Spirit of Dragonflies, LLC

Kripalu Mindfulness Outdoor Experience Guide & Life Coach – Get Outside. Go Within.


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In Celebration of International Forest Bathing Day – Come Join Us

International Forest Bathing Day – Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020 – come join us to celebrate this special day.

If you are interested in learning more about Forest Bathing, Mindfulness Outdoor Experience, benefits of being outside in nature, finding some peace in times of chaos, finding joy and reducing stress come join us next Saturday, Sept 12, 2020.

We will be offering two Mindfulness Outdoor Experiences.

The first will be at Albert Community Family Forest from 10 am – noon:

https://www.rensselaerplateau.org/mindful-walk

Please click the link above for specifics and to register.

Join us for a nice slow, saunter through the woods, becoming aware of nature’s gifts, find a sit spot to relax, observe, and breathe in the fresh air, while opening our senses and finding inner peace.

In the afternoon we will be offering Mindfulness Outdoor Experience at Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center

Mindful Nature Walk: Saturday, September 12 2pm – 4pm 
Join Sandy Wilson from Spirit of Dragonflies, LLC to celebrate the wonders of the outdoors! For those of you who have never experienced a Mindful Nature Walk we will be celebrating International Forest Bathing Day with a Mindful walk in nature while experiencing the benefits of “Forest Bathing.” Don’t worry, Forest Bathing requires no shower cap and involves no actual bathing in water. Called Shinrin-Yoku where it originated in Japan, it is the wellness practice of being in the present moment and opening up our senses to fully take in the forest atmosphere. This type of slow walking ‘sauntering’, deep breathing, present-centered awareness, and observation in nature is shown to reduce stress, boost our moods, and strengthen our immune systems. What’s more, these results are shown to last for weeks, or even months, after only one Forest Bathing outing. Our positive natural response to being outdoors shows our undeniable connection–and that’s something to celebrate! One of our past participants said “I walked trails all over the world many times over the years and never took the time to actually ‘experience’ nature while enjoying the trails. There are so many things that I never noticed before. This was just fabulous.” Masks are required when we arrive and when we gather but may be removed while we are walking or sitting during the outing when participants can maintain 6 feet distance from one another. Please bring water, a mat to sit on (there are six available), comfortable clothing, and a snack if you would like. Dress appropriately for the weather and wear shoes for walking in the woods.

Please register with Lisa either by phone or email:

Lisa Hoyt, Center Director:  (518) 658-2055  or dykenpond@gmail.com

We will be mindful of social distancing – maintaining a 6 foot distance and wearing masks when needed.

If you live in the area and would like to join us we would love for you to join us. If not, check to see if there will be events in your area.

Love and Light!


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Mindfulness Outdoor Experience – Finding Peace

Finding Peace in your life is as easy as a saunter through the woods. Sauntering is a nice slow, relaxing walk without hurry. No watches, cell phones, or music required. Let nature provide the music, scents, color, and peace as you slowly melt into your natural rhythm. I call nature ‘eye candy‘ – so many colors to see and enjoy.

I prefer to bring people to the woods but you can do a Mindfulness Outdoor Experience (MOE) in an urban or suburban setting, in the desert or on water. There are no limits.
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Mindfulness Outdoor Experiences (MOE) allow you to slowly join in the rhythm of the forest. When we first start out participants are generally still in the busy mindset. They may have traveled to the woodlands, come from taking care of others, from work or have been in similar situations. We start out with a little getting to know one another and some stretching, maybe a meditation. This starts the slowing down process.

We ask permission to enter the woods always being conscious that as we step into the forest there is a ripple effect – unseen but just as effective as a putting a droplet or dipping a toe into water. A warning is sent out to the plants and animals that someone is entering their ‘home.” Birds will send out warning calls as we enter. At first this may not be noticed but if you pay attention you will notice how quiet the woods become.

As we slowly enter the woods we learn to place our feet softly on the earth. You could do this barefoot or with shoes. You needn’t even go far, just far enough to experience the color, texture, scent, and breath in the air. After a little while you will be in harmony with the trees – breathing in and out in rhythm with nature.

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After a while everyone finds a sit spot and gets comfortable – either sitting on the ground or a mat whichever is preferred. There is a short meditation before the open eye forest meditation. This is my favorite part of the experience.

People who have had a difficult time with the slow pace will now become more aware of their senses. They notice the birds are now singing, the trees are dancing in the breeze, the chipmunks are skittering everywhere, they may notice a newt or two, leaves twirling in free flight landing on limbs above, the scent of musky scent of earth, and the sound of wind from different directions meeting in the trees. Most was not noticed while sauntering along the path.

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After the sit spot everyone is called back and we have counsel to share in their experiences. It is at this point that participants share how relaxed they feel, what they observed during the meditation, and what they hope to take with them. Prior to Covid-19 we would have a tea ceremony and we look forward to sharing this once again in the near future.

