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Resting, Not Quitting

I’ve been watching this state I find myself in slowly developing over the past month, like witnessing the moon gradually go from full to new. This low energy state; this I quit state; this I’m tired of taking care of everyone and tending to every little thing state; this I’m done and everyone’s on their own state.

It’s a rather important practice to know what it means to rest and how to do it, rather than throw in the towel and quit, when confronted with running on fumes – or being out of gas entirely and breaking down on the side of the road.

Today, I slept in and then stayed in bed till around 1:00pm. Having foreseen that this time of the year would be a exhaustive time for me after a few big planning events I’ve managed in the last couple of months, I reserved a stay (six months ago) in a fire lookout tower for the whole of next week for myself, starting on Monday. So, off I will go into the high elevation of the mountains for a solo stay in the woods.

I’ll play guitar, write, rest, sip tea, make campfires, and watch the sun rise.

I won’t have anyone to tend to other than myself…and it will be glorious.

I’ll recharge my tank and re-hydrate my spirit.

Once or twice a year, I find that I need this kind of time to myself. I need to reconnect: with my own person in a concentrated fashion; with silence; with stillness; with the rising and falling of the sun and the moon; with the simplicity and beauty of life that I often take for granted.

Off into the woods I will go come Monday. And I will return home with a rejuvenated inner landscape, I’m sure of it.

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Posted by on May 18, 2018 in Travel

 

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Nourishment & Healing

This is a post in pics. Last night, before attending a high school drama production my stepson was part of, I went for a solo saunter in the woods. By the end of the evening, I was nourished, fed, and inspired by a multitude of influences: the woods that surrounded me, the river that flowed beside the trail,

the sky in sprawl above in a budding spring blue,

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Holiday Traditions

Pic taken Christmas Day 2016, on the trail to Jerry Johnson’s Hot Springs

Every year on Christmas Day, my husband and I venture to Jerry Johnson’s Hot Springs, for a 1-mile hike (one way) & soak in the woods. Neither of us connect with the celebration of Christmas. To us, it’s just another day on the calendar, which affords us a day off from our regular routine and to-do lists. We’ve been springing it on Christmas Day for quite a number of years now – it’s one of our very few annual traditions. And, I’ll add, is simply glorious.

Back when we first got married, in 2000, we tried our hand at celebrating the winter solstice and came up with a few possible traditions to carry forward each December, but it proved to be too forced for us and we soon gave up any sort of formal way of commemorating the seasonal changing of the guard. We both grew up celebrating Christmas – not on religious grounds but on consumeristic ones. And I have incredibly fond memories of it as a child. But neither of us were interested in fueling the drive of the holidays when we started co-creating our lives as adults together.

Many years ago, after receiving a plethora of well-intentioned but ultimately un-neccesary gifts from relatives in the mail each December, we decided to craft a letter to send to our dear family members. As the writer in our household, it was important to me that the letter both express our gratitude for their generosity and our firm desire to discontinue the further receiving of gifts, in as warm-hearted a way as possible. I wanted to do my best to create as little offense as I could, making sure to focus on our appreciation for their kindness and our love for them. And, rather to my surprise, it worked! While not everyone understood our position, they all respected our heartfelt request.

The month of December is the only time I’m grateful for living so far away from my family, as I really don’t know how I would negotiate this festive time of year if I had family around who were celebrating Christmas in the traditional ways that I grew up with and were requesting my attendance to join them. Fortunately, though, that’s not a thing I need to put much thought into.

Over the last few years, I’ve been trying to connect with all the ways that people find this time of year joyful, as I can grow callous in regards to the amount of waste, stress, hardship, and debt that accumulate around Christmas – and the furthering of such rampant, detrimental notions and ways of relating to each other and the world at large. But non-duality continues to ring true! In this case, the teachings of non-duality play out in the simple truth that both things are happening at the same time: there are elements of Christmas that are full of delight and joy and there are elements of great disharmony and destruction.

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A Walk in the Woods

A pic I took of an old trail sign - and then added some words to with Pic Monkey :)

A pic I took of an old trail sign – and then added some words         to with Pic Monkey :)

I’ve been starting to get a little restless, from having had shoulder surgery almost 3 weeks ago and still being in a sling and relatively one-handed.  So today I ventured out on my own for a walk in the woods.  Spending time with trees is good medicine.

There’s a spot in the Blue Mountain Recreation Area not far from my house that I especially like to go.  It has good parking and the wooded walking trail goes right by the Bitterroot River, which is a great bonus.  It was a sunny, warm day today and only a small handful of people were on the trail, which was also an added bonus.  I pulled up into a sliver of shade and then set out on foot with my ipod and camera in tow.

The sun rippled down through long strands of muted green grasses as boughs of pines and aspens swayed in the summer wind.  Large birds of prey were soaring with widely spread wings above the river and small song birds were singing long intertwining arias amongst the trees.

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Jerry Johnson Hot Springs

Suspension bridge over the Lochsa River, Idaho

Suspension bridge over the Lochsa River, Idaho

My husband and I have an annual tradition of spending Christmas Day at one of our favorite places, Jerry Johnson Hot Springs in Idaho.  It’s about an hour and a half drive west from Missoula, Montana.  Traveling from town you know you’ve reached the trailhead when you see the beautiful suspension bridge stretching over the Lochsa River (shown above).  There’s a nice large parking area across highway 12 from the bridge.

