Spirit of Dragonflies, LLC

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


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Finding Beauty and Hope In Nature

During these trying times, everyone needs to remember to focus part of their day on self-care. Whether that is five minutes of breathing, exercising, creating a healthy meal, meditating for 15 minutes or 30 minutes, painting, or spending time in nature. Stress is not good for our bodies, minds or spirit. For me, meditation and being outside in nature have allowed me to maintain my health, sanity, and connection to spirit.

Today I had the pleasure of visiting Pine Hollow Arboretum which is located a short way from my home. This has become my home away from home during the worldwide pandemic. Being in nature, walking the trails, listening to birds, walking barefoot, enjoying a sit-spot, and taking time to be mindful has been perfect way to enjoy life and get away from the news for short periods every day.

“Magic is seeing wonder in nature’s every little thing, seeing how wonderful the fireflies are and how magical are the dragonflies.” ~ Ama H. Vanniarachchy ~

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When I first arrived at the pond I noticed dragonflies of all sizes. This is not always the case and the varying sizes was a welcome surprise. They flew over my head, around me and through the reeds.

There were so many dragonflies flittering near the pond along with frogs of all sizes jumping and croaking. With the frogs croaking and birds singing what a lovely serenade.

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The trees were especially beautiful throughout the trails tonight. Although it was hot, the shade of the trees provided a welcomed relief from the heat.

Leaf shadows decorated the trees throughout the walk. I took some time for a sit-spot, breathing, and reflecting. Such a peaceful experience finding beauty and hope in nature.

My daughter gave birth to a daughter at home three weeks ago. She did not want to deliver in the hospital as her husband and her little boys would not have been able to visit. A home deliver was the best choice for her family. Thinking about my new granddaughter and watching the dragonflies lay their eggs gave me hope. Hope that our world will continue. We will overcome the pandemic, the political unrest, the illness and death, the separation from loved ones, economic uncertainty.

My new granddaughter will be remembered by her home birth during the pandemic. Her four year old brother present immediately after her birth to count her little fingers and toes. Her 18 month old brother not really understanding for the first three day. He has overcome his sadness, since nicknamed her Babe.

The dragonfly larvae may stay in the water for up to three years. This gives me hope as they have been around since the beginning of time, surviving catastrophes throughout the centuries. Dragonflies have been on Mother Earth for over 300,000 million years and here they are today still reproducing.

During the pandemic my family has witnessed the marriage of my great-nephew in North Carolina on Zoom. We attended a funeral service for a very close young friend. Then the birth of my granddaughter. We will soon celebrate the birth of another new family member in October. Life goes on.

We have to continue to have hope for a better future. If we could each focus on the future, on staying healthy we will be ready for the other side of the pandemic. What can we each do to bring beauty and hope in our lives?

We can exercise, eat healthy, meditate, spend time in nature. This is what has allowed me to maintain hope during all of the recent changes. I am one of the fortunate ones who has been working remotely, lucky enough to have walking trails nearby, healthy food to eat and prepare at home, electric, water, medical insurance. Not all have the same during the pandemic and I keep them all in my thoughts and prayers.

The one thing I can do while not able to be with others is to take care of myself. Self-care has been very beneficial. To keep sanity, someone living alone needs to have ways to maintain their health. If you are living with others, the house can seem small and crowded, even if you live in a large home. We all can benefit from self-care. For me, nature has been my go to. You may prefer exercise, running, drawing, writing, singing, dancing, creating or taking a nice bath. Even if you only take ten minutes a day, do yourself a favor and take time for yourself. If living with others, encourage them to do the same.

Please take care of yourself and allow yourself some time for self-care. This is more important now than ever.

If you already take the time, what are you doing to add self-care in your life? Please share.

Love and Light!

 


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Vision Board – International Dark Sky – Bryce Canyon National Park

My cousin and I have been planning a camping trip through Bryce Canyon National Park and other locations in southern Utah for over a year with Bryce being our first stop. I wasn’t sure what Dark Sky was until my cousins shared that we would be staying somewhere with we could enjoy it. She told me to look this up online and when I did it surprised me. On my vision board is a photo of the Milky Way taken on the new moon at Dark Sky. It was something that I have been wanting to witness but was not sure the name or where to see this. Also, I have photos of Utah with the word Travel over the top.

When she picked me up on August 28th at the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, NV we witnessed not one but three rainbows. Unfortunately I didn’t capture the rainbows that appeared when I arrived but we both felt this was a good sign for our trip.

The first night was spent in a hotel in Cedar City and in the morning we traveled to Bryce Canyon National Park. When we checked in at Bryce they weren’t sure if there were any open tent areas. We rode around and the first three they thought were still open had been taken. It is a first come first serve area so we continued on and found the perfect spot.

