“One day when you wake up, you will find that you have become a forest.”
Here is my autumn vlog offering about powerful personal transformation induced through simple walks and experiences in the forest. I was inspired by the splendor of the forest colors this year and the following poem forwarded to me by several friends. It is an affirmation about how far we have come and a humble love offering.
You Have Become a Forest
“One day when you wake up, you will find that you have become a forest. You have grown roots and found strength in them that no one thought you had. You have become stronger and more beautiful, full of life giving qualities. You have learned to take all the negativity around you and turn it into oxygen for easy breathing. A host of wild creatures live inside you and you call them stories. A variety of beautiful birds rest inside your mind and you call them memories. You have become an incredible self sustaining thing of epic proportions. And you should be so proud of yourself, of how far you have come from the seeds of who you used to be.” By Nikita Gill Music: Deluge – Cellophane Sam Surreal Forest – Meydän Clouds – Alan Špiljak You have grown roots and found strength in them that no one thought you had. You have become stronger and more beautiful, full of life giving qualities. You have learned to take all the negativity around you and turn it into oxygen for easy breathing. A host of wild creatures live inside you and you call them stories. A variety of beautiful birds rest inside your mind and you call them memories. You have become an incredible self sustaining thing of epic proportions. And you should be so proud of yourself, of how far you have come from the seeds of who you used to be.”
Feeling pleasure, experiencing beauty, and playing in freedom in our imagination is our natural state. We are creatures of bliss and peace.
I have loved and appreciated so many articles and newsletters with solid suggestions of how to stay healthy and sane during this quarantine – keep hydrated, move your body, breathe, nutrition, wash yer paws, smell exquisite things, keep busy with those long overdue projects or be gentle with yourself when hours and days slip by with nary a single productive task crossed off the to do list, and limit the intake of negative media.
Yes, to all of these.
Let’s include pleasure, beauty, gratitude, and imagination. Are you with me?
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
We are right now creating this very moment by how we interact with the moment. We can choose to be ok and even feel good. We really truly really can.
Creating positive thoughts and feelings are key to staying healthy. We know this, we call it a positive attitude. Let’s take it one step further.
Feeling pleasure, experiencing beauty, and playing in freedom in our imagination is our natural state. We are creatures of bliss and peace. Please release self-judgements and guilt for wanting and experiencing positive things. And let go of fear.
It does not mean we cannot take action. Nor does it mean we don’t care. We are not being disrespectful when we allow ourselves to feel good. We are strong & beautiful creatures with room to encompass it all.
So how to get there? The key is to move towards the yummy things. Make the intention to live in beauty. Use your imagination and step into worlds of wonder. Fill your hours with uplifting music and images whilst feeling gratitude for simple things, the beauty of bird song or a cup of warm tea. The negativity will slip away.
If you are stuck in negativity (anxiety or depression) and struggle with allowing yourself to feel good try this quick fix.
5 Minutes. Sit or lie down. Draw your awareness gently inside. Take 3 deep inhale/exhales. Now make a picture in your minds eye. See someone you love dearly, it can even be your cat or dog, see them in a beautiful place. A place that will make you and your beloved happy. Fascinate on the details of the place, colors, scents, temperature, sounds. Now see your beloved’s face in total bliss. Your beloved is sooo very happy, their fondest wish is come true and you see it in their smile and the sparkle in their eyes. Relish in their happiness. Their happiness is your happiness. Take a moment to experience how this feels in your body. Let this good feeling grow and saturate your entire being. Your physical, emotional, and energy body… your consciousness. Savor this feeling. Make an intention to bring this feeling with you. Slowly let your eyes open and take a deep breathe in and out.
This is an especially good one if you feel guilty about feeling good because (hopefully) you will get a contact high from your beloved feelin’ good. But check it out, it is all your imagination! YOU created it! Yet you still feel good!
Here’s Missy – She is my contact high. Who do you love to see blissed out?
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!
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.
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.
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.
