Wednesday 17 October 2012

A Week of Giving and Receiving

This past week was spent at Johnson's Landing Retreat Centre, helping the owners Richard and Angele prepare for the winter season.  I focused mainly on the gardens, though also helped with food prep, bringing in firewood and putting in a new water line.  They had less help than usual in the summer due to the landslide that occurred in July.  Despite piles of to-do lists, their spirits were strong and their hearts were in the right places.

I had the pleasure of eating beautiful food, staying in warm and inviting accommodation, and connecting with like-minded people.  I watched inspiring films, did some tarot, learned about hand-writing analysis, and made dream catchers.  I certainly received much more than I could ever have imagined. Their retreat centre is like a playground filled with spiritual goodies and they are ready and eager to share.

I will post photos when I am able, though for now I will say that I am so glad to have experienced Johnson's Landing.  I feel blessed. 

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Beauty and Gratitude

"On the Road Again!"

Since my last post I have taken a hiatus from camping, after the wind storm experience, and have been staying with women I met at the Wise Womens’ Festival.  On a bit of a whim I decided to head into the Rocky Mountain region for a few days, where one of the women lived, and what beautiful sights!

Hemlock Grove Forest View
On the way to Kaslo
In addition to sights that delight I was gifted a towel from a Guesthouse owner in Revelstoke to replace my towel that was eaten by the wind.  I also patched up my tent with the help and advice of my friend Cat’s husband and my friend Laura who I visited with in Sicamous.  I am discovering that everything always works out, and I have a new appreciation for the wisdom of this Great Universe.  

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I have decided to focus on gratitude. 

Cedar Lake in Golden, BC

On the Way to the Rockies

I am grateful for the hospitality and graciousness of all the people who have invited me into their homes and for those who have gifted me various things over the last couple weeks.
I am grateful for all the insightful and supportive conversations with loved ones from near and far.  
I am grateful for all that I have been exposed to since arriving in BC, learning about sustainable living, caring for homes and animals, working in organic gardens, and meeting amazing like-minded people.
I am grateful to be living in beautiful surroundings.
I am grateful to be following my heart.
Somewhere in Sicamous

Tuesday 2 October 2012

A Time to Remember

En route
The last week and a half has truly been a spirited and soulful adventure.  Living moment to moment, day to day, staying in the unknown, and listening to my inner voice, or not.  I decided to continue camping until I felt like doing otherwise.  It felt good to be in nature 24/7, sleep next to the earth and next to water, be it a river, lake, or creek.  I was gifted with bright shining sun every day.  I allowed myself flexibility and freedom, and had the opportunity for valuable introspection.  I closely observed my decision making process and became fully conscious of my responsibility for each choice I was making regardless of outcome.  We always have a choice, even when we think we don't.  Moreover, it is amazing what one can discover by attending to all those underlying thoughts.

At the Sinixt First Nations Barter Fair- Slocan Valley
I crossed paths with generous and kind people who gifted me with tea and fruit and hearty advice on travel routes.  With limited internet access while camping, and no cell reception in many areas, I  focused on reflection and retreat.  Having said that, I was active.  I covered expansive amounts of road and witnessed exquisite scenery that made me giddy.  I set up and took down my tent more times than I can count, and was grateful for every site that had a shower.  I managed to wash in the lake a few days ago, and though extremely cold, it was so refreshing and uplifting.  I also managed to eat fairly nutritiously despite not having a portable cook stove...for most of my journey.   I settled for a couple days at an annual celebratory First Nations gathering and got to dance!  In hindsight, this experience has been a blessing.  The tipping point that shifted my gears occurred last evening in the mountainous Northeast Kootenay region.

I had heard about a woman with a secluded private property with a few cabins, camping, and hot springs, about twenty minutes out of town, and I felt intrigued.  I decided I would see about staying there for a night to bask in the seclusion and the hot springs.  The entrance way was steep, and it looked as though there were a few private cabins tucked away.  There was no main reception area making it difficult to find the owner, and when I did find her she greeted me with a gruff tone and seemed confrontational.  She wondered why I had come to her land.  I was so excited by the hot springs and quiet space that I disregarded her tone.

She proceeded to tell me that the only tenting spot I could access, without having a 4X4 vehicle, was a wide open piece of rugged flat land, covered in debris from the fallen mountain side, overlooking the Kootenay lake.  It was a beautiful spot though very exposed.  I prepared my tent and cooked up some food while the owner filled one of her tubs down the hill with fresh hot mountain spring water straight from the Great Mother.  I began to notice a sharp shift in the weather, the wind started to get brisk, and so I fastened my tent with a bunch of big boulders I found around the area. 

I basked in the hot spring for about two hours.  At times it was so hot, I saw stars.  It was one of the most cleansing experiences.  I felt at one with nature as I lay flat out on the wooden deck surrounding the tub and looked up at the sky.  The day became night as I played in and out of the hot tub, and the wind had softened.

When I felt complete I headed back up the hill to my camping area with flashlight in hand, and I noticed the wind began swirling again.  I was blissed out from the hot springs and when I reached my tent I nestled into it and began to read my book.  Suddenly, I found myself nearly turned on my side by a massive gust of wind.  I was shaken to my core.  It was tornado-like. I felt like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz being swept away by the wind!

I won't go into all the details, though at that moment I knew I had to make a choice.  I managed to get my tent into my car and then proceeded to the cabin where the owner said she would be, and she was nowhere to be found!  As I stood there in the dark, with the owners' dogs barking, and the wind howling, not knowing what to do at this point, I decided to leave.  I drove back to into the nearest town and found a safe shelter for the evening.

The next morning I discovered the damage.  My tent had a bunch of tears in it, and my towel was missing; it had been swept up by the wind.  I was a bit in shock at the power of Nature.  I suppose on some level, I saw the warning signs and I chose to overlook them.   I realize that now, and this morning, with the guidance of my Tarot cards, I made a new plan.

I love this early morning photo at the Sinixt Barter Fair
So I am currently in the breathtakingly beautiful Rocky Mountains, en route to spend some time in a town called, Golden.  Again, I will be staying with yet another wonderful woman I met at the Wise Womens' Festival.  I am grateful.  I think my camping days for this year are over.