Integrative Health Care modalities offer many different approaches to a healthy state of well being. Some are right in front of us begging to be used – so accessible, so affordable and so healing. Sometimes all it takes is to stop and listen to an inner voice that leads the way. Eco-psychology or eco-therapy is an emerging field that invites us to step out into nature and feel its healing benefits. Here is what I found in following my intuition into nature.
It was time to be away. The world seemed to be in a chronic upheaval with economic collapses, protests in the streets, wars that seemingly never end, hunger, poverty and increasing taxes. More problems and fewer solutions. It was time to be away.
Mt. Shasta in northern California has drawn pilgrims to its majestic heights for eons. Native Americans were the first inhabitants who lived in harmony with Mt. Shasta and continue to preserve and protect it along with a wide community of folks who feel like minded. After visiting Mt. Shasta two years ago to recoup and reminisce after my father’s death, I knew instinctively that this area was a sanctuary to refresh the soul. There was a birthday to be celebrated as well and so it was to Mt. Shasta that offered the respite.
Mt. Shasta in November is teetering on fall moving into winter. The array of golds and reds and yellows of leaves framed the lake at the base of the mountain while at a much higher elevation the pureness of white snow blanketed its slopes. Cloud formations surrounding Mt. Shasta’s peak come and go – some reflecting space ships, others spirits but all offering a gentle message to stop, watch and reflect. Witnessing nature is meditation in and of itself.
Mt. Shasta is known for its sacred spiritual lore. Myths abound that cloud formations house aliens who land on Mt. Shasta to communicate with those who open their minds and souls for messages of love and peace. A rich underworld of spiritual beings from the lost continent of Lemuria has purportedly taken up residence in the city of Telos deep inside Mt. Shasta. Messages and connections between Lumerians and humans have been reported and nature guides can help us pilgrims to connect. The Lemurians have created a civilization of peace and abundance with no sickness, taxes, aging or death. That sounded good to me!
Whether these myths and beliefs are real or not was irrelevant to my exploring Mt. Shasta. Many visitors are called here through their dreams, visions or inner guidance, often not knowing what treasures lay in store for them. And that was what it was for me. To be open and curious to what Mt. Shasta had to offer. To appreciate its beauty, breathe in the cool clean alpine air and invite in whatever healing and restoration was available.
There is an advancing field called eco-psychology that offers benefits of healing ourselves through involvement with nature. Even standing up from the computer and walking down to the park to hear birds singing, gaze upon green grass or flowers and suck in fresh air and suddenly my mind is unstuck, my body is stretched and I am ready with a new vigor to push on to the next task.
On November 11, 2011, there was something very different about Mt. Shasta than on the other days I had spent there. Lentricular clouds were amassing at its peak. An intuitive voice inside beckoned me to go and explore. And so I did with an open and curious mind. Reaching the 7,000 mark was as far as we pilgrims were allowed to drive due to snow. But it didn’t stop us from hiking up a ways. Pilgrims and visitors of all sorts ascended the mountain with ritual paraphernalia (drums, rattles, fire wood, candles) and most of all with smiles and open hearts. Above us at Mt. Shasta’s peak of 14,000 feet, clouds of all shapes and sizes with unusual face-like configurations melding into one another seemingly building and reflecting the momentum of the pilgrims below.
There was laughter and singing and group hugging. I found someone along the way and innocently said, “Is there something going on here?” I was met with a “yes, dear one, it is 11-11-11 and at 11:00, the forces of nature are coming together in this sacred place and converging on many other sacred vortexes around the world.” People were gathering to be a part of a sacred vibrational energy.
Was it the end of the world I wondered? No, the end of the world comes next year in December 21, 2012 according to the Mayan calendar. So maybe this was a prelude. I decided to stand on the edge of this wondrous site of pilgrims and plant myself in the snow to observe, meditate and reflect on what was in front of me. My inner instincts brought me to this place on this day and time so I drew my Reiki symbols around me in the snow and opened my heart and soul in silent meditation. Clouds continued to amass enveloping the mountain and all who came to celebrate the day. Gentle wind breezes flowed through the tall upright pine trees offering a slow-down soulful melody. The cold crisp clean air awoke my senses. And there I stood eyes closed for some time feasting on the unfolding experience, feeling the strength and solidness of Mt. Shasta, the history and steadfastness of hundreds of upright pine trees reaching toward the sky, the white blanket of snow all around and the sounds of celebrating pilgrims.
In standing there, I asked for whatever messages or guidance could be offered from inside me or outside me, even from Lemurians or aliens that might be around me. And this is what came to me.
The image of a bright blazing fire emerged before me – a warm, glowing and growing fire with red and yellow flames that moved into me and up my legs and torso and planted itself in my heart. It brought a smile to my face as I imagined this fire was my passion for life and for the work I do helping others to feel refreshed in their lives as they navigate transitions. I began to reconnect to a strength within myself that had been buried for a while. I melted into a peaceful vibration that Mt. Shasta is known to offer.
The key to being at peace in the midst of change is to connect deeply with that which is unchanging. Easy to believe and hard to do. Too often life’s demands and dramas take over as priorities. Our attention to always be in charge and in control and achieve can impede our abilities to stay connected to that still point within our hearts that offers solace, wisdom and guidance. Consequently, we can end up fatigued, confused, burnt out and without purpose and direction.
Mt. Shasta offered to me on this day of 11-11-11 a living model of strength, constancy and equanimity. It embodies that which is constant amidst changes and assaults to its integrity. Seasons offer change but the mountain’s basic element and integrity remain unchanged. It is interesting to note that commercial ventures on Mt. Shasta have been proposed and in some cases developed such as a ski lodge that threatened the mountain’s integrity. And yet, each proposal
has failed to take hold. Fires have destroyed the ski lodge twice and never replaced. Native American tribes and local citizens have organized to block proposals for power plants, condos and water bottling plants. Is there not a lesson here? Mt. Shasta’s elemental being remains unshaken even in the midst of assaults of commercial ventures and financial gain. The natural surroundings of trees, streams, meadows, trails remain as they are meant to be and do what they do best – grow and be. Assaults of storms, people, fires, earthquakes etc. only offer an opportunity to rejuvenate and begin again because the basic integrity of Mt. Shasta and its surroundings cannot be destroyed.
I found myself reflecting on the steadfastness of the integrity before me and applied this lesson to myself. The fire within my heart glows and when assaults on me or upon the community around me occur (and there are so many assaults that people face with home foreclosures, bank collapses, job loss) I can take the lesson of this day to maintain and nurture my own integrity and equanimity. In the midst of changes around me and in me, I now have the image of Mt. Shasta and today’s experience to remind me of my strength and the community of pilgrims who share those beliefs.