Spirit of Dragonflies, LLC

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


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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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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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Return To Spirit of Dragonflies

Sometimes we need to step back and reevaluate our direction. For a while after the closing down of the Photo Challenge site I was unable to access my WordPress website. Word Press staff are very helpful and it was determined that I would have to switch to Chrome in order to access my site.

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After missing several weeks of posts, I didn’t return very often. During my absence, I even slowed down taking photos. Many of you are familiar with similar time periods – life changes, interest change and you are pulled in a different direction. I wandered off track for a bit while discovering new ideas, going on adventures, reevaluating priorities. It has been an interesting experience.

Some things in life change which we have no control – maybe areas of our life that we loved have to release – other interests come and go in a short time period and take us in a different direction from where we wanted to travel. It is at that point we should stop and take some time to prioritize, decide which activities are raising our vibrations and making us feel light, which are weighing us down, costing money, ill health, returning us to a past that wasn’t working. These are the growing times, recuperating times when we slow down, allow ourselves to say no to people or activities. This is where I have been for the last couple of months – discovering, learning, experimenting, growing, healing.

Today I return, revitalized and ready for the next chapter. As I woke at my son’s home this morning, I noticed some mushrooms near a tree outside his front window. After making a cup of coffee I headed out to the woods with camera in hand. He has paths through the woods in his back yard with some treasures hidden throughout nature. It is a very peaceful location and I am always grateful when asked to house and cat sit.

Once back in the front yard I checked out the mushrooms. First the one which can be seen from the window, then noticed there is a circle of varying size and color mushrooms around the cedar tree. There was a slight drizzle that didn’t stop me from getting low to the ground to check out these beauties.

“Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art a mushroom.”
~ Thomas Carlyle ~

Update: After posting I went to a second  hand bookstore nearby (it’s really a house filled with books) I shared with the bookstore owner about the circle of mushrooms and she said “Oh you found a fairy ring.” Having no idea what a fairy ring is and had to Google this. Sure enough this is a  fairy ring. There is a scientific and mythical description so I’ll go with the mythical as it is more fun. Glad I didn’t step into the center.

“If you see a fairy ring
In a field of grass,
Very lightly step around,
Tiptoe as you pass;
Last night fairies frolicked there,
And they’re sleeping somewhere near.”
William Shakespeare

When I arrived last night I noticed how the light was hitting the flower planters and loved the playing of light and dark. The night was filled with the sound of frogs and other insects singing in harmony with an occasional call from the coyotes.

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This reminded me of my walk in Thatcher Park a week or so ago. As I was walking along the path from the light into the dark, unknown it reminded me that this is what life is like sometimes. We are walking along enjoying life and then either by choice or circumstance we move into a darkness – unaware of our new surroundings, environment, situation. Whether this be the result of a loss of employment, new job, new home, death, illness we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory.

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” ~Aristotle ~

Just knowing the light is always present, waiting with open arms allows us to move through the dark moments. Last November, my otherwise healthy heart, began waking me in the night as it danced and beat like it was trying to find its way out of my chest. After a few weeks, and a week’s vacation, I finally I decided it was time see someone. To my surprise, I was experiencing atrial fibrillation. For someone otherwise very healthy this was a shock and a wake up call to take action.

Since that time I began visiting an acupuncturist, using my essential oils, eating more fruits and vegetables, meditating, saying no, having monthly massages, walking regularly and spending even more time in nature. Yes, I visit my cardiologist and take my meds as prescribed with the goal to one day no longer need them. Also, I have been delving into my creative side in new areas. Wire wrapping, using nature with beads, drawing, and experiencing nature in new ways and even taking classes – The Language of Nature, Listening to Trees, Meditative Walks, Forest Bathing.

After taking a local wire wrapping class I went home and wrapped some stones. My granddaughter and I had a fun time at a wind chime class. We enjoyed it so much that I made two more and then facilitated a diffuser wind chime class. Adding the essential oils was a nice touch to the project. This week, I’ll be facilitating a wind chime class at the local library.

