, my spirit cleansed and bright.

Maybe I’ll head over to a local beach community, now pleasantly sleepy with winter,  Union Pier.  I can warm up with a sandwich at Milda’s or a soup and vegan pastry at Black Current Bakehouse. Life really is good.

Interested in a talking a winter forest bath of your own? Here are some ideas to try:

  • Walk as slowly as you can while still keeping warm.
  • Fix your gaze on a single snowflake and notice how amazing it is!
  • Stop and listen. What do you hear?
  • Lean your back against a tree, feeling it sway (or not) and look up at the bare branches in contrast to the sky beyond.
  • Place your mittened hand on your heart. How do you feel?

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For more info about Shrinin-yoku go to http://www.Shinrin-yoku.org or check out the book The Little Handbook of Shinrin-yoku by M. Amos Clifford.

Warren Woods is located in Harbor Country Michigan.  A few miles from my sweet home in the magical village of Three Oaks.

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Beauty Returns

Tara was returned to me to coincide with the flash of beauty in death that comes with autumn’s spectacular blaze of vibrant leaves before the deep sleep of winter.

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After a year and a half of travel this beautiful Tara returned to me.

She was with me in my condo before my beloved nomad year.  Another lifetime ago it seems.  A treasured gift from one of my parent’s many travels.  She was my companion in plenty of my ‘dark nights of the soul’ as well as joyful days of dancing yoga in the sun.

When I went nomad she was tucked away in a friend’s space.

And now she is returned.  Upon opening her storage box and seeing her,  I gasped, with pleasure.  I nearly forgot.  But I remember now…

Tara was returned to me to coincide with the flash of beauty in death that comes with autumn’s spectacular blaze of vibrant leaves before the deep sleep of winter.

Both remind me to treasure the beauty of things passing.  To enjoy the cycles of life.  And to allow myself rest and reprieve when the time is right.  To ready myself for rebirth.  And beauty.

Getting Connected at the Acorn Theater in Harbor Country Michigan

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A little blog I wrote, published on the Harbor Country Chamber of Commerce website about the Acorn Theater in Three Oaks, MI.  My home village…

By Doreen Stelton

To feel enveloped in a welcoming place with friendly folk. You know this feeling? You know it. We all share it. That desire to connect with others, to get social and commune.  Perhaps even sharing a deeper experience together, basking in the beauty and mysteries of life. For a lifetime, a day, …

Follow source/link below to read more..

Source: Getting Connected at the Acorn – Harbor Country

New Digs!

After a year of Free Range Faerie-ing I’ve got a new place. An actual, physical home and studio. I’ve settled in Three Oaks, Michigan. How’s that for a faerie name?

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Just wanted to share my news.

After a year of Free Range Faerie-ing I’ve got a new place.  An actual, physical home and studio.  I’ve settled in Three Oaks, Michigan.  How’s that for a faerie name?

It’s an artsy small town on the southwestern tip of Michigan filled with friendly folks and only 3 traffic-less miles to the nearest forest.

I even have a job at the cozy  Acorn Theater.  (Another faerie name.)  Where I am meeting great people and filling my life with music.

I’ve forgotten how much effort goes into running and setting up a home!  (So I haven’t been in the writing/perfuming/or social media-ing much.)

Truthfully, it’s been a bit stressful and exhausting with February behaving downright weirdly for me.  How’s your February?

But Missy’s been a great help…

Here’s an vintage chair we scored.

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Missy awaits her fragrance consultation
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Shoving it in the Mazda
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The Shenanigans she puts up with!

 

And then the other night…
I am sleeping and curious noises, giggles and the tinkling of bells, drift from the studio. Flashes of color and the scent of rose and loam fill my dreams as I explore an old victorian mansion filled with creatives and jokesters. At dawn I wipe the sleep from my eyes to discover the perfume/writing studio all put together.

Like this…

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Let’s see how long I can keep it tidy.

AND I’m excited to offer yoga classes again!  I’ve decided to keep the beautiful living room as a yoga room…  (My class schedule is right here on the Verdant Yoga Page).

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View of the sun drenched yoga room
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Missy checking out the Michigan Floor (that is what that style of wood laying is called)

 

Finally here is a glimpse of the view from the backyard.  What is seen from the studio window…

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What grows in that field?

I’m thinking fire pit and sunset dinners…

Settling here completes a goal for the first quarter of 2017 and the second quarter goal of this year’s Celtic calendar.  It also satisfies a life-long curiosity of life in a small town.  So yay me!

