Winter Forest Bath

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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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Why Imagination Is Your Superpower

(in defense of  faeries)

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Queen Mab

In the crisp, quiet snow, through the sleeping woods we quest.  The forest, at once muted and subtle, is laid bare with winter.  The naked skeletons of trees impose themselves through the softness of  white drifts.  The trees relieved of their autumnal frippery are akin to deep soul-urges exposed.

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We seek the Winter Faerie Queene, Queen Mab, my Fae companion and I.

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For the Winter Queen is queen of sleep and deep dreaming.  She delivers us to new imaginings.  Daring us to dream our dreams and intoxicate ourselves in crystalline brilliance no matter the chill on our fingers and nose.

So we hasten on.  After all, is this not what forest snow is for?  To lull and snap us to the feet of the magnificent Queen of the Winter Court.  To imagine and create.

Is it not the river of life?

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What?

What of her, this Queen Mab?

Shakespeare provides us this, “she comes in shape no bigger than an agate stone on the forefinger of an alderman.”

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But is she really so petite?  I’ll wager it’s an expression of endearment, like “Little John,”  the ironic name given Robin Hood’s 7-foot tall warrior.  Because Queen Mab, Queen of Winter, and of sleep and dreams, is massively powerful.

She is our SUPERPOWER.  She is your imagination.

Imagination

How often have we heard the following?

“It’s just your imagination.”

“That’s just fantasy.”

“You’re just daydreaming again!”

“Just.”  A single, insidious word making fantasy and imagination diminutive, rendering it powerless.  Thus (and here is the true belittling of Queen Mab) we set aside living creatively.   We set aside our power to create.

“Step in line!  Beware the siren’s voice inside of you! Shove away those dreams you hold dear.”

But the seeds sleeping in the depths of winter, preparing to bust out a move in the spring, are like your dreams and imaginings.  And the Imaginal Realm is where you nurture those seed dreams.

And EVERYTHING comes from a dream, a feeling, a thought, and then an action.

Why do you think “they” try to steer us from it?  (Yes, I’m a rebel.)

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So as the light returns with the winter solstice and your dreams start to stir and bud, get yourself over to the Imaginal Realm and curtsy long and deep to the Queen.  The intoxicating Queen Mab, your superpower – imagination.  For she is in YOU.  She is a part of YOU.  SHE IS YOU.

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Deep Knowledge

But why am I telling you this?  You know it all already.  Enjoy!

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Happy Winter Solstice, Dear Reader!

Go On, Bogart The Solstice Light!

A solstice wish from NamasFae Yoga….

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The Green Tara – Most dynamic Goddess of Compassion!  Right leg extended, signifying she can jump into action, left leg folded into contemplation.  A perfect integration between being and doing. Be love, do love.

May you find yourself loving you.  May you love you first among all things, in both action and contemplation.  May you soak up the returning light to the depths of your beautiful being and shine, shine , shine!  Step into the light, Baby!  For when you sparkle, so does the world.

Views of the studio…

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A peek of the yoga room from behind the tree
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Our Funky Tea Salon
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We practiced back there last summer!
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Laughing and falling out of Ardha Chandrasana (Half-Moon Pose)
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Using a friendly tree as a prop.

NamasFae
The wild and beautiful faerie heart in me,
honors the wild and beautiful faerie heart in you.

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The light is returning…

 

 

Free Range Faerie Telepathic Blog

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The Magical Telepathic Blogs

If you’ve used your telepathic abilities you would “know” all of the blogs I’ve been writing in my head (and not here.)  You’d know all of the beautiful and inspiring things I’ve seen and thought as I travel around, wanting to share…  The doubts and revelations…

Michigan

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You’d know of my beautiful Michigan blogs, about where I re-learned to love the quiet of winter snow.  My companions were pines, dunes, Lake Michigan, my perfumery studies and of course, Missy.

(no wifi, which was kinda nice.)

 

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Maya Riviera

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Of surf and sunshine with my dear mom and some little plastic faeries.  Where I realized relaxing is different than just being calm.

No Missy.  😦

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Mexico City
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 I’m sure you loved my pictorial blog about the oodles and oodles of jaw-dropping art and architecture in Mexico City.  A whirlwind tour with my parents and their company, Mexi-Mayan travel.  Mexico City and its surrounding area  is chock full of treasures!

(Too busy for wifi – surprisingly nice!)

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Chicago

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And didn’t you just devour the Chicago blogs? Highlighting more art and architecture.

But most importantly the blog written from my south-side Beverly, artist garret celebrating the completion of my course of study at the Natural Perfumery Institute.  Hooray!

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Finishing two perfumes… Dusk Blossom and Invisioning Roses

(And becoming most shamefully addicted to Game of Thrones… no blogging, urp.)

 

Go Fund Me

AND then the blog announcing the crowd sourcing campaign to raise money for the verdant faerie scent salon start-up!

The world really is full of wonder and kindness and support.  It took me a good 6 months to a year to have the guts to come out and ask for this help.

You know that demon that shouts repeatedly, “NO, YOU ARE NOT DESERVING!!!”  The beastly voice that keeps you from creating and sharing your gifts…  That ogre, claws embedded in my shoulder, mouth hot in my inner ear.  But I kept dreaming and invisioning.  Walking in woods for inspiration.  Yoga for peace and aerial silks for strength.  Visiting faerie realms while drowning the horrid voice in Bulgarian rose absolute.  Enchanting the monster with Sandalwood and tiny dancing plastic glow-in-the-dark faeries.  Washing clean in Lavender and Neroli.

And finally when I was ready, support was there!  And I am grateful and humbled and joyful…  (And still accepting donations.)

Go Fund Me Verdant Faerie

Maryland Now

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 Here I am surrounded by Lulu’s faeries, loved ones, cherry blossoms, Missy and the verdant faerie perfumery.

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Elegant 5 ml bottles for precious perfumes, and dried rose petals, just because….The rest of my supplies will arrive soon, and I will have a thrill of a lifetime blending my perfume formulas.

The official launch date is April 24th at a live event at Invision, in Chicago and with an Etsy store.

It will be a simple start regarding labels and that sort of thing.  But I feel confident in the magical perfume blends and in the quality of the ingredients I will use.

More soon about the opening!  (NOT telepathic.)

Non-Telepathic Blogs

Well, I still hope to write those blogs, and lots more, in case we are not telepathically linked.  And still on the move.  But I am totally open to a rendezvous in the faerie realm as an alternate to blogs or telepathic communication.  Just lemme know.

Dear Reader!  Thank you for visiting!

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Free Range Missy

Peace!

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May all beings be peaceful, may all beings be happy, may all beings be enlightened.

 

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And beautiful joy to you dear Reader!