27 May

Ruth B, Kurby Gilchrist Blue State Park High Springs, Gainsville, FL


Self Love Wilderness Retreat

Treat yourself to a much needed Self Love Wilderness Retreat. A back to nature, tranquil retreat with a little TLC. This is not your normal wellness center kind of retreat, it's all about you with you and you with mother earth. Self love is not just about aesthetics and healthy eating habits, it's about mental health management as well. You'd be amazed at the amount of clarity you have after letting go of all the chatter. I recommend four or five days, if possible. Self love to me is quiet time. It's giving my brain some downtime to unplug from the world and allow myself to freely embrace any emotion that needs embracing. 

Being on a self love retreat allows me the time and space to think. I ask myself all the questions I need to ask to make sure my life choices still hold true for me or not. Every now and then, I believe we need time to step back for a moment and process the constant influx of information we take in on a daily basis. Mental break retreats are a must. Especially outdoors. I realize the outdoors is not for everyone. Some benefits of being outdoors can include changing your mood, lowering stress, reducing inflammation, improving your vitamin D, improving your sleep, it's good for your eyesight, and burns more calories. But mostly, it makes you happier. Ask your practitioner, he'll probably tell you the same.

You can only heal what you feel if you choose to, otherwise it will just fester until it's out of control. Being alone in the wilderness allows me to just be me with no expectations. Just go with the flow. I'm taking this time to do whatever I'm inclined to do, with no one watching. It seems, in this busy world we live in, it's hard to find any significant down time. Every now and then I think it's important to process all the changes and challenges of everyday life. My life, like everyone's, is full of people. I try, as much as possible, to keep a positive attitude and be strong no matter what life throws our way. Sometimes, that can be an issue for me. I say issue because it sounds positive to try to stay upbeat and strong all the time for those you love, but it's a lot of mental work and it's unrealistic. It's a self identified block for me that I will need to address. It's on the list. Positivity, like happiness or depression, is an emotion. They come and go as they should, just like all the rest of the emotions, every emotion deserves it's time to shine. It's the ebb and flow of life. 

I'm looking forward to a few days of no electricity, no wifi, no music, no people. A place to be happy or depressed without feeling guilty. It's hard to be happy when there are so many people going through so many trials and tribulations. I feel other people's emotions and have to be careful not to take them on as my own. In general, I find that most people don't really like happy people. It seems to annoy them. I mentioned depression so I just want to add a quick statement on the subject of depression because I think it's important to address such a wide spread condition. I used to suffer from depression but now I feel like it's okay to be depressed but depression needs a time limit. I allow myself time to be depressed when that's what I'm feeling but I only usually give it a small amount of time, I acknowledge it, give it its due diligence, and move it along. Sometimes it talkes a little longer depending on the level of depression. 

I am not a doctor, I only know what works for me. Please seek a Perfossinal Practitioner regarding mental wellness concerns. 

Palo Santo Burns Bright Orange 

Self Love Trip - Day one. Monday

The car is packed and all last minute stuff has been taken care of. By the time I actually got on the road, It was already about 3:00. I drove up north heading to Gainsville to the Gilchrist Blue State Park for a little R&R. From Boynton Beach to Gainsville, it's about a four to five hour drive. About half way there, of course, it's Florida, it started to rain like crazy. I was kind of bummed but I decided to check into a hotel, have something to eat and get a good nights sleep. 

Day two. Tuesday

Good morning Titusville. With a good nights sleep under my belt, blue skies above, a soft morning breeze and a hot cup of coffee, it was time to hit the road. Gilchrist High Springs State Park, here I come. I had never been there before so I wasn't sure what to expect. The ride was nice with minimal traffic. Upon my arrival, I pulled up to the little guard shack where I was greeted by a park ranger who was super nice. She got me all checked in and assigned me to campsite F. I'm no stranger to traveling alone but camping alone, my first time camping alone, I chose to go to a family campground as opposed to a free reign state park. 

My immune system was in desperate need of vitamin D. As I made my way to campsite F, I was a little disappointed to see how close the camping spaces were to each other. Not as much privacy as I had hoped. I thought about leaving but I figured, I was already there so I'll just stay and make the best of it and enjoy the great outdoors. I spent the earlier part of the day setting up; popping my sanctuary (tent), filling up my air mattress, making a pitcher of sun tea and setting up camp. After everything was in place, I grabbed my camera, a bottle of water and set out to go explore the area. Gilchrist Blue offers plenty of wooded trails to explore in addition to the clear, crisp, baby blue waters of the surrounding natural springs. 

I walked the trails until late afternoon then made my way back to camp. Vitamin D, check... Fresh Air to maintain healthy blood pressure levels, check...  Physical Exercise, check...

There were two groups of campers in my proximity. Thankfully, they were both quiet groups. I took a walk over to the shower room which was in pretty decent shape. For a campground, it was very clean and well kept. Nevertheless, I always bring my shower shoes. The shower itself was nice. It was a full pressure shower as opposed to some other campgrounds I've been to that have those trickle showers. 