After setting up our tent and camping area we went to the visitor center to see what events were occurring during our stay. They shared that Bryce had just received it’s International Dark Sky certificate and they were going to have a astrophotography walk on Saturday night. It was Thursday, we were told to arrive by 8 am on Saturday morning to request one of twenty tickets to reserve our spot. I had my camera and a couple of camera lenses, my cousin was using her cell phone. My plan was to arrive at 7:30 am and wait for them to open so we could be the first in line.

Saturday morning came and we arrived at the building at 8:01 am. We went straight to the counter and were given two tickets. I spoke with the ranger to ensure that I would be able to take the hike slowly as my atrial fibrillation causes me to slow down at times. He said it would be a slow pace and there would be three stops along the way to take photos. Luckily I had purchased a small tripod in case it was needed – it would be on this venture.

Saturday we hiked along some of the trails, then I took a nap to prepare for the evening’s adventure scheduled from 8 – midnight. My camera batteries were charged and at 7:30 pm we headed over ready for whatever happened.

This is a picture of the trail we would walk on once darkness set in. As you can see we had quite a way to hike before setting up on below on the other side of the formation. Our group stood at the top getting to know one another and our photography experience. We were amateurs to experienced photographers coming together to share an experience.

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This picture of the sun setting and in the center behind the distant trees you may notice the smoke from the forest fire that was active in Bryce Canyon during our visit.

We didn’t actually start walking into the canyon until around 9 and found our way to the perfect sight as darkness was setting in and the stars were filling the sky. What a beautiful sight. An amateur with my camera, I wasn’t expecting too much but listened to instructions and was ready for any assistance our group members wanted to provide.

Not only did I capture the Milky Way and the Hoodoos but even captured a shooting star or two throughout our time in the canyon.

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We were told to take at least five of the same shot so we could stack them later but I am still not quite sure what that means. I am sure someone has posted on YouTube exactly how to do this and I’ll check it out when there is time.

Being in nature with a dark sky filled with planets and stars is amazing. The night lights up with so many stars you can actually see the paths you are walking on however we did use head lamps and flashlights – mainly with red filters – to make adjustments to our cameras. Here are some more shots taken during out walk.

As the night sky darkened the stars did their magic and we were in awe.

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Tried to use more white light in this pic

If we could be aware of our effect on Mother Earth and the Universe by dimming street lights, turning off lights that are not being used in buildings and homes, changing the way the lights filter into the night, and allowing more areas to be certified as Dark Sky more people would witness this amazing natural event. Isn’t it time to realize how insignificant petty arguments, obsession with material possessions, and other things and focus on all of the beauty in the world. Life is short in the grand scheme of things and there is so much to enjoy. We should spend more time in nature and more time lifting one another.

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While we are here living life on this planet we can take action to save this beautiful planet for ourselves and generations to come. Being with this big dark sky made me feel small and insignificant, yet, it also made me feel large, energized and worthy of being in the midst of all this beauty. I don’t want a trip to Mars and wouldn’t want to live on another planet – Earth is my home and we all need to figure out a way to live here peacefully with everyone else who shares our home.

This year I have been able to visit California, Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and have seen several sights that have been on my board to either see for the first time or see again. I will continue to share stories and photos of my trip and let you know if they were on my vision board or written in my journal. Nine days of traveling disconnected from internet, cell, television for the majority of that time was wonderful!

If you are ever in Utah do yourself a favor and visit Bryce Canyon National Park. You will not regret it.

My questions to you is:

Do you have a vision of something you want to see or do? Do you have a vision board placed where you can see it daily? Or, have you written down your dreams in your journal? Please feel free to share your experiences.

Light and Love!

 


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Finding Beauty in the Light

 “To love beauty is to see light.” ~ Victor Hugo ~

This weekend I walked into the library at Pumpkin Hollow Retreat Center to check out the books, something I do every time I volunteer. There were no lights on so the room was lit with natural light but as I stood there the rainbows of light began to fill the room. The sun had set just enough to reflect into the crystal hanging in the window and it was beautiful. There were rainbows reflected on the carpet, ottoman, couch, tables, everywhere. After enjoying this gift for a little while I decided to take a walk.

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

In the woods, the sun was protected by the tree canopy but once in a while a stream of light would find its way to the ground dotting the mossy path or shining through the back of a leaf appearing as if someone was holding a flashlight behind them.  It looked quite magical. On this walk I was not in a hurry to reach a destination. It was a slow pace, observing all that nature had to offer stopping to touch the bark, leaning down to explore tiny wild flowers, sitting on a fallen tree, feeling the cool moss, listening to the birds and the leaves rustling above. A little forest bathing, taking off my shoes to ground myself in nature. Such a peaceful experience.

When you are walking into a room do you stop and notice how the light filtering in the window decorates the furniture, carpets, and walls? When walking in the forest to you notice the patches of light on the ground before you, or decorating the foliage? Do you take the time to ground yourself, listen to the birds, feel the presence of trees, listen to the rustling leaves, feel the coolness of the air on your skin?

