I thought I knew what trust and being in the flow meant...
On the morning of July 30th I made a last minute decision to attend a medicine weekend/conscious gathering just outside of Bend, OR. I said goodbye to my parents, grabbed a few things from storage and rented a car for 2 days...one way. On the way there I "ran into" Mt. Shasta where I spent a few hours eating lunch then did a sacred ceremony. I almost stayed when I heard the mountain say "Go. You'll be back, I promise." Day three of the gathering, I stood to the side with all my bags packed, no car and no-where to go. Cooper, who had given me a sound healing the night before, came to me and asked "Do you know what you are going to do?" I laughed and said "No." He smiled at me and said "Well, come with us then!" I asked him where they were planning on going and he said "Mt. Shasta!" and remembering what the mountain said to me a week before made me laugh. I knew I was being divinely guided. I haven't been able to write due to the fact I have been out in the forest or on the road with no internet connections. Additionally I feel like I need at least 6 months to process all that has happened in the month I slept on Mt. Shasta and another 3 weeks traveling in a small converted school bus with two other goddesses, Whitewolfe (shaman), Chi'Bago (a brother we picked up in Sedona) and a wolf/coyote plus three more dogs.
The biggest lesson I learned on the mountain was in order to receive true abundance I had to learn to give freely and from the heart. I also learned the true power of our thoughts. I went from hoarding food in my tent to sharing food with whomever came into my camp hungry. It started to feel very good giving away with no expectation of receiving anything back. The medicine man in Oregon said to me the day I left "Melissa - Know that Pachamama will give you everything you need as you let go and trust along your travels." Every morning in Shasta I would wake up and say what I needed for the day and the universe would provide. For example, one morning I woke up sore and said out loud "what I would really like today is for a cup of coffee and a foam mat to sleep on." On my walk out to the meadow to see if I had phone service I passed an older couple I had met two days previous on a different part of the mountain. They called out to me "Hey Little Bird! Want some coffee?" I laughed and said yes. We ended up having the perfect conversation that I needed to hear from an older wiser being then I asked his wife if she knew where I could get a foam mat. She went into her tent and brought out hers and said "Here, you can have this. I am not using it."
About two weeks into our stay on Mt. Shasta, I decided that someone is going to give me a van. I almost didn't believe it but I met two different gypsy women who said someone gave them their van! It was like spirit was saying "Yes, believe it because it has happened." So every morning I would wake up and say "Someone is going to give me a van." I also told everyone I met on the mountain and they would laugh and say "and so it is!" I did this for about two weeks then I let it go. The day we left the mountain our friend who was supposed to go to Georgia to help start a goddess temple was pulled over and told his license was expired and he can't drive. We were trying to figure out what to do b'c us goddesses were going to go to Philly for a few weeks. As us women talked Whitewolfe came to me with his phone and asked me "Do you want a van?" The deal was that I would help Whitewolfe get to the goddess temple in Georgia and the head goddess would give me her van in return! We had a big laugh out of that and our 3 week journey across 1,000 miles began.
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Mindfullness is key – Living in nature off grid requires one to be present and aware. Staying present helps keep us safe. If we lose our focus we could end up chopping off a finger, nearly getting hit by an arrow while walking absentmindedly, burning ourselves or falling off a cliff. Nature has a funny way of reminding us to be present as well. I have had lightening strike near-by to bring me out of my head. A major burn that took weeks to heal when I lost focus building fire. I've had a hummingbird dive me and stop inches from my face when I was on my phone looking at YouTube videos and I've also had a pack of wolf-doggies knock me down when I didn't pay attention to the sound of them crashing through the forest towards me. Mindfullness is a way to stay connected to ourselves and everything around us.
You can't make fire quickly – Living off-grid and arriving in the forest with a foot of snow on the ground I learned that one needs fire in order to stay warm and cook food. Therefore it was essential for me to make friends with the element of fire. You can read more about my powerful experience with healing and dancing with fire in my book which will be coming out late 2020 or early 2021. Listed below are tips to building and tending fire. Take your time. Fire building takes patience and just the right amount of fuel and oxygen.
