Spirit of Dragonflies

Guide to Awakening Your Inner Self – Begin Your Creative Journey Today


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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #50 – Trees

Lens – Artists Photo Challenge #50 – so happy to have discovered another photo challenge.

Trees are one of my favorite subjects. Every time I traveled my mother would want to see the photos. She would say, “They are all of trees. Didn’t you see anything else. You can see trees in the yard.” I would tell her that I can’t see those trees in my yard, every location has its own beauty. Watching my grandchildren interact with trees fills my heart and gives me hope for the next generations ability to connect with nature.

“Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.”

― John Muir

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“One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”

― William Shakespeare

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity… and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.”

~ William Blake

“He believed because we evolved in nature, we have a biological need to connect with it. We love nature because we learned to love the things that helped us survive. We feel comfortable in nature because that is where we have lived for most of life on earth. We are genetically determined to love the natural world. It is in our DNA.”

~ E.O. Wilson
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“Trees are poems that Earth writes upon the sky.”

~ Kahlil Gibran

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 “To really feel a forest canopy one must use different senses, and often the most useful one is the sense of imagination.”

― Joan Maloof

Thank you for visiting our beautiful trees and all the beauty they bring to each of us in their magical way.

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This year I am visiting the forest weekly and spending time with trees daily. Each night, weather permitting, before calling it a night I sit in my swing under the tree in my back yard and converse with the glorious trees that bring such pleasure to my life. My goal is to become one with nature and share the experience with others through grounding and forest bathing (shinrin-yoku). It is wonderful that there are words to describe what I have been doing my whole life. If I were to win the million dollars I would purchase forests and preserve them for future generations.

Love and Light!


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Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge

“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.” ~ Georgia O’Keefe ~

“When I judge art, I take my painting and put it next to a God made object like a tree or flower. If it clashes, it is not art.” ~ Paul Cezanne ~

Flower of the Day (FOTD) Challenge

Love and Light!


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Finding Beauty in the Light

 “To love beauty is to see light.” ~ Victor Hugo ~

This weekend I walked into the library at Pumpkin Hollow Retreat Center to check out the books, something I do every time I volunteer. There were no lights on so the room was lit with natural light but as I stood there the rainbows of light began to fill the room. The sun had set just enough to reflect into the crystal hanging in the window and it was beautiful. There were rainbows reflected on the carpet, ottoman, couch, tables, everywhere. After enjoying this gift for a little while I decided to take a walk.

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

In the woods, the sun was protected by the tree canopy but once in a while a stream of light would find its way to the ground dotting the mossy path or shining through the back of a leaf appearing as if someone was holding a flashlight behind them.  It looked quite magical. On this walk I was not in a hurry to reach a destination. It was a slow pace, observing all that nature had to offer stopping to touch the bark, leaning down to explore tiny wild flowers, sitting on a fallen tree, feeling the cool moss, listening to the birds and the leaves rustling above. A little forest bathing, taking off my shoes to ground myself in nature. Such a peaceful experience.

When you are walking into a room do you stop and notice how the light filtering in the window decorates the furniture, carpets, and walls? When walking in the forest to you notice the patches of light on the ground before you, or decorating the foliage? Do you take the time to ground yourself, listen to the birds, feel the presence of trees, listen to the rustling leaves, feel the coolness of the air on your skin?

Every morning when the sun shines through my windows I feel blessed when I wake to the rainbows decorating my bedroom walls, waiting for me in the kitchen, and in the afternoon decorating the dining and living room. I have sun catchers, wind chimes, and/or crystals hanging in the windows that give quite a show, one that never fails to amaze me.

When you can appreciate the small things in life you will never miss the big things because the small things are the big things in life. They can uplift and help you find your way through sadness, illness, and other dark times. However you don’t want to wait for those ‘dark’ times to notice the beauty of life happening all around you. If you live mindfully aware of the beauty you are blessed with daily it will be easier to see and light the way during those dark moments. Remember the light is always with us on cloudy days, you just can’t see it at the moment.