Every morning when the sun shines through my windows I feel blessed when I wake to the rainbows decorating my bedroom walls, waiting for me in the kitchen, and in the afternoon decorating the dining and living room. I have sun catchers, wind chimes, and/or crystals hanging in the windows that give quite a show, one that never fails to amaze me.

When you can appreciate the small things in life you will never miss the big things because the small things are the big things in life. They can uplift and help you find your way through sadness, illness, and other dark times. However you don’t want to wait for those ‘dark’ times to notice the beauty of life happening all around you. If you live mindfully aware of the beauty you are blessed with daily it will be easier to see and light the way during those dark moments. Remember the light is always with us on cloudy days, you just can’t see it at the moment.

For me, my darkness sets in when my heart dances – not a comfortable dance – atrial fibrillation. It is something I am learning to live with, not pleasant but I refuse to let it take over my life. My new normal is starting the day with medication and ending with medication. As someone who didn’t even take Tylenol this is a new experience. I am a nature girl, someone who loves to be active, to hike, snowshoe, kayak, always on the move. My new reality has me slowing down a little more, feeling tired a little more during the day, resting more frequently. There are some days I rather not do too much but as I have a habit of noticing the rainbows, light patterns on the walls, and ceilings I can always see beauty and enjoy the moments.

I lit candles in my office the other night and this beautiful design appeared on the ceiling. It was so colorful that I sat and enjoyed this for a while. Amazingly I had never noticed how beautiful the design was in the past. This I couldn’t understand because I have lit these candles in the past but never noticed – maybe it was the way the candle holders were sitting on the bookshelf that made the difference or maybe I just needed this little lift that night. Either way, it was an amazing gift.

If you are having a problem seeing the light during your dark times feel free to email me and we can talk about techniques to guide you to see the light. spiritofdragonflies@gmail.com.

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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Bring Your Own Sunshine

How will you interpret weathered? Will you capture a lined, smiling face as you practice street photography? A piece of beach glass worn smooth by the waves? A snow-covered path carved by the wind? Have fun with your interpretation!

“Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.”
~ Anthony J. D’Angelo ~

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“Storms make trees take deeper roots.” ~ Dolly Parton ~

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Tree huggers

Weathered items have their own beauty to share with the world.

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Broken Rosette on fence

We all weather many storms in life. It is what we do during and after those storms that make a difference.

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

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

Love and Light!


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Decisions – Loneliness or Freedom? Choice is Yours

Finding joy and pleasure in your life – no matter your circumstances.

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With thoughts of freedom come choice. If you find yourself alone at the end of the day embrace your freedom – the world is an open book.

  • Turn off the television.
  • Pick up a book or magazine, grab a tea, light a candle and cuddle up in your favorite chair with a cozy blanket.
  • Grab some pens/paint/pencils and a blank page to draw, write, paint, create something new.
  • Take apart some old jewelry and create a new necklace or use the pieces for your painting
  • Open the refrigerator and pull out some vegetables to create a new dish. Pay attention to the colors, textures while creating. Maybe you will decide the carrots, beets, sweet potatoes are a beautiful color and you decide to use the color for a new painting or to die a piece of material.
  • Put on your favorite music and sing at the top of your lungs while you dance around your house
  • Pull out your camera and take photos of your food, shadows, lighting, items you are creating
  • If you have essential oils, create a new blend in a roller ball or a new blend for bath salts
  • Declutter – that is always a great way to release anything holding you back and making space for new experiences

Thinking about the cold nights of winter in New York State, many are not willing to go outside due to freezing temperatures, icy roads, or maybe you want to enjoy winter from within your home. People who live alone, or with others, many times don’t enjoy all seasons and many hibernate when possible during the cold months – why not find a way to enjoy every minute of life.

Find magic and beauty wherever you are.

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It is always present if you open yourself up to the everyday joy in life.

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When brave enough to venture outside, bundle up and get out there and enjoy nature. With enough clothing you will feel so refreshed when you return home. Then you can fill up the bathtub with your new bath salts and enjoy a nice relaxing bath while listening to some soothing music.

What is your choice when alone – Loneliness or freedom? We all need people in our lives yet finding peace in quiet solitude is a great way to explore your inner creative self.

Love and Light!


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WPC – Windows

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.

People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.


The view from the home windows change with the weather, each with its own unique experience. Sharing the experiences with grand babies make it even more special.

The sun porch is a special place to read, write or play with the little ones in the summer. In the winter the windows freeze over until spring visits once again. In the fall, the tree in the back of the house turns a fiery red inspiring my creative side. I love to sit at my desk to journal or write on my laptop. No matter the season, the windows of my home always look out to beauty – birds bathing in the bird bath, squirrels gathering nuts, snow or red leaves blanketing the ground, or green grass blanketing the earth after the snow melts – it is all amazing to me.

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. ~ Confucius ~

What do you see out your windows?

Love and Light!

If you would like to view other photos or submit your own, please click on the link below:

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

 

 


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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

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  • 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!