What does slowing down in nature allow us to observe while sauntering and during sit spot. We begin to notice nature up close, to feel the texture of the trees, leaves, mushrooms and such. To notice the life cycle of the forest – the seedlings, saplings, and mature trees. We become aware of the light filtering through trees, decorating the forest floor. The communication between birds species, how they warn one another of predators. We notice the slow pace of nature and how everything has a time and place. Everything that preoccupied the mind prior to entering the forest is no longer important.

Let’s go out and hug some trees.

“A tree is beautiful, but what’s more, it has a right to life; life water, the sun and the stars, it is essential. Life on earth is inconceivable without trees.”

~ Anton Chekhov, Russian playwright and writer ~

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“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to then, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, the preach,                                                        undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.”

~Hermann Hease, German-born poet, novelist and painter.

Have you ever slowed down to notice the texture of the trees or the essence of the trees?Here are some photos from recent MOES. I don’t carry my camera during a MOE but will spend time snapping nature photos when out on my own.

Some of the trees have smooth soft bark, others look like they were weaved together, some are still standing even though they have been destroyed by insects and weather. I found the carvings on the one tree very interesting. This is not a manmade work of art but that of insects burrowing under the bark. Some trees appear to be crying as their sap runs down the folds or mixes with the spider or caterpillar webs.

When slowing down, get a little closer to see what else is living underneath the leaves or on the trees. I love getting down on my hands and knees to check out the nature’s gifts. So many shapes, sizes, and colors. There is always something worth noticing.

When it comes to dragonflies, I’ll sit for hours watching them whether while walking along the edge of pond, river back or while paddling along in a kayak. I have been know to sit quietly for hours at time until I capture these gems in flight or on a reed. Slowing down and watching them brings me to a deep place of mindfulness. Nothing else is on my mind just the beauty of this special creature.

“Dragonflies are reminders that we are light and we can reflect light in powerful ways if we choose to do so.”
~ Robyn Nola ~

Sometimes instead of looking down we must look up. Look up to the sky and watch the birds, the clouds, the sunset and sunrise. to see the stars and moon. Look up to see birds in the trees. Look up to see potential and connect with peace in nature. Allow the sun or moon to shine upon you and fill you with light energy.

Then look down feel the earth as you learn how to ground yourself to the energy of Mother Earth. Once connected you will feel that energy flows through your feet up your legs into your torso, filling your heart, up to the crown of your head. If you feel comfortable, place your bare feet on the earth while sitting or standing.

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“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the wind longs to play with your hair.”

~ Khalil Gibran ~

If you are interested in participating in a Mindfulness Outdoor Experience (MOE) and are within an hour or so of Albany, NY we can schedule individual or group sessions. Don’t let weather stop you. We have been in the woods during a rain storm and stayed dry under the canopy on a summer day. The sun greeted us upon our departure. Autumn, my favorite, we dress appropriately for the weather. Winter – we can use snowshoes if the snow is high and boots if not.

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In the meantime, I’ll be in the woods waiting for you.

Love and Light!


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Spirit of Dragonflies on Business Talk Radio – Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

Very excited to share that I will be interviewed on Business Talk Radio this Friday, 8/28/20 @ 2:36 pm EST. to share information about Spirit of Dragonflies, LLC.

I will be sharing my story and discussing my business. Just click on the link below on Friday afternoon if you are interested in listening.

https://businesstalkradio1.com/studio-three/
https://tunein.com/radio/Busness-Talk-Radio-s297288/ 

I’m looking forward to sharing my own experience and how Spirit of Dragonflies, LLC will help others through Life Coaching sessions, Mindfulness Outdoor Experiences, Therapeutic Touch sessions, and essential oils.

As most of you who follow me are aware, connecting with nature is a major part of my own life. Finding peace and joy in life through connecting to nature has been a help in times or stress throughout my life. This has been especially important during the pandemic to maintain a sense of peace and joy.

Many people are anxious, fearful, and unsure of what is happening and want to feel safe again. Mindfulness Outdoor Experiences have been very helpful to those who have joined in the experience. Everyone has shared how peaceful they felt as we left the forest, how they felt more connected to nature and had a new sense of inner peace.

For those interested in individual experiences we incorporate Life Coach with the Mindfulness Outdoor Experience. Each individual creates a list of steps to take to continue the focus on maintaining peace and joy in their daily life.

If you are free on Friday I would love if you take a few minutes to join us.

Love and Light!


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Finding Beauty and Hope In Nature

During these trying times, everyone needs to remember to focus part of their day on self-care. Whether that is five minutes of breathing, exercising, creating a healthy meal, meditating for 15 minutes or 30 minutes, painting, or spending time in nature. Stress is not good for our bodies, minds or spirit. For me, meditation and being outside in nature have allowed me to maintain my health, sanity, and connection to spirit.

