Spirit of Dragonflies, LLC

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


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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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Earth Day Celebration at Kripalu

“What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on.” ~ Henry David Thoreau ~

Earth Day should not really be celebrated one day a year – it should be something we celebrate and give thanks to every day. Mother Earth is our home – we should honor and care for everything she blesses us with knowing life would not be without her blessings.

Feeling grateful to have shared in The Language of the Earth program at Kripalu. We spent the weekend exploring nature, hugging trees, learning how animals interact with nature, and planting a tree.

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”  ~ John Muir ~

“A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.”  ~ John James Audubon ~

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”  ~ John Muir ~

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In the center of the tree you will see markings on the tree from squirrels. It was interesting learning how to read the animal signs in nature.


There were so many places where people visiting Kripalu stop to meditate, relax, and hold rituals. Such a peaceful location to visit and spend a weekend or week.

“He that plants trees loves others besides himself.” ~ Thomas Fuller ~

We each wrote a note to Mother Earth and buried them with the tree. Can’t wait to return to see how the tree is growing over the next few years.

The view of the lake from Kripalu was beautiful and the two little birds came to visit me this morning while I was drawing a tree while sitting at the table.

DSC_0818.jpg“Time spent among trees is never time wasted.” ~ Anonymous ~

During our last adventure in nature today I noticed this tree growing out from a fallen tree. This is why it is important to leave fallen trees as they continue to feed other trees in the forest. Old growth forests should be left alone and unfortunately they have been destroyed over the years due to ignorance. It is time to pay attention to the message of nature. Trees are sentient beings – A sentient being is one who perceives and responds to sensations of whatever kind – sight, hearing, touch, taste, or smell. Sentient ultimately comes from the Latin verb sentire, which means “to feel” and is related to the noun sensus, meaning “feeling” or “sense.”

“Away, away, from men and towns,
To the wild wood and the downs, —
To the silent wilderness,
Where the soul need not repress its music.”
—Percy Bysshe Shelley

Did you get out in nature on Earth Day? Do you feel peaceful and relaxed when walking in nature?

I am planning a sharing of Forest Bathing with a small group of people in a local wooded area in the near future. If you are interested in experiencing this wonderful event please send an email to spiritofdragonflies@gmail.com.

Love and Light!


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WPC – EARTH

Earth Day! This week, let’s celebrate our true home and all the blessings nature provides.

This week, share an image that means “earth” to you — whether it’s a panorama of a landscape that takes your breath away, a close-up revealing a detail in nature, or another scene that honors the outdoors, we welcome your takes on the theme!

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”                  ~ Native America Proverb ~

Mother Earth – giver of life – filled with wonder, beauty, scents, sounds, and color – How can one choice just one photo to represent Mother Earth when there are so many to choose from, I decided to share a selection.

“Wherever forests have not been mowed down, wherever the animal is recessed in their quiet protection, wherever the earth is not bereft of four-footed life – that to the white man is an ‘unbroken wilderness.

But for us there was no wilderness, nature was not dangerous but hospitable, not forbidding but friendly. Our faith sought the harmony of man with his surroundings; the other sought the dominance of surroundings.

For us, the world was full of beauty; for the other, it was a place to be endured until he went to another world.

But we were wise. We knew that man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard.”
~ Chief Luther Standing Bear ~

If you would like to share your photos or would like to view others from this week’s challenge, click on the link below:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/earth-2017/

Love and Light!


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Kiss the Earth with Your Feet

 

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”

Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.”

― Thích Nhất Hạnh —

Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

I love walking barefoot, it is a way of connecting to the earth. I believe this is a step toward living mindfully, connecting to that which supports you. Many people I know are afraid to walk barefoot outside as well as inside. This is so foreign to me because I have walked barefoot my entire life except in situations where shoes are required of course. Kicking off my shoes at the door allows me to keep the floors of my home and the knees of little ones crawling on my floors free from being soiled. It makes me wonder if by releasing this one fear it would open the doors to releasing other fears.

As a teen mom, I was pretty observant. After visiting some friends or family members homes with my little son I would become upset that his little knees and the tops of his feet were filthy. Sometimes the filth was so embedded that his new clothes could not be cleaned. This prompted me to set a sign in front of the door to my home “Please Take Off Your Shoes.” Some people complained but it was my home and I didn’t care. At the time I didn’t know that this is the norm for some cultures. My little son was more important and we didn’t have money to replace his soiled clothing. Little ones in my home could enjoy crawling and toddling around without worry of what they would pick up or soiled clothing. This is still a practice that I continue even though my own children have been out of the home for over ten years. When you visit my daughters, know you will be asked to shed your shoes. We do provide slipper socks.

That being said, most of the time when outside we don’t wear shoes either. My children learned to enjoy the feel of mud squishing between their toes, soft grass underfoot, coolness of a stream of water traveling along the walkway after a rain storm and the enjoyment of jumping in puddles. Our feet want to touch the earth below us, to sense the temperatures, textures, and connect with that which supports us.

When inside the feel of the cool hardwood floors or the softness of carpet under foot can keep us present in the moment. My little grandson, in the picture above, is shoeless as well. He is learning to enjoy the same freedoms that his mother enjoyed. When teaching mindfulness to my clients, one thing they do is take off their shoes and walk purposefully so they can learn to live in the moment connecting to the world around them and get in touch with their senses.

I am not sure if this is what Thích Nhất Hạnh was speaking of but this is how I interpret this quote. When walking, whether barefoot or not, be mindful of the movement of your body, the way your arms swing out, the stretch in your stride as you walk, and take in the beauty around you. Open your senses. For a few moments be present, live in the moment and connect with the Earth.

Love and Light,

Sandy