Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fasting for Health and Happiness!

For me, fasting is such an important spiritual and devotional practice and one that takes a warrior's will to embark upon and courage to endure. It somehow seems to halt a restless internal clock and allows for a reconnection with the more subtle energies. As the digestive system is given a well earned rest and opportunity to heal, the body softens, time becomes expansive and spacious, thoughts and actions more mindful and meditative and the breath, the source of all inspiration, becomes the prayer and mantra.

I've recently returned from a detox retreat with Sura Detox in the lushness of Devon, a treat to myself for my 50th birthday.  I've fasted in various different ways before but this was my first time with a group of people in a semi-structured setting and daily DIY colonics (yep!). Suffice to say the retreat was beautifully held by Dao and the team and as a group of twenty we worked very well together finding solace in each other when we needed to. There was release and discharge happening on all levels, as we cleansed our minds, emotions and spirit, as well as lightening up our bodies. I slept and dreamed deeply. I thought about food a lot! I treated myself to some great massage and bodywork to help me, and I read, played on my sitar and wrote in my journal. I relish such days as I am reminded how it is to be nourished without eating. Each day there were also inspiring talks, debates and discussions on nutrition, food and politics as well as gentle yoga and Tai Chi. I came and went as energy directed as I relaxed and surrendered to the flow that always guides me anyway when I'm wise enough to get out of my own way. Altogether, the experience was perfect!

Freedom from eating and being around food somehow peels away at the layers of routine and habit, exposing the rawness and reality that lie behind the safety cushion of fat and the masks behind which we hide from one another. Fasting enables one to journey into the shadow, to those places that otherwise feel too tender to touch. The more I could look, and be a silent witness, the lighter I felt and the less hungry I grew!

As a healer, I always feel more empowered and blessed after a fast.
I am re-booted!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Honouring all trees!

Jesse Rosten on Vimeo

Hermann Hesse’s Bäume: Betrachtungen und Gedichte [Trees: Reflections and Poems]
'For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. . . . Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.
So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.'