There's so much in our minds at this time it's sometimes hard to feel what's in our hearts, including our emotional
response to all the upheavals and truths that are revealing themselves to us. As philosopher-poet Bayo Akomalofe tells us, "in times of urgency, we must slow down." His invitation is to pause
instead of react. Pause, so you have time to respond. As external pressures push us to move faster and faster in a world of ever-increasing demand, the most radical thing we can do is stop.
Take a nap. Take a breath. Go for a walk and tie the fields of our hearts back to the rhythms of nature. Lie on our backs and look up at the sky.
In that pause, there is room for more of us to come into the conversation. We are able to consider more lives than our own. There's room for our hearts to join our minds. We regain our sense of scale again, of the place the present takes between the past and the future, and remember our own agency. Agency that has power in it that can literally rewrite the world.
When I discovered I made a mistake with dates and had the magic gift of an extra week before camps begin (what a delightful error, really!) I wanted to invent something that could honor the practice of this pause, and also give me a chance to play in the new directions the herd has been leading me lately- which is less movement and more pause, and more gentle ways of being that honor their bodies as well as my own. My heart's been yearning to share more of the quiet parts of myself, the medicine making and the spell casting potency of words and language. Called "How Shall I Live my Life?", the workshop is an invitation to seek sanctuary in the art of being, and asking the right questions. To cultivate an ear of deep listening that opens us to the knowledge and voices of the nonverbal elders who surround us, the animals, plants, and the land.
We'll get to taste rose medicine by sampling elixirs together that incorporate the alchemical use of stones (based on ancient Daoist practices) I've been learning. And each of us will leave with a little medicine bag of herbal creations to take home to help with our integration.
The workshop is being offered on a sliding scale, with 20% of the proceeds being donated to support programming at the Xet'olacw Community School in Mount Currie.
To register, please reach out by email to email@example.com
Mountain Horse School is famous for our Horse Dreamers Summer Camps. For years, parents have been asking: "When are you going to create a camp that I can come to? I want to join in the fun!" Well, it's finally happening.
For just one day this summer, Kera Willis of Mountain Horse School (Pemberton, BC) is partnering with Guliz Unlu of Equuarius (Richmond, BC) to bring you a day like no other: a Horse Dreamers Camp FOR GROWNUPS. Part camp, part retreat, part workshop, part mini-festival, it's a day of play, joy, relaxation, exploration, and finding the quiet wisdom that rides through the heart of the world.
Dive deep into connection with an alpaca,
learn how to ride a horse with the power of your imagination, and make a beautiful handmade paper mandala-- a sacred souvenir embedded with gifts from the natural world-- to take home. Bring your
questions, fears and curiosities, and fill your parched and busy heart with a deep inhalation of wonder, reciprocity and connection.
We will be an intimate group of 4-6. No riding experience is necessary, as full support will be available and offered according to the rider's needs and desired level of independence.
Schedule of our time together:
8-9 Morning Yoga with the Alpacas (teacher TBA)
9-10:30 Introduction to the spirit of the day. Meet the horses and other animals
10:30-12:30 Catch horses/ Groom/ Tack up/ Ride
12:30-2:00 Lunch + free time (Free time can be spent lounging in hammocks/hay loft, or sinking deeper into relationship with the horses and other animals)
2-4 Place based walking/ material gathering wander to the Green River (Nairn Park)
4-5:30 Papermaking/ sacred souvenir creation
5:30-5:45 Closing circle/ goodbye to the animals
6-7:30 Dinner at Barn Nork in Mount Currie
Güliz Ünlü works with humans and animals in a range of wellness modalities. For most of her life she has been immersed in the layers and complexities of the Animal Kingdom. Through her work with both wild and domestic animals, she began to discover deep meaning in the purpose of the “pets” in our lives and the greater realm of animals that surround us daily. She was driven by discoveries in what they have to teach us about ourselves – about such things as compassion and forgiveness – and about their own purpose. She began to listen more intently to them to nurture this deeper connection. http://equuarius.com/
Kera Willis is the founder of Mountain Horse School in Pemberton BC, where she creates intimate and transformative encounters between horses, humans and the natural world. A life long horsewoman, writer and explorer of connectedness with the more-than-human world, she strives to offer opportunities that bridge the gaps between animal and human, wild and tame, and to help others find their place of belonging- both within themselves and within the larger body of the world. www.mountainhorseschool.com
Lighting seeds is designed to gift participants an experience of the wisdom and presence of animals as a gateway to belonging— both to ourselves and to the natural world. We'll explore subtle yet potent technologies of magic including moving meditations, journaling, wildcrafting, foraging, medicine making, and direct encounters with the animals themselves. We'll follow the horses into the depths of stillness where we'll have the opportunity to fully meet ourselves, and rest awhile in the bare bones of what lies at the centre of us.
These workshops are an apprenticeship in a way of being we've put aside in favour of comfort, convenience, and all the trappings of the modern world as it's been sold to us. Amazingly, one of the easiest ways we can find our way back to this sort of homecoming is to rest in the eyes, presence, and heart field of an the animal kingdom. To feel the wind rise off of a field late at night pungent with the scent of damp grass. To look to the diversity and beauty of the more than human world that surrounds us for inspiration and mentorship.
In the same way a lightning strike may ignite an instant blaze or smoulder in a slow burn that lingers, these awarenesses and experiences may take root eagerly within us, or they may take months (or even years!) to percolate down through our soil. Our intent is to approach these gateways with gentleness and a spirit of joy and curiosity; to offer seeds of awakening, awareness, practice, ritual and inspiration that you can integrate into the habit body of your life.
June is the time of unfolding, of expanding beyond the safe confines of a seed, and extending new leaves toward the sky. It's the time of young babies, still vulnerable and wobbly on their new-to-this-world legs. Just as a seedling will sprout better in earth that has been cleared and prepared for them, our own unfurlings happen with the most ease when we have cleared a patch of ground within ourselves to give them the space they need to grow. In this workshop, we'll play with Lillooet sage, a sacred cleanser and protector, to create the boundaries we need and a clear patch of ground within ourselves. Then we'll bring in the wild roses of Pemberton, queens of soft, beautiful expansion, and learn from their example how to unfold and unfurl into the space the sage has helped us create.
We'll play with these themes with the horses and other animals too, looking for teachings in the animal and natural worlds to help us understand this dance between boundaries and expansion. We'll bring our day home in the silent library of out hearts, and in the form of a sage and rose cream we will create together, which can be used as a reminder and continuation of this practice as summer continues to lengthen around us.