Sit in silence. Close your eyes. What do you hear? Repeat, this time with a smile.
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…
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!
Life wants nothing of you, except for you to do and be yourself. Life wants you to live. To live and feel your extraordinary self in this extraordinary experience of life no matter what you choose to do. Be present with the extraordinariness of you. Society will try to tell us life is ordinary and mundane. But it is not so. Do not believe this. Choose otherwise.
Was it the new moon? Already? And a spring new moon!
Time to plant seeds of intention!
If it wasn’t for my dear friend and aromatherapist, Miriam, (Kindred Earth Botanicals) reminding me of our shared monthly new moon mermaid card spread ritual, I’d have missed it in the frenzy of all my doing and then subsequent crashing overwhelm in the form of a nasty cold.
I’m doing and busy and running and late…
Trying to do all the things. And be all the things to all the people I hold dear. Which sometimes seems like everyone…
If it wasn’t for this new moon reminder (thank you Miriam!) I would have neglected, again, to tincture my Copal Resin. (I got a sizable chunk on a trip – read here – and was instructed in sacred Mayan alchemy to tincture on the new moon for 9 days.)
Back to all the things. The dilemma. All the things! I want them all! Do them all, be them all. And how to impart the faerie message to humans the beauty that is life and that each person is a perfectly imperfect incarnation of beauty, power, and infinite love?
Admittedly, I get jealous of people with single-minded focus. They make progress. They get shit done.
Me? I have so many passions and struggle to coax myself into just one or maybe two. But I get itchy feet, and I love so much all the things…
Sometimes I am harsh with myself though. You must decide, Doreen! Sigh. It happens.
So I thought this new moon I’d ask life, aka spirit, what to do with this dilemma of passion for many things. After all, why must I hold the reins?
Life, what will you have of me? That is what I will plant this new moon. Send me little messages, drop me a trail of breadcrumbs through the forest, and I will follow you.
First bread crumb. The mermaids (cards) told me to go to the water and feel. (Typical mermaids, water, sensuality, emotions, feelings, sex, love.)
I took the already scent-blossoming Copal tincture , a thermos of tea, my journal, and my dog, and hiked up a dune to a favorite contemplation spot…
Missy kept a look out. She can be very protective when I go into meditation / ritual mode.
Second breadcrumb. Scent-savor the copal. Inhale. Open the flood-gates.
Ethereal-sweet-resinous copal, I see you. I feel you. When I anoint myself and inhale slowly, I feel you in my heart and solar plexus chakra. You melt into me a lover’s caress for my psyche. The tingle-glowing within begins. From my heart you spiral down warmly engulfing my radiant center. A sweetness of crying for beauty of life. Love-tears crystallize and drop but do not sting. Bliss. You bring a miraculous bliss, sacred Copal. You bring me to my nature. My nature is bliss.
From this state, I persist with my query. What does life want of me? What does it want me to do? I’m ready to take notes…
I wait. In my mind’s eye I see a flash of lightening. Then, the surprising answer.
Life wants nothing of you, Doreen, except for you to do and be yourself. Life wants you to live. To live and feel your extraordinary self in this extraordinary experience of life no matter what you choose to do. So, the activity you choose to do matters not. Only feel into it. Be present with the extraordinariness of you.
Yes, do all the things. Do anything. Do nothing. Just feel.
Including having a nasty cold from overwhelm. Feel the sweetness and bliss of THAT!
Society will try to tell us life is ordinary and mundane. But it is not so. Do not believe this. Choose otherwise.
But we all know this, yes? Inside, yes, we do.
I guess I just needed a little reminder. Don’t we all from time to time?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Deep purple-red and regal flicking as a fire queen. Fierce loving. Verdant rich with honeyed ambrosia like the slip of an absinthe sylph undulating the Anahata Chakra of the Heart – green. Full loving. Yellow like the gleam of sunshine splashing the earth’s flora and your beloved’s flesh at day’s end. Golden light love. And pure like the scent of a rose, a lone and potent stalk of lavender, the crystalline lily. The scent of love. All these things.