My check up with the cardiologist went well this week. He said keep doing whatever I am doing and he will see me in six months. I believe once you can get your mind off the darkness lingering over your light, you begin to see the beauty in the everyday no matter what is happening around you. Become proactive, take charge of your life and how you want to feel about it. Whether that be meditating, breathing, creating, singing, dancing, laughing, walking, sitting in nature, hugging a tree, eating healthy, volunteering – all are good for the soul and carry you through life in lightness.

If you feel stuck and would like some guidance, please comment or email me at spiritofdragonflies@gmail.com. Let’s prepare for 2019 now and make it a year of creating a new life adventure for you. Learn to flow through the darkness – find your still point no matter what challenges you face.

Love and Light!


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WPC – Rise/Set

For this week’s photo challenge, share your favorite photos of a sunrise or a sunset. If you’re an early bird, try to capture what dawn means to you. Is it a symbol of hope? A reminder to get going? Do you have any special early morning rituals that you do as the sun rises in the sky?

For night owls, share a snapshot of the day coming to an end. Show off the vibrant colors of sunset and the peaceful calm as the moon rises or any twilight rituals you may have. Get creative and show us the sun in all of her fiery glory.

I am a night owl and love watching the sky fill with vibrant colors as the sun sets over the horizon. Sometimes the night sky looks as if it is on fire and other times it sets slowly filtering rays of light through clouds and trees. There are never two sunsets that are exactly the same so one never gets bored watching this amazing natural event. Every night when the sun sets it reminds me of the fragility of life and to always end the day in gratitude for all of our natural blessings.

 

The sky takes on shades of orange during sunrise and sunset, the colour that gives you hope that the sun will set only to rise again. ~ Ram Charan ~

Sunset off the coast of Skagway

Sunset off coast of Alaska

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Perfect happiness is a beautiful sunset, the giggle of a grandchild, the first snowfall. It’s the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events. Joy comes in sips, not gulps. ~ Sharon Draper ~

When in California a favorite activity to experience with my grandson is watching the sunset. It is a wonderful experience and one that he enjoys as well even at the age of 4.

 

When I lived in California, after work I would sit on a bench south of Laguna at a beautiful location called Treasure Island. Many people would visit the same location to witness the sunset. We would sit quietly waiting patiently for the sun slowly slip beyond the horizon. Once it made it’s decent, we would clap and enjoy the moment. Some would get up and leave as soon as the thin line along the horizon disappeared others, like myself, would sit and wait until darkness filled the night sky and then we would slowly make our way back to our cars.

Sitting with strangers enjoying the same natural event was quite moving. It cost nothing and actually gave more enjoyment than any expensive amusement park. No one had to say a word, when eyes met we communicated at a deeper level as we shared the same life experience. I can still feel the loving compassion and joy.

My grandson is naturally drawn to sunsets. When he was two sitting at dinner with his parents he said, “Look at the beautiful sunset.” My daughter and her husband looked out and had to agree – it was amazing. Sometimes in our busy lives we ignore the natural pleasures we are blessed with daily. Children can help us slow down and open our eyes to ‘see’ our world anew and become grateful for those daily blessings.

If you would like to view additional photos or would like to submit your own, please click on the link below:
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/rise-set/

Love and Light!


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I’d rather be . . . – WPC

Although I am quite content to be doing exactly what I am doing in the moment, whether that be washing dishes, vacuuming, dusting, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow . . . Each daily task brings a sense of being in the moment, enjoying life. This week we are asked to share what we would rather be doing, which is a bit hard when I sit here doing exactly what pleases me, so I will think about a nice sunny day and what I would rather do given the choice on such a day.

I’d rather be . . . sitting on my front porch with a glass of iced mint tea reading a book or, if the grandchildren were here, playing with the toys on the other end of the porch. There is nothing better than sun, sheer curtains dancing in the breeze on a nice warm, sunny day.

