Well, it looks like this blog is turning out to be a photo journal. I'd like to write more about our experiences each weekend, but that is just not seeming possible as I try to keep my head above water out here in the real world. I find I am increasingly behind in even writing e-mails back to people, I am missing birthdays, and I am not wanting to be on the computer outside of work lately. So how can I expect to blog?
But photos seem like a fun journey for me. I hope you enjoy them.
When I watch these videos my heart fills up to overflowing. I am blessed with the land. I am blessed with my family. I am blessed with my friends. I am blessed by our animal companions. I am blessed that I have enough food to eat. I am blessed that I can walk up these mountains.
Last weekend we had our second work/play weekend. We had two big projects....one--making make-shift stairs from the house to the upper waterfall trail, and two--clearing the debris off the beautiful rock garden that scales the mountain by the creek. And we were successful!!
The second video I made was a compilation of two visits that I hadn't had a chance to blog about. The first was a couple of weeks ago with my parents. We enjoyed exploring more, like we love to do. The second half of the photos were from earlier this summer with friends visiting, and finishing with Michael's family visit in which I only captured the flower arrangements that we collected from the property before I spent the weekend taking pictures with no data card in the camera :(
Truly there are no words to express the love and gratitude in my heart and soul for my life, my family, my friends, this Sacred Women's Circle, this land, and these experiences we have that fill up this time on earth being human and making meaning.
I am sitting here in the cabin on the land. It has been about 30 minutes since I said goodbye to the last car load of ladies leaving and I am trying to just sit and process the enormity of such a beautiful weekend.
Bottom line is that it transcended my expectations (which were high already), expanded my heart, honored my truths, exploded my creativity, talked to my inner child, spoke to my soul, and allowed me to sing and dance like no one was watching, and bathe in the beauty and richness of womanly goodness and community and togetherness while still allowing us to hold true to our own beings.
This weekend was the first retreat here on this land and I was encouraged by the love and acceptance and excitement of these women. They felt it. They got it. And they want to help make create and explore and give. They felt what we did when we first stepped on this land. It is living and breathing, and old and deep, and healing and loving and full of possibilities if we just listen. And them being here was the beginning. This was an incredible blessing from them to me. To my family.
And our weekend together. WOW. We did it. Together. And deeply.
These women will forever be a part of the heart and soul of this place.
What we experienced this weekend was real. Was powerful. Was collective. Was individual. Was creative. Was laughter. Was crying. Was speaking our voice. Was raising the consciousness. Was being silly. Was being serious. Was allowing it to be. ... as it is.
They've gifted two blueberry bushes to plant and let grow as the years move on. They've given their art that we created this weekend to commemorate the experience. They've also given a piece of themselves that will remain here forever. What a blessing.
Bowing deeply in intense gratitude and love for these women, for my parent's who made it happen, for the vision, for the world, and for this land. May the blessings be.
My dear friend Dee put it best, she's off to visit her Cosmic Family....and what a family we have. I couldn't have been happier last weekend then when I was sticking my feet in the mud and creating with my cosmic family. There was a point during the day where I stepped barefoot into the pond and put my hand through the waterfall to the mossy covered rock. When I touched that rock a shock of electricity coursed through my soul. It almost took me down, the power and love and community and healing I felt, like a movie of a life fast forwarding through my brain. And then I looked around and saw my friends there, shoveling mud, and laughing and sharing this wonderful experience. It was truly something amazing.
This was our first annual dredging on the pond!! We hope to make it a ritual every year to welcome summer. This weekend gave me total confidence that we can build and expand and grow with this land and we know the right kind of people to help make it happen. I get teary when I think of it. Love love love love love, all you need is love, and a little elbow grease :) Who wants to join me!!
I can't think of better words than these to describe how I've come to be feeling these past days/months. I've struggled with the word "god" and what it means to me and when I read these words above, I begin to understand. I started this journal as a way to document the fun this family is having with this amazing piece of land, and how it will change over time. And again, I find myself struggling with words to explain the deep impact it's experiences have given me. I count my blessings every day for this little slice of heaven, and for my parent's who made it possible for us to be here and learn from it. My dream is to take this gift and allow it to change other people's lives as it has mine. This land is healing. period. And how can you not want to share that? Fortunately our whole family shares this vision, and now we are in the exploration and dreaming phase of this journey.
Even though I haven't been writing on our experiences, I have been documenting them with photos. We closed on the land in December, just before Christmas. I was just about to have my second round of chemo take two, and was losing hair by the minute. We had 6 weeks to explore this wonderful gift before we were sucked into the intensity of my treatment of high-dose chemotherapy, stem cell transplant and recovery that took us away from the land for over 2 months.
