Spirit of Dragonflies, LLC

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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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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Story – The Daily Post

For this week’s challenge, do some visual storytelling with your photography. As always, I’m excited to see what you all share.

Blueberry picking

Teaching children about the natural world should be treated as one of the most important events of their lives. ~ Thomas Berry ~

I love that quote and agree. Teaching our children and grandchildren of our connection with nature, showing them the connection between food and nature them to connect with the source. Being out in the field of blueberry bushes on a sunny summer day is a blessed experience. If you have the ability to experience this with children you will both remember this for life.

I still remember being in the fields with my mother and aunts picking blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and apples. Having a garden in my own yard is always a blessing and one I hope to repeat this year. My sister and I pick fruit when in season and freeze bags to enjoy in the cold winter months. I still have several bags of strawberries – the blueberries did not last all winter this year so I know to pick more this summer. What a treat to open a bag of frozen fruit in mid-winter knowing they were picked from the vine with my own hands.

Do you have a special fruit or vegetable that you love to grown and/or pick?

If you would like to view additional photos for this weeks challenge or would like to submit your own please click on the link below:

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

Love and Light!


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Story – WPC

For this week’s challenge, do some visual storytelling with your photography. As always, I’m excited to see what you all share.

The Corn Maze

My grandson was enjoying exploring the corn maze in Manchester, VT. That is, he was enjoying until he noticed the scary characters along the path. Once away from them he felt secure enough to venture along on his own again but he continued with wary eye on the path before him.

Once we found our way out he was treated to a cider donut and dish of pumpkin ice cream. Then life was fine again.

If you are interested in viewing other photos or would like to submit your own, click on the link below:
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/story/

Love and Light


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Sweets for the little Sweethearts

What does sweet look like to you? We look forward to your photo submissions this week!

 

It doesn’t seem possible it was almost two years ago that I spent the week before Easter with my daughter and her family in San Diego, CA. We had such a lovely time. One of the special events was meeting up with her friends and their children to see the Easter Bunny. Addy and Tanner were enjoying the window display in the confectionery shop.  Little Addy pulled up her pocketbook to see if there was any money hidden within. Love her expressions. When both Mom’s said I could treat the little ones we went in and picked out the cupcake both agreed upon. They brought their sweet out to the table, cut it in half and enjoyed every bite. If I could eat gluten I would have been enjoying this with them. Look at those sweet little faces enjoying their sweet treat!

Or, you could select a little healthier sweet treat to enjoy.

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I can’t take any credit for this photo – borrowing it from my daughter because it is one of my favorites. This little guy truly lives mindfully – in the moment. Look at the joy on Colt’s little face as he bites into this sweet strawberry, savoring the moment.

That was then – This is now:

 

I made a Mickey Mouse cake for Colt’s 2nd Birthday. He loves wearing masks and decided to wear his new Batman mask and cape for his Birthday Party. Something about wearing a mask and cape seems to make you feel invincible or at least invisible – not really sure which but it was fun watching him sneak a little taste of the frosting. When he noticed I was watching he said, “Mmmmm, Mimi this is delicious.” Then he stuck his finger in the frosting and tried another little taste. What a sweetie enjoying his sweet Mickey cake.

Do you still have the innocence of a child within? Do you find yourself staring in a glass case at a confectionery shop eyeing the sweets? Or, do you still sneak a little frosting from an uncut cake? Go ahead – I give you permission:)

Love and Light!

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

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


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WPC – Through the Window

Your inspiration this week is windows. Use a window to frame your shot. Show us what you see out the window from the place where you usually blog, use a window to give structure to your photo, or make a window itself your subject.

To get more creative, use the glass in a window to add texture to your photo. And if you feel like being metaphorical, go for it! Share an image focused on someone’s eyes (the windows to the soul, dont’cha know), or of a landscape or piece of art that’s like a window to another world for you.

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

Little ones love to look out windows, sometimes they discover new sights such as Holiday Lights when riding through the park or ‘Santa’s village’ out the train window. They wiped off the condensation to see if Santa might be waving from the village.

Tanner never seems to tire of viewing fish swimming on the other side of the large window. The children are in awe as they stand on one side of the window witnessing fish   of various sizes and colors on the other side of the glass.

And, when little ones first notice their reflection in the glass of the window it can appear that another baby is ready to play with them. As I watch them smile, laugh and coo at their own reflection it always makes me smile.

When we slow down and view the world through the eyes of a child we begin to see the world with fresh eyes. Take a moment to look around you and think of what it would be like to view this world through fresh eyes. Would you continue to let little things bother you or would you be able to release and live with a little less stress?

Would you be able to find your creativity? Take a moment and give it a try.

Love and Light!
If you would like to view additional photos or submit your own, click on the link below:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/windows-2/


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Satisfaction

This week, share a photo of something that brings you satisfaction. It can be monumental, minor, or something in between.

