28 Mar Sand on my mat – Zimbali & Sunset at the Palms Jamaica
I just recently returned from a splendid little vacation in the sunny south. Some might call it a workation. I volunteered to teach yoga for a week at a spectactular resort in Jamaica, Sunset at the Palms, preceded by a few days in the hills of Jamaica, living off the grid at one the most memorable places I have ever travelled to, Zimbali Retreats.
This isn’t a Trip Advisor review, however I am compelled to share the magical element of natural health & wellness that I experienced by visiting these two places. Starting with Zimbali, a hidden little gem in the hills of Jamaica about 20 minutes outside of Negril. This small retreat, which sleeps about 10 guests plus the owners and their family along with some workers of the organic farm on the property, is just like staying with extended family in the true Jamaican style. You first notice the connection between the land and the people here. The retreat is situated right on their own organic farm where they grow everything you can think of that flourishes in the Carribean; mangos, avocados, pineapple, yam, banana, melons, cacao, breadfruit, oranges, jackfruit and on & on. The remote location of this magical place is surrounded by all things growing, green & colourful, reminding you immediately of our connection to the earth. In our own crazy, hectic lives in North America, we can often forget about this connection, as we see produce arrive to us via trucks that arrive at grocery store shelves or even just magically appear at farmers markets. We sometimes forget where all of the goodness comes from. At Zimbali, it is quite evident where the nourishment stems from… the soil. Not only are the plants visible from their property, you are surrounded by the natural beauty and plant life everywhere you look. Some things grow randomly in these hills, others are planted intentionally. They eat from their land that the tend to every single day with love, joy & gratitude. They eat what is available, what is in season, what is ripe and ready to pick. They get creative with the harvest that is before them and use what is ready and in abundance. This part of nature, we often forget in the northern hemisphere. We generally plan a meal by what we are craving or hankering for. Some people cook certain dishes because it is a certain night. You know the ones; it’s Friday, gotta have fish tonight types. Let this be a reminder to us that eating what grows locally and what is avaiable and in season is our true nature.
If you don’t have your own grow-op or little vegetable patch, chose produce that comes from your area, that is in season, preferrably organic. Maybe even consider visting a local farm where you can meet the farmer, perhaps even pick your own fruits or vegetables. I know, life is busy, time is too valuable to waste on picking produce when we can pay for someone else to do it. Consider taking some time out for a little outing some day, maybe some family bonding time to unite not only with those you love, but with the land that provides us everything we need. Maybe make it a date with a pal or your partner to pick your own fruits and vegetables from a local farm. Not that you have to or should do this all the time, but consider making this a ritual or special outing to remind ourselves of our own connection to life and to the earth and to eachother. Remind yourself where things come from, appreciate what it takes to get the produce to arrive on your table every single day of your life. And if you have children let them see and understand this lost connection.
If you think about it for a second, you’ll quickly realize that everything we need comes from the earth. Air, I hope we agree is our link to life. No breath, no life. Where does air (O2) come from? Plants! They take in our CO2 that we expel and give out our preciously needed O2. A great exchange. Water; the 2nd most vital component to life. How long can you last without water? Certainly not as long as without food. And where does it come from? When it falls from the sky, it ends up, you guessed it, the earth; in our lakes, ponds, streams, mountains, earth, plants, etc. Lastly, nourishment; we can live on air, without water for probably a little longer than week, without food for about a month or so, but at some point, we need to turn to the land again to get the nutrients that we need to survive and thrive. You see, our medicine cabinet is on the ground floor, not in labs or in hospitals or in corporation’s plants that make products that resemble food or pills that reduce or mask symptoms. We have it all here, available to us right under our feet. Just look down, appreciate & be grateful for all that links us to this precious life; our land, the earth.
Stay tuned for future blogs where I’ll share some delicious recipes inspired by the Jamaican life at Zimbali.