Natural health in the trenches /
december 2010
A monthly diary by Katherine Willow, ND

It finally got cold enough for me to turn on the furnace — only to discover that it doesn’t work! This has resulted in me writing this episode on the living room floor in front of a blazing woodstove fire, green tea at my side and running to stick my nose out the front door periodically in order to avoid oxygen deprivation. . .

This month I’ve experienced a change with the season, out of being sickly and into what. . .?  Something new is coming.  I feel stronger, younger and with a growing clarity in myself.  This change brings into clear relief that the fall symptoms were part of healing, a process I’m not very good at (yet), but managed to get through with natural remedies, regular whining and enough rest to move forward.  And this is the result.

How to describe it? Here’s a snippet. At the retreat, where I mostly participated instead of leading, we did a meditation exercise with Lise Lillian followed by artwork.   I “fell” into the deepest meditation ever, a place of sheer bliss, and stayed there even while all around me people were moving into painting.  I didn’t want to come back.  Finally I talked myself into slowly inching into normal reality and felt as if I’d had 6 hours of sleep.  Lise had prepared a canvas for me by painting white over one that had a preprinted drawing of a lion on it.  It was a perfect picture of what I had experienced and what may emerge from under it. . . .

While in the meditation, we were facilitated to find guidance for ourselves.  Mine ended up being the word “seeing”.  At first I thought it meant to focus more on improving my vision, something I’ve been at for years, but which didn’t resonate at all.  On a deeper level, it felt like I needed to see from a new perspective, to grow another step spiritually.  With that thought, there was a strong inspiration to do a vision quest to create space for that growth.  I’ve done one here in all the other seasons, now I’ll do one in the snow, over winter solstice.

So that’s the plan.  I’ve picked a site, the place I did my first vision quest on moving here, with  a double rainbow, a visiting bear and a surround of birds awakening me in the morning.  That was summer 1997 and it feels like things have come full circle, ready for a new stage.

To intensify the energy, I’ll build a pyramid structure to sit/sleep under.  It’s clear I need to face the north.  To stay warm, I’ll use the sweat lodge technique of heating rocks in a campfire and putting the hot rocks into a hole in a simple shelter where I’ll be staying.  The shelter will be similar to the ones the preschool kids make all over our woods.  I hope to start the fire without matches, having just learned how to do that from the magical Pierre Blin when he was here teaching the wilderness program to the homeschoolers.  And I’ll have a warm sleeping bag and warm clothes.  No food, no water is the usual procedure, but this is a short one, only one day and night instead of three, so it should be ok, even in the cold.

I have no big expectations, at the least I just want to practice listening, to nature and to the deeper layers of myself where we receive word from God, where we are connected to the larger intelligence of the universe.  And I hope to do another step in healing the terrors that have infiltrated my mind since childhood.  During the retreat meditation, I “saw” nature absorbing the negative in me. . . I will offer it up. . . again. . . .

That all sounds pretty esoteric.  I’ll report on it in January and we’ll see if it has the practical applications for which I hope!

On a more mundane level, Felix dove off the couch onto his face last week, followed by a lot of screeching in pain and an immediate, large swelling on the corner of his eyebrow.  I stayed calm, held him, gave him Rescue remedy, applied Traumeel creme and followed up with high dose Arnica.  Within 10 minutes, the swelling was totally gone!  Lise (who was staying here for a while) and I were absolutely amazed.  And Felix was back to his normal cheery self — but of course, kids are like that anyway.  And it reminded me that we need to put on a homeopathic first aid course. . . .

Other than that, I’m getting ready for Christmas with the rest of the western world.  The list is done with all my usual responsibilities and charities, pretty straightforward by now with a focus on buying local.  On the eve, we celebrate with close family, have a vegetarian meal cooked by my ex-husband, father of the girls, and do a meditation together.  On the day, I invite a variety of people to our house and we cook an organic turkey (order yours from Syed in Kanata at 613-599-9610, near the Metro on March Rd) and have a relaxing afternoon.  I may decorate or not, depending on my energy.  Maybe a little tree in a pot for Felix.  Other than that, a staff party, a Christmas open house — and I’m free for the rest of the holidays!  I plan to eat healthily, rest and play with my daughters and Felix, organize a New Year’s party with Stephen and get ready for my sabbatical and writing a book. . . which I hope will change the world one more step for the better. . . .

Here’s hoping your holidays are restful and recharging.  If you want tips on how to do that, we’ll be sharing ideas at the holiday open house as well as healthy treats and recipes, with a background of lovely music by local artists (their CD’s will be available if you still need presents).

Catch you in January!
~ Katherine