By this time, I was starving. I started the campfire and cooked myself some dinner. I made scallops in a spicy peanut sauce with a grilled portobello mushroom and spinach with summer squash and cherry tomatoes. This aint your pappy's campfire food. There are thousands of culinary ideas you can use in order to maintain a healthy diet on a camping trip. I also brought with me lots of fresh fruit and healthy snacks. Another great benefit to camping in the great outdoors is the full body reset. If you haven't been sleeping well, a trip like this will surely regulate your sleep while refreshing your body, mind and soul.

Sitting back in my camping chair, digesting my dinner, I became hyponitized watching the dark blue and pale yellow campfire flames dance together as if they were performing a ballet. When the flame started to die down, I remembered I had some Palo Santo sticks in my car. I dropped them in the fire, sat back down and once again got lost gazing into the bright orange glow. The aroma that Palo Santo emits is great for cleansing and purifying your energies. Palo Santo also deters mosquitos, ants an flies. The bright orange glow lured me to focus in on my sacral (orange) charka, the fourth of seven main energy centers in the body. The Chakras are circular energy points that are associated with different physical and emotional functions in the human body, affecting your overall well-being. As the full moon rose in the stary filled sky, I was exhausted. It was time for me to climb into my sanctuary and get some rest. Nighty night.

Hydrotherapy and Ayahuasca

Day three, Wednesday

Good morning from campsite F. I slept like a baby. That had to be the best night sleep I've had in a long time. Morning stretch, get the fire started, make the coffee! I fixed my coffee and ventured through the dewy grass over to the waterfront, dipped my toes in the icy cold water then found a nice shady place to sit. It was the perfect spot for a morning meditation. There wasn't much air circulating so the only movement was an occasional ripple on the surface of the water. Everyone in the entire campground was still asleep.  

As I walked back over to campsite F, I noticed that another group of campers set up directly across from me. Their chairs were set up facing my direction. All of a sudden I felt annoyed. This was too close for comfort. My only hope at this point was that they would be as quiet as the other campers.  

Going about my business, I made myself steak and eggs for breakfast. I cleaned up and got ready for my day. I took a ride around the area, stopping at other springs to snap some pictures, picked up more firewood and ice then headed back to camp. I spent the rest of the day introspecting as I hiked through the trails with the smell of fresh grass and coppertone leading the way. In the afternoon, I ventured into the water for some rejuvenating hydrotherapy. I walked in as far as I could, up to my thighs. That was enough hydrotherapy for me. It was so cold. They said it's 72 degrees all year long. It felt much colder than that. I really wanted to float around but I couldn't bring myself to get all the way in there.

When I arrived back at my camp, the people across from me were already loud and obnoxious. I sat around in my misery for a while, praying for rain so they would go away. That didn't work so I zipped myself up in my sanctuary. Once in there, I sat and meditated until I was back to feeling calm and relaxed. I had previously set up my tent with everything I might need in case it rained. I had my air mattress bed made up with soft sheets, blankets and pillows. I had a few books that I had been reading, pens, paper, incense, snacks, water, some icy cold sun tea, a raincoat, my knife and a flashlight. My knife was for opening my snacks, But safety is important as well. I sat there for a few hours. I had plenty to keep me busy. I had gotten used to the heat and boy was it hot in there. It felt like an ayahuasca cerimony minus the psychotropic elixir. Note to self, next time bring a fan.

I started to get a little hungry and I needed a break from the steamy sanctuary. Moving right along, ignoring my neighbors, I got my fire going and prepared for an early dinner. I had a small filet mignon with blue cheese crumbles, salmon cooked with butter, fresh lemons and seasoning, a sweet potato and a side salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, walnuts, cranberries, chopped apples and blue cheese crumbles, drizzled with a raspberry vinaigrette dressing. The annoying people across the way got really quiet as they ate their hot dogs. They seemed to be really interested in what I had going at campsite F. 

I ended my day burning the rest of the firewood just as the sun was setting. I cleaned up, showered and went to bed. When I got up the next morning, I had my coffee and breakfast. I got dressed then waited to see if the people across the way were staying another night. For some reason, they were all up in my energy. I felt like I was being watched. In their defense, it's not really that common for a woman to be camping alone, cooking filet mignon . It didn't look like they were budging so I decided to pack up and go home. While I got a lot accomplished and felt way more relaxed then before I got here, I could have used a few more days and a little more solitude. With that said, I highly recommend a Self Love Wilderness Retreat to rejuvenate and refresh.

Below you will find a camping checklist and some random photos of my trip to Gilchrist Blue High Springs State Park.

Basic Camping Needs Checklist:

Tent - Flashlight - Air Mattress  - Trash Bags - Bedding - Camping Chair -Firewood - Food/Water -  Lighter Fluid  - Hunting Knife - Lighter  -  Inverter - Charcole - Paper Towels - Tin foil - Toilet Paper - Cookware/dining wear -    Towels/Wash Cloths - Can opener - Water for Cleaning - Toiletrees - Bug Spray  - Rain Boots/Hiking Boots/ Shower Shoes - Sunscreen - Moisturizer

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