For me, my darkness sets in when my heart dances – not a comfortable dance – atrial fibrillation. It is something I am learning to live with, not pleasant but I refuse to let it take over my life. My new normal is starting the day with medication and ending with medication. As someone who didn’t even take Tylenol this is a new experience. I am a nature girl, someone who loves to be active, to hike, snowshoe, kayak, always on the move. My new reality has me slowing down a little more, feeling tired a little more during the day, resting more frequently. There are some days I rather not do too much but as I have a habit of noticing the rainbows, light patterns on the walls, and ceilings I can always see beauty and enjoy the moments.

I lit candles in my office the other night and this beautiful design appeared on the ceiling. It was so colorful that I sat and enjoyed this for a while. Amazingly I had never noticed how beautiful the design was in the past. This I couldn’t understand because I have lit these candles in the past but never noticed – maybe it was the way the candle holders were sitting on the bookshelf that made the difference or maybe I just needed this little lift that night. Either way, it was an amazing gift.

If you are having a problem seeing the light during your dark times feel free to email me and we can talk about techniques to guide you to see the light. spiritofdragonflies@gmail.com.

Love and Light!


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Into the Forest – One Step At A Time Finding Inner Peace

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity” ~ John Muir ~

One need not go into the woods to hike or even walk very far to enjoy the benefits of nature. You only need to slow down and listen to the leaves crunch under your feet, smell the fresh scent of trees and earth, listen to the birds and the rustle of leaves in the wind to become connected to the natural rhythm of life.

“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” ~ Henry David Thoreau ~

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Stop, breathe and look around. Do you see the tiny flowers peeking out below you.

Do you stop to converse with the trees? Stand for a little while and wait for an invite from one of the trees. Of course they will not speak so you can hear them however you may feel an energy from one or two trees tug at you more so than others. Those are the trees you should spend time with. What kind of bark do they have – smooth or thick and rough? Are the large roots on the ground around the tree or are they hidden under the soil? What does the bark feel like? Touch it for a few minutes to see if you can feel the water running up from the roots to the branches above. Imagine how many years this tree has stood in this spot. Imagine all of the people walking through who may never have taken the time to enjoy its company. Imagine what experiences this tree has witnessed. If it is an older tree think of the possibilities – Native Americans, droughts or floods, insect infestation, fires, deforestation of other trees . . .

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” ~ Henry David Thoreau ~

Sit down on a rock and listen to the waterfalls or the birds singing in the trees. Is it cooler in the woods that it was on the road traveling to the woods? Can you distinguish the different types of birds that are singing? Maybe you can hear an owl hooting in the distance or another bird signaling that there is a hawk in the area. Is it quiet near the pond or can you still hear traffic in the distance? What colors are you noticing? I love to notice all of the shades of green to yellow.

Sitting taking in the reflections on the water is my favorite. Last weekend while visiting Yaddo Garden in Saratoga Springs, NY, I slowly walked around the gardens – which are not in bloom yet – and spent some time standing near the pond listening to the small waterfalls across the road. The highway is nearby so there is a constant roar of car wizzing by on their way north and south of Saratoga. Once you overcome the constant drone it becomes easier to hear the bird’s songs and the peace in the wooded area. I stayed with one of the trees a little longer than the others and meditated for a short time in the peaceful environment.

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.” ~ John Muir~

Stop and take notice of the beautiful green moss growing on the trees and rocks. Lean down and touch the cool, moist surface.

“We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home, in towns and cities.” ~ George W. Sears, writer & conservationist ~

You don’t have to be in the middle of a thick forest to enjoy nature, you can benefit from sitting on a bench under the shade of a tree in your own yard or in a local park. In the spring you have the pleasure of magnolia blossoms, lilacs, Lilies of the Valley, and many other treasures to enjoy.

“Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.” ~ Frank Herbert, novelist ~


Flowers and buds are blooming along streets everywhere. It is beneficial to take time and notice how life continues. From the decay of the winter months new growth appears giving hope for the future. Colors, birds singing, there are smells of earth, flowers, trees in the air, different textures can be seen from tree to tree, leaf to leaf, flower to flower. We just have to open our senses to the beauty and diversity all around us.

“Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread.” ~ Edward Abbey, novelist ~

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As the sun is setting, notice above in the tree line how some trees are still capturing the sunshine while others are beginning to fall into the shadows.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” ~ Henry David Thoreau ~

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Sometimes while traveling for work I’ll pull along the side of the road and get out of the car to stretch and take a nature break. One never knows what they will find along the road and taking the back roads is my favorite because there are ponds, lakes, rivers, forests, and parks along the way. My camera is always sitting on the seat behind me however I do not always carry it when I get out of the car. Sometimes it is nice to just walk along slowly and become one with nature.

“Now I see the secret of making the best person, it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.” ~ Walt Whitman, poet & writer ~

Do you stop to enjoy nature on a regular basis? My goal is to be in nature daily with longer visits on the weekends. At the end of summer I shall be traveling across southern Utah to enjoy sleeping in a tent under the stars with my cousin. One thing I truly look forward to witnessing is Dark Sky when the night will fill with stars that cannot be seen from where I live. It will be magnificent with everyday bringing a new adventure and beauty to take in. In the meantime, Spring is here and there are so many treasures to enjoy at this moment that I look forward to what lie ahead every day.

Love and Light!

 


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Nature, Trees and Grandchildren

“Hope is the tree that holds the world”

Pliny, the Elder

“Most people never listen.”

~ Earnest Hemmingway ~

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

Hermann Hesse, Wandering ~

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Silly Tanner climbing a tree

“Childhood is, or has been, or ought to be, the great original adventure, a tale of privation, courage, constant vigilance, danger, and sometimes Calamity.”

~ Michael Chardon ~

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Baby Colt checking out the flower on the Magnolia tree

“If man is not to live by bread alone, what is better worth doing well than the planting of trees?”

~ Frederick Law Olmsted ~

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Checking out a very wise tree at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health

“Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.”

~ John Muir ~

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

~ Anton Chekhov ~

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Hugging Trees at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health

“The forest is a peculiar organism of unlimited kindness and benevolence that makes no demands for its sustenance and extends generously the products of its life and activity; it affords protection to all beings.”

~ Buddhist Sutra ~

Teaching children to connect with nature at an early age has been a very important part of my life. First with my own children, nieces, nephews, and their friends taking them for hikes, sleeping in lean-tos in the forest, and playing outside daily. Now with my grandchildren – Taylor, my eldest granddaughter, Tanner (5), Colt (3), and soon the youngest, Lainey (10 months) and Abram (6 months). Sharing the love of nature with children gives them a lifelong love and knowledge of our interconnection with the nature and all the life it maintains.

Whenever I get the chance I am outside with others learning about our environment, forest bathing, enjoying the sounds, smells and sights. Living mindfully in nature allows time to reflect, to take in fresh air, exercise the body, feel the spirit, and relax the mind. I have been very fortunate over the years to have attended classes with other like minded people, belong to groups, and volunteer at locations that allow time outdoors.

If all goes well and I am accepted into the class I will be spending 9 days outside in October of this year learning more about forest bathing, mindful outdoor meditation, group facilitation skills, and more. This will be truly a dream come true. After the class I will be a certified instructor and will begin to share my knowledge and experiences with others. What a blessing it will be to bring a sense of wonder and share this knowledge with the next generation.

“The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased; and not impaired in value.”

~ Theodore Roosevelt ~

“What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another.”

~ Mahatma Gandhi ~

Do you take time to hug trees? Do you teach children about their connection to nature? If we each take on the responsibility to protect nature we will be blessing our children and their children with a life sustaining gift. More precious than all the money in the world. 

A few things that you can do to help our environment:

  • Use cloth bags when at the grocery store or any store
  • Pick up garbage from the ground and throw it in the trash
  • Carry your own reusable water bottle
  • Purchase reusable sandwich bags – wash and reuse
  • Bring your own reusable lunch bag
  • Make your own meals from real food – not boxed or canned
  • Try to have less trash
  • Donate any unwanted items
  • Compost
  • Grow your own food in a garden
  • Walk, ride a bicycle, take public transportation or drive a Hybrid
  • Ride share
  • Use your towels / wash clothes more than once before washing
  • Turn off the lights when not using, use energy saving light bulbs
  • Unplug your equipment when not using (laptops, computers . . .)
  • Have your furnace cleaned before cold weather
  • Carry all trash out of the woods when hiking or camping
  • Don’t write on trees or carve your initials in them
  • Plant trees every year
  • Call your representatives and senators to request more green space
  • Spend an hour or so outside daily connecting with nature
  • Hug a tree or two
  • Read books on nature – educate yourself
  • Take an outdoor class
  • Remove all chemicals from your home – inside and out  – find natural alternatives
  • Don’t purchase Round Up and don’t hire anyone who uses chemicals on your yard
  • Purchase only organic foods and grass-fed beef, free range chicken

Do you have something to add to this list? Please share.

