Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘hiking’ Category

It’s still raining! We woke up this morning to the sound of rain and rejoiced. As many know California Governor Brown has alerted us that the California drought had reached unprecedented levels. Photos on the Internet show cracked earth in dried up reservoirs and brown grassy hills. Many fear that a drought could last many years.

When my friend and I went for a walk a few weeks ago she stopped to sing to a small pool of water. Nearby was a dried creek where there is usually a waterfall flowing this time of year. My friend told me of how she always sings to water to honor it. I believe the Celts and other cultures followed a similar tradition.

When the drought first started, people talked about praying to water, sending it gratitude and healing. Water is universal – it doesn’t matter what your spiritual or religious beliefs are we all need it, and we can all appreciate it.

With the concern of the drought and its long-term impact in our hearts and minds, Theodore, my husband and I started to be more conscious of how we use water and how to conserve it. We also went to water sources took photos and sang to them.

When we first started singing to water and more consciously appreciating it, it didn’t rain magically the next day, but we still continued to thank and bless water. Then last night, we decided to go visit a sacred place with a dried up waterfall during the twilight time. To our great delight, there was no one out walking but us.

As it got darker, we found a spot to sit and I started to sing. Magik our Corgi of course thought that was a good time to find the remnants of bay nuts and snack. I sang and danced to the Undines, the water spirits. I sang gratitude, and I sang hope. I sang imagining that all over the world people stopped what they were doing and started to sing to water, appreciating it, thanking it, loving it. I sang until my heart felt like it released a deep longing into realization, then we walked home. As the woods got darker, I felt a calm and reassurance. We rounded the bend, crossed a bridge and entered a mist. I felt moisture press against my cheeks for a moment then we walked through what felt like a veil and headed back home.

To our delight, this morning we woke up to the rain falling, and after we got up it still continued to rain! We decided to go walk in the rain and celebrate. We weren’t the only ones. Others had a similar idea. We saw families, and friends, dogs and their keepers, salamanders and birds, all enjoying and celebrating the rain in their own, unique ways. I don’t want to always wait for the absence of something to feel gratitude for it, but I won’t miss the opportunity to deepen my gratitude and appreciation for water again.

copyright 2014 Vlatka Herzberg, all rights reserved.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Theodore and I went into the woods with Magik the Corgi. It was during the holidays when there was a down pore of rain for many days. The trails where we usually walk were thick with moisture, the sponge like moss absorbing and holding the dampness.

HiddenTrailBeginning HiddenTrailEntry HiddenTrailMossTrunk HiddenTrailWet

We headed down one well walked trail, but Magik had something else in mind. He led us across a stream, down a deer trail, next to a hidden brook. He scooted around and behind the hill, in his way circumventing the usual path.

HiddenTrailBumMushroom

With so much rain, there was an abundance of mushrooms, and Theodore had his camera ready to capture the moment.

HiddenTrailMushroomSpirit

It was much darker and moister back here than the usual trails. The moss covered some of the oak trees from head to foot, making the holes in the trees, mystical portals to Other worlds, visible.

HiddenTrailPortal

Theodore focused on getting close-ups, seeing a world vibrant with Nature Spirits.

HiddenTrailMushSides

Magik’s nose sniffed out the trail that lead us to bones woven around branches. I wondered how long they had been there. They felt old.

ForestTrailBones

I pressed forward, Magik staying with me, Theodore lingering behind, looking through different lenses to see the richness, and mystery of this place.

HiddenTrailSingleShroon

Magik and I stopped to look at a grove tree, one that was a single tree once and probably very large, an ancient tree, now hollow in its center yet branching out with children and grandchildren around it.

HiddenTrailGrove

I wondered how far the trail would go before it got too thick, and entangled with poison oak for us to explore any further.

HiddenTrailFace

Ahead we saw it, this majestic old Oak covered with moss. I sat at the bottom and began to Sound Heal. Magik was out of sorts that day. Maybe it was all the busy-ness of the holidays, but he was eating every single bay nut he could sniff out in a frenetic sort of way. He finally settled at the bottom of the tree and surrendered to the earth as I sounded for him, sweeping hand movements gently caressing his soul.