“Grandchildren are their grandparents’ toys.” ~ Mokokoma Mokhonoana ~

While visiting my daughter and her family in San Diego, I had the opportunity to care for my grandson, Tanner, while his Dad was traveling for work and Mom was away celebrating a friend’s birthday. We decided to take a walk and get a treat. I asked Tanner if he wanted to share an Acai bowl but he wanted a pink ice cream cone. I ordered him a small strawberry and myself a small Acai bowl. Not sure what the size of their large ice is but as you can see their small is pretty large for this little guy.

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After handing him his cone I walked back to grab the Acai bowl and a spoon. Realizing we would need some napkins I left to grab a small stack. When I returned, look who had my spoon and was enjoying the Acai bowl.

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I said, “I thought you didn’t want one.”

Tanner smiled and said, “You can share.”

His face beamed with pleasure and self-satisfaction. How could I resist. I returned for another spoon as he continued to lick his ice cream then take a bite of my treat.

His ice cream began to melt and he sat looking at it overflowing the sides of the cone. I grabbed a cup to set underneath to catch the liquid. Tanner looked up and said, “Mimi, doesn’t this remind you of a volcano?” Looking at the melting ice cream he said, “See, this is the lava?”

At three and a half, I had no idea he even knew what a volcano was. Then he told me about Hawaii, volcanos, and how one day he was going to live in Hawaii. It is his favorite place. This lucky little fellow has visited Hawaii with his parents a couple of times and has decided that is where he shall call home when he grows up. We agreed that I should travel with them on their next trip and stay with him at his home in Hawaii when he moves there.

In case you are wondering, he didn’t finish either of the treats.

“Grandchildren are loving reminders of what we’re really here for.” ~ Janet Lanese ~

Love this little guy. Luckily for me he will be visiting next week. Maybe we will visit a local ice cream parlor with this cousins. I don’t believe the cones will be quite as large this time.

If you are interested in viewing more photos for this week’s challenge or would like to submit your own, click on the link below:

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

Love and Light!


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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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WPC – Fun!

This week’s theme is simple: share a photo of something fun! Let’s all shake our booties, literal or figurative.

This week I had the privilege of having some fun with my two year old grandson in San Diego. We went for a walk to Rite Aid so I could pick up a pair of flip flops and my grandson wanted an ice cream. Two year olds love colorful ice cream so we went with the Bubblegum flavor. San Diego is experiencing a heat wave which resulted in some melting ice cream as soon as we left the store. Two blocks later this was the little face under the cover of the carriage. Oh what fun Tanner had. Check out his nose:)

 

Later in the day we headed to the water park for some fun in the water and a picnic.

Tanner had fun running in the water while his mother and I had fun watching him experiencing running through the water. As he became a little more comfortable with the water fountains he climbed up and stood over the water flow. Pure joy and fun was had by all.

While watching Tanner, Channel 9 San Diego newsman stopped to ask me my thoughts on the heat. As I was in the moment, the heat was not really bothering me and coming from high 90s in upstate New York, the 80s in San Diego wasn’t bothering me. Not sure my response was the response they were looking for as they were discussing the heat wave across the country. Guess if you are in the midst of having fun at a water park you don’t really think about anything else.

There is a time and place for everything. Sometimes in the midst of having fun it is better to release thought about problems that you haven’t any control over anyway. Do you live in the moment? Or, is your mind always focused on what you have no control over?

It has been such a fun week visiting my daughter and her family. I look forward to more fun for the remainder of the week!!

If you are interested in viewing additional photos for this week’s challenge or submitting your own, click on the link below:

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

Love and Light!


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Love this weeks challenge especially when I realized I had captured a few different settings with the color of the rainbow. The first two photos are of my grandson Tanner. I went to visit him when he was seven months old and watched him interact with other children at Gymboree. Then last month I had the opportunity to visit him again, now 18 months. As you can see he has changed quite a bit. The same little girl is still his best friend. It was such fun watching his interactions with the other children and to see his development over the year in between visits. Miss him but so grateful for FaceTime.

The next photo, taken at a Mexican Restaurant in San Diego, was very colorful and captures the color spectrum of the rainbow. Wish I could remember the name of the restaurant because the food was delicious and the decorations captured the energy of the locale.

Colorful Mexican Restaurant in San Diego, CA

Colorful Mexican Restaurant in San Diego, CA

Morning Delight

Morning Delight

This photo was taken in the morning when I walked into the living room and noticed that rainbow reflecting on the wall with the dragonfly shadow. Living mindfully allows one to notice things that might be missed when moving too quickly through life. This is a perfect example. If I had been moving too quickly through the living room this gift would have been missed.

 

 

 

 

 

The book lover in me could not pass over this photo. There is a rainbow of color captured on the shelves in the library. Once again, when visiting the library if you can slow down you will notice the various colors, shapes and sizes of the books. Try to find the smallest book, the largest book while visiting. Bring children to the library with you and share the joy of books and reading with them.

A colorful rainbow of books

A colorful rainbow of books

Local libraries, at least in the U.S., have many programs available for children and adults. I visit my favorite library, my niece is the librarian so of course this is my favorite. They offers several programs and book clubs for all ages. I am a member of the bookclub that meets on the third Friday of the month. It is like visiting family every time I attend. Do you have a favorite local library?

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “ROY G. BIV.”

Living big and enjoying life.

Love and Light!