Never too late to make a change…

Got any great moving stories?

As always, thanks for visiting, dear Reader.

 

 

 

Sex & Scent – A Cautionary Mayan Tale

Xkeban was lusty as she was beautiful. Lust coursed through her body unchecked. A libido as big as the hot at the peak of a summer’s day in the Yucatecan jungle when you can do nothing but lay in your hammock and sweat, too hot to even fan. That’s how big her lust was… READ MORE!

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Sex and Scent – A Cautionary Mayan Tale

Xkeban was lusty as she was beautiful.   Lust coursed through her body unchecked. A libido as big as the hot at the peak of a summer’s day in the Yucatecan jungle when you can do nothing but lay in your hammock and sweat, too hot to even fan. That’s how big her lust was.

That’s right, I said, unchecked. And in the little Mayan village where Xkeban lived, the sway of her hips as she lead her many lovers off to her palapa or worse yet, to the jungle, filled the more sanctimonious villagers with condemnation.

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And in the hearts of the villagers, the Yucatecan heat blazed in a hell-storm of fiery condemnation for that “floozy,” Xkeban. And fan this fire they would. Especially one villager named Utz-Colel.

Utz-Colel was just as beautiful as Xkeban, but she was pious. She did not let her secret passions drive her to look brazenly into the eyes of the men. Or to openly leer at the curve of their low backs, (you know, that dip just above a man’s buttocks where neatly fits a hand) as she “accidently” brushed her swelling breasts up against him in the market place to reach for the ripest mango. Nope. Utz-Colel did not even think of such things. She did not give into these passions merely because it “felt natural” as Xcaben was prone to. Really. No, never.

Yet… whom was it the villagers called for when they were ill and needed someone to sit by their sick beds dampening their fevered foreheads? And who was it that took in the goats when past milking age? And the old dogs too lazy and useless?

Have you guessed it? Not the pious Utz-Colel, but Xkeban. Because Xkeban’s heart was as big and kindly as her lust. Truly, even bigger. And while Xkeban would use the finery gifted her by her lovers to feed the indigent. Utz-Colel would scorn those below her while she twisted her ribbons and dark thoughts into her black braids. For inside she was bitter and Utz-Colel’s heart was cold as snakeskin.

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One day a most delicate and sweet perfume filled the air of the little village. The sublime intoxicating effects of this aroma caused all to seek its source, leading them to the home of that (good-hearted) slut, Xkeban. Her time amongst the living was done and there she lay, and from her wasted body emanated this fine perfume.

Well, Utz-Colel was in disbelief and swore up and down that when she died she would smell one hundred times better than that whore, Xkeban…

A few good-hearted individuals who remembered Xkeban’s kindnesses arranged for her burial. The next morning the fragrance was even more pronounced. Scent intoxicated once again, the villagers followed the perfume to the grave of Xkeban to find darling little flowers, the Xtabentun flowers, had proliferated on her grave!

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Time passed and, I suppose you can guess what happened when pious and haughty Utz-Colel died. From her body emanated a foul stench so unbearable the villagers could barely stand to plant her in the earth upon which they hastily flung various flower seeds before scurrying quickly off.

But the next day only a spiny, odorless, cactus flower, called the Tzacam flower bloomed.

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Well from the other side of the grave, Utz-Colel became furious about this and arranged somehow (it’s a secret) to return from death and remedy this perfume problem. She decided she would wantonly seduce as many men as possible just as Xkeban had done. Then she too could smell of fine perfume and produce darling little flowers on her grave.

Now here is where my tale turns cautionary. So listen up, those of you who think this seduction plan is sounding… interesting.

Villagers beware! Utz-Colel has now taken to posing sensuously under the Ceiba tree at the edge of the village, languidly combing her long black hair. And if she lures you into the jungle with the sway of her ample hips in the delirious heat of a Yucatecan summer’s afternoon, you will not be seen in the village again. For the bitter, soul-stealing sex of Utz-Colel is like making love to an odorless cactus flower on a foul and cold snakeskin bed, and it is believed her savage wrath against Xkeban will be your demise. Really.

Just thought you’d like to know.

This tale is my retelling of a traditional Mayan tale. It is an absolute true story of how the Xtabentun and Tzacam flowers came to exist. If you don’t believe me then just go ahead into the jungle with Utz-Colel and see for yourself.