I still believe in you, heart.
Over lunch my friend asks, what was the most valuable thing I learned about people from teaching drama to children for 17 plus years. I can answer in a flash, because I cherish this lesson, what I learned. What I saw and experienced. It is that the heart is good and loving.
Closing eyes, and resting hand on heart, you may feel it. Even though bruised and clumsily veiled. It is. Good and loving.
I’ve experienced it in children. Witnessed it in my adult yoga students too. I asked them to put hands on hearts, their own hearts, and saw bodies soften, auras shine.
Anyone can prove me wrong. Sure. Easy-peasy. Logic slashes and shreds in endless lists of horrid misdemeanors.
But maybe… What if… I refuse to let my mind lead me astray with these thoughts. Hold onto power. Don’t give it away. Because it really can become dreadfully veiled with dire consequences. Just sit and feel my heart. And watch my mind. Keeping it on my heart.
And from there I open my eyes and go out in the world and listen and really see.
Dealing With Bad Faeries! Although old as dirt, I’m still a novice. A novice at this living thing. Shadows and bad faeries linger and whisper nasty shit I know I should ignore. I still wanna eat pie for breakfast, am sometimes tempted by the gluttony of vapid media, and give in to occasional self-pitying freak outs behind the wheel. (Where’s that lavender?!?!?!?)
Dealing With Bad Faeries
Although old as dirt, I’m still a novice. A novice at this living thing. Shadows and bad faeries linger and whisper nasty shit I know I should ignore. I still wanna eat pie for breakfast, am sometimes tempted by the gluttony of vapid media, and give in to occasional self-pitying freak outs behind the wheel. (Where’s that lavender?!?!?!?)
But I have learned a few tricks and I’ll get there.
First I have to say it. Living is not about thing things being ok. This is truth. Conditions for many are horribly shitty. Our bodies and minds are deluged with toxins and respond with dis-ease. Even those of us living “privileged” lives are suffering. Living on earth, at present, is not ok. Bad faeries are afoot.
Why this is so and how it came to be, we do not know for sure. There are many many fascinating and plausible theories, but really we don’t know how things got so off track.
But this disconnect is why I choose to bring beauty and harmony into the world the best I can. Through perfume, yoga, art.
And why I meditate.
Life is about holding your own in this madness. Only then can we observe clearly and thus bring action forward. It is taught, we need to manage our “containers.” By going inside self, holding self. If we engage in spilling our containers, we give our powers away.
We need to connect with our bodies and feel our feelings. We need to let feelings, negative or positive, burble – swell – and explode if they must. We need to experience how they manifest in our actual physical bodies. We need to go deep with this and own them. Own it all.
This is life. It is a roller coaster. Allow yourself to experience it.
So much gratitude goes to my yoga & meditation teachers who encouraged me to just sit on the cushion, or stay in that yoga pose and feel my burning thigh for just two more breaths. Just feel. “Why are you in a hurry to leave? There’s just another pose…” And then taught me how to physically and psychically release and clean out. To open myself to the TRUE NATURE of my HEART, and all of OUR HEARTS, LOVE.
From here we can create. Art, beauty, harmony.
Take a few moments. Longer is better. But even 2-5 minutes is good.
Sit in a comfortable position. Take a few deep breaths and then let your breath just be natural. Resist controlling the breath for now.
Find a “space” of neutrality where your consciousness and mind can just observe self. Like a little lookout tower in your psyche.
From here observe what’s happening in the body. Don’t try to change it. Just observe. “Hip aches. Shoulders tense. Hungry. Back feels good.” Don’t judge these things or seek to blame or credit the sensations on something outside of self (your boss, the president elect, your lover). Merely acknowledge them.
