It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much, and live with her too little.
– Oscar Wilde

Sitting here, in Toronto Airport, with many hours in front of me, I am able to reflect on just how powerful this trip back to Peru has been for me. I am so grateful for Elizabeth, who opened up the opportunity to come and help assist at her yoga retreat. It was a huge success and a merging back into the green heart chakra of the world, The Amazon Jungle.

We set off from Puerto Maldonado, which lies on the Madre de Dios River (Mother of GOD). This jungle city is full of life with people working hard to make a living. Coming from a polished European viewpoint, it is so humbling to see another way of life. The Peruvians I find so friendly and warm; it feels like a coming home within the heart. The humid air meets my lungs with familiarity and the sounds of nature wake me up to the present moment of being alive. The dusty roads offer the story of life that is still so simple and untouched by the ever-growing development of this western world we live in.

Retreat group in the Amazon jungle

 

We were a wonderful group of 18 people, most of which had never been to the jungle before. We came to experience a week of yoga, deep meditation and nature experience in the magnificent setting of Hoja Nueva, which translates as New Leaf. Hoja Nueva is a non-profit organisation, working in the remote Las Piedras region of Madre de Dios, Peru. Their research center in the jungle serves as a local knowledge base led by on-the-ground research, involving conservation, education, agroforestry, and sustainable community development. Their base is home to the local community members, as well as volunteers, interns, researchers, and tourists that share a collective mission to make rainforest conservation a collaborative success in Las Piedras – and all remote rainforest environments like it.

The best part about being off the grid was being able to switch off from technology and notice how much clearer and alive I felt without the constant bombardment of WhatsApp, Messenger, and emails. It showed me that I was less anxious without it – to have nature as my source of connection, not having to do anything, but just be. It was a great reminder for me to look at how technology, especially smartphones, has influenced my daily life over the last couple of years and the unhealthy habits that have formed. I always thought I had a good relationship with technology, however, with this time away from it, it showed me that I have tipped my own balance over and need to address it again.

Nature, I believe, is our true guide. When we are silent in nature for a period of time, it allows us to hear and shows us what is important. The jungle opens my heart to the portal of love and abundance.

It was healing to feel held and bathed in the jungle, walking barefoot, going on bird walks, seeing the macaws at the clay lick, bathing naked in the streams, going fishing for the first time, visiting a native sustainable cacao farm and learning so much about the plants, trees, and environment. Night walks filled my curious heart with peace, discovering swamps and the abundance of life that lives in these ecosystems and feeling the heavy rains of the jungle when they hit the jungle floor.

I experienced a touching moment when I got to meet Max, the one-year-old howler monkey that they were reintroduced into the wild. Sadly, a harpy eagle caught baby Max and he didn’t make it. To touch and feel him so close before he passed on reminded me of how much connection to the animal kingdom we have lost living in cities. It was precious to feel reconnected to nature in this way.

Samantha holding a green frogThe night-time orchestra of wildlife is true magic to my ears and each night of slumber left me with the knowingness that this is the way I was meant to live – not in the city. I was blessed to finally meet with the Phyllomedusa bicolor, also known as the tree frog or giant monkey frog. This frog has been an important healing modality to me over the past five years. I have had personal miracles from the secretion of the frog that is put on the skin with small superficial burn marks, which allows the medicine to work through you. I had cervical cancer 4 years ago, and this Kambo frog and its amazing medicine helped heal my tumour so I didn’t have to have chemo or any western medicine. I am very grateful for so much learning from all these sacred plants and animals. This time away has taught me the importance of patience in regards to all aspects of my life, most importantly, my children.

I am reminded that the cities we inhabit, and our busy ways of being, are built upon this notion of success; the more we do the more successful we become. Yet in fact, the more we do when the balance is tipped is further away from the true nature that we roam. The real jungle is this western world of consumerism and the neglect of our planet and all its flora and fauna. As I write this, I wish to make it clear that I, too, am a part of this cycle and I wish to find harmony within myself and with nature.

Nature, I believe, is our true guide. When we are silent in nature for a period of time, it allows us to hear and shows us what is important. The jungle opens my heart to the portal of love and abundance. The jungle shows me how insignificant our daily worries are. I have always had this love-hate relationship with coffee, as I know it does not serve me and only leaves me wired and anxious these days. Being away, I haven’t touched coffee and it feels so good; nature and jungle feel like a morning espresso in itself. I am not making any promises about stopping upon my return, however, something feels very different about it this time and I am curious to see what will be revealed. I feel blessed that this is the way I have been able to start this year. Gracias.

I invite us all to look at how we can find more solitude and time in nature this year to truly listen to our heart’s yearning.

Sam standing in the swampy riverLook for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries
And your strife
I mean the bare necessities
Old Mother Nature’s recipes
That brings the bare necessities of life

The Bare Necessities