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“We urgently need to find practical ways of reestablishing our conscious sense of connection with living nature.” Rupert Sheldrake. Introduction, The Rebirth of Nature
WELCOME TO NATURE AND HEALING
Through direct experience, Nature-That-We-Are initiates us. Trees waving in the breeze; thunder and lightning reverberating and electrifying earth and air; rain nourishing corn; ants transforming rock; bees pollinating plants and making honey; tree frogs whirring in the night–the immense beings of Gaia communicate profound realization of our essence. Nature gives shaktipat–what mystics call a direct transference of spirit.
We do not have to reach far. We do not have to stretch, strain, ‘try hard.’ We can simply sit close–close to this Self, this essence. We do not look through these eyes out into a world of “nature” that exists separate and isolate from ourselves. We sit here, in this moment, in this place; and sitting, quietly thus, we experience, rushing through us and emanating from us, this Nature-That-We-Are.
We are the trees, the wind and the rain, the sunlight that awakens us. This is the mystical realization. We do not come to this realization through intellectualizing, theorizing, conceptualizing–through adopting beliefs that ‘sound good.’ Rather, we come to this realization through an actual experience that transforms us on an energetic and cellular level–so that what we once sensed and intuited to be true we now know to be true. We no longer wonder if we are part of the whole; we know. We are the field–the field that flows through all momentary manifestations–perennially and joyfully announcing essence, invoking presence, inviting surrender, and sharing bliss. Mystical knowing is an experience whose verity is undeniable, as undeniable as our knowledge that we are alive
Plants. Rain. Sunlight. Wind. The many creatures who share our world–through these beings, we experience connection. All beings communicate with us as we walk the path of beauty. When we greet these beings, when we open ourselves in spaciousness to feeling their presence, when we express gratitude, the wisdom of nature flows through us, and we become a healing presence on earth.
If you wish, we can walk together, communicating with our original nature through mystical encounters with the many beings who share this beautiful Gaia with us. Union, Yoga, Connection, Conversation, Re-membering ourselves as the Nature That We Are–this is the path of Nature and Healing.
Let us reawaken our capacity to live and breathe in harmony with Nature, so harmony can move through us into the world. Let us live in perpetual gratitude for our lives. Let us be kind.
Photo credit: Andes Mountain Butterfly, photo taken in 2009 by Yun Yuan Tay, while traveling in Ecuador with Martha Travers and fellow University of Michigan students.
Each of us is like a river, a being that is constantly transforming.
My path is to accompany others, learning to walk with heart and mind in balance, with respect for every part of Nature, giving thanks continually for all existence.
My blood ancestors come from many traditions, including Welsh, Irish, and Scots. My roots are in the Earth, and my community is all Earth-honoring people.
I have lived my entire life on a beautiful peninsula surrounded by the sacred and magnificent Great Lakes. Here, the Universal-Consciousness-That-We-Are imprints itself in the image of a human hand surrounded by life-giving, ‘sweet’ waters.
In my early years, I studied poetry and earned a Ph.D. in Literature from the University of Michigan where I taught writing. Writing became, for me, a way of contacting and trusting visions. In my teaching of college students, I encouraged discovering personal voices and true life-paths. I came early to the conviction that ‘following our bliss,’ as Joseph Campbell so beautifully advised, is the heart of true happiness, and I have always sought to impart this confidence to my children and to my University students, numbering now in the thousands.
I have always been apprenticed to Life, our greatest teacher. In the 1980s and 90s, as a mother living with her children, my training and walking included giving birth at home, living in the woods, growing and learning from plants, homeschooling, preparing food and learning its healing properties, listening to animals and birds, receiving instruction from my teacher– Crow– watching stars, learning astrology, journeying on the inner planes, and trusting the dreamtime.
Along the way, I benefited from a beautiful meditation practice, from yoga and dance, from training in process acupressure, from many teachers–plant, animal, elemental, and human– both in and out of body, and from mystical experiences recorded in my poetry and journals.
Between 1999 and 2009, I traveled frequently to South America where I learned aspects of the ancient mystical tradition of the Andes mountains. There, the Universal-Consciousness-That-We-Are spoke to me through mountains, waterfalls, rain, plants, animals, birds, ceremonial fires and brilliant sunlight.
Since 2005, I have been teaching various contemplative practice courses for the Program in Creativity and Consciousness Studies in the Department of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation in The School of Music, Theatre, and Dance at The University of Michigan.
In 2016, my book, The WayCard Oracle, published by Schiffer Books, is available. You can ask your local bookstore to order it or find it here on Amazon.
“Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons,
It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.”
Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road
Nature and Mystical Experience Retreats 2017 & 2018
In the fall of 2015, I moved to a rural property in southeast Michigan that includes marsh land, open fields, groves of oak, walnut, and hickory, and many inhabitants, among them
It is my hope that many creatures will be safe here, that pilgrims will find rest and restoration here, that the elemental forces will make themselves known here and will teach what we need to know in these times. It is my hope that the plants will thrive here and will provide food for the pollinators that provide so much of human food. In the days leading up to moving here, I heard again and again, “Blessed Be, Blessed Be,” and each time I wrote those words, sending them to friends and loved ones, I found myself writing, “Blessed Bee!” So this has become the name of my new home. I call it ‘Blessed Bee Farm.’ This summer, I have seen a few honey bees exploring my flowers. In time, I hope there will be many.
WORKSHOPS AND RETREATS AT BLESSED BEE FARM
SATURDAY, NOV. 11 (1:00 -4:00 p.m.): Engaging the Physical Body in Spiritual Practice. In this workshop, we will explore the role of the physical body in our spiritual unfolding. Participants will be guided in specific practices that engage the 5 physical senses as doorways to accessing our 6th spiritual sense. This workshop will include discussion of diet and flower essences. Tea will be served. Workshop fee: $60.00. To register, contact me via email.