Today I had the pleasure of visiting Pine Hollow Arboretum which is located a short way from my home. This has become my home away from home during the worldwide pandemic. Being in nature, walking the trails, listening to birds, walking barefoot, enjoying a sit-spot, and taking time to be mindful has been perfect way to enjoy life and get away from the news for short periods every day.

“Magic is seeing wonder in nature’s every little thing, seeing how wonderful the fireflies are and how magical are the dragonflies.” ~ Ama H. Vanniarachchy ~

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When I first arrived at the pond I noticed dragonflies of all sizes. This is not always the case and the varying sizes was a welcome surprise. They flew over my head, around me and through the reeds.

There were so many dragonflies flittering near the pond along with frogs of all sizes jumping and croaking. With the frogs croaking and birds singing what a lovely serenade.

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The trees were especially beautiful throughout the trails tonight. Although it was hot, the shade of the trees provided a welcomed relief from the heat.

Leaf shadows decorated the trees throughout the walk. I took some time for a sit-spot, breathing, and reflecting. Such a peaceful experience finding beauty and hope in nature.

My daughter gave birth to a daughter at home three weeks ago. She did not want to deliver in the hospital as her husband and her little boys would not have been able to visit. A home deliver was the best choice for her family. Thinking about my new granddaughter and watching the dragonflies lay their eggs gave me hope. Hope that our world will continue. We will overcome the pandemic, the political unrest, the illness and death, the separation from loved ones, economic uncertainty.

My new granddaughter will be remembered by her home birth during the pandemic. Her four year old brother present immediately after her birth to count her little fingers and toes. Her 18 month old brother not really understanding for the first three day. He has overcome his sadness, since nicknamed her Babe.

The dragonfly larvae may stay in the water for up to three years. This gives me hope as they have been around since the beginning of time, surviving catastrophes throughout the centuries. Dragonflies have been on Mother Earth for over 300,000 million years and here they are today still reproducing.

During the pandemic my family has witnessed the marriage of my great-nephew in North Carolina on Zoom. We attended a funeral service for a very close young friend. Then the birth of my granddaughter. We will soon celebrate the birth of another new family member in October. Life goes on.

We have to continue to have hope for a better future. If we could each focus on the future, on staying healthy we will be ready for the other side of the pandemic. What can we each do to bring beauty and hope in our lives?

We can exercise, eat healthy, meditate, spend time in nature. This is what has allowed me to maintain hope during all of the recent changes. I am one of the fortunate ones who has been working remotely, lucky enough to have walking trails nearby, healthy food to eat and prepare at home, electric, water, medical insurance. Not all have the same during the pandemic and I keep them all in my thoughts and prayers.

The one thing I can do while not able to be with others is to take care of myself. Self-care has been very beneficial. To keep sanity, someone living alone needs to have ways to maintain their health. If you are living with others, the house can seem small and crowded, even if you live in a large home. We all can benefit from self-care. For me, nature has been my go to. You may prefer exercise, running, drawing, writing, singing, dancing, creating or taking a nice bath. Even if you only take ten minutes a day, do yourself a favor and take time for yourself. If living with others, encourage them to do the same.

Please take care of yourself and allow yourself some time for self-care. This is more important now than ever.

If you already take the time, what are you doing to add self-care in your life? Please share.

Love and Light!

 


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Learning to Overcome Obstacles- Preparing for 2021

Today I found an old notebook in my desk that I wrote down a thought in on January 9, 2012. The message was perfect for today as we all face a global pandemic and have more time for some inner reflection.

I was going through a lot of change in my life in 2012. Recently single again, living back in my home town, ready to shift location, career, and life purpose. It was a time of soul searching. During the year I began the Quantum Success Life Coach Academy, continued exploring writing in a on-line Creative Writing program at UCLA, traveled to Alaska with my sister, began meditating and walking daily, joined a meet-up group, spent time reading books, and journaling. Many messages were received and journaling was helpful.

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Here is the entry from January 9, 2012 at the beginning of my journey that year.

Think of a big old tree where a fence (or rock) was located near by when it began to grow. As it grew it touched the fence or rock (obstacle). Did it stop growing? Give up because there was an obstacle – something hindering its growth? No, it grew around the obstacle, sometimes growing over the top, sometimes encapsulating the obstacle within allowing it to be a part of who it was becoming – continuing on with its purpose. To become the strong adult tree, not deterred, it grew over and around the obstacle.

Think of a stream blocked by stones, sand bags, dams in an attempt to control the flow of water. Eventually the water will erode and overcome. If its purpose is to reach land it will move those obstacles out of its way or overcome by patiently and slowly moving forward.

This is the same for you, if you know your purpose and focus on reaching your goals. You too can overcome obstacles placed in front of you whether they be early childhood abuse, neglect, parents/family beliefs, something a teacher said, a bully, current or ex-spouse, employer . . . It is not about them, it is about you and your journey. They are all on their own journey. 