First - Lay your kindling as a fire starter. Birch bark, newspaper, dried leaves & sticks, cardboard, anything that burns works well. Stay away from gas fuel as it burns out quickly & is just a waste. You can then add small sticks chopped from larger pieces of wood or found in nature. Make sure there is enough space between your kindling and small wood pieces for the oxygen to circulate.
Second - Once you have the kindling going slowly add larger pieces of wood onto the fire taking care not to smother your flames.
Third - Talk to the fire. Show gratitude to the fire. Thank the fire, sing to the fire, drum or rattle for the fire. Fire is an energetic being (elemental) and I excitedly found out that fire feeds off of our energy as well. Our energy is also it's fuel. Fire is a master transmuter of negative energy. Each evening I would say a prayer for healing for the world reeling from a global pandemic and the fire and I (with my drum) would work together to release fear. Fire has a consciousness of it’s own. Fire can be an extremely powerful ally in self-healing if you know how to work with it.
Cooperative Living – It is important to be one with the land and with those who live in the area. I have met many wonderful people along our dirt road and for the most part, everyone checks in on each other and helps each other. However, don't get on anyone's bad side, unless you want to be isolated.
Gratitude - It is easy to take for granted the simple things that we consume every day without a thought. Since I have to carry in my water I am way more conscious of how much I use. I live in a small spot with two solar panels which feed through a small inverter to a small battery. This gives me about an hour of power, two if I am lucky and get a super sunny day. My small refrigerator and the stove in the 5th wheel run on propane which is expensive if you use too much. Firewood needs to be chopped from whatever dead trees are on the land. Everything needs to be used sparingly. It is amazing to discover how much you can really cut back. I remember my first morning in my space, I didn't have propane set up for another three weeks and had to cook by the fire. It took me an hour to make coffee as I had to build fire but I didn't have any kindling so I had to go out and cut kindling then start the fire (see above on starting fire) then boil the water. I swear, I cried when I finally finished making the coffee and took a sip. It was the greatest coffee I ever had!
Plant Speak - the plants will speak to you if you are connected and listen. If you'd like to know more I will be creating an on-line shamanism course dedicated to the Drum Journey, Ceremony and connecting to mother earth wisdom and plant healing. Or schedule a class with me when I return to Vegas.
"Phew! What's that Smell?" - Earth as a detoxifier and healer. I was incredibly sore one day from yoga, dance and tons of earth work. I was in so much pain I could barely move and was almost in tears. I had to go work in the garden and didn't think I would be able to do it. When I got in the garden I sat on the ground and grabbed the chunks of grass/soil and started to bang them together. My job was to break up the soil chunks and throw the grass in a mulch pile. The smell of the earth drifted up to my nose and it felt like I was breathing in cool healing air. I eventually stuck my feet in the earth and let the soil cover them as I worked. An hour later I had completed the whole patch and now it was ready for the tomato plants. When I stood up I realized that my body was COMPLETELY pain free! It's proven that the earth gives off positive ions which decreases inflammation. Nature itself is an anti-inflammatory.
The other day I was alone with the animals on the land. My mind was racing as I sat with the wolf dogs outside in the sun. It was the first time since I burned my hand in the fire over a month ago that I was not practicing being in the moment. Then the trees shouted to me “Look up! Look at where you are!” My eyes gazed across the valley swarming with trees, green fields and the snow covered mountains in the background. I could hear the river in the distance. “Your dream came true.” Everything became still, the sun burned into my face as the cool breeze gently touched me. I became more present and was able to drop back into that pure moment of peace and oneness. No thoughts just beingness.
Being in the present. It is a feeling I have enjoyed before and it doesn't only happen in the forest! This has happened to me while in the midst of people and activity in a major east coast city where everyone is stacked on top of each other. No matter where we are living or what circumstances we are experiencing we can reach this blissful state by practicing mind-fullness in every moment.