SUNDAY, DEC. 10 (1:00-4:00 P.M.): Meditation and Spiritual Discussion Circle. We will spend time in meditation (I will teach a specific form: breath-awareness & mantra), followed by discussion of spiritual topics that arise from the group. This is an opportunity to share experience, wisdom, and questions with each other. Tea will be served. Circle fee: $45.00. To register, contact me via email.
THE FIRST SUNDAY OF EACH MONTH: JAN. 7; FEB. 4; & MARCH 4. A monthly meditation and spiritual discussion circle where we will spend time in meditation and will also explore various themes in spiritual practice. These will be opportunities to share experience, wisdom, and questions with each other. Tea will be served. Circle fee: $45.00 /$35.00 if you pre-register for all three circles. To register, contact me via email.
SPRING AND SUMMER 2018
NATURE QUEST JOURNEYS AT SLEEPING BEAR DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE: June 22-24, 2018 & OTHER DATES AVAILABLE BY REQUEST.
Nature Quest Journeys are opportunities for you to travel with me to sacred sites where the mystical contact with Earth, Water, Wind, & Fire is especially potent. These journeys are oriented toward cleaning impurities from the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies and absorbing healing energies from the plants, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, breezes, winds, sunlight and firelight that we encounter together. The journeys are designed to be nourishing and rejuvenating, not stressful.
In the summer of 2018, these journeys will be at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Michigan. Develop your understanding of your life’s path through deep immersion in the beauty of Northern Michigan’s National forest along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
Lodging is in nearby cabins or motels or camping in the National Park. You need to make your reservations early as this area is very popular in the summer. To join the June 2018 quest, contact me via email to register. To schedule a quest, choose your dates and email me to see if I am available at that time.
RETREATS AT GILCHRIST RETREAT CENTER: Nature & Mystical Experience
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 14 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 16, 2018
During this weekend GilChrist retreat, we will explore ancient, but simple, practices that deepen our capacity to communicate with the birds, plants, wind, water, fire–all of our relations. These practices cross the artificial boundary that the mind imagines between ‘ourselves and others.’ We experience the truth of the Mayan expression, ‘en lak esh:’ you are the other me. There will be time for solitude and for deeply entering into one’s own mystical relationship with nature. We will experience the truth that we ARE nature.
AT-A-DISTANCE COURSE OF STUDY & APPRENTICESHIP OPTIONS
In the 2017-2018 Study Year
Option 1: For a person who is curious, would like to experience some of the Nature and Healing practices, but is not sure they can make a monthly commitment to the path. OR: This option would be appropriate for a person who has a fully-evolved personal path and is seeking occasional contact with a fellow-traveler.
For this option, you simply schedule a one-hour phone consultation with me to discuss your personal experiences and to explore how the Nature and Healing path might support you. In this consultation, I share introductory information about the Nature and Healing Practices which you then can begin on your own if they appeal to you. After experimenting with the practices, you can schedule another consultation with me if you would like to go to the next step. This second consultation could happen whenever it is right timing for you.
Option 2: A year-long course of study with me that requires a degree of commitment on your part. In this option, we design a course of study that is tailored to your personal intentions. We then follow the unfolding of your path throughout the year. In 2017-2018, that commitment can be either to 6 consultations (one every other month) or to 12 consultations (one per month). During each consultation, we discuss your path. You can explain issues in your life that you are working with, spiritual experiences you are having, questions that you have, etc. My role is to give guidance re: diet, movement, meditation, reflection, and the nature-based practices. I often also suggest books that might be helpful to you or additional practices such as work with herbs, flower essences, or homeopathy.
Option 3: Apprenticeship. In 2017-2018, I am only taking on apprentices who have already studied with me either through my courses at the University of Michigan (you would have to have already graduated) or through GilChrist, Sleeping Bear, or Blessed Bee workshops and retreats, or through having already completed the one-year Nature and Healing course of study.
To schedule a consultation or for more information on apprenticeship, contact me at email@example.com
Learn Nature-based Contemplative Practices
The nature-based contemplative path is the path of sensing intuitively and mystically our oneness with all of creation. It is the path of caring for all created beings, realizing that we are all made of the same essence and that whatever we do to any other being we do to ourselves.
When you do a phone consultation with me, I teach you specific practices that you can add immediately to your life to help you feel vital energy flowing through you.
I listen to your unique circumstances and offer guidance both in spiritual philosophy and in direct action spiritual practices that help you access your inner medicine.
The practices include changes in diet, physical exercises, and daily spiritual activities that directly benefit your physical body and emotions while healing your mind and opening your heart. I also conduct ceremonies with you over the phone to help you join mystically with your path.
To schedule a consult, email firstname.lastname@example.org
“The Way itself knows where it is going.
The Way itself will lift us forward.
The Way itself is all.”
Deepen Your Understanding of Past, Present, & Future
WayCard Readings are phone consultations during which we use our intuitive wisdom to explore personal and spiritual questions using The WayCard Oracle, a divination tool that I received from Spirit while spending time on an island in the Carribean in 1996. Since that time I have been giving readings to help people understand their lives from the perspectives of nature mysticism and archetypal psychology.
WayCard Readings utilize a deck of 33 cards to help you perceive the deeper levels of meaning in your life journey. The WayCard Oracle assists the traveler in the same way that a good map can–showing the main-traveled roads, the wilderness, and the territories ahead. The cards warn of rapids and reveal secret pathways to quiet pools deep in the forest. The WayCard Oracle gives courage and faith when the path seems barely visible or impossibly steep and winding.
To schedule a reading, email email@example.com