Category Archives: meditation

Forest Yurt Retreat Day Three: Walk the Labyrinth

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walk the labyrinth photo ©2013 kimcrayton

After a long sleep with some very intensely vivid dreams, I woke up and wrote my dreams down, ate a light breakfast, and headed out for one last walk  before catching the ferry home.

I set out to walk a labyrinth.  The first time I walked a labyrinth was about 11 years ago at a retreat center while participating in a workshop on Touch Drawing through an expressive arts course during my undergrad studies.  Ever since then, any time I have the opportunity to walk a labyrinth, I always do. This one was especially lovely because it is right off a forest path, and you can tell that it is infused and created with loving intention.

After the labyrinth walk, I returned back to the Grand Forest for one more quick hike up and down the trail. This time I took a different route and ran into a beautiful collection of cairns arranged atop a mossy boulder. What a treat!

I’m glad I went back to the trails before leaving the island and heading back home.

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mossy rock cairns @2013 kimcrayton

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Forest Yurt Retreat Day Two: Listening and Creating Ceremony

After sleeping to the orchestra sounds of croaking frogs all night, I woke up feeling refreshed.

Around mid-morning, I headed out for a meditation walk. Walking meditation is slower than regular walking.  And after all, I had nowhere to be, and was in no hurry to get anywhere.

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grand forest @2013 kimcrayton

I found some lichen, and slowly walked amongst the swordferns, cedars, and mossy big leaf maples.

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lichen in hand @2013 kmcrayton

I went back to the yurt for lunch. After lunch, I went over to the Grand Forest and hiked around (That is what it’s called. Seriously. It’s truly Grand.) It was kind of a surprise. I had not heard of this forest, and I just happened upon this amazing treasure.

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the tall ones @2013 kimcrayton

While in the forest, I listened to the sounds of the forest floor, the earth and creatures slowly churning and growing. The forest floor is rich with diversity and complexity, it’s where nutrients that sustain the forest are created, so it is very nourishing. In every sound, texture, color and movement, the world at the roots of every tree is teeming with a quiet activity. The spirit of the forest is both exciting, mysterious, and soothing all at once.

After my walk in the forest, I went back to my yurt with the intention to create a ceremony.  Sacred-Ceremony-BookI wanted to create a personal ceremony to release old identities, energies, and beliefs that were not serving me, and to welcome the emergence and expansion of my present-time divine being. I also wanted to mark my dedication to my spiritual path; the path of the mystic. (The second card in my tarot reading for Day Two of this retreat was “Nine of Arrows: Dedication.”)

I gathered some small treasures to add to the altar I had set up with the tarot cards on a small table. All the earth and elemental energies, guides and ancestors were called upon to witness and assit with the ceremony. I used the book “Sacred Ceremony” by Steven Farmer to help with creation of the ceremony.

After the ceremony, I ate some maple smoked salmon, and then fell asleep to the sweet songs of the croaking frog orchestra.

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Learning to Play the Folk Harp

It has been a dream of mine to play the harp.

I am a musical person, I read music, and music has big a large part of my life.  I read music, and mainly have been a vocalist.  I’ve also dabbled with learning drums and piano.

Over the past few months, I have been listening to several celtic harp artists.  I was talking about the harp during my clairvoyant group and a member said “I play the harp and build folk harps.”  He generously lent me one of the folk harps he built, and the book “Teach Yourself to Play the Folk Harp” by Sylvia Woods!  I am so grateful to be able to learn to play this beautiful instrument.

I have to admit, it does take a lot of practice to learn something new like this.  photo-13Although this smaller harp is relatively easy to figure out, my left fingers are not possessing the muscle memory yet to remember when to pluck the strings at the right time!  Learning  a new instrument at this age requires patience.  Everyday I can play something I couldn’t the day before, so at this stage,  it’s very satisfying.

It’s also nice to have another creative activity that is away from the computer.  The more creative projects that do not involve being in front of a computer screen, the better!

Off to practice the harp!

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Bones of the Earth

agate beach2I really love beachcombing.  I can spend hours on a beach looking for treasures and interesting objects from the sea. These photos were taken one afternoon  at a spot where I usually take pictures of trees along the shoreline. But the stones called to me and wanted some attention.  How lovely and smooth each stone is here on this beach.  It is always a gift to be able to spend time here.  Each color and shape is so smooth and pretty.  Recently, I heard the saying “stones are the bones of the earth.”  It made me think of this beach and how with each step I gently walk upon the bones of mother nature.agatebeach1

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January 7, 2013 · 4:43 pm

The Spirit of a Tree

photo-8I have been visiting this specific tree regularly for over a year now.
Yesterday, I went to visit this tree.  I asked if it would help me feel more relaxed and centered.  I stood with my back fully against it, and placed all my body weight onto the trunk.  I stood with this tree for about 20 minutes.  This tree was very kind to take my excess energy (ie anxiety) I was carrying, and bring it into the earth.
Once this tree asked me to bring it water during the drought season in September; it was really dry, as were other conifers around it.   I also bring it songs, as a gift of gratitude.
I think this tree is really beautiful.
It possesses a generous spirit I have experienced during many of my visits. I don’t have accurate words to describe how I experience the tree’s spirit, which I do sense, however, “generous” is the first word that comes to mind.
It makes me think of this exercise by William Bloom on how to sense a spirit of a tree:

Sensing the Spirit of a Tree

Stand close to a tree and let your awareness go down into the root system where it absorbs nutrients from the earth. Follow the flow up into the trunk, the branches and then the leaves. The leaves are open to receive the light of the sun. Hold your awareness of the whole tree and then expand your focus slightly to be aware of the whole energy body of the tree. Stay quietly with this sense of the whole tree, and its spirit may become quite clear to you.

