Alyssa is a singer, songwriter, yogi, metaphysician, and contributing editor for Earth Mamma, writing about yoga, healing, gardening, and child care. Here, she shares about her time on a rural farm in Ontario where she got a dose of medicine from biodynamic farmer and healer, Charlotte.
Stepping out, stepping away and tuning in. Like a good yoga practice, many times over again, farmer Charlotte Chambers, and her “Golden Elm” farm have helped re-connect me to myself and remind me of my deepest truths and dreams. I thought I needed to travel to the Himalayas to find my “Guru”, but through illness, I was immobilized and learned the lesson that the greatest teacher lies within. When I realized this fully, the way was opened for outside support and wisdom from an external teacher in human form to confirm and support my inner reflections.
In so many ways Charlotte has been a great teacher, a Guru of love, raising and guiding children harmoniously, growing food, and living as one with the land. Mainly a reminder of my dreams and inner knowingness of who I am and what I came to this planet to do.
At a young age I had realized and had many visions of my purpose, which was to sing and help those who needed it. Though with much influence from a Canadian/American society, the allure of becoming a professional model and actress was like a fragrant rose, and in my early teens, that is what I did. For my younger teen self from the small country town of Utopia, sliding down the slippery slope into the fast-lane game of fame and fortune, drugs, sex and frequenting parties studded with world class celebrities and dinners with misintentioned million and billionaires was quite effortless.
The external distractions made it easy to run from the unserving behaviors that I didnʼt want to face within myself. My awakening from this place was gradual, and eventually led me to seek out higher grounds, and look for something that would quench my soul’s thirst for a life in which I felt consistently peaceful, whole and fulfilled. I yearned for relationships in which I experienced true, deep and mutual love, which often led to looking for love in all the wrong places, feeling disappointed and confused as I hadnʼt yet figured out how to offer those things to myself.
I was about 25 when an inner shift occurred. After spending some quality time in Africa while working on a film there, purifying my body and nourishing my daily yoga and meditation practice, I re-realized my dreams and purpose once again and in part fate, and part will, I moved back to my hometown of Utopia to follow my heart’s calling. I had grand plans to record my music, from my heart, in a way that was authentic to me and also create a self-sustainable wellness, arts and education center and community. Though not everything in life always goes according to plan and of course there can be unforeseen challenges that may arise; and they did in great plenty. Though, now I can say the challenges that came my way following my return home were not accidental and were certainly not anything I was well equipped to deal with or navigate through.
Shortly after my arrival back to Utopia, with big dreams, in the throws of very new love, I became passionately pregnant by a fellow musician whom commonly shared the trait of complete lack of plan to parent or independently co-habituate together and raise a family! I was told several years prior by various medical physicians that I would never have children, and so, I most certainly, wasnʼt planning for it; the idea of having children was a mere fantasy. So when my new boyfriend of only one month and I found out I was pregnant, our shortly lived love affair turned real world, real struggle, real quick!
My self confidence and perhaps ego, were flushed far down the toilet in the high winds of others doubts, fears and negative judgements placed on me and the soon-to-be father of my children, our lack of marriage, money and home. Unaware of what I was taking on in the early days of this pregnancy, I blazed forward to suddenly be stopped in my tracks, as money dwindled, and others doubts and judgments grew, illness moved in and our lights and music seemed to flicker out. Though it was out of this place the hunger for wisdom and true, deep support and love grew within me. It is also from this place I believe my yearnings attracted bio-dynamic farmer, former Waldorf teacher, healer, and visionary Charlotte Chambers and her farm into my life, which I am so deeply grateful for.
Entering onto Charlotte’s farm is like stepping into a scene from more simpler and truer times. Charlotte carries the wisdom, knowledge and healing that one could need at any time. During what became an on again off again, rocky and very emotionally and mentally draining relationship with my children’s father, as well as difficulties with my own parents, Charlotte’s space was a soothing balm for my mind, emotional self and soul. Her farm, vision and kindness were in many ways the light at the end of the tunnel for me. When seemingly all was lost, my career, my dreams, my relationship with my children’s father, parents, my voice and myself, I found solace in Charlotte’s words and stories, hope in her dreams that I too once dreamed and had forgotten, courage in her untiring work ethic and inspiration by her determination, as she was continuously moving forward even though at times it seemed to be against all the odds.
