Early Autumn Forest Bath

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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!

An Invitation

If you are interested in exploring forest bathing, yoga, and mindfulness in a cozy group setting  you will want to know about this fantastic retreat offered by Inseus at their retreat center in Harbor Country, Michigan. “An Invitation to Be.”  October 11-14, 2018.  Experience meditation, yoga, massage, acupuncture, Soulcollage, and a Forest Bath experience (led by me!).  Hope you will join us!

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Beauty Returns

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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.

Wildness for a New Year

Samhain Faerie Court

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Brew a witches witchy brew
Sing a wizards wildy tune
Don’t hold tight or try to fight
Just let yourself be wild tonight.
~ Doreen Stelton

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On Samhain, or Halloween,  during the transition into the dark time of winter, the veils between our waking “real” world and that other world, including the faerie world are at their thinnest making it all the more possible to connect with ancestors and the faerie realm.  It’s traditionally a time to let go and venture into that wildness.  Light a candle, try on a costume, venture into the darkness, explore…

New Year begins on November 1st in the Celtic calendar, the day after this wild, veil-thin night.  Seems a perfect time to dream up our futures.  Map out the year in quarters in keeping with the Celtic Wheel.

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As for me, I think I’ll anoint myself with some Frankincense and Sandalwood and go on a faerie journey.  Let the scent transport me.  Or maybe I’ll get a hold of some Oud, AKA Agarwood, which is super powerful to get you to the other realm.

Here is the most respected source of the pure Oud oil I know:

Rising Phoenix Perfume has an aged leathery, incense, smokey, chocolate Malaysian distillation.  Vintage 2006 – Kayu Penyulingan Vintaj – Malaysian Oud   – Dehn al Oud.  Just the pure stuff, no carrier oil or fake stuff.  Check it out, get your meditation on, and let me know what you think!

In the meantime, Missy will be waiting for the great pumpkin…

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And waiting…

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and waiting…

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Enchanted Samhain Everyone!  Happy Celtic New Year!