If you are in a relationship, job, family, situation that is blocking your growth isn’t it time to decide on a plan of action to push through those obstacles. Today, as we are faced with a worldwide pandemic we each are facing another obstacle together. Remember to be patient like the tree and water in the stream. Take care of your health, wear a mask, maintain your distance but stay connected. You can begin to make small changes right where you are now. You could read books about your goals, listen to podcasts, reach out to others on line who are successful in where you are heading. Share or teach what you are learning to others – some will listen and others may not want to hear or be with you. That is fine. When one door closes another will open. I have had to unfriend people on FaceBook – family members included as their path is not the one I am following at this time and many have stopped following me. Don’t take it personally we are all on our own path of self discovery. It doesn’t mean you don’t love them, maybe you just need a little break to maintain your own positive energy level.

Sometimes others are afraid of change and will not be open to learning and growing in the same way that you are. That is fine, we are all on our own path. Some people will be with you forever, others for a certain period of time, and some for a very short time. Some will be repelled by you and you may be repelled by others, possibly coming together again later in life after following your own paths and eventually returning to a new path together. In the meantime you will meet many along the path to guide you toward your goals.

During the global pandemic is a perfect time to release old patterns, change direction, learn and grow. Take time daily to review your goals, what is holding you back, and steps to take to move forward. When life throws obstacles your way it may be a sign that it is time to overcome and move forward. Don’t allow the obstacles to block you from reaching your goals, they may be exactly what is needed to allow you to overcome.

Here are some examples of people pursuing their goals during the pandemic:

My granddaughter was laid off from her job during the pandemic. She wasn’t going anywhere in the dead-end position and was feeling blocked. We discussed having her take the time to focus and think about what she really wanted once she was able to return to work. Did she really want to return to that position. When called back to work she decided to make a change and not return. Within two weeks of making the decision another opportunity arose closer to her life purpose in the field of creativity and art while uplifting others.

During this same time a former coaching client was feeling ready to move on to a new position and apartment closer to family. She wasn’t sure if this would happen during the shut down however she continued to search for a new position. We discussed her focusing on what it would feel like to have this new position and new apartment. She created a new Vision Board and continued to see herself loving her new position working with developmentally delayed adults and her new apartment. She was hired locally but didn’t know where she would live. Instead of worrying, she switched to knowing her new apartment was ready and waiting for her within walking distance of her new job and stores. Someone reached out to her and offered her an apartment within a five minute walk of her new job, she will be relocating the end of July. Anything is possible. This the same client that was having health issues as a result of working for 12 years in a position she hated. We worked together with her focusing on attending horticulture classes at the college of her choice. Within six months of meeting her she quit her job, enrolled in the horticulture program at the college of her choice and found an apartment within walking distance of the college and new job. Her health improved quickly after releasing the previous job. She is a true manifestor and sometimes needs a little reminder. 

Say to yourself, “I am willing to release the patterns in my life that are causing this condition. I am ready to take steps needed to release the need for uncomfortable conditions and relationships. I am willing to release the need to be critical of myself and others. I am willing to forgive myself and others. I am now willing to take the steps necessary to live on purpose, to fulfill my dreams, and overcome any obstacles. I am ready to be like a tree, overcoming obstacles as I learn and grow, continuing on my path to living on purpose. And So It Is!”

Take ACTION! Prepare your Vision Board, look at it daily, and feel what it is like to already be living this life. Script it out your life as if it is happening at this moment. Get out in nature and connect with Mother Earth, meditate/pray daily. Connect with others with the same mind-set / goals. Read books, listen to podcasts, send emails/letters, join meet-up groups, volunteer in the direction you are heading and be with people who uplift. Stop participating in things that do not uplift you and take deplete your energy. Be like a tree and plant your roots deep into your goals allowing them to guide you on how to overcome and continue to lead you on your path.

Start a little soul searching during this time of worldwide slowdown and discover your inner voice. Who do you want to be once the world returns into the mad rush of doing, consuming, destroying the planet? Were you happy with the fast pace prior to 2020 or do you wish a slower pace, a little less noise, a little less busy-ness, more thoughtfulness, less material possessions?

Don’t wait – start today! It is never too late to live on purpose.

Love and Light!

 


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Mindfulness in Creating Wind Chimes

Creation of any type is an individualist endeavor even when in a group.

The sticks all have the same 6 holes – 4 for the beads and chimes with two on the end to hold the wind chime. Everyone has the same choices and sometimes will bring a few of their own. All have the same fishing line and crimpers. We take a few minutes to breath, I show them some techniques – many times only one or two listen because others are in their minds thinking. Then they are set to create.

It is always interesting to step back and watch the process. The perfectionists have the most difficult time creating. They want everything to line up, they are generally the same  people who were in their heads while the instructions were being shared. They want to know where to start even though the first step is always to go and browse the beads and trinkets. When done correctly, they will have looked over the beads more than once. Stopped to breath and visualize, taken a little paper tray or cup and filled with some of their choices.