She is a believer in all that is good and she has inspired me and helped me to believe again in a time when perhaps my own light had very well gone out. When I came to her with my two children, I was in the midst of trying desperately to make a relationship work with their father, trying to find a way through our fighting. I was on-again off-again living between our home space together and at my parents, where there was a seemingly endless well of trigger points within all of us that needed to be healed. I was very much at my lowest point and couldnʼt see the forest for the trees. Though, much humility was developed within me during these times and I suppose prepared my vessel for the lessons that were to come.
Charlotte has supported me through my healing in so many ways. Healing physical ailments within myself and children as well as healing relationship discord with others and myself. Her teachings and healing wisdom through story telling is a mastered art that reveals the medicine of the divine spirit as her stories unfold. There were many times I went to Charlotte’s farm physically ill and without speaking of what I was experiencing, she would bring up the herbal remedy for exactly what it was I was needing in our conversation. She has been a living demonstration that the richness in life is not found in fancy material things, but in the beauty of gathering together around a table in front of a fire, in working together to accomplish a task, and by offering one another our full and present attention.
She has taught me to watch for the signs, to find the ebb and flow and give and take between guiding children and surrendering at times to their own inner guidance. Charlotte is a master of many things, including her knowledge of herbs and plants and how they can be used to heal the body. She sees beyond the body into the many other aspects of existence and seems to understand what is required for the thriving of the individual and communities holistic well being.
Charlotte first, truly caught my attention after a children’s homeschooling group meeting on an extremely cold day in the middle of winter after a large snow fall, when I proceeded to get my car very much stuck in a several foot high snow drift. Most people I knew at the time wouldʼve suggested I call a tow truck, as the wheels of my car were spinning and there was no digging this baby out!
With it getting on in the day, my young child in the car, dinner time approaching, and an hour drive ahead of us, I started to feel slightly panicked with a feeling of dread beginning to seep in. I went to Charlotte’s front door and shyly confessed I was stuck in a snow drift in her driveway. She didnʼt hesitate, and led the way briskly out to my car; keeping in mind it was very much below freezing, very snowy and very grey outside. She got right to digging out my wheels and after observing them spinning as I tried to back out, headed to the barn to get her tractor, with more and more shoveling, much done by her as I watched in amazement, she confidently placed some grips under my wheels, chained her tractor to my car and at the beautiful age of 70, in the middle of a freezing cold snow storm got on that tractor and pulled my car out of the snow drift and wished me well on my way!
She is a woman of strong character and doesnʼt give in easily. In fact, she always seems to find a way even in the times there hasnʼt seemed to be one. She cares for the land and for people. At her core.
Many times I felt as though she had taken me under her wing as the new mother that I was, and helped me find my feet on the ground again, my voice and myself. After many struggles and challenges I had faced earlier in my life, I felt I had lost a lot of my confidence in myself and she really held the space for me to find my voice and speak my truth, which I so desperately needed to do at the time.
Last summer the property Iʼd been living at with my children had the entire lawn sprayed with pesticides and herbicides. I had my window open, at first not knowing, until it began to blow in my window. Immediately my throat became sore, eyes itchy and nose sniffly; after investigating, I could see what was happening. I called Charlotte in tears as I watched my children’s playground being sprayed with toxic chemicals and I was feeling the negative effects, immediately Charlotte invited me to come and stay with her, in her home with my two children. Not wanting to impose in her home, I threw a tent in my car, with our packed clothes, and food, and away we went to the farm.
By the time we set up the tent and washed up, it was dark so we decided to sleep. Throughout the night my son developed a terrible cough, so I laid awake, wondering if it was brought on from the pesticides that were sprayed earlier that day, and what in the world I was going to do for him as he seemed to be having a coughing fit in his sleep. Just as my concern was getting to the point where I felt action needed to be taken, coyotes began to howl, and it sounded like there were hundreds of them surrounding our tent. I woke the children, turned on my flashlight and headed out of the tent. No coyotes in sight. At 1 am we made a mad dash, baby in arms, into Charlotte’s home, to find her, relaxed in a chair under the reading light with a book. Immediately she tended to us, helping us to make a bed, where Iʼm guessing she would have slept, and then treated Alkoa with a homeopathic remedy that nearly stopped his wheezing cough immediately.
She has touched my heart and life with her kindness, wisdom, intuition and love. She has been a hero to me and an earth angel. I am forever grateful and know the world is a much better place with her in it. She has given me hope in the darkest times. She helps the earth and others shine as the creator intended. I am grateful Charlotte and others like her shine so brightly, like a lighthouse for all those at sea, she has inspired me to live fully and whole-hardheartedly! I am forever grateful!