Go a little deeper and check out your emotions. Again – no judging emotions, or blaming/crediting. They are yours and yours alone. Now just feel them. Allow the feelings to well up. Allow yourself to feel them. If they are very intense take your time. You are in charge here. But stay in the game! If you need to cry or breath deeply, totally cool. In fact good. Do it. Maybe you will cry one second and laugh wildly the next. It’s ok!!!!
Eventually you’ll feel this has blossomed and the wave is receding. More waves will probably come. In fact, they will never stop coming. This is because you are alive! If the intense feelings stop, you are probably dead! This is life! So, hooray! It’s ok to feel!
The whole point is that you learn how to manage and express them. You own them. You are in charge.
After the container is emptier it’s time to fill up with positivity.
In your mind’s eye create a picture of breath entering and leaving your body. See it as a color or light.
Now you may choose to control the breath taking deep long breaths. Upon inhale, breath in white or golden light or smoke. See it entering your body; through the mouth down the throat, into the lungs. See this light permeating your body’s cells, filling your body and aura.
Focus on complete exhalations. With each exhale see gray or dull smoke leaving your body. With exhale you are further releasing these spent emotions. Release all of them good and bad. They are over, gone. Making space for the new.
Finally, hold your hand gently over your heart. Your beautiful, true heart. Know that inside your heart is true and good.
Surf the wave, ride the roller coaster, repeat…
Life. F*G Messy. I hope this helps…
Many Gratitudes to my yoga and meditation teachers and the community therein. Among others – Turbodog Yoga, Tracy Von Kaenal, Shiva Rea, Invision School of Psychic Abilities, & Zen Buddhist Temple (Chicago).
“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” ~ Hans Christian Anderson
“Just living is not enough," said the butterfly, "one must have sunshine,
freedom, and a little flower.” ~ Hans Christian Anderson
~Here and There and Back Again~
In Which We Explore My Being Butterfly & You Being Butterfly, Butterfly Medicine & Faerie Magic, A New Perfume, and Maryland
Are You My Butterfly Buddy?
Do you suffer from “Shiny Object Syndrome?” Do all the glittering things find you landing lightly, following multiple passions, exploring and traveling?
You may be butterfly in nature, like I. With magical super powers to perceive colors mere mortals do not and to smell with smell receptors (noses) all over your body. How can one be expected to limit oneself in the face of all this luxury?
Yes, butterflies are a beautiful thing. But sometimes us butterfly types get a bit of stigma as being, well, flighty.
(Like this particular blog post. It is going to flutter. Reader, beware!)
Of late I have been indulging in my butterfly tendencies, big time. In January 2016, I gave up my condo and jobs and have been living the gypsy life. An imperfect nomad’s life with the heart of a butterfly. Fluttering along with me is my dog, Missy, and my verdant faerie perfumery in search of nature, beauty, magic, and of course, faeries.
Since January I have been to Guatemala, Michigan, Mexico (twice), Canada, Oregon, Montana, New York, and back and forth from Chicago to Maryland a bunch of times. My theme for 2016 is action. Could you have guessed?
It’s been wonderful, and I am at an all time happiness high. I could not have done it without the help of very kind and generous people. So I’m feeling extremely grateful too.
But sometimes I question my seemingly ill-advised life choices. If you are also a butterfly you may nodding your antennae in agreement.
So I went on some faerie meditation journeys to explore all of these yearnings for freedom and lightness and shimmery beauty, and it’s accompanying self shaming.
In these journeys I organically connected to, and then made peace with, my butterflyness. All synchronistically confirmed to me in the mortal realm with butterfly references in movies and podcasts I stumbled upon, faerie card readings, friends observations, and of course actual butterflies visitations.
You know how that happens. You think of or experience something of deep significance, and then it’s everywhere. Synchronistic.
And the healing I have found is that it is ok to be a butterfly. It is ok to be me. In fact it’s wonderful.
So, dear Reader, are you also a bit of butterfly, filled with yearnings for sunshine, freedom, and a little flower? And do you have a bit of angst about it as I did? It is not generally encouraged in human society. Have you noticed? We are expected to stay put and focus. Of course there is nothing wrong with focus and productivity, but these expectations have sometimes made me feel bad about myself. Just a touch.
