Forest medicine.

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I’m back. Well sort of…in body at least, while my mind and spirit drift in and out of the bliss of being off the grid, immersed in nature for a week. It was perfect; actually it was more than perfect – more; because I let go of the concept of perfection and started to feel like a real human soul again.  Sounds all heavy duty but keeping up the facade, the expectations of yourself and others can be taxing and tiring and quite frankly rob you of your natural state of being.  I felt. I felt relief to be away, to be somewhere quiet and unreachable.  I felt safe and secure. I felt real gratitude for having this time – time for myself. I felt happy just to be and I felt sad for the loss of Angus – real sadness – not just Facebook sadness; if you know what I mean. I spoke my worries out loud and let them out, then breathed in all the possibilities.  I let my weary body rest. A lot. On the deck, in the grass, in the sun and floating in the rapids of my magic river.  I needed to rest.   I sat still. So still I could feel the breeze and hear it speak. So still I could identify a diverse choir of birds singing, I heard a tree fall in the forest and I mastered the distinction between chipmunk and squirrel pitter patter.  I sat still for hours simply feeding the munks peanuts, petting their little furry bums and speaking snerney berney – you want to talk about Zen. I let my creativity loose. Everyday channeling my spirit into an artful expression.  Creating a space in my woods to invite magic back in, a place to give thanks, make wishes, speak truths and remind me that magic is real. I experienced a whole new rhythm – one that doesn’t include an alarm or a clock. One that seemed to last an eternity until the sky was filled with every last star in the heavens.  I fed my spirit beauty –flowers, trees, dusty earth, steaming sun showers, the musk of a crackling fire and cooling of a skinny dip in my golden river under a full moon. I thought a lot. I talked, I shared, and I laughed so much with my wonderful friend – a kindred spirit who is kind, patient, funny and wise.  And of course we also ate and drank like queens, wore tie-dyed sun dresses, slathered our bodies in lotion and gathered freckles in the sun while perfecting our law of 3 – Dip…Sip…Chips…we got very good at it.

On the last morning my friend and I each chose an oracle card – we had been doing this every day to see what messages we needed to receive. Each message had relevance, was interesting to contemplate and in the least was something fun to chat about.  But on this last morning I drew a card that I knew was mine.  “Rainbow” – “The storm has passed, it is now time to enjoy the beauty. The blending of all the elements have come together in perfect harmony to create one of the most beautiful sights in all Creation. Blessings of abundance are yours…and not in some academic mantra that has no heart or depth – but in a genuine pathway that creates a bridge to your purpose.  OK, I’ll take that.  Thank you Kamperslut.

 

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Off to the woods.

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I’m leaving for a week to lie in the arms of Mother Nature at my cottage. To flow in the rapids of the Big East river and let everything go downstream. I’m going to sink into the grass and catch freckles while feeding chipmunks peanuts placed on my belly.  I’m going to count stars, planets, galaxies and make a lot of wishes. I’m going to drum beside the intoxicating essence of a roaring fire, living by the light of a full moon.  I’m going to sit in a field sipping whisky while curious fawns come closer to share a slice of apple. I’m going to make art; every day and become one with my environment, with the elements.  I’m going to breathe it all in and replenish my soul.

This is heaven on earth. 10 wild acres on a crown land river that meanders 2-3 hours to Faerie Lake. A simple cabin with no electricity, no running water – just a wood stove, a propane frig to keep the beer cold, and a stovetop to make the best coffee ever. Deep lush forests, with secret paths taking turns to discover sacred circles or a quick bridge over to Faerie Island where the giant lives in a treehouse that puts the Taj Mahal to shame.

Kamperslut is a magical place.  Yes I said Kamperslut. For those who may not understand the name – allow me to explain. I love camping, I love nature, I also love buttertarts, hamsters, blackberries….love, love, love …is there not another word that can take this expression up a notch or ten?  Just simply “loving” something doesn’t really define my uber elevated expression of massive loviation for this place.  And so in search of a word…that could properly describe my desires – I thought I’d redefine the word “slut”. (Because it has a lot of chutzpah about it)

Slut. /slət|/ An extreme intensity of “vanting, needing, must having” that defies and over powers all previous levels defined by humankind and transcends existing degrees of yearning, coveting, impassion, craving, itching, lusting, hungering, thirsting and suspiring for to possess or have.

Example:       I am a nature slut.   I slut for nature.

To “slut” for something is a deep rooted and spiritual commitment to your inner being that resonates beyond the realm of antiquated language and laws.   It is the epiphanic divine manifestation of a moment – one of sudden revelation and supernatural essentiality of life.   And to make it even more slut-worthy … you can only slut for one thing…and hence I am a Kamperslut and named my cottage the same. (And now I am hoping you are all thinking about what one singular ultimate thing you “slut for”).

There’s a way of the land at Kamperslut… unlike anywhere else on this planet.  Visible and invisible waves of soul dust that trigger and tease the nooks and crannies of your thoughts and dose them in the shower of joy and pure magic that is all around.  A peculiar psyche and transcendental vortex of sorts, a gale force of inspiration, an eddy of flow that spirals into the very chi that creates life. A place and a space where the time traveler’s key unlocks the mind’s door to the other realities.  A magically curious place where the manifestation of ideas and expressions are free and everything is a beautiful state of being.

There is magic in d’em dar woods!  I’ve felt it and I’ve seen it with my very own eyes.  From floating Faerie orbs and dragonfly soirees to rubbing whiskers with wild rabbits and sky clad river dipping under a full moon. I am here.  I am happy and I am home.

