You are invited. You are welcome here. Please step with me into a place that is beyond time and space. Please join me in this realm of the heart, the domain of connection and magic.
I had the opportunity to do a summer forest sadhana (spiritual practice) last week, at Dancing Shiva Tantra Monastery in North Carolina. This practice involves being naked and alone in the forest for a period of time, and losing myself. Before I embarked on the practice, my friend Brad asked me what my intention was. Here's my answer.
What is my intention?
🌿 To commune with this land, on this day, in the most radical sense of the word.
🌲 To notice the spirits of these two standing dead hemlocks, still watching over the stream bed, their remaining limbs like outstretched arms blessing the water and its creatures.
🧚♀️ To notice the five clumps of jewelweed root bundles, looking like a tiny head of red hair, bobbing in the current, contentedly drinking to feed the largest jewelweed plant I have ever seen, her stem horizontal to the stream, her other roots clutching this moss covered rock where I sit. A spider weaving their web from one of the jewelweed’s stems to the mossy rock and back again.
🌿 To make myself available to the gentlest breeze, ruffling the rhododendron leaves like a lover’s hair.
🌅 To notice the way the last rays of sun catch the lower leaves of a large leafed magnolia tree.
🦟 To offer my soft skin and willing blood to the mosquitos, that they may carry my prayers far, to their waiting young. Or that my blood will remain in her tiny belly as she gets swallowed by a fish or a frog or a bat.
🦇 Or maybe my intention is to feed the bats with my consecrated blood. Thank you, mosquito for delivering my offering, to the bats, for them to carry my prayer to your shadowy roosts - to these places in the psyche of the universe that are safe, dark and protected during the daylight hours.
🌳 To honor the way the light gets so soft as it allows the trees to devour its essence.
💚 To let my heart feel the love of that which it trusts the most. It’s not a coincidence that these moss, ferns and leaves are the color of the heart chakra.
💦 To celebrate the cool water on my feet, reminding me to breathe.
🌱 To listen to the way my cells commune with one another - the way they move water across cell membranes, molecules coming and going, through blood, lymph, bone, tissue, fascia - like the roots and the leaves move the water up the trees and into the air.
🌿 To be as still and available as I can be. To quiet the to-do thoughts and feel my heart.
💚 To soften, over and over again, to Love.
🙏🏽 To worship, with my eyes and hands, my clit and my breasts, the beauty that surrounds.
🦐 To be a voyeur of the secret world of the posse of crayfish and the large black segmented worm that inhabit the 12” of stream right next to my perch, this large flat rock. And to admire the black worm’s twirling stream acrobatics as s/he detaches from the sandy bottom and whirls in the current.
🌜 This is my intention. If I could sleep right here, on this rock, I would greet these same creatures in the morning. Surprised by my presence.
Thank you for being on this journey with me, and stepping into this realm of magic.
For an even deeper dive, consider joining me and Tasneem next spring in Bali! Registration is now open and we're offering a discount for the first 10 registrants.