Dear One,

I have just returned from a week at the Deepening Awareness Silent Retreat at the beautiful and serene Gaia Wellness Retreat in Wakefield, QC and am still integrating the healing and lessons into my daily life with grace and compassion.

Out of many retreats that I have either participated in or led this one stands out for me because of the intertwining of Silence and Nature and the landscape they provided for deeper awareness and excavation of that which no longer serves in a graceful and beautiful way.

The Silence punctuated the experience and gave rise to an acknowledgment of subtler issues that were bobbing along the surface of my inner waters.

I chose to give myself this experience for the same reason that so many others have chosen retreats- to create a space to heal, let go, and give birth to something new, lighter, and brighter; more aligned with this moment; an opportunity to give myself some ME time away from the everyday routine so that I could get to know myself even better.

During our week together, we were in silence most of the time without our electronic devices (phones, iPads, etc) and we participated in group meditation, mindfulness practices, yoga, and Forest Therapy.  I loved how the silence allowed each of us to go more inside of ourselves and look at what was drawing our attention there and then to bring greater love and compassion to that.

One of my favourite exercises was the Forest Therapy session led by Andrea Prazmowski of Forest Therapy Ottawa.  Forest Therapy originates from Japan where it is known as Shinrin Yoku translated as “Forest Bathing”. It is the art of engaging all of your senses within the Forest atmosphere and has numerous health benefits such as stress reduction, normalizing blood pressure, improved mental wellbeing, emotional wellbeing, a sense of belonging and feeling connected to the earth and the world (Spiritual Wellbeing).

Andrea guided us through the session and taught us about the power of connecting with nature on a daily basis (something I love to do) and how we can incorporate more nature into our daily lives.

At the end of our session, we finished with a Tea Ceremony which is a staple in the art of Shinrin Yoku as it celebrates coming together and the richness and nourishment that the trees and nature provide us.

It is a way of saying thank you to the trees, the earth, and life itself; an offering of love and appreciation.

 

 

 

And during this time, Andrea shared with us a beautiful poem which resonated with my soul so much that I wanted to share it with you here…

Earth is not Silent 

Why do humans think
Earth is silent
beneath all that stone and dirt?
Why don’t they hear her
as clearly as I do?
The whispers of moonlight,
the summons of sun,
the longing of river
and the shout of thunder.
Earth is not silent.
She speaks in every turning of her axis,
every tilting of her hips,
and in the secrets she shares
with the seasons and in every
tectonic shift.
Earth is not silent.
She speaks through weather
and breathes through forests
and she loves through her trees.
She dances in her oceans
and she rests in her deserts.
Why do humans think
She is so silent
when she has so much to say?
If only we could learn
to truly listen.
~Edveeje Fairchild

(Edveeje is the Director of Operations ~ and chief poet ~ at TreeSisters: women seeding change)

Something I brought home with me was a greater appreciation for earth and all that is gives to us in selfless love and nourishment.  And beyond this a greater appreciation and love for my family, my friends, and all of God’s creatures.

Tree Blessings and Love,

Catherine

 

PS… If you’re interested in doing some Forest Bathing in the mountains with me come to the Empower ME Costa Rica Women’s Retreat.  More info here…