Let’s be proud of our inner butterfly and flaunt it in the shining sun!
Recently while in Kauai, I discovered a beautiful flower meditation to manifest radical self love. Give it a try!
If you are not a butterfly type – why not give butterfly style a go? Allow your senses to expand and experience more – grow some powerful yet delicate wings to flitterfly a little. What new hobbies can you explore? Where would you really love to visit? DO IT!
Some Butterfly Dope
verdant faerie loves beauty, perfume, and travel. Hence, the superpowers of the butterfly are swoon worthy.
The lucky creatures smell more than us. That is, they are more sensitive to scent perception. Butterflies have scent receptors studded along the antennae, legs, feet, and other parts of the body.
Butterflies see colors we don’t. With 5 or 6 color receptors to a humans 3, a butterfly’s eyes see more than twice the colors of humans. Butterflies perceive more color than any other creature (except maybe faeries). Dogs have the least. Sorry, Missy.
Those flutterby creatures have a surprising reserve of strength and stamina. Some butterflies even migrate. The Monarch butterfly can migrate up to 2500 miles and the top butterfly speed is 12 miles per hour.
The exquisite butterfly brings transformation and magic. A universal symbol of joy – their dancing beauty inspires.
When the butterfly visits you, or you are feelin’ your inner butterfly flutter, you are ready for personal growth and emergence. Ready yourself to experience any one of its life phases, caterpillar, pupae, butterfly. You may find yourself ravenously hungry, reading and studying voraciously like a caterpillar, or in need of a lengthy inner journey, pupae style. Or you may soon gloriously emerge to explore the world with your ultra-keen, superpower senses.
Often times the visit of a butterfly coincides with a remembrance of a deceased loved one, a particularly beautiful and light being who graced your life with sweetness.
(Psst- faeries often choose to disguise themselves as butterflies…)
In Faerie Faith, faeries of the air are creatures of the city of the east, Gorias. One of the four cities of the Tuatha de Danaan, from the tribe of the Goddess Danu. The east brings the sunrise and new beginnings and hope. Look to the faeries of the air and butterfly allies to aid you in your intentions especially when embarking on a new project, or if a situation might benefit with a dazzling butterfly touch.
If you would like to experience a more through Faerie tradition for yourself, I can recommend the teachings of Celtic Shaman, Danu Forest. At present, I am enjoying the Faerie Teachings course. It’s a wonderful addition to my spiritual practice and interaction with the world of Faerie. Her website is wondrous to browse.
Aromatherapeutic Perfume – Because Jet-Lag Happens
After returning from my last trip back from Hawaii I had really really bad terrible rotten jet-lag. Day one I lollygagged about on a lounge chair, limp and deflated. But on day two when I still felt my butterfly wings wilting on the chaise, I mixed myself an aromatherapeutic blend. And know what? It worked! I was back to my usual self.
I’ve found it’s also fantastic for staying alert while driving on long road trips.
And I’d like to share it with you!
Butterfly is composed of highest quality all natural essential oils. No harsh synthetic aroma-chemicals whatsoever. Not a one. It is a unisex body scent.
The Scent -
Refreshing Pink Grapefruit, Mint, and Rosemary to uplift
Lavender, Geranium, and Clary Sage to balance and calm
Patchouli for grounding.
Butterfly is in a roll-on applicator bottle, in an oil base of organic fractionated coconut oil. It is light and sheer and easy for transport.
Butterfly is made special order for you. If you want a particular scent tweak on it, let me know!
And, as it is primarily a therapeutic composition, it is not composed to last a long time on your skin. It’s function is to provide a quick mood and energy shift and then free you up. Like a butterfly landing lightly, touching with magical grace, then fluttering off.
You may order Butterfly from my verdant faerie Etsy shop. Cost is $25 per 8 ML bottle.
