I knew from the multiple visions leading up to my journey into the forest that this was going to be a life-altering event for me. In one of my waking visions I was split in two, one of me was looking at health test results and being completely confused and the other me was standing in a dark forest with Native medicine men crowding in on me, looking down at me saying over and over "It doesn't matter". Another waking vision was triggered by a wise French boy about the age of 4 or 5 who came to my Earth Ceremony about a week before I took off for the forest. I was speaking to his mother after the ceremony when Elan popped his head in front of my face, looked me in the eye and said "Nature is Life!!' As soon as he finished the phrase I had a powerful vision of large dark green leaves brushing against my face, as if I was walking through a dense rain forest. I could see, smell and feel the leaves clearly. I had to gather myself before I could respond to this beautiful child. I smiled and said "yes, nature is life." Oftentimes we don't know how significant an experience will be until long after it has happened and we've had time to process. With the visions that kept coming I knew ahead of time. I was being prepared.
When I was in the air heading to Canada, I hadn't eaten nor slept in 3 days. My body was in bad shape. I was hungry but in pain. I was incredibly weak from months of painful tummy episodes. I actually almost passed out up in the air. It doesn't matter how pressurized a plane is, if you are sick or your body is off, being high in the air is going to mess with it. Earth Goddess/Medicine Momma Jada Tam picked me up at the airport in Canada and immediately started to challenge my beliefs about my body. I didn't even notice the giant lake as we made our long journey into the woods to their land. When we arrived on her land Jada challenged my fear of hurting my body with food by making me a bowl of rice with lots of healing herbs like ginger, garlic, tummeric, cumin, etc. Not only did I eat that big bowl of rice but she then proceeded to ask me if I wanted to hike to the creek. Water is my element so of course I said yes. Little did I know that it was an 18 acre hike UP the mountain to get to the creek. Definitely slowed down towards the end but Jada would give Silva a plant lesson while they waited for me to catch up. I made it. In just those few hours of stepping on Canadian soil I had already learned that my body was WAY stronger than I even imagined. That's when we became friends - my body and I. When my belly was acting strange later that evening I told my belly it is safe to digest this food, it is medicine from momma earth. My belly immediately settled down and I fell asleep. I woke up the next morning (official day 1 of the retreat) to see a deer outside the window of the camper I was staying in, munching on the plants from mother earth. Powerful - and we were just getting started! We hadn't even arrived at the lake yet!
Riding through the forest on a remote logging road up to the top of the cliff to our retreat destination was an intense experience in itself! There was a moment where I felt us cross an energetic threshold. It was like that moment in Wizard of Oz when she steps from the black and white world into the world of technicolor. The energy was so intense! I felt the energy from every leaf, stone, creature, tree and more. I was in heavenly bliss as the forest energy bathed every cell in my body. I could hear and feel everything. The forest was loud with conversation. I always felt connected to mother earth. I had NO idea how deep that connection can go! Nature is Life! Nature is Healing! Nature is Powerful!
The second morning of the retreat - first morning waking up at the lake and before Yoga, I wrote the following at the top of my journal entry. "The forest has healed me and I will never be the same." Jada had reminded me that I have already done all the work, I have done all the clearing and releasing. We had a conversation on the boat dock surrounded by lushness everywhere and Jada told me "It is time to move forward! The clearing and healing has been done. Whatever happened before is gone. It doesn't matter! (flashback to one of my visions with the native men). Now is the time to restore!' Later that same evening a medicine man came to speak about the forest and it's spirit. The first words that came out of his mouth were "You don't have to eat a lot of earth medicine to be healed. The forest is alive and knows your needs. The forest gives off energy and will heal you."
The story of the above picture played out like this...
I had developed a very itchy rash while I was in Canada. I believe it was my body's reaction to the sun and the humidity. It happened before when I visited another lake. That evening we were to do a canoe trip with dinner on another beach and rowing back under the full moon. It was the one thing I was most excited to do since water is my element and this desert dweller had the chance to go on a lake! Well, I decided to listen to my body and not go as I figured that the water mixed with the sun would just make me feel worse. As everyone carried the canoes to the water and loaded them up, I was on the cliff top with the chef and 2 staff breaking open a bottle of chocolate wine to share. My leg was in agony and no amount of cottonwood salve was going to help so I just started to paint on my leg. The itching started to subside with each paint stroke. My consciousness was in the forest and I barely noticed when the chef set down a plate of vegan lasagna on the deck. I took a break and blessed my body with food then started to paint again. I noticed a shadow above me and looked up in time to see a bald eagle soar closely over my head to land on a tree near the deck. It watched me then flew over me again. At this time I heard Doug and Julia approach. Perfect timing with the eagle and finishing up my masterpiece. I was done painting the forest up my leg. My body started buzzing as my consciousness fully returned. For some strange reason, I could not take pictures of it myself. I just couldn't bring myself to do it when I picked up my camera. Spirit was stopping me. Doug offered to take pictures of my leg. I felt honored since I've seen his work and the end result of me taking care of my body was four hours worth of paint that told a story. After the photo shoot I was called urgently into the forest by spirit to do a blessing. I ran to my cabin room, grabbed a warm shirt and water, then headed down the mountain short-cutting through the forest. The plan was to go down to the water, do a blessing then hike up the path along the cliff side as quickly as possible. It was a race against the sun...
...to be continued...
My name is Melissa Ameika and I am a Reiki Master Teacher, Shaman & Metaphysical Counselor living in the desert southwest.