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If I were not home, I’d rather be . . .

Exploring woods and nature with my children and grandchildren . . . Hugging trees . . . meditating at the ocean, lake or stream while listening to the water . . . walking barefoot . . . Earthing . . . anything outside in nature . . .

I’d rather be . . . creating – taking photos, making jewelry, preparing blends of essential oil roller bottles, facilitating Vision Board classes . . .

I’d rather be . . . Sledding with my family at the golf course . . .

I’d rather be . . . Always with camera, book, and notebook maybe enjoying a latte and treat . . .

I’d rather be . . . Anywhere on the water enjoying my kayak, nature, birds singing, quiet of the evening . . .

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Enjoying simple pleasures – feeling very blessed. LIFE IS GOOD!

Now, it’s your turn. What would you rather be doing? If you’ve got more than one hobby, don’t be shy — you’re welcome to share the myriad ways in which you’d prefer to be spending time.

If you would like to view other photos submitted for this week’s photo challenge or would like to submit your own, click on the link below: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/rather/

Love and Light!


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WPC – Lessons from Manmade & Natural Structures

Today, take a moment to notice the structure of everyday things around you. Note the lines, freckles, and tiny hairs on your arm, and imagine the biological blueprint that created them. See the bricks of a building, and realize that they were individually placed there by another person. Then, share with us a photo of the structure of something wonderful. We’re eager to see details through your lens.

Structure (google search result)

1. (noun) the arrangement of and relations between the parts or elements of something complex

2. (verb) construct or arrange according to a plan; give a pattern or organization to.

Some manmade structures build today are not as sturdy as those of the past. All you have to do is check out the construction of some of the newer homes – slapped together with cheap material under time restraints. Nothing can last under those conditions.

Many older structures from the 1900s and earlier are still standing and will remain standing unless a natural disaster or humans destroy them. If you look closely you can see how each piece is needed for the whole to have survived this long. Many people came together, sometimes generations of family members, working for a purpose. There was a pride in creating some of the buildings that remain standing. Some structures, like the ice castle below, are meant to serve a short-term purpose.  They are meant to return to nature. Yet, watching the men and women creating the structure you could see the pride in their eyes knowing the pleasure this temporary structure would bring to all who witnessed their results.

 

I find it amazing how each individual piece balancing with a neighboring piece becomes a support of the whole. If we, as humans, could just do the same imagine what we could accomplish. Compassion, Understanding, Cooperation, Joy, Love, Peace – all building blocks for an harmoniously structured world.

Maybe we could take some clues from these old structures and begin to create our own lives with a focus on mindfulness – creating joy for ourselves and others. Beginning with eating healthy, exercising regularly and meditation/prayer to develop a strong core structure. Mindfully taking steps to develop strong character and strengthen our belief systems may assist in building lasting relationships, careers, and financial security. Imagine not following trends of the day and instead learning to remain true to ourselves by taking positive steps to develop a strong core and community to weather life’s stormy seasons. Now stop to imagine how this change will affect our children and grandchildren. It is never to late to shift your life journey in a new direction.

When nature is left untouched by man, the results are quite beautiful. What if we were to focus more on what is working in life and not fight against everything natural. Maybe we could learn to live in harmony with others as well. We could make better decisions about growing food locally and living with less stuff to allow time for the natural beauty of nature to heal, sooth the soul, and bring peace to our lives.

 

How does a mushroom know how to become a mushroom? Who decides the shape, size and color? How does a seed know to grow into a tall oak? How does the sperm and egg know how to crete a human being? Natural structure is amazingly beautiful. Just look at the skin on the top of your hand, it isn’t just one solid piece of skin. There are many layers some dying off as others are newly formed. Amazing isn’t it?

Is this God’s hand at work? Is there a Higher Power creating all? No one knows for sure but I believe there is an Intelligent Force (Spirit) creating all. That is my belief – not one you must share.