Living in nature requires co-operation with the land and maintaining balance. In reality this is true no matter where you are living. Living with mind-fullness means to pay attention to what you are doing. To not let your mind run amok. Mind-fullness means giving your “whole” self, physical/mental/spiritual, into the task at hand whether it is chopping wood, playing with a child, having a conversation, working, creating, etc. It is then when you drop into “the zone” and become fully present and aware. These experiences of being truly present is where you find the magic in life. These moments of awareness and being present allows us to hear the trees, plants and animals speaking to us. To notice the sparkle in someone's eyes as we speak to them. To experience joy in whatever we are doing or enabling us to recognize when something we are doing is no longer working. To recognize that spirit speaks to us in many ways: through animals, our intuition, a song suddenly comes up on the radio with an answer to a question or a sun-beam shining on our face when we are feeling sad. A boom of thunder when our minds are racing out of control. The possibilities for magic are endless. We just need to be mindful in everything we do and the rest will follow. The more we practice this the easier it becomes and the more often we can reach these states of true oneness, connection and peace.
Take this time of great shifting and change to practice mind-fullness. Give your full attention to whatever you are doing or feeling. If your mind strays or you become distracted pull yourself back to the moment. Stay present in everything you do and you will receive the answers you seek.
Prayers for the rising consciousness of Planet Earth and ALL her sacred beings.
When I arrived in Canada 36 days ago COVID-19 was just entering other countries. My dreams over the following week were dark in nature despite my initial bliss of being in the forest. In my dream life I encountered many battles between dark psychic energies and myself. In each of these dreams I was unable to do anything because of my fear. As the dream progressed something would remind me “You've got this, you're a shaman.” At that point I would lose my fear and start preparing and saying prayers then I would wake up. I analyzed the dreams and was not able to find any significance that made sense to me. I am safe, all is well. The meaning of those dreams wouldn't become apparent to me until a little over a week later when the pandemic was announced.
A few days before the announcement I was practicing building a fire in the wood burning stove so I could move into the little 8'x12' and have my own space. My friend was teaching me how to put a large log in the stove so I could stay warm all night. My fear of the fire was so intense that I lost my courage and focus and burned the shit out of my hand. The next day I sat nervously in front of the stove and built another fire. The fire taught me a lot about transmutation. If I don't transmute my fear than I don't build fire, if I don't build fire I don't eat or stay warm. Face and transmute your fear or you don't survive. That lesson would prove to be my lifesaver in the coming weeks in more ways than one.
It seemed like the whole world went mad overnight. I was on sensory overload. Yes, even out here in the middle of the mountains I couldn't help but pick up the vibrational wave of fear traveling the globe every 40 minutes or so. Then going into town, everyone was talking about it. I felt it most when I was indoors. The moment I stepped outside into nature I felt a different kind of wave. A wave of healing, relief, love, stillness and a strong desire from mother earth for us to re-connect to her. It feels like a literal calling to come back home. I would sit in this deep feeling of peace until I would get slammed by the wave of fear making it's way around the world. In the midst of all this energy moving through me we were preparing the land for ouselves so we can live without going into town. I had many weird dreams but most of them I forgot. It was time for me to move into the small space near the field in a grove of Cottonwoods. The day before I moved in I got an email from a Shibipo Medicine Woman/Lakota Sun Dancer mentor of mine reminding me that this is what I have trained for. She was reminding me that I am a warrior and that I know how to hold space in the darkest of times and how to transmute dark energy. I decided that I would drum in front of the fire that night with the intention of healing the collective conscious.