-from Working With Angels, Fairies And Nature Spirits (p. 59)

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January 1, 2013 · 6:47 pm

Hugging More Trees in 2013

Placing the heart against a tree is a humbling experience.

I love this Gaia Oracle card “Intuitive Communication,” illustrated by intuitive artist Toni Carmine Salerno. Notice thephoto-4 tree has a heart radiating.  I love the choice of heart centered, intuitive communication, because it realizes the relationship we can have with trees, plants, and other beings if we just open our hearts and listen.  The woman in this illustration can sense the tree’s radiating heart, with her eyes closed. This card resonates deeply with me and my calling for 2013.

As the new year approaches, I reflect on the trees that have touched me during the 2012.  All the wisdom I have received from the trees I have immense gratitude.  Thank you trees!

Looking towards 2013, I am being called to bring more tree people to the trees and practice intuitive listening with trees and in nature.   This is a purely heart-centered act that I am guided to facilitate in the next year, and beyond.

There are so many ways we can connect to the earth and at the same time, to our wisdom and intuitive guidance.  Starting with a heart centered practice is a way to ensure that future actions are centered in the heart, with intentions of loving and peaceful connections.

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30 Seconds of Nature: Bell in the Woods

Don’t you just love the sounds in this video?

The birds, the bell, the soft wind through the leaves.

This was a lovely day in July.  Summer birdsongs are so wonderful, and are peaceful to listen to any time of year.  Posting this video is my way of saying goodbye to these sounds, and to welcome the sounds of autumn.

 

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How to Wander (with intention!)

I love to wander.   

The entry path. Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island

I’ve always been pretty good at meandering about with no set path.  Exploration during a good wander is exhilarating, and it can be done anywhere at anytime.

Here I will address the “neighborhood wander,” or “local park wander.”  Which I will call small scale wandering.  Small scale wandering can be done everyday.  It is wandering that is relatively low risk, and can be incorporated into your routine of daily life.

If you like to walk, you will love to wander.

To wander is to love, linger, appreciate, dream, move, explore, wonder.  A wander is more of a meander than a “ramble” or a “roam.”

A good wander is juicy and satisfying.

It clears the mind by awakening the senses.  By going off track, somehow, wandering can lead you back to what matters most in life.  It also sparks healthy curiosity about the world around you.

So let’s get to the basics of wandering:

1. Find a place to wander. Around the block?  Down the street?  City park?  Amongst the trees on a park trail?  In a large flower garden?  Pick a place you feel most comfortable exploring.

2. Set aside time to wander.  This is a good way to set an intention.  To set a time aside to wander means it is something you value.  It enhances your life.  It may be a few hours.  It could be a few days.   Setting a time allows the space for your experience, and you will know the beginning and end.  Most people, with schedules and families etc.  feel comfortable with a set time to wander.  Set a time, anytime, to lose track of 🙂

3.  The pace of wandering?  Slow.  Like pouring molasses.  Like a snake digesting.  Like a teenager sleeping until 2pm with no regrets.

4. Music is optional. Sometimes there are great songs that can enhance rich wandering.  But usually the sounds of your surroundings are enough.  Depending on where you wander, it is much more enjoyable (and safer!) to have all senses in full awareness.

5. Linger as if your life depended on it.  Lingering is my favorite part of wandering.  Wandering and lingering are best friends.   To linger is to connect and appreciate.  To linger is to love and gush all of your attention onto something simply because you choose too bathe in it’s complete awesomeness.  I linger upon rhododendrons (and most other flowers) and groups of tiny mushrooms (my friend calls them”mushroom cities”)

mushroom city at the arboretum

5. Make sure to look up at lush (or sparse) treetops.  Or at the clouds. Or at a soaring eagle.

6. Make sure to look down onto your path. Be careful to not trip on a root or rock, or squash a banana slug or disrupt an ant parade.

7. Put your “dog nose” on.  Stop and sniff the air with short strong whiffs.  What do you smell?  Bark?  Tree essence?  Flowers?  Mulch?  Low tide?

8. Touch things.  Feel the texture of tree bark.    Brush you hand against leaves.  Hold a handful of soil. ( Read this to find out why soil makes us happier and smarter)

9. Go alone or (even better!) with a companion.  A silent wander alone has many benefits. But to wander with a companion is great because you can share experiences with each other during and after a wander.  Wandering with a companion also supports healthy relationship building, and it’s always nice to have a witness to back you up if you see something truly amazing! (FYI: children are outstanding wander companions)

Grab your friends and plan a luscious wander together!

 

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