In closing I would like to share some photos of beautiful verdant Maryland fairieland where I encountered exquisite faerie creatures and people, was housed like a queen butterfly by kindly friends, house sat, made perfumes, taught aerial yoga, trained a wee bit on silks, learned a wee bit about gardening, visited watery and enchanting places, and went on dreamy shamanic faerie quests.
Missy and I have driven back and forth again from Chicago to Maryland 4 times in 2016! It is a special place in my heart for it’s verdant natural beauty and quirky magical faerie culture. I am forever grateful for the charming healing heart of Maryland.
Here’s some pics from the annual Faerie House Exhibit at the AnneMarie Sculpture Garden (a wonderful place with sculpture and interactive exhibits) where I neglected to take a picture of my kind hostess and new faerie friend, Holly and I together. But here is the house Holly made for the exhibit. The Emerald City made of recycled materials!
If you like aerial yoga or are looking for a place to train on silks – Try Ridgely Retreat for yoga in Annapolis and Urban Evolution for silks in Baltimore. Really nice folks…
Well, after wandering and roaming these past 9 months, I feel a bit ready to dig in deep with my perfume and writing and connect with loved ones and loved activities. I’ll be hanging out in Chicago, and nearby Michigan. That is unless I happen to need to off somewhere. You never know what’ll happen with a butterfly, or a Missy, behind the wheel…
Kauai is a treasure trove of botanic beauty. Ever present aroma of flowers, White Ginger and Plumeria mingled with wet-green and salt-ocean welcomes.
I Asked In Meditation One Morning.
Well, how about love? Self love. Big love. Unconditional love. Love of dark places of the psyche, and light places too. Gracious, forgiving love. Lover of love. Yup, especially self-love. Simply, right here, right now. Loving the self so intensely it emanates from self like the fragrance of blossoms, permeating the air with sweetness and subtly infusing beauty and more love.
As you may or may not know, I’m living a nomadic existence. I find each place I visit holds a theme, a special message for me. My recent stay in Kauai was not an exception. And the message was, and is, love. Right here and right now, love.
Kauai is a treasure trove of botanic beauty. The island is one of the wettest places on earth, receiving more than 400″ of rain per year. The result is a florid, lush environment. For this, Kauai is fondly known as the emerald island.
Ever present aroma of flowers, White Ginger and Plumeria mingled with wet-green and salt-ocean welcomes. Visually stunning too, powerfully craggy and jagged, volcanic, mountainous shapes are smothered with verdant fecundity.
And something is uniquely inspiring about the quality of air and light in Kauai. Perhaps the angle of the sun, or the moisture in the air, or the frequent rainbows.
But for me the breezes perfumed with blossoms were the ultimate vehicle of transformation…
I had the unbelievably fantastic fortune to be the guest of a talented landscaping designer. Flowers were everywhere. It was impossible to escape their intoxicating perfume. Almost a delirium of scent. But a delirium that does not take one away from self, but to self. Spirit of blossoms spoke to me in scent, “Be here now, be love.”
I’d like to share with you a meditation that spontaneously came to me while in Kauai. Inspired by the overwhelming beauty and perfumed air. I am now on the mainland and have since practiced it wearing essential oils. Still good.
This morning I wore Rose Otto for love, Frankincense and Sandalwood for their meditative properties, and Neroli for sparkle. You may use any scent that speaks to you. However I do recommend natural floral fragrances. In my opinion synthetic fragrances do not have equal energetic vibrancies. (This lengthy topic is for another blog!)
Read through the meditation once, and set aside a little time to enjoy it on your own. Just follow your memory and heart.
Before the meditation I recommend applying fragrance to the inner wrists, breast bone (heart chakra), between brows (third eye), and ear lobes (like the sufis). If you don’t like to have it on your body, put some drips of the fragrance on a tissue or cotton ball.
Sit in a comfortable position. Make sure your back feels supported, and that you can line your vertebras up comfortably. Lay down, if you won’t just snooze off. Take some deep inhalations of your fragrance.