The only light came from the flames of the fire in the stove. I sang the fire song as I fed it then lay back on my air mattress, closed my eyes and began to drum. I immediately started dreamwalking the land that I was staying on. First I was on the southern border fence, I left some cornmeal then prayed to the healing fire of the south for assistance. I then dreamwalked to the direction of West, left some cornmeal then prayed to the water & spirits of the east for assistance. I dreamwalked to the North and called on the ancestors. I was there a while as I had many visions of negative stuff being cleared from myself and everyone I have a strong connection with. I eventually dreamwalked to the East to call on the spirits of new beginnings for assistance. A great eagle soared over. My drum began to slow down on it's own. I slowly opened my eyes. The sun made it's last flare of the day just as my drum stopped. I felt dizzy and was exhausted. I slept good that night.
The next day the energy felt like it had experienced a shift. People in my sphere of contact including myself were exhibiting less fear and a more positive attitude. It was a beautiful day. The next evening I drummed again in front of the fire. This time I sang into the fire a Shibipo song about a sacred tree in the Amazon forest. I was giving thanks to the tree spirits for creating oxygen so we can breathe, giving us medicine through their roots/bark/flowers and for sacrificing themselves so we can stay warm and cook food. I drummed and dreamwalked through many different forests asking for forgiveness then giving thanks and blessings. I could feel the intense joy and relief in mother nature. This is her healing time. We ALL needed a break from what we have co-created...Another shift.
We are part of the collective consciousness which includes ALL beings in nature not just human beings. We can connect into this divine consciousness through whatever means including: getting out in nature, deep awareness, drumming, dance, meditation, prayer, plant medicine, art, energy work and many more. We have been given a chance to start over. When you feel the wave of fear, resist the urge to run (to distractions), face your fear then transmute it through connecting to collective consciousness with the intention of healing through whatever method listed above. This is how we will heal the world. This is how we will get through. This is how we will co-create a beautiful life of true connection, oneness and peace.
For most people spending time in nature is a way to find and connect with the self. For me it was the exact opposite. Growing up in nature was my solace, a way to escape myself and connect to the land, the animals and the elements. I had to move to the big city in order to "find myself". In the city I was surrounded by many "mirrors" that reflected my inner state of mind. In the city is where I found deep healing. After 18 years in Philadelphia and another 8 years in Las Vegas it is time for me to return to nature for a while. Pachamama is calling me home. For those of you who know me, you may remember that in 2015 I became very sick physically. In fact I almost died. It was in June of 2017 that I journeyed to Canada to heal my body (you can read further about my experience in previous blogs that I wrote below). It was there when I re-connected to nature in the most powerful way. I connected with some plant food that assisted me in healing my broken, swollen belly and took part in a Cedar Pulling Ceremony with a medicine woman of the land. That is where my return to home really began. It was at the end of that trip on top of an 80 foot cliff overlooking a giant lake that I had a powerful vision of an energetic grid located just under the surface of the earth that connected all forests and plants. The spirit of the cedar tree pulled my legs into the ground, connected me to this grid and then said that I could tap in whenever I wanted. I journeyed back to Canada in November of the same year to study and strengthen my body. That is where I did my first self soul retrieval (see blog entry below). Once again nature called me to connect and work with the powerful and intense sacred plant medicine of Ayahuasca which was like having 30 years worth of psychotherapy. She introduced me into the world of Vegelatismo and facilitated a deeper connection to the wisdom of ALL plant medicine, not just psychotropic plants. Now Pachamama is calling me back home to study all of her healing plants in various parts of the world. I will be spending the next few months in Canada playing in the forest, writing and connecting to the plants through meditation. My goal is to help others connect to nature on a deep level by sharing knowledge and leading meditations through podcasts and YouTube videos. Mother Earth is crying out for our connection and I am answering the call. Stay tuned for a book, YouTube channel and Podcast. Much love to all of you!
Playing the victim has been a recurring theme lately, not just with myself working with my healer but also with others in their sessions with me. It is clear that the Universe is trying to send us a message! Step out of the role as Victim! It is time to get serious and look deeper into what is holding us back from manifesting our highest truest self which is joy and love. If you are still blaming others for your setbacks even though you have made strides in your own healing than the work is not quite done yet. Hold on, this might get ugly.