Seed beads are a must because most of the beads have a larger hole and when tying a know in the fishing line – even if knotted twice – the bead will slide over the knot. The tiny seed beads are not really seen on the end product but result in success.

Once back at the table they will try to start stringing – they are reminded to design their wind chime, maybe go back and grab a different color or size and play with it a little before stringing. The perfectionists want to get started and have a difficult time waiting and designing. I’ll remind them this is a fun time, breath, play, there is no perfect creation and yet all will be perfect in the end.

I spend the next two or three hours running from one to the other, restating the process, assisting with knotting, and reminding everyone to breath and have fun. Two hours is never enough time especially if someone arrives 20 minutes late. It takes time for them to select items from the table, to figure out how to knot, where to place beads, and toward the end I am in a mad rush to assist with finishing their creations without actually creating the entire wind chime.

Truthfully, I love the process the most – guiding, slowing people down, sharing that this is a mindfulness practice, and to know in the end it will be perfect. Throughout every workshop those who struggle always love their end product and sometimes they are quite surprised at how long it took them to settle in and enjoy the process. It always amazes me that there are never two final products that are the same given everyone has the same selections. Their unique personalities shine through.

What do you do to bring mindfulness and peace into your life?

Love and Light

 

 


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Mindfulness Outdoor Experience – Forest Bathing – Joys and Benefits

What can slowing down in nature do for you?
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The benefits have been proven time and time again in research all over the world from Japan – Germany – Australia – Finland – Norway – British Columbia – United States and many other countries. The benefits to our children are countless as well. Here are some of the benefits that I have found:

  • The fresh air feels like it cleans out your lungs and revitalizes the body, mind and soul. I prefer being outside in the cold of the winter because the air is so refreshing.
  • Stopping the chatter releases the mind to be in the present moment and observe all the beauty around you. Leaving the chatter behind brings me into the moment to enjoy my surroundings.
  • Giving gratitude and asking permission before entering carries out into daily life waking with a mindset of gratitude for another day to experience miracles. When inside I am always grateful when I walk into the kitchen and see the light filtering through the crystals forming rainbows around the room.
  • Sitting still in nature allows our ripple effect to dissipate as we become one with nature. Paying attention to our ripple effect in our daily life makes us aware how anger can be almost contagious by paying attention we can stay with love in our hearts and allow that to ripple out around us changing the environment we are in.
  • When we enter the forest, meadow, desert the wildlife will send out warnings – many times this goes unnoticed as people are in their own minds, on the cell phone, running, or not paying attention to their surroundings
    • You will begin to see more birds, deer, chipmunks and squirrels, and other critters go back to their daily activities
    • As you sit in silence you will notice the sounds of the wind, trees crackling, birds communicating to one another
    • Chipmunks chattering back and forth to one another
    • The sounds of leaves gently tapping on the ground as they land
    • Rustle of leaves in the trees
  • I believe that paying attention to the signs in nature brings a heightened awareness of our environment and enhances our intuition – something missing from being inside and on electronic devices too many hours of the day. If our children were in nature more and allowing their natural intuition to return they would be more aware of the dangers of the internet predators. As it is they are removed from intuition and do not have the sense of danger being in nature teaches.
  • Your senses will open to the different scent of trees, fresh and dead leaves, the air of the forest, the soil and more. Being inside has been a detriment to our sense of smell. When in nature we can renew our sense of smell.
  • Your eyes will feel relieved as they take in the greens and blues of the trees and water. My ophthalmologist shared that the muscles in my eyes are very healthy even though I wear glasses and my eyesight has been improving over the last couple of years.
  • Your stress is reduced as your body is allowed to relax and release tension. No matter how much stress I am feeling, when out in nature I return from the experience relaxed and refreshed.
  • It has been proven that blood pressure drops. Luckily my blood pressure has not been an issue and maybe that is because I have always been a lover of nature and have used walking in the woods, on the beach, in the desert as a means of promoting health as long as I can remember. 

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Those are just a few of the benefits of a mindfulness outdoor experience and forest bathing. While sitting at your sit spot – generally on your own – you can experience an open eyed meditation. This allow you to notice your surroundings without judgement, just observing with your senses. You never know when a deer, bird, or squirrel may come along without noticing you.

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Slowing down allows you to observe nature and all living beings within nature. During our walks we may stop to discuss what we are noticing. The Pileated Woodpecker has left its mark on this dead tree.

You may find prints throughout the forest of deer, turkey, coyote, rabbits, squirrel and sometimes bear. In some areas they are very active. Just slowing to touch the back of a tree. Sauntering allows you to look up, around, behind, and in front to take in all that is around you. The paper like bark on the tree, new buds, intricate designs of spider webs, or maybe lie in the snow and allow it to embrace you.

Walking through the woods in silence even when there is a crunching snow underfoot is a remarkable experience. We practiced fox walk at a slow pace so the crunching was at a minimum and sometimes in the soft snow there was no sound coming from our steps.