HiddenTrailM&Me

It wasn’t until we got home and looked at the photos that I saw the creature sitting near the top of the oak, like a Guardian of the Oak or the woods, hunched over, four legs and wings. It is easy to let my imagination soar with images of moss, leaves, mushrooms and trees.

HiddenTrailSoundGuardian

Magik gifted me that day by receiving a Sound Healing session in the woods. For the adventurer of the heart, I offer Sound Healing Hikes, individual Sound Healing Sessions in the woods. Magik is not the only client who enjoys them. Although I have to say he gives me a pretty good testimonial with his joyous, spirited smile.

HiddenTrailMSmile

Interested in a unique experience, a Sound Healing Hike, a Sound Healing Session in the woods? Email me for costs and details: Soundhealher@comcast.net.

HiddenTrailGuardian

Read Full Post »

Yosemite, ©2010 Theodore Herzberg

Recently, Magik and I went to visit our favorite Madrone Tree. It’s near the umbrella like Oak that creates a canopy of shade. Behind it, and down the hill slightly from the Umbrella Oak is the Madrone. It’s young and vibrant, and every-time I nestle down into its roots and lean against it, the leaves dance and welcome me.

Under the dappled light of Madrone leaves I sang, feeling the light and warmth, the laughter and the joy of just being out here, and reveling in the smell of pungent earth. I sang until my heart was full and Magik started to growl, my faithful guard corgi. I turned to see who was there. It was a deer, listening to my song.

Deer often come to hear me sing, other animals too. I wonder if more of us sang in the woods, if it would draw more enchanting animal encounters.

Yesterday, Magik and I went to visit my husband Theodore at his job site. He is a general contractor and the house he is building overlooks a golf course. Throughout the building process there has been a deer family that sleeps in the yard. Yesterday was the first time I saw them, a mamma and her two babies, nestled in the foundation of where there one day will be a pool.

The mother deer cleaned the older baby, the older baby licked her back, mamma and babe nuzzled, while the young one spotted me. I started to sing softly. The baby deer walked a little closer, her black eyes focused intensely on my face. I continued to sing, soft and sweet, baby deer and I held eyes for a very long time — an enchanting moment, a touch, the song luring the baby deer closer and closer.

I must have lifted my voice a little louder, and the wind carried it down to the golf course, because from way down below I heard, “Hey lady, stop singing.” And then the sound of a golf ball being hit. Mental note, will have to keep the “deer songs” in the woods and not near golf courses.

I stopped singing, turned to walk away, but turned and looked back. The baby deer turned and looked back too. Our eyes held for a moment. A connection was made. As we each walked in our separate directions I wondered how our lives might be different because of our touch.

Read Full Post »

On a mound I stand

Spreading branches far and wide

Sap trickles down my bark,

Mixes with earth —

Sap drenched roots

Dig deep down into Coyote Den

Where Silent voices

Wait —

Until Night’s embrace

And Howl

My husband Theodore and I went to Folsom Lake Willow Creek Recreation Area yesterday. We were stunned by the tall pine trees and extra huge pine cones. The pine cones had sap on them that neither of us have seen before.

It made us consider making an essential oil out of it. The color of the sap is golden amber beautiful. The pine cones evoked images of dragon claws. They curled and pointed just like claws.

The first tall pine we encountered was on top of a large mound. Imbedded in the roots was a coyote den. I wondered how they could sleep with hushed voices of humans and the pecking of acorn woodpeckers above their home.

Brilliant blue sky, lake sparkling with so much light you could almost hear it singing, children laughing, we walked over water sculpted stones to admire mushroom like plants with feathery roots and tiny purple flowers that sprayed out like fans.

Theodore and I sat on a bench and listened to the sky, the woodpeckers, the pine, the lake, our hands softly touched, we smiled. A breeze whistled through the pine needles and for a moment, it felt as though the pine trees sighed. Perhaps they too felt a sense of well-being.