First, there is beauty and transformation in suffering. Not all is as it seems. I was watching Rescue 911 this evening and came upon a story where a woman's foot wound was covered in maggots. While it seemed horrifying that someone would let a wound infection get to the point where maggots formed what I learned was that these creatures were actually stopping the infection from spreading and becoming deadly by eating away the dead tissue. Later this evening I went to do my meditation and pulled the Vulture card from Colette Baron-Reid's "Spirit Animal Oracle" card deck. The vulture feeds off the dead and essentially "cleans" nature. Maggots and vultures are seen as ugly animals however they clearly perform a very important function in nature. Nothing is wasted. Everything has purpose, yes, even our suffering.
Second, when something reappears in your life even when you've spent years doing the cognitive work to heal it does not necessarily mean that your work has been in vain. Just like muscle memory, there is energetic memory too. When we have spent nearly all our lives reacting a certain way to our experiences outside influences such as societal, familial upbringing or religious programming may still be at play. Those programmed reactions are habits. The solution then becomes "change the habit".
If you haven't been doing the work, if you have been avoiding the deep issues by blaming others and/or looking for the next quick fix than I encourage you stop and look deep within yourself. It may be difficult to do that. No one wants to look at their shit. Everything that comes to us is a lesson. The man who works on me on a weekly basis said to me "You are in denial. You asked for this!" which I will admit really pissed me off. Great! Now we're getting somewhere. My anger was my reaction to knowing deeply that he was right. Stop being in denial. Take responsibility for your own power and life. It takes incredible courage but you can do it! You are a warrior. If I can do it anyone can.
If you have been doing the work than first congratulate yourself for the progress you have made thus far! You are healing on a deep level. It is time to heal the habits of your negative thoughts. Remind yourself, I am healed. This is no longer truly an issue for me. Re-train your thoughts by focusing on gratitude. Give thanks to yourself for your hard work and to source for all blessings and your habits of negative thinking will change. With joy in your heart remind yourself that these repeating negative thought patterns are no longer you, they are simply habit at this stage.
You are no longer a victim so stop acting like one. Only then will true transformation occur.
Psychology Today defines self sabotage as "any action that gets in the way of your best laid out plans or intent." These actions include negative self talk, procrastination, self medicating (substances, food, behaviors that are habitual, etc).
There are many reasons why we resort to self sabotage despite our best intentions and it is important to look at them as we begin a new year and new decade.
1. Lack of self worth: This is a big one! Oftentimes we may think we deserve the best in life but deep down we believe we don't. We work hard to make our dreams come true but once they start to manifest we pull the plug as our self worth is missing. We say damaging things to ourselves: "I'm not good enough." "I don't have enough training." Imagine if you talked to yourself like we would a child. I can do it! I am amazing! I am love. I am strong. I am worthy. Say it enough and you will start to believe it yourself. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself support and encouragement. Enter into dialogue with your inner self, your soul. If a negative self thought arises, ask "where is this coming from? Why do I believe this to be so?" Be willing to look at yourself and then heal it! That is the true sense of being a warrior.
2. Lack of control. Success in our intentions can seem scary despite how badly we want to have our dreams manifest! We ask ourselves "What would it look like if I had the perfect job?" or "How would my life change if my dream life came true?" Change is scary so we stay in the familiar. Better to fail then to succeed, at least I know what that feels like. It's comfortable. Ask yourself honestly - Is it really?
3. Consistency - humans like to be consistent. Phrases like "I never get what I want." "This always happens to me." are a form of self sabotage. If we believe that we always get passed over for promotion or I'll never have enough then when life happens that way our beliefs are confirmed. See! I told you! Everything stays the same. We are comfortable with the known and uncomfortable with the unknown.