Love and Light!

 


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Creating Wind Chimes

Have you ever discovered something that you love creating and never knew?

A year ago my granddaughter and I took a class creating a wind chime. The next week I picked up beads, fishing line, and went out in the back to find a piece of wood. The creative bug took over.

Now I facilitate my own classes – wind chimes, diffuser bracelets, and essential oil roller balls. The bracelets and essential oil roller balls are fairly quick and easy to create. When creating essential oils the longest part of the process is finding blends that provide an uplifting vibration. I love learning of the blends, adding tiny dried flowers, frankincense, myrrh, and small gems. When creating bracelets generally I will lay out the beads, walk away for a while and then return and pull the bracelet together. Wind chimes take much more time and they are the best way to slow down, breathe, and create mindfully.

When creating the wind chimes I may spend time in nature searching for some small branches. Once found I bring them to the basement to dry. They may sit there for a week, month or several months. Sometimes others will find them and bring them to me. last year my son and his wife traveled to Nova Scotia and returned with some finds for me. There has been a box in the basement awaiting my creativity. Recently I pulled out a couple of the pieces and brought them upstairs for some inspiration.

I pulled out the white cloth and began bringing out beads. Last year I created one with a theme of pink and crystals, then one with red and crystals. One hangs in the dining room and the other in the bedroom. In the morning I love waking to the rainbows decorating the walls and ceiling. When I return home the dining room floor and ceiling is decorated in rainbows. I find it quite magical.

This week I have been staying up at night laying out beads and creating two more wind chimes. I find it very relaxing and this experience helps you develop patience.

How you may be wondering?

Well each bead is placed on the fishing line, the line must be tied and a seed bead placed on the knot. This prevents beads with larger holes to slip through. Sometimes when tying the knot it is too far apart and the knot has to be untied and redone. Sometimes you are finishing the last line and while tying it to the top you cut the wrong piece of line. Time to redo the hole line of beads. Although I haven’t stopped to measure for exactness, the last try was pretty close to being even. Who wants perfection  – not me. The imperfection is quite beautiful.

This is what makes it difficult sometimes when facilitating a class. Many participating in the class want perfection. As they begin preparing their design everything must match. Not the case for my granddaughter, she chose different beads, some not matching, and her wind chime came out perfect. We had fun while learning. There were times when we had to redo the whole thing over but each left that first workshop with a completed project.

When facilitating I let the participants begin by picking out their beads knowing they would be back up to the beads to chose others. They forget the seed beads and sometimes try to forego the tiny beads until they begin and the larger beads slip over the knot. Then it is time to choose seed beads. Then the process starts all over again. I love witnessing their experience. They rearrange several times, become frustrated at this new experience. Happens every time. The chatting slows down and quiet sets in as each begins to focus, touching the beads, tying knots, as their brain shifts into mindfulness. Frustration transitions to a sense of calm and peace. The energy in the room shifts and it seems as if all the strangers have become friends sharing a caring, creative energy. It is a wonderful feeling, uplifting everyone at the same time. All tension brought into the workshop at the beginning is released.

When creating at my dining table I sit quietly, no music or television, just the quiet of the house. Sometimes I’ll change out the beads until it feels right. I’ve already drilled the holes – two extra for the line to hold the wind chime. Maybe five rows of beads, maybe four, it depends on the piece of wood chosen. When working on this after work I may stay there until midnight – time passes and I’m not aware.

Do you have a craft that you love so much all senses of time disappears while you are enjoying the moment? How often to you take the time to enjoy this experience.

Even if you take ten minutes a day for yourself, add something that you love into your day. You deserve at least ten minutes a day to create something – singing, playing an instrument, drawing, writing, woodworking . . . Try turning off the television and enjoy your own life – not someone else’s life .

Light and Love