Spirit of Dragonflies, LLC

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


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Mindfulness Outdoor Experience With Children

Mindfulness Outdoor Experiences (MOE) can be enjoyed at any age. Generally the walks have been with adults but I did have a walk in the winter with a 2 year old and twin 9 year olds with their Moms. The Mom of the two year old wasn’t sure the little guy would be warm enough or last too long. She was quite surprise when he walked the 1/2 mile in and out. He hugged several trees and loved the sit-spot.

There were two other times when children joined a MOE. Last year a 9 year old joined the adult walk and it was her first time seeing snow. She and her mother were from South Caroline. She sauntered in silence and enjoyed the 20 minute sit-spot. A couple of weeks ago another 9 year old joined us. He walked quietly, discovered different wonders of nature and made his own mandala.

Recently I had the privilege of guiding four Moms and their little ones – 3 were three years of age and one was 17 months – through the woods at Pine Hollow Arboretum. When working with children the focus changes and there is a little more talking than on an adult experience which is mainly silent.

We started off with some stretching, twirling, reaching to the sky and touching Mother Earth. Then we learned about deer ears and how to do a fox walk. The children started off walking very close to their Moms and not interacting with each other very much.

The little boy walked was not afraid and walked closely next to me chatting about what he was seeing. He loved touching the moss, leaves, pine cones and more. After a while three year old girls overcame their shyness and began to walk next to me. At some point during the walk they started to hold my hand and let me help them in the slippery muddy areas. They shared their fear of snakes. We discussed how important snakes were and that as long as they didn’t come near us we would be fine. Luckily for them we didn’t run into any snakes along the trail. I have met snakes along the trail while exploring Pine Hollow Arboretum in the past.

After a while we decided to be a little creative and they gathered pine cones, acorns, leaves, small pine branches, pine needles, sticks, and some moss – it had to be already lying on the ground – and we tried our hand at creating. Even the little 17 month old helped out.

It wasn’t really an Mandala but they had fun gathering and creating. We took a picture and left this as a gift for anyone traveling that way.

Then we went on to touch the different texture of tree trunks along the trail and the moss covering the fallen trees. Each one of the little ones chose a tree to hug.

They all loved exploring the moss on the logs and we discovered places where the red squirrels had a family feast. It looked like a food trough in the nooks and crannies of the fallen logs. And, sometimes at the bottom of trees we found piles of acorns.

They really enjoyed the adventure and exploring all of the gifts of the forest. We checked out the different sizes, shapes, and textures of the leaves, and height of trees. They smelled the leaves, tree trunks, moss and dirt.

One of the little ones was down on the ground and I asked her what she was doing. She said, “I’m a lizard.” It was obvious wasn’t it. She was having such a great time.

Friends were made during the experience. They held hands, laughed, hugged trees, discovered nature together.

During the walk I showed them this tree with the big hole. I stuck my head inside and looked up as I called out “Anybody home.” Then they all wanted to be held up to check this out and call inside too. We discussed who might be living in the tree and they had some ideas.

Truthfully this was just as much fun for me as it was for them. I am looking forward to my next mindfulness experience with little ones. At the end of the walk we sat at the picnic table and they shared what they liked about the experience. Children are amazing and parents can learn a great deal from their children. We do not need to be childish but being childlike allows us to connect with nature, slow down our thoughts, relax a bit and have fun.

After we left I received a text from one of the Moms sharing that when they arrived at her house her son got out of the car and went over to their tree and hugged it. We are hoping he will become a lifelong tree hugger. The next day I received an email from the ‘lizard’s’ Mom telling me that her daughter was dreaming in the night and called out, “C’mon guys, let’s go.” Her Mom thinks she was dreaming of being out in the woods with the kids.

If you have little ones, get them out in nature and let them have some freedom to explore. Get down on the ground with them to check out the holes in the trees, the smell of the earth, the taste of wild peppermint, cold water on your bare feet, the textures of the tree trunks and leaves. Being in nature lowers your blood pressure, lowers your stress hormones, allows you to breath in fresh air, and receive the benefits of the essence of the forest. Let the little ones run barefoot in the grass and feel the dirt under foot. Let them crawl on the ground like a lizard, roll down the hill, jump in puddles. You will notice they will sleep sounder and you will too.