We should be respectful of the living beings within the environment. Like us they are just trying to live in peace. Being aware of our own effect on them allows us to learn about ripple effect in our daily lives. If we can respect nature we can respect ourselves. Once we respect ourselves we can respect others. When we respect others we show people how to respect us. It is a circle of life and we can all play a part in making this a more harmonious world. We need a healthy environment to survive and we can all take steps to ensure the same for future generations.

Some of the benefits of participating in Mindfulness Outdoor Experience and Forest Bathing over the last two weeks – slowing down and sauntering in silence as a group in nature brought us together as one. No one knew anyone prior to the gatherings and by the end sitting together for counsel we were all one – sharing tea and our experiences without fear or being self-conscious about what we were sharing from our personal observation. It was quite beautiful.

Bringing this experience to your own life or to children – you can walk out your backdoor, to a local park, nursery, to a local tree, sit outside and look at the stars to experience nature.

My goal is to ensure that my grandchildren have the benefit of connecting with nature. Not really a sit spot but this little guy, my grandson, loves to connect with nature anywhere he goes.

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While I was in the garage grabbing his snowboard and sled Colt was out in the snow waiting for me. When I came out he was lying on the dirt path quietly looking up at the clouds enjoying the moment. I believe this comes naturally to children when provided the opportunity. We had just been out looking at animal tracks and sitting quietly by the stream. I showed him deer ears and once we were quiet for a few minutes, on the other side of the stream, a fisher cat ran across the edge. Birds began to sing loudly back and forth from one side to the other. I said they were talking to one another and Colt said, “No, they are singing to each other.” As we sat in silence more birds began to fly from tree to tree. It was a beautiful experience.

Have you participated in a mindfulness outdoor experience or forest bathing?

Many of us remember this from our childhood before anyone gave this a name – it was just hanging outside lying on our backs looking up at the clouds or stars, playing in the mud, rolling down hills, hugging trees, lying on the ground looking at insects, watching butterflies and dragonflies, jumping in mud puddles. It comes naturally to children when given the opportunity.

Being a Kripalu certified Outdoor Mindfulness Guide has brought the ability to share my love of nature with others. Looking forward to many years of sharing experiences with others.

Please share your nature experiences if you like. I would love to hear how you enjoy nature especially for those who live in different environments – desert, seashore, grasslands, tundra or other. Mindfulness Outdoor Experience can be shared in any environment even in the inner city there are ways to enjoy nature. Mine preference is the forest but have enjoyed the desert, seashore, rain forest, and open fields.

Love and Light!


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Connecting With Nature – A Welcomed Retreat for Our Eyes

“In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

In the winter do you hibernate? Do you spend too much time indoors on the computer, texting on your cell, answering a barrage of never ending emails, watching television for hours at a time? Or, do you get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature and the fresh air?

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After sitting at a computer all day, responding to texts, traveling in my car for work and being cooped up inside my body, mind and soul call out for time in nature. For me, being outside in the cold fresh air is invigorating. Taking long walks in the woods, in the summer walking barefoot, sitting near a tree, on a bench or in the winter lying in the snow letting the snowflakes tickle my cheeks is an awakening experience.

During my last eye exam the Ophthalmologist asked if I spent time in nature and I said, “Yes, as often as possible.” Even though I’ve had glasses since 2nd grade (didn’t really wear them as prescribed until I was 19) my eyes have been improving over the last several year. This time he shared that my eye muscles are very healthy and my prescription was reduced once again. That was the first time I learned that being in nature can strengthen our eye muscles.

I’m not a doctor but have read, spoke with doctors and through my own experiences noticed that when sitting at the computer all day I don’t blink enough, my head and neck are bent for long periods of time, and there is little movement as my eyes focus on the screen or my cell when answering texts. This effects my posture and the constant typing and use of the mouse effect my fingers, hands, arms and shoulders.

What better way to counter act this daily strain than by taking a break from sitting at the desk and taking a walk outside. Or, stopping on the way home for a nice walk in nature. The varying colors of nature benefit the eyes. I found this article on the benefits to children’s eye health to be interesting:

https://opto.ca/health-library/playing-outdoors-can-help-maintain-childrens-eyesight

Here are some pictures of two of my grandchildren enjoying nature. Whether picking blueberries (eating more than what went into the bucket), sauntering through the woods, hugging and/or talking to trees, walking barefoot in the grass they all enjoy spending time in nature.

Part of the benefits to the eyes is due to the color green which is soothing and another reason is the eyes relax while in nature and benefit from a workout just like the muscles in our legs. Here is an article I found on the effects of a green environment:

https://www.cnn.com/2017/06/05/health/colorscope-green-environment-calm/index.html

When walking or sitting in nature we look up, out in the distance, and close up at nature’s gifts, giving our eyes a work out. (You can also stop throughout the day and do a figure 8 movement with your eyes for additional exercise.) We also give them a workout as we check out the movement of the little critters skittering from here to there, busy no matter the season. By sitting still in the sit-spot I noticed that they seem to have little roadways to and from their nests. You can also watch rabbits on their adventures. They stop a little longer here and there along the way. If you are still and down wind they may not even notice you. I’ve had this happen with deer. They walk by without noticing if you are still and they can’t smell you.