What an amazing Creator. We have all been blessed with our own unique creative gift. Being out in nature allows us to become Grounded and Centered with the Universal Energy – the healing force of creativity. We can see this Creative power in the pine cones, seeds, designs in flowers, and in every human being. No two entities are exactly alike in anything in this Universe. whether that be people, trees, rivers, or planets. What if we embrace our difference and discover how we can all bring balance to a chaotic environment. One need only to look at our natural environment to see the cooperative balance and diversity in life.

 

“I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.” ~ Albert Einstein ~

Thank you for viewing my post. If you would like to view other photos from this week’s challenge or would like to submit your own, click on the link below:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/structure/

Love and Light!


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Finding Beauty in the Every Day

What are some everyday things that others find ugly or dirty, which you find breathtakingly beautiful? 

At times we travel through life without noticing beauty around us in our every day life. If we are constantly moving through life without noticing the small, ‘insignificant’ blessings how will we every appreciate the larger things.

We set goals for a car then a larger more expensive car. We want to purchase a home and once in that home begin to focus on a larger home. Then we want a vacation and once on vacation we think of a more luxurious vacation. We sometimes lives with blinders on our eyes.

If we focus on what we don’t have in our lives – and we all travel down this road at certain times along our journey – this can lead to stress, depression, lower self-esteem, and eventually illness. So for today, stop and think about what you see as breathtakingly beautiful in your own life. Here are ten from my list:

  • A bird’s nest covering an entrance light – I would leave it there until the birds are old enough to fly and find a new home.
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Birds will build their nest anywhere

  • Walking barefoot – grounding / earthing – I love the feel of the earth on my feet and how it energizes
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  • Becoming one with nature without worry of wildlife or insects
The beauty of trees

Becoming one with nature

  • Light and shadows artfully decorating leaves

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  • Ivy growing on the side of a home

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  • Shadows on the wall especially when the reflection of the curtains decorates the walls – this always starts my day with a smiledsc_0776
  • The intricate work of spider’s webs

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  • Winter frost decorating the window on the front porch

Adjusting the lens

  • Rust on an old gate – the center made me think of a hidden pearl amid the rust and chipping paint

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  • A cup of tea with a message or coffee served in a favorite cup

Those are ten from my list of many more. Please share a few from your list. And, grab a small journal with a nice pen and continue writing the beauty you see during the day.

Once you are able to change your daily focus on all of the blessings in your life – most won’t cost you a cent – you will open yourself to reaching your goals. When you do receive those blessings your joy will over flow and last for a longer period of time.

Love and Light!


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Volunteering and Sharing in Natures Gifts

This year started with a weekend retreat enjoying time with new friends at Pumpkin Hollow Retreat Center. It was that weekend that I decided to return and volunteer at the center monthly whenever possible.

So far this year I have had the pleasure of Karma Yoga cleanup and prepping for meal. Both were wonderful experiences with the benefit of participating in classes, mediations and enjoying nature.

This past weekend volunteers gathered to share in cleaning cabins and preparing the garden for planting. All furniture was pulled out of the cabins and then each cabin was cleaned top to bottom. Furniture was then cleaned and returned to the cabins. With two volunteers assigned to each cabin it didn’t take long to finish yesterday. The afternoon and this morning were spent enjoying working the earth in the garden to prepare for the seedlings.

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. ~Mahatma Gandhi~

The meals were delicious and well deserved by all. New friends were met and existing relationships were strengthened as we came together for karma yoga. It is amazing what can be accomplished when a group of people come together to share in loving service.

Of course, my camera was nearby for some nature photos. Love capturing some hidden treasures.

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Dandelion

While exploring this little greenery was discovered in a tree stump.

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Growth in the center of a stump

Lamb Ear decorated in morning dew, new growth on trees, and a bird’s nest above the entrance light.

Here are a few treasures hidden in the flower garden.

