Spirit of Dragonflies

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


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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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Enjoying Snowy Winter Days

The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment, then where is it to be found? ~ J.B. Priestly ~

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When there is a storm warning we prepare in advance. It is best to keep some extra food in your home, fuel in your tank, wood for the fireplace/wood stove if you have one, candles, warm throws, and warm clothing. Only drive on the snowy roads if you have to. In the morning you may have to travel to work. Make a plan. Maybe carpool or work from home if you are so fortunate to have that as an option. If you do have to travel to work either leave earlier or later. Let the traffic be staggered so everyone is not out there at the same time. If you are truly frightened to drive in clear weather, do everyone a favor and stay off the roads in bad weather. If you are an aggressive driver – PLEASE stay off the road. Be kind while traveling and allow others in when on a ramp, yield to those walking.

If you can stay at home – don’t complain about the snow. Just be grateful if you are safe at home, pray for those who are not as fortunate. Here are some things to make a snow day enjoyable:

  • Go outside and make a snowman

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  • Take a walk or go sleigh riding and enjoy the falling snow
  • Listen to some peaceful music as you sit near a window to watch the snow flakes

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  • Wrap up in a nice comfy blanket and read a good book
  • Watch a movie
  • Make a nice soup or casserole – take the time to enjoy cutting vegetables and the smell that fills your home
  • Bundle up and go out for a walk in the freshly fallen snow
  • Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or a latte with a little whipped cream & red sugar with a scone and journal
  • Bake some sugar cookies
  • Bake a pumpkin or apple pie – enjoy the scent filling your home
  • Diffuse some uplifting essential oils – Wild Orange; a mix of Frankincense, Myrrh, and Purify; Grapefruit
  • Bake some bread – another lovely scent to fill your house
  • Color in a coloring book
  • Work on a puzzle
  • Crochet, knit, create jewelry
  • Pull out your paints and canvas create a winter scene

My little tree protector sits in his watchful position dusted with snow awaiting the Spring.

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What do you do on a snowy day?

If you have to drive, please be cautious and take your time. Enjoy every moment no matter what the weather.

Love and Light!


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Conversing with Trees – WPC – Story

Though a single image can tell a complete story, adding photos to a series can even further expand upon a narrative.

For this week’s challenge, do some visual storytelling with your photography.

Conversing With Trees

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I love that my daughter’s neighbor left the trunk of the tree standing and added a face. My little grandson loves conversing with this tree. When done he wanders off as if in deep thought. At the time of the photo he was unable to share his thoughts with us but as you will see in the photos below after his conversation he walked off slowing contemplating what they had discussed. At least that is what it looked like. He is like his Mimi, barefoot in the grass whenever possible.

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” ~ Rachel Carson ~

“Children … are shut away in too many instances from a free contact with nature; their needs are so provided for and dangers guarded against, that they grow up with undeveloped capacities and in almost total ignorance of the world of nature.” ~ Harold Fairbanks ~

In his 2005 book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, journalist and child advocate Richard Louv introduced the term “nature-deficit disorder” to characterize the long-recognized suite of problems that could be attributed to childhood isolation from nature. (https://www.wisconsinacademy.org/magazine/rachel-carson-and-childhood-sense-wonder) This book is on my must read list.

Do you have photos that represent a story of children in nature? Do you enjoy exploring nature with children? Feel free to share some photos.

Do you have photos that represent a story of children in nature? Please share if you do.

Love and Light!

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

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

 


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WPC – Transience of Childhood

Drifters, nomads, and even the state of impermanence: this week, share your photos of transient.

There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.                                 ~ Walt Straightiff ~

Only a child sees things with perfect clarity, because it hasn’t developed all those filters which prevent us from seeing things we don’t expect to see. ~ Douglas Adams ~

It’s a transient moment in time when a child is inquisitive and open to everything in the world around them. Then he/she begins to see through the filtered lens of his parents, relatives, teachers, and society – never again to explore the world through innocent eyes.

My grandson, Colt, noticing his shadow for the first time allowed my daughter and I to experience what it must have felt like to see our own shadow for the first time. The same for my grandson, Tanner, when he was handed a sparkler. It was a treat watching him enjoy the sparks flying in the air, lighting the darkness around us. If you want to see the world anew, witness it through the eyes of a small child.

Childhood is a transient and feels even more so today. So allow yourself to slow down and pay attention when with small children. Allow them to touch trees, walk barefoot, pick up leaves, spiders and worms. Encourage them explore the world around them without sharing your own fears and insecurities about what they are doing (of course keeping safety in mind). See through their eyes and explore the world around you anew.

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

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

Love and Light!


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Life Through the Eyes of a Child

What are you teaching your children about life and our connection to nature? Better yet, what are your children teaching you?

We can bring our children to the mall, fill their bedrooms and our houses with items we don’t need, spend our days in amusement parks, zoos, aquariums, or sit in front of the television or computer disconnected from life-giving nature. Or, we can teach our children early that we are alive due to our connection with something larger than ourselves – nature, our place in the Universe, something higher than ourselves.