Organized sports are fine but free play is better if you would like to raise creative, playful, less stressed, happy children. Plus, the sports playing fields are generally heavily sprayed with pesticides and can be stressful for many children. Being out in the natural forested area is a healthier environment. If you are concerned about tics there are many natural deer free sprays. Plus, you can give the children a shower once home to remove any tics before they attach to the skin. There are so many benefits to children and their parents being out in nature. You can share a fun experience, laugh, and learn together in a stress free environment. You can build a loving, caring relationship while connecting to the natural environment. We are not separate from nature, we are nature. So connect and enjoy!

If you would like more information on how to enjoy being in nature with your children or about Mindfulness Outdoor Experiences please feel free to email me at spiritofdragonflies@gmail.com.

Love and Light


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Peek A Boo – What Do I See?

This week, share a peek of something — a photo that reveals just enough of your subject to get us interested. A tantalizing detail. An unusual perspective. Compel us to click through to your post to find out more!

Abby and Emily came to visit me with their Nonni and Poppy and we decided to take a walk in the woods near my home. A fun time was had by all, even the ‘big’ kids. The deer in the field were a nice surprise in the Saratoga National Park. We often see many deer in the fields however this group was near the path. I think they enjoy watching people watching them. Probably standing over there having a good time laughing at those odd-looking people staring at them.

What do you see hiding within? Love finding peeking spots when hiking or walking in the Albany Rural Cemetery. One never knows what they will see so always stop to check it out. The little deer was caught peeking out at me as I was leaving Pumpkin Hollow Retreat Center. It felt as if she was coming over to say goodbye.

Looks who’s peeking out at his first snow fall. Baby Tanner (almost 4 years old now). He loved watching the snow flakes fall. Shortly after this photo we bundled him up and brought him out for his first sleigh ride. Once again, fun was had by all especially the ‘big’ kids.

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May you slow down long enough to become aware of your environment and all the hidden treasures. What do you notice peeking out at you?

Love and Light!

If you would like to see 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/peek/


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WPC – Corner

What kinds of images and emotions do corners evoke in you? In this week’s challenge, share a photo that plays on any of the word’s many meanings. Show your favorite street corner, or a cozy nook in your home where you feel truly at peace. Focus on a person or place that’s recently gone through a transformation — “turned a corner,” as we often say. Or stick to geometry and highlight the angularity of a favorite landscape or object.

Looks who Eric caught in the corner of the bedroom window. Two little boys checking out the passing train. Both of the boys started off fearful of the loud train passing by and who can blame them. The whole house trembles as it rumbles down the tracks. In the summer, the screaming whistle fills the house demanding cars to stop and wait.

To overcome their fear we would laugh as we grabbed them up in our arms on our way  to the window and wave at the passengers. Now they run to the window themselves or, if on the front porch, run to the little bench to watch the passing trains as they wave goodbye wishing them a safe journey.

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I read this quote by an unknown source and thought it appropriate for my grandsons.

“Don’t ask him to live in your world, visit his world instead.”

This is how I feel when with the little ones, always wondering what they are seeing and feeling as they experience the world anew. Around every corner a new experience awaits them. I try to see the world through their eyes and sometimes remember the hidden child within.

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/corner/

Love and Light!


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In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Treat.”

Recently I had a treat of the birth of a new grandson, Colt, and ten days with my twenty month old grandson, Tanner. Spending a week with Tanner is a rare event because I live in central New York and my daughter lives in San Diego, CA with her family. Both events were treats for our family. Every minute spent with my grandchildren is a treat.

As you will see from the expression on Tanner’s face he had such fun time riding the large slide, even though he was thrown around on the way down. Once at the bottom, he ran to climb the ladder and try again. We were at the bottom laughing along with him.

From the birth of Colt on Sept. 14th to the day Tanner and Allison had to fly home we filled the days in with adventures. A trip to Vermont with my daughters and their sons was a special treat because I was able to take a day off from work to share in the fun. As you will see from the photos baby Colt is very precious. Don’t worry, Colt wasn’t left alone with the pumpkin, my daughter Cassie was sitting next to him.

I hope that you have enjoyed my ‘treats’ – better than any candy, cake, or vacation that I can think of and the entire week was filled with great memories of our special week together. Many captured on film.

Love and Light!