Mindfulness, Earth-based Skills & Spirit: Practices across the Seasons

I’m 66. All of my life, even as a little child, I’ve been interested in what makes us tick as humans.

What lights us up and gives us meaning? What makes us feel alive, inside and out? What shuts us down and leaves us discouraged and disconnected? And when we’ve lost our way or sense of possibility... what makes it possible to rekindle our hearts and find true north?

Over the years as a person and practitioner, I’ve discovered many answers to these questions.

But within those diverse answers, some essential themes have emerged – and integrating these themes, we've created a new program to support people being alive and as empowered as they want to be.

This article explains four of these themes, and reveals a new program we've been cooking up here at Heartstone Center called Journey of the Heart.

1. Being in nature is medicinal.

We are nature. Nature reminds us that we are nature. And calls us home.

Sitting, walking, listening, crying, praying, laughing, gardening, swimming, carrying firewood, lying under the stars, running in the rain…on and on. Nature calls us home.

When called home, we begin to remember. Remember who we are more deeply.

Remember our beginnings, our misfortunes, our sweetest moments, our regrets and our gratitude. We also remember how we are not only separate and individual but also part of everything. Being in nature helps us thaw our defenses and become alive again.

2. Mindfulness is a super tool and practice for navigating life.

Mindfulness helps us relax and be more spacious.

It helps us learn about ourselves. It helps us heal ourselves. It helps us release our unneeded defenses and empower our truly needed ones. It helps our relationships - with ourselves and others and the larger world - wake up and become amazing.

Mindfulness helps us make conscious choices. It helps us be free and alive and the best part of responsible. It helps us fine-tune our compass to true north. It helps us love better. And play better. It helps us embody and live powerfully in the world. It helps us be curious and enjoy reflecting instead of reacting.

Mindfulness is super-learnable and rewarding.

3. We are body, mind, heart and spirit.

Thoughts, feelings, sensations & intuitions are all important parts of our experience.

Understanding their place in our lives is very helpful, even essential. Unfortunately, most of us don’t get taught how to listen, understand and use these gifts most effectively. Or how to integrate or balance them. Cool thing is we’re absolutely free to change this by developing our awareness, setting  intentions and utilizing some helpful practices.

4. Ceremony is vital for our health and aliveness.

Humans know this. Throughout history and across cultures, we have created rituals to nourish what is sacred to us. We gather around a fire or a plate of muffins and tea to take time away from daily life to light a candle in our hearts for what we hold most dear and give thanks.

So what’s the connection to Journey of the Heart?

For 10 years, we've been offering the 6-week Herbal Apprenticeship Program at Heartstone Center, and with great response. It's the perfect length and commitment for a plant medicine focused course – but for years, Tammi and I have longed to combine the themes above into a learning adventure that unfolds throughout the full cycle of the year.

One of our beloved teachers, Martin Prechtel, named his school Bolad’s Kitchen because he believed that a kitchen better described what occurs than a school.

Well, we can see why! The stock has been on the stove. And NOW, it’s time to make the soup and feast in your company.

We can’t wait to see what kind of soup we will be together!!

How is the Journey course different from the Herbal Apprenticeship?

For those of you who have done the Herbal Apprenticeship, you’ll notice that some of the soup ingredients are familiar. Here are some of the differences…

1. Journey will include some relationship with the plants, of course, but not with a predominant goal of learning to make herbal medicine. We will absolutely spend intimate time in nature each weekend.

2. Journey will emphasize mindfulness and self-inquiry, spirit and altered states with journeying, creating with our hands, and ceremony, as core ingredients in the curriculum. These are activities we’ll do each weekend. See the curriculum.

3. Journey is a residential series just like the Apprenticeship running Friday through Sunday. However, it spans a full year, May-May, rather than May-October. It’s 5 weekends rather than 6 and meets once/season rather than 1/month.

We are so excited to begin this adventure with you.

Want to learn more about Journey of the Heart? 

Click here to see the curriculum, schedule, and details