I feel like my experience during this battle has mirrored the seasons, and it has been really something else to see our changes, mine and the land. Winter was a time of death--killing my cancer, leaving me hollow, quiet, and still. Winter on the land was brown, quiet and cold, yet it was also the time that we could see so far--with no leaves on the trees, the vistas were expansive. We returned to the land in Spring, where the buds were just beginning to pop out of the dormant limbs. I was also feeling the rustling of life returning to me. We've now been coming up here every weekend since that time and have seen such lovely changes in the land. Flowers blooming, birds flying, green bursting. Each weekend we arrive, it is just full of even more life, and that is how I am feeling.
So here are three movies I made of the photos I've taken since December. I was hoping to keep the slideshow updated, but I just haven't figured out how to do that yet. I missed two visits...one from Mary Beth and Dan, and one from Rin and Dawn. They visited my first two weekends back and I was still pretty sick and uninterested in taking photos. So they will just have to visit again!! The Cook family is visiting in 3 short weeks, and we can't wait!
This post has taken hours and hours to create (due to my learning of techno things and also copyright issues....) Anyway, a song that I really was hoping to have for the second movie was End of The Line by the Traveling Wilburies. So I put it here, copyright laws obeyed, for your listening pleasure.
I thought I'd copy these words for you to get inspired like I have from them. Michael and I have just spent the past two weekends in this magical place, listening to the land, working with it, dreaming, getting inspired, blessing it, setting intentions and loving. I can't wait to share all of these with you! I have a million things running through my mind, and want to share. In the meantime, enjoy these words....
From the elements to the animals, from the plants and trees to stones and minerals, the natural world is one of our most powerful sources of spirit, wonder and wisdom. Every tree has tis own magical story. Every plant has healing and every animal has spirit. Every cycle brings opportunity for change and growth. Familiar and exotic fragrances that tease and delight fill the air. The songs of birds awaken and soothe. The colors of plants, flowers and trees stir emotions and resonate subtly with our body and mind. And the appearance of an animal causes our spirit to soar. Nowhere does the spirit of the Divine manifest more clearly than within the natural world.
Nature is probably our greatest healing resource. From the plants, we gain medicine and beauty. From the trees, we get fruit and strength. The stones gift us with color, light and electrical frequencies of health. And the animals guide, teach and protect us. We are blessed by Nature. It touches each of us in personal and special ways.
Nature reminds us that there are things much greater than the affairs of humans. When we are unbalanced or if life is unsettled around us, we can do no better for ourselves than to seek out the embrace of Nature. It is my hope as you explore the world of Nature that you will find a childlike surprise and delight in the green things that grow around you. For it is in the surprise and delight of things that grow that we find the hidden gifts of the Divine, whispering softly to us every day. ~~Ted Andrews, Nature-Speak: Signs, Omens & Messages in Nature (thank you Patty, I mean Santa...)
I've been blogging for awhile now, but realized that my other blog isn't the best forum for all that is on my mind! So hey, it dawned on me...I can have TWO blogs! Oh my goodness!
And so it begins. I am sitting here, cozy with a cup of tea by the fire in the cabin after a nice afternoon of hiking. Curtis (our dog) is asleep next to me, and Michael (my husband) is out on his new toy, I mean work vehicle, the 4-wheeler, with the chainsaw cutting downed trees. It is New Years Eve 2011 and we are welcoming this new year with love and gratitude, health and happiness, and lots of dreams for this little slice of heaven we've found ourselves upon.
I'll go into the story about how it came to be on another post, but bottom line is...my parent's have purchased a beautiful 216-acre piece of land in the Sautee-Nachoochee area of North Georgia. There is a 100-foot waterfall, Mount Bliss, Bald Mountain, and two other peaks on the property, yet to be named. There are numerous micro-environments that we are just beginning to explore. There is an old gold mine. And there is a bear.
We are new to this land, but the land is old. I've always loved the Appalachian Mountains because of the ancient wisdom they breathe, and this land is no exception. From the moment we stepped foot on its earth we felt its wisdom, its healing, its magic. There is a lot to learn from this land and my senses are open and listening.
So land song...that is the url of this journal. We will listen and love and share and heal. It will be a journey, and I've got my boots on! I hope you join us on this journey too!
oooh! and this song just came over the Pandora radio we have playing and I absolutely love love love it. It is so heart-warming, inspiring, and full of hope. It seemed fitting to put on my first post...