Imagine what our worldview would be if we taught our children that they are connected to everyone on this planet and we are all sharing the same air, water, soil, energy . . .  YES, we are all sharing this for the time we are blessed with life.

Feeling very grateful that my children, grandchildren, family and friends share in a love of nature and the reality that without clean air to breath, clean water to drink, healthy soil to grow food we would not survive. What can you do to help yourself and the next generation? Listen to the little ones. They are teaching us about life, being mindful, and finding beauty in our world.

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Tell me about nature

My little grandsons, Tanner and Colt, love nature – running around barefooted, hugging and talking to trees, the sky, clouds, birds, rolling around in grass, dirt, sunsets, and walking in the woods. Last year, when visiting my daughter and her family in San Diego, Tanner said, “Look at the beautiful sunset.” His Mom and Dad hadn’t noticed that every night at dinner there was a beautiful sunset view from their dining table. Out of the mouth of babes . . . While I was visiting, Tanner and I would go outside to enjoy the sunset until the thin orange/red line disappeared into the dark of night. We took walks in the neighborhood and spoke to the homeless lady sitting in the shade of a tree, to the workmen repairing the road, to the clerk serving us our ice cream. We also stopped to watch the birds in flight, the squirrels playing under the trees, the cat crossing the road. Everything is interesting when we slow down to see through the eyes of the child.

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Baby connecting with tree spirit

The boys follow in the path of my granddaughter, born 18 years prior to Tanner. They are their Mimi’s special nature babies. Taylor, at 21, is very connected with nature and exploring her world. Luckily she still finds everything to be interesting and spends her free time in nature – exploring New Mexico for now.

When we teach our children about nature they grow up to be adults who understand their connection with the precious Earth we live in communion with. It’s up to us as the adults to bring them to places where they can touch the earth, and maybe hug some trees, so they can find balance when facing challenges during their teen years. Prepare them to enjoy the inspiration of singing birds on a day when they might be facing loss; to connect with trees and the peaceful energy of a forest to guide them through sadness/ loneliness, so they can ground themselves and find inner peace. These are the treasures we can provide to our children rather than malls, amusement parks, computers, television shows, and other ways to mask reality. With the use of illegal drugs on the rise wouldn’t it be better to teach our children how to handle stress, sadness, loneliness and loss by connecting to nature during their early years rather than having them struggle through their inner turmoil without knowing. If you are one who is controlled by drugs, alcohol, tobacco or other vices, wouldn’t it be more productive to allow the small children to teach you how to reconnect, center, and ground yourself? By paying attention to the cues from the child you learn to remain open to the gifts of nature. You will also learn to reconnect with the joys of life that you may have forgotten along your path.

When Tanner was one, he was looking up at the white clouds and pale blue sky. I pointed upward and said “clouds” then “sky.”  It didn’t take long before he was pointing up and saying “sky.” At first I thought he was just repeating words. Later he pointed up and said, “sky” on his own and continued from that day forward. What was interesting is that he didn’t say “clouds” unless there were actually clouds in the sky. He would sit and look up at the sky as if in meditation. Maybe he was. I was reminded of that day this weekend when 18 month Colt and I were outside, he pointed upward and said, “Sky.” First they learn the words, then the meanings, then the connections – most importantly – they see the beauty.

I’m amazed that both boys have a love for trees – a love that started very early on as you can see in the photos above. One of Colt’s first words was “tree.” At first he whispered “treeeee.” When outside he will toddle from one tree to another and hug them or touch them and look up at the canopy. He and I have been enjoying the Magnolia tree in his backyard for quite some time as you will see in one of the photos below.

Whether summer, fall, winter or spring you will find us outside enjoying nature. Yes, we still visit the mall on occasion, a zoo, sit in front of the computer or television, and partake in other indoor activities however our great love is being outside and sharing in the natural beauty of our world.

If we could all pay a little more attention to life and realize how much we depend on nature for our survival we would be able to balance our ‘needs’ with our ‘wants’ in a more beneficial way. As a result we will leave this world a better place for future generations. Let’s do our part to balance our lives – see as if viewing the world through the eyes of a child and witness the beauty in your daily life.

Love and Light!


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WPC – A Good Match – Baby and Nature

Some things just work together: babies and stripes; road trips and loud music; beaches and beer. Creating these perfect pairings often requires some advance preparation, which is why I love stumbling upon them in my daily life — it makes it that much easier to take pleasure in what might otherwise feel routine or trivial.

“A child, more than anyone else, is a spontaneous observer of nature” ~ Maria Montessori ~

“Children are born with a sense of wonder and an affinity for Nature. Properly cultivated, these values can mature into ecological literacy, and eventually into sustainable patterns of living.” ~ Zenobia Barlow, “Confluence of Streams” ~

“Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives.” ~ Thomas Berry, The Dream of the Earth ~

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“Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life.” ~ John Muir ~

When you bring the children out to experience nature before they can speak or walk it will become a natural part of their everyday life. They will become stewards of nature and have an inner connection with Mother Earth.

Love and Light!

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/a-good-match