Don’t get too close to the squirrel or you will hear them shriek like this little guy. I was sitting in a sit-spot at the bottom of a tree in Congress Park in Saratoga Springs, NY when I heard a shriek. I looked out to the trees around me but couldn’t find where the noise was coming from. Thinking it was a bird I looked up. There a few feet above my head, was this squirrel running up and down the tree. I stood up slowly backed away from the tree. She ran up the tree trunk to the branch above. The shrieking did not stop. Look at her tail giving a warning signal. As I looked around in the next tree I noticed a nest. She must have been warning me to stay away from her nest. She finally quieted down and jumped to the other tree. I quietly went on my way so she could relax and found another tree.

I could not share my own recording as my recordings have recently disappeared from my cell but found this video on YouTube. This is what the squirrel alarm sounds like:

 

The shrieking can last for quite some time and become very loud. Once again, watching the squirrel and checking out the area gave my eyes a nice workout and I learned a little more about nature. It was the first time that a squirrel has come that close to me in a warning stance. Guess I chose the wrong tree for my sit-spot and she was not willing to share.

Along with observing squirrels, mindfully sitting in my sit-spot just before sunrise allowed me to witness the awaking of the forest. There is a slow illumination along the tops of the trees which gently seeps through the gaps in the trees eventually illuminating the forest floor. As it casts it’s light the yellow leaves of the Aspen trees appear to glow. Some of the leaves slowly hitch a ride on a slight breeze, spiraling round and round until softly landing on the branch of a Hemlock tree. There were so many decorating some of the trees  it resembled a Christmas tree.

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The leaves were the decorations, with the sunlight reflected in the morning dew the lights. I didn’t have a camera in the morning to capture the dew reflecting the light because I was enjoying the moment. Some spiraled gently to the forest floor, greeting those who came before, layering the earth in a blanket of leaves.

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Looking up at trees towering above I witness the mighty tree stretching up into the sky above with its many arms reaching out in all directions. Bare in the Fall and Winter this is the resting period as it awaits a bursting of renewal in the Spring.

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My eyes wander far, then closer and closer until, once again, I witness the scurrying of the chipmunks and squirrels gathering acorns and carrying them back to their shelter.

We should not just saunter and enjoy the benefits of nature ourselves. Sharing a nature connection with children is the best way to keep them healthy and teach them about the benefits of nature and connecting with their environment. Plus, their little eyes are always scanning the environment which is a plus for their eye health because many of the children today spend too many hours in front of a screen, many times holding a device too close to their eyes. We are only beginning to see the effects.

“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than one seeks.” – John Muir

The benefits of nature are far reaching. It reduces anger, fear, and stress while increasing pleasant experiences and we become healthier, more creative, and more aware of our natural environment.

So get outside, saunter in the woods, near a stream, ocean, local park, garden, in your own backyard, take some children with you and explore. While outside look up at the stars, clouds, the tree tops, trails, the bark, flowers, the critters, dragonflies, and a little closer at the insects. Don’t forget to touch the bark, the leaves, the grass and bend down to smell the flowers. Walk barefoot and feel the earth beneath you. Sit for a while and take in your environment.

Remember while you are viewing the natural world and strengthening the muscles in your eyes you are also strengthening other muscles in your body, increasing your lung capacity by breathing in fresh air, expanding your mind and spirit. It is a win-win situation.

If you are interested in learning about mindfulness outdoor experiences and how to slow down and connect while in nature please email me or complete the attachment below. I would love to hear from you.

In my next post I will share some upcoming Mindfulness Outdoor Experiences that I will be leading in February and March.

Love and Light!


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Mindfulness Outdoor Guide

Another year of fulfilling dreams – goals.

This year has been another year of fulfilling dreams/goals. On my vision board is a photo of a group of people walking along a trail in the woods single file. Earth Walk and Outdoor Guide are words on this board and in October I sauntered with 50 other classmates through the woods quietly experiencing nature at its finest. With the correct clothing everyday is a good day to be in nature.

Very excited to share that I am now a certified Mindfulness Outdoor Guide and received a Wilderness First Aid certificate.

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Attached is a copy of my Mindful Outdoor Guide Flyer.

Mindful Outdoor Guide Flyer

I am looking forward to beginning this life journey. Sharing the joy of mindfully sauntering through the forest and guiding others in the experience so you too can learn how to enjoy the health benefits and peace of this experience on a daily basis.

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Over the last several years I have been able to share experiences in the forest with others however after 9 days at Kripalu I have some additional knowledge to share for a total emersion – Grounding, Forest Bathing, Fox Walk, Owl Eyes, Sit Spot, Breathing techniques and so much more.