4. Lack of commitment. Healing the self is hard work! It takes commitment and strength to look at ourselves in order to heal that which holds us back. We come up with whole list of excuses. "I don't have the money." "I don't have the time." "This will never work." "This is too hard." "I'm too old, I have done everything this way my whole life." "I don't want to look at that. Let's not go there." "I am sick and/or too tired." I can't tell you how many times I have said those things to myself. I am here to tell you that when you make a commitment to heal yourself the funds, time and energy it takes to make it happen will magically appear. I know from experience. I have a standing commitment to work on myself with two different healers on a weekly basis. I keep these commitments even if it appears that I don't have what I need financially or for whatever reason listed above. It always works out for me. I also have a daily Reiki practice that I always do even if i don't feel like it. Make this the year that you commit to yourself and watch your dreams come true.
Our thoughts are energy manifest in the world around us. Did you know that science has proven that our thoughts are as powerful as gamma rays, the most powerful energy source in the universe?!?! What is true in our minds is true. I am sure you have heard the phrase "And so it is." Every time we self sabotage we tell the Universe "and so it is" and we remain stuck in our suffering. We want to manifest our dreams yet we don't believe for one reason or another.
Note: The picture associated with this post was taken back in November of 2017 when I was in Canada doing my Trauma Release Yoga Training and healing my body. My teacher and I were sitting in the trailer lit only with a small candle and snow falling softly outside. We were discussing what I felt my Reiki & shamanic healing sessions were worth since a few people had requested my services while I was there. I was thinking in my mind $125 and before I could say it she voiced the number $300. I yelled $300 and in my thought I felt that was too much. Right after the thought occurred in my mind the class broke and the flame went out. Our response? Laughter. Turns out she was right. I had a few clients that week and they all thought $300 was more than worth the healing they received. The Universe has a sense of humor! Lessons.
Woke up this morning feeling not right. I figured that my morning walk should take care of that so despite my crankiness I dragged myself out of bed and out the door. One look at the sky above me catapulted me into a tirade of anger, anxiety and rage. They were spraying in the sky again! “Dam chemtrails” I screamed! The elements echoed my sentiments and the wind raged with me. I really didn't feel any better coming back into my place after my walk. All of a sudden, I heard a message loud and clear in my mind “Go see the animals!!” then a vision of Bonnie Springs Ranch appeared before my face. I asked both my parents if they wanted to go see the animals. They initially rejected the idea then changed their mind as I was walking out the door.
We walked around the pond and as the wind sand-blasted my face I silently apologized to the birds for humans stupidity and arrogance. My anger lessened as I took in all the desert beauty around me. Then I remembered Raven who is in a large cage off in the back by the horse stables. When you speak his name he will speak back to you. My heart soared with joy when I saw him. It was the first time all day that I felt light in my being. I got as close to the cage as possible, stood on my tippy toes and started talking to him. I said to him “I wish I remember your name because I would love to hear your voice.” I couldn't remember and he remained silent but we stared long into each others eyes. I asked him what he was eating and he responded by hopping over in front of me and showing me his beak. He then began to “pose” for me, moving his head in different directions. Showing me his very long sharp beak. I could see the little gray hairs coming down from the underside. When I bent down to look at his very long tail feathers he lowered his tail for me so I could see it below his shelf. Then I moved back on my tippy toes and moved my face practically up to the bars. I wanted to see every feather, every variation of color. He had perfect opportunity to peck my eye out. Complete trust between us. I could feel my parents waiting for me so I said goodbye and started to walk away. As I started to turn to walk away something incredible happened. Raven locked eyes with me then dipped his head downward and forward, sticking his long beak out of the cage pointing directly at me. I stopped dead in my tracks. I literally could not move my feet. I turned back around and walked up to the cage. He stood back up. I started to walk away again and Raven bowed his head down and forward again! Beak pointing directly me, eyes intense. Again I literally could not move, only to turn around and walk back to the cage. “hmmm” I wondered. He stood back up so I started to leave and it happened a third time! I laughed out loud at this point and walked back up to him. I looked him in the eyes and said “What are you trying to tell me?” I listened but couldn't hear anything. He stood back up so I turned around to leave. This time I was allowed to leave but I felt the strangest thing. I was super dizzy and lightheaded. My folks must have noticed me stumbling and walking funny. If they did, they didn't say anything. The rest of the morning with the animals was blissful and fun. My folks and I said goodbye to the animals, walked the old tiny town and went home. The intense rage and anger had subsided dramatically and my mood was lifted.