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art from maya sin fronteras

~For My Mom~

This month will find me heading to the Yucatan Peninsula as a tour leader for my parents company Mexi-Mayan Travel.   We’ve a group of lively and curious travelers including my parents.  All avid learners and explorers and some archeologists and anthropologists.  We’ll explore Mayan culture and history as well as the local flora and fauna.  There’ll likely be some margaritas and excellent sea food…

As special gift to our group I’ll create for them a fragrance based on their group scent memories of our journey.  Each person picking one or two outstanding (pleasant) scent memories.  Then I’ll blend it up!

As always, thanks for visiting here!

Beauty For 2017!

… In January of 2016 I foreclosed on my underwater condo in Chicago and went Free Range Faerie. I quit my jobs and hit the road with my 9 year old pup, Missy. It was not clearly planned and was a most definitely ill-advised life move. Frankly it was f*g reckless and irresponsible… read more!

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Happy New Year!

New Year’s Eve finds me pausing for a moment with my bulletproof coffee loving my 2017 engagement calendar.  All those clean empty pages.  A year of possibility with opportunity for beauty.  Sprinkle that faerie dust round.  Happy New Year, one and all!

My Ill-Advised Life

In January of 2016 I foreclosed on my underwater condo in Chicago and went free range faerie.  I quit my jobs and hit the road with my 9 year old pup, Missy.   It was not clearly planned and was a most definitely ill-advised life move.  Frankly it was fucking reckless and irresponsible.  Two years prior another reckless action, leaving an underpaying exhausting job of 17 years which left me even more financially unstable.  But I was compelled to shout “NO” to my prior unsatisfying life.

My intention was to free myself from this life that was not personally satisfying. To peel away layers of internal crap; exhaustion, bitternesses, urban and job induced stresses to indulge in the beauty my soul craved.   To know myself again and/or better.  Seeking a new location in a more beautiful or rural setting.  To remake myself as a faeriepreneur  with a way to support myself as my own boss.

My life unravelled and got unmistakably got messy.  I bravely resisted the negative mantra of “What the fuck am I doing???”  Support from kindly people, without who’s help I could not have done it, surfaced.  I learned to let myself release to this support, my mess, and waited for ME to reform and emerge.  I practiced faerieshamanism and magic, wrote, made perfume, hunted down faerie people and places, and grooved in nature.

This experiment was to last 3-6 months.  Then I’d prolly just get an apartment in Chicago and stuff.  It is coming up on a year this January and I’m still essentially homeless, or as I prefer to say, “nomadic” (it’s all in the attitude ya’ll!).  Ha!

What Next, Free Range Faerie?

During this madly ill-advised adventure I explored a lot of ideas of what to do with myself, always returning to the message and mission of beauty amidst chaos.   And of personal liberation through beauty, truth, and the imaginal realm.  I’m happy to report my soul is refreshed and I’m coming “home” to me.  I feel ready to contribute and collaborate. To set up a home-base again.

My favorite passion project of 2016 was launching my wee perfume line verdant faerie fragrances.  I completed my certification course (though I still have much to learn) and set up temp studios in the various places I stayed.  Perfume supplies were shipped to a variety of locations – Maryland, Hawaii, Canada, Chicago.  I’m excited to take it to the next level in 2017 with improved packaging and perfume blends.  Expanding my knowledge and expertise.  I’m looking forward to establishing a sweet home perfumery of my own in the first quarter of 2017.

I also rediscovered my love of writing and the location freedom it can provide.  As a young girl writing was shoved into my shadow self.  But it keeps seeking the sun!  So I hope to do more of that there writing stuff, perhaps combined it with my perfume.  Ideas are germinating…

One thing I truly missed was a consistent yoga and circus practice and community.  (Well community in general, for it’s hard to keep this going on the road.  Yet one does finds new communities.)  But I really missed the sparkle and comradery of those worlds – physical exploration with expression and soul.  So I’m planning to revisit that in 2017.

Oh, and once I get settled again I also hope to establish regular contribution to a social cause…

Terrifying

As I reestablish myself in 2017 I’ll admit to a certain degree of inner terror.  I have some undeniable challenges ahead.  Can I even pull this off?  And I do so love my freedom!  But mostly I think I got this.  I’ll establish a lovely home base to travel from and I have my mission ~BEAUTY & LIBERATION~ and together we will not be denied!

All the best to you and yours in 2017!

Here’s a verdant barn in Three Oaks Michigan from my recent travels… just cause it’s pretty…

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