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Luckily there are several places available to share this experience. More information to follow as I prepare the programs that will be available. There will be a program for small children, teenage youth and adults of any age. We will not be hiking but more of a quiet saunter through the woods. If you have a location and would like to bring this experience closer to you we can discuss this as well.

More to come!

Love and Light!!


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Vision Board – International Dark Sky – Bryce Canyon National Park

My cousin and I have been planning a camping trip through Bryce Canyon National Park and other locations in southern Utah for over a year with Bryce being our first stop. I wasn’t sure what Dark Sky was until my cousins shared that we would be staying somewhere with we could enjoy it. She told me to look this up online and when I did it surprised me. On my vision board is a photo of the Milky Way taken on the new moon at Dark Sky. It was something that I have been wanting to witness but was not sure the name or where to see this. Also, I have photos of Utah with the word Travel over the top.

When she picked me up on August 28th at the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, NV we witnessed not one but three rainbows. Unfortunately I didn’t capture the rainbows that appeared when I arrived but we both felt this was a good sign for our trip.

The first night was spent in a hotel in Cedar City and in the morning we traveled to Bryce Canyon National Park. When we checked in at Bryce they weren’t sure if there were any open tent areas. We rode around and the first three they thought were still open had been taken. It is a first come first serve area so we continued on and found the perfect spot.

After setting up our tent and camping area we went to the visitor center to see what events were occurring during our stay. They shared that Bryce had just received it’s International Dark Sky certificate and they were going to have a astrophotography walk on Saturday night. It was Thursday, we were told to arrive by 8 am on Saturday morning to request one of twenty tickets to reserve our spot. I had my camera and a couple of camera lenses, my cousin was using her cell phone. My plan was to arrive at 7:30 am and wait for them to open so we could be the first in line.

Saturday morning came and we arrived at the building at 8:01 am. We went straight to the counter and were given two tickets. I spoke with the ranger to ensure that I would be able to take the hike slowly as my atrial fibrillation causes me to slow down at times. He said it would be a slow pace and there would be three stops along the way to take photos. Luckily I had purchased a small tripod in case it was needed – it would be on this venture.

Saturday we hiked along some of the trails, then I took a nap to prepare for the evening’s adventure scheduled from 8 – midnight. My camera batteries were charged and at 7:30 pm we headed over ready for whatever happened.

This is a picture of the trail we would walk on once darkness set in. As you can see we had quite a way to hike before setting up on below on the other side of the formation. Our group stood at the top getting to know one another and our photography experience. We were amateurs to experienced photographers coming together to share an experience.

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This picture of the sun setting and in the center behind the distant trees you may notice the smoke from the forest fire that was active in Bryce Canyon during our visit.

We didn’t actually start walking into the canyon until around 9 and found our way to the perfect sight as darkness was setting in and the stars were filling the sky. What a beautiful sight. An amateur with my camera, I wasn’t expecting too much but listened to instructions and was ready for any assistance our group members wanted to provide.

Not only did I capture the Milky Way and the Hoodoos but even captured a shooting star or two throughout our time in the canyon.

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We were told to take at least five of the same shot so we could stack them later but I am still not quite sure what that means. I am sure someone has posted on YouTube exactly how to do this and I’ll check it out when there is time.

Being in nature with a dark sky filled with planets and stars is amazing. The night lights up with so many stars you can actually see the paths you are walking on however we did use head lamps and flashlights – mainly with red filters – to make adjustments to our cameras. Here are some more shots taken during out walk.

As the night sky darkened the stars did their magic and we were in awe.

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Tried to use more white light in this pic

If we could be aware of our effect on Mother Earth and the Universe by dimming street lights, turning off lights that are not being used in buildings and homes, changing the way the lights filter into the night, and allowing more areas to be certified as Dark Sky more people would witness this amazing natural event. Isn’t it time to realize how insignificant petty arguments, obsession with material possessions, and other things and focus on all of the beauty in the world. Life is short in the grand scheme of things and there is so much to enjoy. We should spend more time in nature and more time lifting one another.

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While we are here living life on this planet we can take action to save this beautiful planet for ourselves and generations to come. Being with this big dark sky made me feel small and insignificant, yet, it also made me feel large, energized and worthy of being in the midst of all this beauty. I don’t want a trip to Mars and wouldn’t want to live on another planet – Earth is my home and we all need to figure out a way to live here peacefully with everyone else who shares our home.

This year I have been able to visit California, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and have seen several sights that have been on my board to either see for the first time or see again. I will continue to share stories and photos of my trip and let you know if they were on my vision board or written in my journal. Nine days of traveling disconnected from internet, cell, television for the majority of that time was wonderful!

If you are ever in Utah do yourself a favor and visit Bryce Canyon National Park. You will not regret it.

My questions to you is:

Do you have a vision of something you want to see or do? Do you have a vision board placed where you can see it daily? Or, have you written down your dreams in your journal? Please feel free to share your experiences.

Light and Love!