All day long I kept thinking of Raven, pondering our strange interaction and wondering what he was trying to tell me. In meditation that evening I held the image of Raven in my mind as I let the crystal bowls lead my consciousness out of this realm. I was in a nature scene but I was alone. I felt my body roll over onto my left side and had this vision of black stuff being pulled out. I saw and felt the hands of mother earth hovering below me, pulling. This pulling did not last very long then I was gone. Later that evening lying in bed as I was continuing to process the memory came to me of my early work with clients when I worked with Raven. In those journeys Raven would appear and using his beak would PULL dark energy from their spiritual bodies and throw it away! All of a sudden I was catapulted back into the scene from earlier in the day and recognized that not only was a real live actual Raven doing to me what I've seen them do in my journeys but that the raging wind had stopped completely while this was happening! All that rage and anger that I had towards humans was pulled out of me by a large raven...in a cage...
Deep gratitude and humbleness.
November 2017. I arrived in Kewlona, BC Canada for the second time in a year for a week long private intensive yoga study with my wolf sister Jada. Little did I know that I would find a piece of me that I had been searching for since I began my healing journey 21 years ago. A few hours after I arrived the snow began to fall and did not let up until I left 7 days later. Everyone was taken by surprise, the snow came early that year and was unexpected. In the first 24 hours after stepping off the plane 2 feet of snow had fallen. Sacred. Innocence. That was the theme throughout our yoga training that was held at a tiny Waldorf school in the middle of the forest. Cold, cold. Made living off grid very interesting! I quickly became friends with fire. There were three other women in class with me so our training was very intimate. On the second to the last day of our training we decided to gather together in front of the fire at Jada's 5th wheel in the forest for what I thought was going to be a celebration/sing along. We got the fire raging and sat in our tiny space barely big enough for all five of us to sit. The room started to heat up and the windows fogged while the snow fell gently outside. Jada began to rattle my sacred clearing rattle made for me by a Cree Medicine man intensely into the fire while I drummed the Elk hide drum that I had made. I began to drift into a trance state when I heard a male voice say to me sternly and loudly "Go find her". I knew who he was talking about. My excitement grew when I realized that it was time to bring her home, that piece of me that I hadn't been able to find nor the many other shamans who had worked on me before could find. As my drum sped up I crashed through the edge of the forest. I was gigantic! I towered over the trees and could see multi-colored feathers stretching out above me that were somehow attached to my back. I looked down into the meadow in front of me and saw at the other edge a small child. Her back was to me and she was kneeling at the rivers edge (a place that I have always found great peace and solace). When I looked into the sky directly above her I saw the dark place where I was sent every time I put under with Ether before my surgeries. A barbaric and violent way to be put to sleep that luckily is no longer practiced. I saw a tiny body the same age as the child at the rivers edge floating in the blackness and watched her being hit and tossed around by giant woofers. My giant hands and arms reached up and took her from that horrible place and brought her gently to my heart where she buried her face in my breast. I was overcome with love and a joy so great that I don't even have words. "I found you." I said. We then stood under a beautiful healing waterfall full of sparkly light. I pulled her into me. Integration. She told me that she was waiting for me to re-connect, that she couldn't come home until I healed my relationship with food and my body. When I returned to my body after the journey I felt warm and at peace. We ended the evening in silence. After the girls left and Jada went to sleep, I remained with the fire in gratitude until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer. I left two days later. After I returned home I was told that it stopped snowing and the sun came out after my flight had left. Gratitude. Integration.
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 Fire 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 in the forest 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. 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." My teacher 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 she 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.