(Posted on newsletter Sep 20th, 2019)
As you read this, I am presently on a three-day “primitive” retreat with one of my oldest friends, Christyn. We are celebrating 25 years of friendship on the grounds of a retreat center “hidden in the hills” of Vermont’s Northeast kingdom.
This is my last hurrah before hitting the road next week to pick up the Scamp Camper.
The plan for our anniversary retreat is to do three days of fasting, from sundown on Wednesday night until Sundown on Saturday, only drinking water (perhaps a little black tea in the morning).
We will also spend two of these days in silence, from midday Thursday to midday Saturday.
The idea came about when Christyn gave me the book One Spirit Medicine: Ancient Ways to Ultimate Wellness by Alberto Villoldo, PHD, several years ago.
I’ve been following the teachings of Dr. Villoldo since I was 20 years old and read his book Shaman, Healer, Sage.
Villoldo is a classically trained medical anthropologist, who has studied shamanic healing techniques among the descendants of the ancient Inkas for more than 30 years.
One Spirit Medicine suggests that those of us afflicted by ailments of modern society return to nature for three days, fasting and in silence, to heal.
This from his website:
“Unlike modern medicine, which recognizes thousands of ailments and myriad remedies, One Spirit Medicine identifies one ailment and one cure. The ailment is alienation from our feelings, from our bodies, from the Earth, and from Spirit. The cure, One Spirit Medicine, is the experience of primeval Oneness, which restores inner harmony and facilitates recovery from all maladies, regardless of origin.”
When Christyn and I read One Spirit Medicine four years ago, we wanted to do it together, but she was still nursing her son and taking three days away from home was unfeasible.
So I decided to do it myself and paired it with a solo trip to Ibiza to hear the talks of one of my most beloved spiritual teachers.
It was an extremely poignant experience. The power of fasting and spending slow, deep time in nature on the chilly Mediterranean beaches, while also absorbing my teacher’s bullshit-crumbling teachings, was life-changing. You can read about it in one of my first ever blog posts.
But Christyn and I have always wanted to do this together. The timing is perfect as a reverential nod to the journey of our friendship.
On the retreat grounds, there is a Sioux style tipi, a stone lean-to, the property’s original sugar house, a meditation cave, and a hilltop meditation gazebo.
We will have access to 120 acres of stewarded forest with numerous trails, ponds for reflection and swimming, and meadows with expansive views of the Green Mountains.
It will probably be chilly. Likely uncomfortable.
It will most certainly be strange, in the midst of my preparation to hit the road and get all kinds of online work done, to just STOP.
But what better time than right now, to just STOP. Pause. Be. Become empty. Sit in silence. Let nature show us what health is really about.
I’ll let you know next week how it went.
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