Now, let your breath just be however it wants to be. Don’t try to control or shape it. Screw the deep breathing or any other techniques you know. Just observe breath entering and leaving the body. Abstain from assessing or judgement. Let it do what it naturally wants. Observe your breath as you might observe something very dear to you. With curiosity, compassion, love. As you’d observe a child at play, your lover, a kitten, a beautiful sunset. If you find yourself pushing or becoming frustrated with yourself, (dammit! I am not loving!) turn up the corners of your mouth into a slight smile, and send love to the part of yourself that is being harsh, judgmental, and generally a shit. Just acknowledge it for what it is and love it anyway.
Allow this gentle observance to continue and add a layer. This is where you get to use imagination.
In your mind’s eye, see a flower in your heart center. Imagine its color(s) and the petals. Now imagine this flower expanding and growing until it fills the entire inside of your body, so you are essentially one large blossom. The center of the flower is your heart center. Stay with this image for a time.
How does it feel? Allow yourself to feel. Explore this sensation. It is real. Can you perhaps feel the petals softening you? What else do you notice?
When you feel ready, add another layer. See the fragrance of the flower emanating. Allow the scent to become a visual for you. What color is this aroma? Can you see it swirling around inside of you? Does it create patterns? Does it move in waves or in a steady rhythm?
Now let the flower and its fragrance begin to soften the boundary of your physical body from the inside, permitting your edges to soften and the essence and aroma of the flower to swirl out of your body to fill your aura. If you are unsure of your aura, imagine your physical body is in a sort of bubble and fill this with scent.
Feel into the energetic essence of this flower. If this seems strange to you. Don’t worry about it, just go with it. Try not to judge and again, just feel. Perhaps folding your hands gently over your heart chakra will help you to feel or deepen the sensation.
There is such sweetness there – in your heart.
Here you may even say to yourself, out loud or internally, “I love you (your name here).” Go ahead, repeat this several times until it is comfortable & natural.
Linger with this sensation as long as you please. When you are satiated, feel the energy, aroma, and the very flower get smaller until it is enshrined in your heart. There you may carry it everywhere and call it forward anytime you need a touch up of self loving.
It’s nice to ground yourself with a little food and drink after a journey like this.
Other than meditating, here are some of my favorite recommendations if you are in Kauai…
It’s a bit of a hike, and not really that secret (just ask a local). Not really a swimmers beach, but it’s so beautiful and a little more secluded. Clothing is optional.
Call ahead and find out when the live Hula dancer and music is happening. Get reservations. Get up and dance – I did! (The drinks were not as wonderful as my hostess’ creations, as pictured above, but the view and music is great.) Hey – and I noticed that most Hawaiian songs seem to be love songs for the people, land, and customs of Hawaii!
A mini Grand Canyon. Here the land goes from arid dessert to pine forest to lush rainforest. The hike at the very end of the road is amazing, but incredibly muddy and rather challenging. Bring hiking boots! There will be mud!
An charming and intimate yoga studio in a picturesque stone building. Open windows. Ocean in view. I took Amy Lin’s advanced flow on Friday. A delicious, sweaty 1 hour and 45 minutes of play and spirit and good challenge. Yum.
This is so worth the visit. The grounds are amazing as are tours. Call ahead to the monastery and find out when the tours run for they are not all that frequent. Nearby there is a Rudraksha Grove for picnicking and collecting brilliant blue Rudraksha seeds, or dried Rudraksha beads for malas.
Also, “drive to the end of the road.”
There are some cool caves, fresh coconut water stands, another hiking trail, and a beautiful beach. Then you can buy a tee-shirt in Hanalei saying “I drove to the end of the road.” That is, if you ever come back…
Thanks for reading! If you try the meditation, I’d love to hear about it. Love to you…
This post dedicated with love to my dear friends/family, Deborah, David, and Lulu. Mahalo forever.