Read Full Post »

Photograph © 2012 Vlatka Herzberg

Magik and I went for a walk in the woods yesterday. When he starts to run around the house in circles I know it’s time for a long hike. So I chose a longer path that would work us both out. Part way through he was lagging behind and I wondered where all the energy went, but I think he just wanted to sniff and sniff some more. Eventually we made it to the top of the hill and I stopped to soak in the light, the warmth, the breeze and sing to the trees.

Photograph ©  2012 Vlatka Herzberg

Magik of course waited patiently. When I was done, we continued our walk, easier now because it leveled off, so again I gave more attention to the details of my surroundings. To my delight we found branches and feathers. Hands full of twig, feather and stone, hair mussed up by the wind I encountered an athlete and his golden retriever. Judging by his response to me, I must have appeared as some sort of wild woods woman. Magik and I scooted out-of-the-way, and runner and dog sprinted by. Shortly after, I found a spot where Magik and I could rest, thinking that the runner was probably a good ways away, and I could sing to my heart’s delight.

Photograph © 2012 Vlatka Herzberg

I put my crystals on the ground, rose quartz, and serephanite with its beautiful earth green color, and started to sing. Some days I come into the forest with issues in mind that I want to resolve or send healing to, sometimes they are personal issues, or concerns about loved ones, and sometimes they are global issues. This day I just wanted to be with nature. I am learning that in intimate relationships sometimes we “do” things together, and sometimes we just “be” together.

Photograph © 2012 Vlatka Herzberg

Yesterday, my being together took the expression of song and dance. I sat but my arms moved like they were dancing. As soon as I started to sing the wind bellowed. It almost knocked me over. I sang and danced my arms into the wind and it sang and danced right back. I was in full force singing and moving to the music of the forest when Magik started to growl, the faithful guard Corgi that he is. Wow. There was the runner, and his golden retriever. I stopped singing and said, “Oh, I was just singing.” He responded with, “I thought the trees were singing. Your voice carried all the way to the other side of the hill. I was running and I heard this singing, and it sounded like the trees were singing. Then I realized it was a woman’s voice.”

Photograph © 2012 Vlatka Herzberg

As he continued his run, I sat quiet, contemplating the experience, amazed that the trees and the wind had carried my voice, and that it sounded as though the forest was singing. I was quiet for a while just listening to the forest’s song, and then joined in, the two of us singing and dancing together again.

Photograph © 2012 Vlatka Herzberg

Shortly after this adventure I felt as though our outing was complete. Magik and I headed back down the trail. All the while it felt as though the trees were still singing. I don’t recall ever being so aware of the Forest’s voice. What a life changing experience! I am grateful.

Read Full Post »

The last few experiences I have had in nature have shown me how when I let go of my day-to-day life, suspend it, and allow myself to commune with nature that I start to see through different eyes. Recently, Magik and I went for a long walk in the woods. We live in Northern California, so the forest is mostly Bay Laurel’s and Oak, with patches of Madrone and Manzanita. I entered the forest with the intention that I would pay attention to detail. I entered the forest as though I was entering my own safe place, as though the entire forest was my home. As I walked, I paid close attention to the light shimmering between and on leaves, and the substance, the shadows. I listened for the voice of the forest. I touched this leaf, that rock and mentally acknowledged their beauty. I took time to walk slowly and to stop and pause, to look and listen, feel and sense. In these moments I really feel a communication between me and the forest. Again I notice when I enter the forest how the wind kicks up and the leaves quiver as though the forest is greeting me and it is such joy to receive its embrace. It fills me with reverence and I can’t help but feel the bounty of this relationship I have with nature. It is exquisite.

Photograph © 2012 Theodore Herzberg

Magik and I meandered up a hill to the very top until we entered a grove of Madrone and Manzanita. They are unique trees to me. There presence is different from that of oak and bay laurel or other trees. The richness of their color speaks to me. I feel a strength from Madrone and a creativity from Manzanita. I especially enjoy the way Manzanita branches twist and dance without movement.

