You might ask – why on earth would a woman forsake her comfortable bed and modern ablutions for a sleep on a mattress, within a tent, miles from the nearest shopping centre?

The answer is: for the benefit of her health through bush meditation! The peace, the tranquillity and the time out from everyday life that is experienced when I go on my women’s camping retreats is incredibly rejuvenating. And meditation plays a big part in the retreat. Sitting amongst the trees, ferns, rocks and vines is very powerful and profound. It is this feeling that grabs me every time I enter the bush – that one-ness that is often spoken about by spiritual people – that some of us who are so embedded in our urban lifestyles, struggle to understand. I did some research and found this is all backed up with scientific evidence.

Personally I think it starts with the clean air; that exchange of carbon dioxide for oxygen right from its source. On cooler mornings a little sharp and clear. I love the smells of the bush, rich and earthy and a little damp from decomposing leaf litter, sometimes a waft of blossom. There is a time remembered when we walked the forests in search of food and medicine and were truly part of the earth and her cycles.

Then sounds of the bush; gentle sounds of trees swaying in the breeze and small creatures scurrying out of my path long before I reach them. No traffic noise here! The soft tinkling of bellbirds and even the harsh screech of cockatoos, which doesn’t seem so harsh in a bush background, are all setting the mood for a lovely relaxing weekend. Of course the creek so close has its own soothing sound and washes away that worry and anxiety that may have been present on arrival at the camping retreat. I maintain my silence so as not to disturb the ambience and to help me focus on the bush’s soothing qualities.

Sitting on a rock and breathing deeply for a few moments, I love to gently touch the mosses and lichens that have made their home on the rock and compare their texture with the rock surface. I like to run my hands over the bark of each tree near me, noticing the different feelings experienced by my touch. Of course I am careful not to disturb any creatures! I feel the warmth of the sun on my back and the gentle cool breeze coming off the water.

Looking around me there is so much to see and I find it useful to try to imagine this is the last time I will see these things, or perhaps the first time – I think this enhances my vision to the point that I really SEE the tiny insects, the swift movement and flashes of colour of birds, the towering majesty and mystery of rock formations across the river, the eternal movement of the creek flowing over boulders and around dead branch barriers.

Finally, I can taste the bush – the sweetness of the fresh growth, the purity of the air, the damp of the undergrowth. That taste of campfire that is enhanced by the sense of smell and the promise of incredible tasting food to come …

I love this wonderful piece of lush bush and I love to share it with others to gain an appreciation of the healing properties of our Mother Earth.

Come join me, next retreat smile