Spirit of Dragonflies, LLC

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love and Light!

 


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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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Autumn in the Adirondacks

Autumn in New York is just as spectacular as a trip to Vermont this time of year. This is especially true when the Adirondacks are at peak. Even a little rain can’t dampen the spirits when leaf peeping. The two and a half hour ride north to Tupper Lake was spectacular.

After Tupper Lake we traveled to Fish Creek Camp Site in Saranac Lake area. It was a perfect day for kayaking. We had to wear a light jacket and it sprinkled a little yet it was perfect. The colors were an eye candy treat. There were two other kayakers who stopped their journey at a campsite around the corner from where we started and one lone kayaker out in a secluded section of the pond. It was quiet and very peaceful on this cool Autumn day.

To live in New York – not NYC – is a wonderful experience with all of the changing seasons. Sometimes it seems as if seasons change within the day. You may start out in the morning bundled and by mid afternoon be down to shirt sleeves, then throw on a rain coat, take off the rain coat to enjoy a beautiful sunset while wearing a jacket. Dress in layers and be grateful that you are alive enjoying such an experience.

There are a lot of tragedies occurring all over the world, even close by there was a tragic accident with twenty losing their lives in one useless car crash so if you are alive and well, be grateful. Take in the beauty of nature we are blessed with even if it is a weed growing up through a crack in the sidewalk. Everyone has a story and by remaining grateful and hopeful we can help raise the vibration of the world.

May your day be blessed with love, light and joy!

Love and Light!


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Favorite Photos from 2017

This week, we’re proposing something a little different to celebrate the end of the year. Instead of a specific theme or topic, we invite you to share your most meaningful photo from 2017. This isn’t necessarily the “best” photo you’ve taken this year — feel free to post your most technically accomplished photo of the year if you’d like, but we equally encourage you to think about other parameters.

“Dragonflies are reminders that we are light and we can reflect light in powerful ways if we choose to do so.” ~ Robyn Nola ~

There were many photos taken this year which I truly loved however, this year, I would have to select this capture of a dragonfly as one of my favorites. I love how the sun light is captured perfectly by the wings and it was a cherished day spent with two of my cousins exploring nature. Great memories were had by all.

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Another capture of a dragonfly is the one below. This little gem seemed to be following along with me in the Saratoga National Historical Park. When the wind gust came up I witnessed this fragile little body’s strength. She held on tight and overcame the struggle. This is a good message for me at this time as I move through my own health issue. This reminds me to hold strong and know that this too will be overcome shortly and health will prevail.

Another nature memory is the mushroom – I was invited to experience Spirit Walk with Mary in New Mexico this summer. During our walk in nature the little specimens below covered the landscape. At first hidden, this one was noticed from quite a distance away. Then it seemed they were providing a path for us to follow. It was a beautiful experience and reminded me that if we remain open and present in the moment our path will unfold before us. As you can see these beauties break free from the soil that comforts them in their beginning stages of life. They rise up in vibrant colors soaking up the sun and enjoying life.

We can do the same. Break through barriers – take chances, meet new people, be open to new ideas, love everyone, and send peace out to everyone in our world – and especially to Mother Earth as she is the true life support for everyone on this planet. Without a healthy Mother Earth there is no life!

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I found this quote in the response section of What does the mushroom symbolize:

Because they (mushrooms) grow in the dark they can represent activity happening behind the scenes and secrets. There is an element of the unexpected and paradox. Out of darkness comes life. Mushrooms can also signify growth during dark times in one’s life. ~ Paul Wilson ~

This could be true for our current times and I really like – out of the darkness comes life. Also, that mushrooms signify growth during dark times in one’s life. There is always a light at then end of every dark tunnel. Sometimes darkness helps us to wake in appreciation of the light. I think when we have too much of one or the other we become stagnant. When in good health we sometimes don’t stop to appreciate our blessing. When taken away we wish it to return. When financially secure, in our quest for more we don’t always stop to enjoy the preciousness of life. Children grow up and act in the same manner we wish we had slowed down to spend more time with them.