Photograph © 2012 Theodore Herzberg

Magik and I made our way to an ancient one Grandmother Madrone. I sat with her for a while and sound healed, sang from my heart. I happened to have a rose quartz crystal with me, so we sang together. There was a gentle energy, one of healing and tenderness. From this place it was easy to let go of my daily and world concerns, and just be in this oneness with the trees and the earth. Singing with the trees transports me into a liminal place, a place between worlds, where boundaries blur and I can more than feel, I can be the oneness with the trees and the earth.

Photograph © 2012 Theodore Herzberg

When I was finished singing, on cue as always Magik begs for his treat. He is silent and reverent while I sing and connect with nature, but the minute I stop singing, he figures that’s his cue for a treat. Smile.

Photograph © 2012 Theodore Herzberg

We thanked the Madrone and the Deva and nature spirits of this place and off we went heading home. It was on the walk home that I noticed I was seeing through different eyes.

Photograph © 2012 Theodore Herzberg

I noticed an old Oak that I had not noticed before on my walks. I stopped and touched it and connected with it, receiving some ideas for meditative work that could allow me to work through an issue I was dealing with more creatively and expansively. I thanked the Oak and its Deva, and asked for a piece of bark so that it would be easier for me to connect with the Oak meditatively when I wanted to work with it. There were many pieces on the ground so I chose one and thanked it.

Photograph © 2012 Theodore Herzberg

On the way down the hill, again we stopped. Magik and I have this understanding, sometimes his nose will take him off the path into delicious smells he wants to explore, so I will stop and wait while he explores. He does the same with me. When I feel called to connect with a tree or rock, Magik will sit and wait until I am done. Such was the case near the end of our walk. To my right I sensed something. I looked at this oak tree through my renewed eyes and felt a presence. I acknowledged it and sang to it. My way of saying “I see you seeing me”.

Photograph © 2012 Theodore Herzberg

As we continued our walk to the car I pondered how singing with nature (which is my way of letting go of the “yamma-yamma” and entering that oneness with nature) allowed me to see through different eyes. I saw things that I would not normally see or sense in nature if I was preoccupied in my head. Also One-ing with nature allowed me to see the issue I was working on more clearly. What a gift!

Photograph © 2012 Theodore Herzberg

Meditation:

Go into a favorite spot in nature on a day when you have a lot of time, no other commitments, so that you can really let go.

When you enter the forest, allow yourself to enter like you are Coming Home — as though you have been away on a trip and you have come back home, and now you are reconnecting with everything in your home. So you walk slowly with intention, paying attention to detail. You notice that spray of leaf, or the hardness of this rock, or the light and shadow of the leaves and trees. Open yourself to seeing what you normally don’t see when walking quickly through the woods.

Then go to a place that is sacred or safe to you, and as you enter this place find a spot where you want to sit. Maybe it is against this tree, or on a fallen trunk, or on some moss. Find a place that feels safe and good. Then start to connect with nature. Maybe it is through breath — where you enter a meditative state through breathing. Or maybe it is through closing your eyes until they are partly shut, and you look through the haze of your lashes, allowing your focus to blur until the leaves, the trees all seem to become one haze. – Or maybe you tone or sing. For me, singing without words, from my heart and soul helps me to enter the oneness with nature.

Let yourself be there for a while, you probably won’t sense time, but let yourself be there awhile. Let thoughts and feelings come and go. Maybe you have an issue or a question about your personal life, or about someone you love and care about, or maybe an issue in the world that you would like to see resolved. Bring that in and ask for clarity and guidance or insight and healing. Be creative with it. And then allow yourself to receive, knowing that you are receiving in this moment even though you may not hear the answer, know you are receiving.

When you feel complete you may feel a desire to thank this place and those that helped. Please do. Nature responds to loving kindness and thankfulness. Make sure to ground with your breath, maybe touch the palm of your hand to your heart or brow or solar plexus. Breathe in and breathe out to ground more fully.