See yas in a week xx  Elfa

For the love of dog, cat, hamster, bird, monkey, llama & spider.

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Hello my name is Patty and I am an animal lover. From wildly beasts of far away jungles and mountain tops, to cottage critters, forest fauna, barnyard buddies, domestic bliss fur balls, buggy beauties and the local likes of squirrels and their city counterparts – I love them all.

As many of you may already know; I was “imprinted” early on in my life by the spirit of animals. You know the story – I’ve told it a thousand times – left by my Mum for just minutes in my carriage in the backyard at the early age of 3 months only to have her return and find three squirrels nuzzled up snoring beside me. The love and magic of animals has been with me ever since.

Animals, birds, bugs and even our friends with fins have naturally mastered a beautifully simple way to live and be on this earth. They innately love themselves  – just as they are – which is something we humans could take a lesson from. When I was little, my Dad and I would sit in the woods for hours and just watch, listen and absorb every little nuisance of every living thing. It was a time of peace, togetherness and oneness.  Those times taught me that to have the privilege to engage with wildlife, one must be wildlife. To be one with their nature, respect their space, their routine, their energy and earn their trust before a kindred connection can occur. Oh and of course speak snerney berney* (* the ecstatic, euphoric, enraptured hysterically high-pitched rhyming, nonsensical language understood by all animals). It’s a magic moment to sit in the woods, making wailing sounds like a baby (official fawn call) – “whimpering” back and forth to nearby fawns, so they feel safe enough to come close and share a slice of apple.  If you ever wondered whether heaven on earth was possible, it is, as proof the time I visited a field filled with rabbit warrens, and lay with pieces of bread scattered on my body as dozens of bunnies hopped over to nibble (aka kiss) and hang out. And if you’re looking for a quick and easy love in – just wave peanut in front of a chipmunk’s nose and it’s love at first sight.

Call me a crazy cat lady, squirrel whisperer, pachyderm playmate or monkey maniac – but some of my best and my most profound experiences and lessons of my life have come from spending time with these perfectly magnificent and magical creatures of our world.

For instance, chipmunks teach me to always save a peanut for a rainy day.  Lucy, the Wolf Spider who lives in my tree house at the cottage shows me the patience and endurance it takes to weave extraordinarily artistic webs.  There was the time I was hiking the West Coast trail and was visited by a black bear (while sunbathing naked on an inescapable sandy inlet) I instantly learned “sharing is caring” as I handed over our lunch (for our lives).  Then there were those ferocious, disease-infested, vicious monkeys in Burma that I was told to not approach, not touch, not feed and under ANY circumstance to not make eye contact with them – funny no one told me not to cuddle them – so I did and was overtaken by adorably loveable monkeys. Lesson learned… monkey see…monkey do.

But of all the lessons I’ve learned from animals over my life there is one that I hold closest to my heart.  It is from Angus, my cat and love of my life for the past sixteen years, whom I had to let go off last week and let him cross the rainbow bridge.  Thank you Angus, this is a good one.

The more love you give – the more love you will have in return.

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”  Anatole France

Dedicated to Angus ~ 2000 – June 2016.

You never know what’s coming around the bend.

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Life is a mystery. No matter how hard you try and plan it, control it, set it in motion, dot all your “i’s” and cross all your “t’s” life happens.  Maybe it’s a ferocious toad that causes you to slip and impale your leg, maybe it’s that top step you missed, tumbling you down the flight of stairs that prevents you from going to climb that mountain in China; or maybe it was a chance meeting of sixteen gorgeous, hunky Canadian canoeists just happening to be paddling by on an otherwise infrequently travelled river.

This weekend while floating in my magic river with three girlfriends I mentioned this moment could only be better if in fact a canoe full of handsome men came paddling by. Within one second, not 1, not 2, not 3, 4, 5, nor 6 but 8 red Algonquin canoes each adorned with classic, shirtless, lumberjack worthy men came paddling around the bend.  I’d say that was “manifesting” at its best…and it was a good lesson in reminding me that something good can be just around the corner.

I for one enjoy the surprise and the serendipity of life. I love the plethora of possibilities any given day or moment can bring.  Sure, some surprises may be challenging, sad and even frightening, but I also believe it is within ourselves to embrace what life has to show us and see the silver lining, turn it into a lesson, a badge and expand our capacity for empathy.

Now I’m no Pollyanna  – I’ll stomp my little size 5 foot all over the injustices I may feel from time to time – but I’ve found, the sooner you feel it, you can deal with it and move onto healing it.  Needing to control everything or knowing exactly what is going to happen next in the grand scheme of life is not only boring, it’s exhausting and it’s also a life being lived in fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, anxiety, the truth or consequences of an action and our ability to cope with the outcome.

I like to look at having faith in the unknown as being like a stranger who’s going to be my new best friend – but I just haven’t met them yet. There’s no point fearing I won’t like them, worrying about getting to know them, figuring out the how to be with them, whether we’ll be besties or instant enemies.  The story is yet to unfold – trust it will be a good one.  Or as I always say – assume a box of kittens and not a box of scorpions.  And even when we run into some stinging encounters – I am sure there will be a good lesson in it.  (Like don’t chase ferocious toads …just saying).

So embrace the element of surprise, the mystique of mystery, the climax of a good cliff-hanger.  Marry the notion of unknown to adventure. And when all else fails simply change the “fear of the unknown” to the “beer of the unknown”…who doesn’t want to try a new beer?

Be open, believe and trust – good things are coming around the bend.