During dark times some people become angry and dangerous as they forget (or have never witnessed) what life is like when filled with light and love. We see this with looting, violence, shootings, politicians wanting more and more from the people without giving back, and war as people fight over invisible boundaries and resources. Darkness and Light are always with us, we just need to discover where our dark side is hidden and welcome it into the light to maintain our balance. We are not in competition with others, we are in competition with the person we were yesterday, last year, five years ago. The only person we need to focus on and improve is ourselves. Are you bringing more darkness or light into your own life and those around you? As 2017 comes to a close it is a perfect time to think about what you want to bring into 2018.

May you find peace and joy in the last days of 2017 and prepare for a New Beginning in 2018. Focus on what you want in life, stand tall, and do something daily to improve yourself, the lives of those around you, and our shared Mother Earth. Smile more, laugh more, dance and sing more, get out in nature, pick up trash even if you didn’t drop it, teach your children to appreciate life and nature, meet your neighbors, lend a hand, give food to the person on the street in need, don’t judge yourself or others, be Kind, be Love, BE THE LIGHT for all to see.

Love and Light!

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

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


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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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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 – It Is Easy Being Green

Those of you who’d like to go more interpretive still have plenty of options: try an image of something you envy, or a photo inspired by the one of the other common associations with green (life, health, youth, money, hope). Otherwise, just bask in the color itself!

If you want to push things a little more, try creating an image gallery to highlight multiple hues of this springtime shade.

Green is the color of the heart chakra and symbolizes creativity, abundance, health, harmony, and nature.  The sights and smells of greens in nature raises my vibration.

“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.” ~ Pedro Calderon de la Barca ~

Welcome to my gallery of green!

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

If you are interested in viewing other submissions or would like to submit your own photos, click on the link below:

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/it-is-easy-being-green/

Love and Light!


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Santanoni Preserve

Today when I left my home the sun was shining but the roads were a bit icy. As we traveled from Albany north on I-87 we weren’t sure if we would see snow especially when it started to rain. When we pulled off the highway at exit 29 the rain seemed to be following along but after a while the rain turned to snow as we climbed the mountains roads. What a beautiful site – the trees covered in snow looked like a winter wonderland. Ahead we could see the snow falling on the mountains ahead and we knew it would be a good day for snowshoeing. I have been wanting to visit Camp Santanoni Preserve located on Rt. 28N, Santanoni Rd.in Newcomb, NY for quite some time. It is a little over a two hour ride from my home. Today was a perfect day to check it out.

When we arrived we were told that the preserve was open for the holiday weekend so it was our lucky day. Apparently the preserve is not open daily in the winter. A Monday off, snow, the Preserve was open, and perfect weather with the temperature around 30 degrees. Our clothing was layered and waterproof so we were ready for any kind of weather. Miracles do happen!

I thought it would be nice to share some of the photos for those of you who may live in New York State and are looking for a place to hike, explore, snowshoe or cross-country ski. For those of you who do not live in New York and weren’t aware that we have a very large, diverse state in more ways then one these photos will give you a different perspective of this beautiful state. Most of the people I have met in my travels think of New York as Manhattan and don’t realize how large this state is. The majority of New York State’s population live in NYC but the rest of us are very proud of our state and our environment – especially the nature that surrounds us. So enjoy!

Welcome to Santanoni Preserve in the Adirondacks

Welcome to Santanoni Preserve in the Adirondacks

Bridge to Santanoni Preserve

Bridge to Santanoni Preserve

Information station at Santanoni Preserve

Information station at Santanoni Preserve

Some original buildings in Santanoni Preserve

Some original buildings in Santanoni Preserve

The buildings are original to the Preserve – check it out on FaceBook at Camp Santanoni and Santanoni Preserve or you can check it out by doing a Google Search.

Stone House in Santanoni Preserve in the Adirondacks

Stone House in Santanoni Preserve in the Adirondacks

Loved this stone building in Santanoni Preserve

Loved this stone building in Santanoni Preserve

Snow covering trees in Adirondacks

Snow covering trees in Adirondacks

Birds nest waiting for spring

Birds nest waiting for spring

Snow covered Cross-Country ski trail through Santanoni Preserve

Snow covered Cross-Country ski trail through Santanoni Preserve

As you can see from the photo below I was dressed in warm clothing, not the most attractive dress style but very comfortable and warm. It was such a great time being outside.

Snowshoeing in Santanoni Preserve

Snowshoeing in Santanoni Preserve

It is always difficult to leave these trails whether in the winter or summer. I find it exhilarating when in nature. I hope that you enjoyed the photos.

Love and Light,
Sandy