Warm Springs Creek, next to the trail leading to the springs

Warm Springs Creek, next to the trail leading to the springs

The skies above were clear blue and filled with winter sun streaming down through the evergreen forest.  Due to its popularity the 1 1/2 mile trail to the springs is always well worn no matter the time of year.  The springs are natural and the hike is on a pretty easy trail.  Sometimes it can be quite icy so during the winter months having yak tracks for your shoes is totally money well spent.  We visit the springs often throughout the year – for me it’s always a good day when I trek to the pools.  There is great medicine in getting out in the woods.

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Posted by on December 26, 2013 in Everyday Practice

 

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Rainbow Gathering, Day 2

The community meditation spot I set up outside our camp

The community meditation spot I set up outside our camp

This is part 2 of 4 – to start from the beginning please go to Rainbow Gathering, Day 1.

My husband, step-son, and I just returned home from the rainbow gathering in the Big Hole Valley area of south western Montana.  I wrote most everyday while we were gone and thought I’d share our adventure:

Written on July 1st 

Last night was loud with the thunder of drums, horn calls, yells, shouting, belligerent cursing youth passing by on the main trail, and a variety of other noises.  It was cold and seemed to go on for far too long before dawn broke and the camp was plunged into a quiet I thought may never come.  And though sleep came in spurts and the noise at times was overwhelming I did not feel myself pulled into a torrent of irritation, which would’ve been the case not long ago.  Instead of trying to block out the din I opened my ears to take it all in.  Just as in life every drop of now is decided good or bad based on our degree of fighting or embracing.

Kid Village Kitchen

Kid Village Kitchen

From our sleeping bags, amidst the drumming and celebrating, we also listened to a frantic search party for a 5-year old little girl named Mara on our first night in camp, who turned out not to be lost at all but asleep at a friend’s tent.  We were told that close to a thousand searchers (which I would guess was an exaggeration, although there were a good many people calling her name) were looking for her.  We heard the calls for her echoing through the trees, bouncing near and far, and when finally after 20-30 minutes the yell came, “She’s right here!” and the whole camp started cheering my eyes welled up with a profound sense of gratitude for the sweetness and triumph of community caring and support.

I began the morning with some light guitar playing and singing softly to myself a Cowboy Junkies song which attracted a fellow by the name of Jai who was staying in upper bus village and helped to run the Roadkill Kitchen where he said they served elk, venison, and trout.  He came off the trail to say hello and wound up playing me a couple of his songs which were quite good.

Trade Circle

Trade Circle

It was another bright, sunny day on the official start of the gathering, July 1st.  It has been estimated that 6,000 people are present so far with more expected in the next couple of days.  Folks from all across the nation are here, all ages, all colors, to peacefully assemble on our shared forest land.

We did some exploring today and found the info booth, Kid Village, the Granola Funk stage, Montana Camp, and a host of other camps.  Jaden (my step-son) and I spent time in the late afternoon relaxing in a super comfortable community teepee reading and lounging on huge pillows, mats, and blankets.  The teepee was set up in Kid Village and run by Children of the Earth, an intentional community and school in Oregon.  We went through trade circle, played frisbee with a growing number of folks in the open meadow while waiting for dinner at main circle, Jaden played someone at a game of chess, I spoke with a local rancher named Clay who let Jaden and I pet his horses that he and his kids rode in on and handed us elk jerky to pass around, and I set up Quiet Corner Meditation Mat just in front of our tented homestead with a sign inviting folks to have a seat.  We met friends new and old, ate well, walked and walked and walked some more.  It was a good day (and the night wound up passing much quieter than the one before).

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Children of the Earth Teepee

 
 

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Daily Practice – Day 10

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Today’s hike to Jerry Johnson’s Hot Springs in Idaho

Day 10 – This morning I awoke a few minutes before my alarm was to go off.  Knowing I would have a full day of plans I made the quick decision to simply sit up and do my 6 minutes of meditation before my alarm was to sound.  Without a trip to the bathroom, sleepy eyed and all I met the morning straight away by practicing meditation.  I know myself well enough not to delay my sitting until the evening when I can be quick to lay down and rest for the remainder of the night at early hour.

My 13-year old step-son is on spring break this week and so today after breakfast he and I and a young friend of ours took a trip to Jerry Johnson’s (JJ’s) Hot Springs in Idahdo, about an hour and a half from where we live in Montana.  It is one of my very most favorite places to go.  After a wooded 1.5 mile hike beside the Lochsa River a few natural hot pools encircled by rocks sit beautifully in the earth.  Since moving here in 1998 I have frequented JJ’s many dozens of times throughout all four seasons and every time I go I see clearly that I am watering seeds of healing, joy, ease and connection with every hike and soak.

Today at Jerry Johnson's Hot Springs

Today at Jerry Johnson’s Hot Springs

Things I noticed or thought about today in the woods:

Cultivating my relationship with the present moment comes effortlessly in the forest

Nature nourishes the widening of my self/world perspective

Getting in touch with the earth, water and air elements helps to ground my thoughts and emotions

Our growing up young people have difficulty knowing what to do with themselves without a computer or cell phone in arm’s reach

Food tastes better when you eat next to a sun drenched river

I often take for granted what I am afforded in life

Beauty doesn’t just exist in certain pockets when the conditions are right, beauty is inherit to life in all things

Connecting with the natural land helps me to connect with myself

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A cairn I made next to the Lochsa River

Breathing in I feel the sun shining through me

Breathing out I feel the river flowing all around me

Breathing in I take refuge in mother earth

Breathing out I smile

My pocket buddha sitting on highway 12 in Idaho

My pocket buddha sitting on highway 12 in Idaho

 

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