As you walk back to your car, or home, give attention again to your surroundings, to this rock, this tree, this shadow, this light. Give attention when you go back into your life, for insights will surely come. It’s important for us to recognize and acknowledge them when they do show up, however subtle or profound they may be, and most of all have fun!

Read Full Post »

There are many different places I like to hike in nature. Most of us have favorite spots. I have a particular spot that I have gone to many times where I can just sit and reflect. I first discovered it when hiking with my Corgi, Magik. He loves to adventure as much as I do. Awhile back we found a trail that was hidden from the main trail. We navigated the Poison Oak, came to a stream, and on the other side was a little sanctuary — a slab of stone, a seat covered with moss surrounded by ivies and Bay Laurels. Here I can sit while Magik sniffs about, unseen by passers-by on the upper trail.

Waterfall

Photograph © 2012 Theodore Herzberg

My favorite time of day to come here is twilight. It is quiet and still in the forest. It’s just before the crickets start to chirp real loud. I tend to walk more quietly, more observantly, imagining faces in bark, and eyes from a more natural world watching me.  I may be thinking limiting thoughts, but here in this space I know there is a bigger picture. So I keep that in mind as I head for my Sacred Place. No matter what I am feeling, I always can feel reverence for nature, and this cherished spot. Here I sit still for a moment acknowledging the nature around me and giving thanks for its presence and beauty. Sometimes I come to this place when I feel peaceful but other times I come in a torrent of emotion, maybe anxiety, dread, anger or chaos. However I come, I know that here I am safe, and here magic can happen — a shift in my emotions and my awareness. I can more easily receive insights to problems here. Stories I am working on can come to life – characters can speak, scenes can unfold.

Brook

Photograph © 2012 Theodore Herzberg

I often bring a crystal, a favorite stone that I will sing into. My songs are wordless, nature often inspires them. The moment I lift my voice, the trees and birds respond. The wind will kick up, the leaves will start to quiver, branches sway, birds will venture near. I close my eyes and the melody of the forest and my melody become one. Then everything will quiet and I will listen. I listen to my inner voice, listen for insights and understanding. Something always comes, maybe a new scene for my story, maybe insight into how to handle a situation with a loved one or at work, or maybe I will flow love and healing into the world. There are endless possibilities. I do know that magic happens – beyond words.

Photograph © 2012 Theodore Herzberg

Often when I am in this Sacred Place, I will see people on the upper trail, deep in conversation, and yet again I reflect on how healing the woods and nature can be for everyone. So many people come here to run or walk, so many conversations transpire that only the trees hear. I wonder how many of these people, if not all of them, leave the woods feeling more refreshed and rejuvenated, realigned with more of who they are, and possibly even with insights, direction and creative ideas. I wonder how many people recognize and acknowledge the gifts they receive from nature and give thanks to nature for its help. I often do, my song is my thanks.

Creating a Sacred Place in Nature:

Find a spot that speaks to your heart and mind, to your soul and spirit, a place where you can have some privacy. Welcome it and let it welcome you, maybe with your presence, maybe with your words, maybe with a song or a yoga posture or mudra (hand movement). Your first time, allow yourself to get acquainted. Walk around this spot, touch trees, bark, leaves. See what is in this place. Involve your senses. Find a place to sit and allow the place to sense you. Imagine what it could be like if this Sacred Place could see, touch, taste, feel, hear and smell you. What would it sense? Once acquainted allow yourself to just be here for a few minutes or more, breathe and be. You might receive insights or feel a sense of well-being. The focus is on creating a safe place where you can recharge and rejuvenate and even give back to nature through your presence and intention. When you feel complete, express your gratitude. Let your heart feel full of thankfulness for nature, for this place and for the gifts you have given and received. Expect insights to come. When you leave, know that you will be back. Each time you come to visit, you will be building a foundation of safety where you can return time and time again to your very own Sacred Place.

Read Full Post »