After cleaning out the cabin I noticed rain drops on the grass. As I was crouching down to take the photos the ‘rain’ began to rain down on me, except it wasn’t raining anywhere else. Debbie said it was only raining where I was and then we realized it wasn’t raining, there was a leak in the water line. It did result in some lovely photos. The drops of water look like crystals decorating the lawn.

Preparing the garden was quick work when you have several volunteers pitching in. The ground is ready for planting in another couple of weeks and the seedlings are being prepared in the green house. These photos were from Saturday so the rest of the crew are missing from the photos.

While on break I took a little walk to the waterfall and on the way stopped when I noticed the unfurling of the ferns. They are amazing to witness. Along with the fern were an assortment of flowers of many sizes. Then, with some patience, I sat and tried to capture bumblebees with their constant movement on my camera. It was a pleasure watching them buzzing in a swarm, as they enjoyed the spring weather after a long cold winter. After focusing and waiting patiently I was able to captured a couple in flight. It was a nice way to practice mindfulness. Time seemed to stop while I focused.

Nature is something to be treasures for ourselves and future generations. Everything in nature seems harmonious and interconnected.

“Not a single bee has ever sent you an invoice. And that is part of the problem – because most of what comes to us from nature is free, because it is not invoiced, because it is not priced, because it is not traded in markets, we tend to ignore it.”

Pavan Sukhdev, United Nations report, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity.
Overall it was a wonderful weekend filled with friends, meditation, gardening, cleaning, good food and nature. This morning, before the short-lived thunder-storm, I had the privilege of providing one of the volunteers with a Therapeutic Touch (TT) session near a tree. It was an interesting experience for both of us and I hope to provide more treatments in nature. It is a perfect place for clients to feel grounded and release their anxieties and stressors in life. During the storm another guest had a treatment in the freshly cleaned library. Providing TT sessions was another highlight of the weekend.

Remember in nature, as with life, there are many hidden treasures if you take time to look a little closer. That person who may seem to rub you the wrong way may be a hidden gem in your life if you slow down and take time to get to know them on a deeper level. As with the camera – go from the macro lens to the micro in every area of your life and you will never have a dull moment in life. You may even learn something about yourself.

Love and Light!

 


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WPC – Wanderlust

“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” ― Dalai Lama

This week, share a photo that represents travel to you. Whether you’re crossing borders or visiting a nearby neighborhood for the first time, we would love to see how you capture these new environments and interactions!

“because he had no place he could stay in without getting tired of it and because there was nowhere to go but everywhere, keep rolling under the stars…” ~ Jack Kerouac ~

Wanderlust – A strong desire to travel or wander. Yep, that’s me. I have lived in five states, over twenty apartments, owned and sold three homes and one mobile home. You might say I was born with a gypsy soul.

My dream has been to visit all 50 states. A few years ago my sister and I had the opportunity to travel together on a cruise ship to Alaska, our first time traveling together since childhood. Alaska was the last new state to mark off the list leaving only 8 more states on my list to explore. While visiting this beautiful state we shared many adventures – snorkeling, a train ride into the mountains, seeing a glacier, zip lining and many more.

“When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in.” ~ D. H. Lawrence ~

 

When I discovered that I could zip line through the canopy of Tongrass National Forest I was so excited. Once at the top of the platform, looking out into the temperate rainforest, tears filled my eyes. It was overwhelming to know that I was actually experiencing such an adventure. I had been zip lining once in the Adirondacks but nothing as exciting as gliding along the rainforest canopy.

When on an adventure, time has no meaning. We stood in line for over a half an hour to buy a coffee at the original Starbucks – my sister doesn’t even drink coffee. To entertain you while you wait, young people rotating to share their talents on violins, guitars, and singing. We also stopped at Pike Place Fish Market to watch employees throwing fish to one another. There were many times we both were overwhelmed with emotion and I shall never forget the experience shared with my sister.

If you would like to view other posts for this week’s challenge or would like to submit your own, click on the link below:

//dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/wanderlust/

Love and Light!