The client looked at me; her penetrating gaze a sugar-coated Easter ham bulging wide-eyed as I suggested she tickle the soft, furry beard on the tree.  Her features soften like the moss as she giggled, when I asked, “is the tree laughing?

Truthfully, she was as disoriented as I have been on the island. Compass in hand, I keep checking for my True North, as I feel lost in my bliss. North feels a lot like South, East, and West. Living on an island is a unique experience. In Maine I knew when I was headed North, with the water to the right, and in California, to the left. Here, however, every forest opens up to sweeping waterways, and cascading snow-covered mountain ranges; every corner in a lush disguise.

This is truly a magical place to disorient yourself from the mundane, to remember your nature while absorbed in spacious complexity of greenery and ancient forests, all patient and waiting to share their laughter and wisdom. I was an enthusiastic host showing off the pride of place, as we sampled the buffet of experience, processes, and soulful exploration of the inner terrain. The retreater was open but resistant as we began the exploration of this new frontier using written symbols, paint, beads, music, and earth to shovel a new pathway home.

The shuttle arrived as scheduled, offloading a terse but delightfully loving camper with a large suitcase full of summer clothes and beach expectations. Like the low-hanging clouds and the dark grey bay, there was a storm inside ready to unleash onto this shivering wanderer in shorts and sandals; the car thermometer read 55 degrees. Night one was an opening dinner and massage; off to the perfect start as room side tide swept away her life waiting on a distant shore.

The rain hovered close the next morning as we walked into the darkened, moist woods like two explorers on guard, ready for a surprise attack from the thick jungle. I requested that we go forth in silence as her questions where a deluge more penetrating than the storm around us. After putting the focus back onto her and away from my life, we made a pact; this retreat is about you. Shooting questions like arrows was not allowed, but conversation, a welcome walking stick. The undoing process began as we wandered along the pine pathways in silence. By the end of the trail, I watched from a safe distance as she stopped to explore the various tree mushrooms, a kaleidoscope of colored snails, and even caught sight of her tickling trees.

Together we unraveled work, home, and relationships, meandering toward a hidden labyrinth. Okay, I must admit, at one point I had her sit on a hidden throne in the wooded clearing and began administering some hands on touch into the mix. At this point she mentioned that she did not like to get dirty and the mosquitoes were a threat, shaking off any energy that might have shifted. Still, she was intrigued by this novel approach, and with curiosity she blew her uncertainty into a stone to leave at the altar in the middle of the rock-mapped maze.

At lunch she pulled the Heyoka card from the Sacred Spirit Deck in reverse (In native traditions, the Heyoka is the coyote referring to the trickster), precisely what the afternoon held. The prankster arrived as a violinist, and the camper, a brusque participant, quickly shirked the painting, the music, and the “Hippy” musician. Yes, the afternoon was contrary to the morning walk. Not only was the camper fretful that the happy maiden was inside stealing her purse, it was about time to get her hands dirty. Not sure which of her fears were dominating when the musical guest had inadvertently let out Sashi who was now catting about the yard. At this point I was being tested to see if I could remain in my True North, watching from the deck as my furry feline was resisting me. 

For a moment the coyote ruled as we danced our way around the short sonnets. The best-laid plans had been reversed. After an hour of my craziness trying to corral the cat, the violinist attempted to instruct the painter, and, with the insanity of it all, the mood settled like the clouds violinist and touch paintingabove withholding the tears.  By the time she made an additional wardrobe change into a butterfly cape, the experience began shift, our hearts opened to the compelling music and the fingers slowly moved with the rhythm; her inner artist emerged.  The branches of the Cherry Tree above the patio bent close to listen,  to gossip and giggle as the human antics provided an endless source of laughter.

From then on we began to flow, merging nature with healing and artistic process. Yes, the trees were laughing at us that day. They were delighting in the mystery of the cat as I ran up and down the stairs trying to catch the wind, and they chuckled as the violinist changed from one winged costume to the next, and mostly they smiled at my retreater as she remembered how she loved to laugh with the trees.

To experience your own Undoing, schedule a personal retreat with Renee Baribeau, The Practical Shaman. Spend 3 days in Nature as you learn to remember who you really are. All of the skills and experience will help shift your present life. Everyone needs a Retreat.


Here is what this client had to say.

Her unique approach to healing and moving people in the right direction to living a content existence is her specialty.  Renee delivers this message with love from her heart and soul.

Renee is tough, firm, direct, persistent, passionate – if you don't want to hear it like it is and will be offended by her direct and honest approach and if you need fluff and sugar coating you don't want to waste her time.  She is an angel without the fluffy wings and clouds around her. She is an angel sent to help you if you want to make changes and take ownership of your own issues and hear it just as it is.  We worked full circle, mind, body and soul.  Discussions and practical tools to use in your daily life, exercise in the most pure natural beauty one can imagine, and healing work from the practical shaman. Renee has been there and done that and is now here to write a book on it and share her wisdom and real life experiences with all who can receive from her.

Schedule your own personal nature retreat today.

Join Renee for Magic Mountains and Mystery in Peru September 2012. See Calendar for her complete schedule including Peru, Bhakti Fest and a new Online Workshop. Calendar


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