Spirit of Dragonflies

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


3 Comments

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 ~

IMG_9110

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 ~

IMG_7285

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 ~

DSC_0758

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 ~

DSC_0735

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!

 


8 Comments

Creating Wind Chimes

Have you ever discovered something that you love creating and never knew?

A year ago my granddaughter and I took a class creating a wind chime. The next week I picked up beads, fishing line, and went out in the back to find a piece of wood. The creative bug took over.

Now I facilitate my own classes – wind chimes, diffuser bracelets, and essential oil roller balls. The bracelets and essential oil roller balls are fairly quick and easy to create. When creating essential oils the longest part of the process is finding blends that provide an uplifting vibration. I love learning of the blends, adding tiny dried flowers, frankincense, myrrh, and small gems. When creating bracelets generally I will lay out the beads, walk away for a while and then return and pull the bracelet together. Wind chimes take much more time and they are the best way to slow down, breathe, and create mindfully.

When creating the wind chimes I may spend time in nature searching for some small branches. Once found I bring them to the basement to dry. They may sit there for a week, month or several months. Sometimes others will find them and bring them to me. last year my son and his wife traveled to Nova Scotia and returned with some finds for me. There has been a box in the basement awaiting my creativity. Recently I pulled out a couple of the pieces and brought them upstairs for some inspiration.

I pulled out the white cloth and began bringing out beads. Last year I created one with a theme of pink and crystals, then one with red and crystals. One hangs in the dining room and the other in the bedroom. In the morning I love waking to the rainbows decorating the walls and ceiling. When I return home the dining room floor and ceiling is decorated in rainbows. I find it quite magical.

This week I have been staying up at night laying out beads and creating two more wind chimes. I find it very relaxing and this experience helps you develop patience.

How you may be wondering?

Well each bead is placed on the fishing line, the line must be tied and a seed bead placed on the knot. This prevents beads with larger holes to slip through. Sometimes when tying the knot it is too far apart and the knot has to be untied and redone. Sometimes you are finishing the last line and while tying it to the top you cut the wrong piece of line. Time to redo the hole line of beads. Although I haven’t stopped to measure for exactness, the last try was pretty close to being even. Who wants perfection  – not me. The imperfection is quite beautiful.

This is what makes it difficult sometimes when facilitating a class. Many participating in the class want perfection. As they begin preparing their design everything must match. Not the case for my granddaughter, she chose different beads, some not matching, and her wind chime came out perfect. We had fun while learning. There were times when we had to redo the whole thing over but each left that first workshop with a completed project.

When facilitating I let the participants begin by picking out their beads knowing they would be back up to the beads to chose others. They forget the seed beads and sometimes try to forego the tiny beads until they begin and the larger beads slip over the knot. Then it is time to choose seed beads. Then the process starts all over again. I love witnessing their experience. They rearrange several times, become frustrated at this new experience. Happens every time. The chatting slows down and quiet sets in as each begins to focus, touching the beads, tying knots, as their brain shifts into mindfulness. Frustration transitions to a sense of calm and peace. The energy in the room shifts and it seems as if all the strangers have become friends sharing a caring, creative energy. It is a wonderful feeling, uplifting everyone at the same time. All tension brought into the workshop at the beginning is released.

When creating at my dining table I sit quietly, no music or television, just the quiet of the house. Sometimes I’ll change out the beads until it feels right. I’ve already drilled the holes – two extra for the line to hold the wind chime. Maybe five rows of beads, maybe four, it depends on the piece of wood chosen. When working on this after work I may stay there until midnight – time passes and I’m not aware.

Do you have a craft that you love so much all senses of time disappears while you are enjoying the moment? How often to you take the time to enjoy this experience.

Even if you take ten minutes a day for yourself, add something that you love into your day. You deserve at least ten minutes a day to create something – singing, playing an instrument, drawing, writing, woodworking . . . Try turning off the television and enjoy your own life – not someone else’s life .

Light and Love

 


Leave a comment

Living A Creative Life

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.” – Ray Bradbury

Are you living your creative life?

Or, did you leave it behind when ‘life‘ got in the way.

I hear that quite often. “Oh I used to create jewelry when I was a teenager.” With this remark the person insinuates that creating is something for youth and not those with busy lives, families to care for, careers to focus on. My question is always “How much time do you spend in front of the television, on the computer, FaceBook, playing video games, or complaining about your situation?

What are we teaching our children? That life as an adult is stressful. That we leave behind our creativity as we get older. Creativity helps us maintain an open mind, to look at the world with creative eyes, to step out of our comfort zone. Don’t we want to raise children who are able to think for themselves, to think out of the box, to live a purposeful, interesting life.

 

Before I went to the bead store and picked up some beads and accessories I had no idea how to make a necklace, bracelet or wind chime. I took a class and watched a video then pulled out my items and started to create. The same with photography. I pulled out the camera and started enjoying taking photos of dew on leaves, then I was hooked.

 

Are you living a creative journey or just getting by thinking one day you will pursue your creative desires? I hear people say, “When I retire I’m going to get back into photography – paint – dance – learn how to play an instrument.” Why wait until retirement?

What if you decide that you will carve out an hour a week, or better yet, an hour a day of creativity time.

“Creativity is putting your imagination to work, and it’s produced the most extraordinary results in human culture.” ~ Ken Robinson ~

DSC_0939

Over the last couple of years I have focused on adding more creativity into my life. Whether creating jewelry, experimenting with wire wrapping, creating wind chimes, drawing, using essential oils to create roller balls, using items found in nature with beads, creating book markers, hair clips, photography and writing. Did everything I made get shared with others? No.

The best thing was shifting from not knowing how, enjoying the learning experience and reaching out to learn. One step at a time, one day at a time, taking classes, watching YouTube videos and experimenting. The process was fun. We can’t expect to create a perfect product immediately. With time and practice we develop a new skill.

DSC_0260

Last year I started attending craft fairs to share my creativity – photos in frames, diffuser bracelets, necklaces, essential oils roller balls and other fun items. Just setting up the tables for the craft fair is a wonderful creative experience. Meeting new creative people is always fun and sharing ideas makes the event fun. If you had told me several years ago I would be sharing my craft at the fair I would not have believed you. What can you begin to create today?

Once you start the process it carries on to other areas of your life. For example, as a teenager and young Mom I created birthday cakes for nieces, nephews and my own children. Now that I focus on creativity, I am trying my hand at birthday cakes once again. Below is one that I made for my grandson last year – Monster trucks – his favorite.

DSC_0762

Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will.” – George Bernard Shaw

If you are interested in exploring your creative side and would like some guidance please leave a message below or send an email to spiritofdragonflies@gmail.com. Returning to our creative self allows us to live on purpose and remember what brings happiness, joy, and excitement into our lives. We become the guide and shine our light for others. I look forward to hearing from you.

Love and Light!

 


Leave a comment

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 ~

dsc_0423

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

DSC_0044

  • 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

dsc_0082

  • 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.

dsc_0363

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!


2 Comments

Fun Creating Wind Chimes

Have you ever created your own wind chime? We have been having fun creating wind chimes with many different items to include essential oil diffuser beads, crystals, buttons, sea shells, bells, colorful beads, wind chime tubes, charms, and many other items. Here are some photos of the end product from a class.

When sauntering in the woods or walking along the river bank I love to find small sticks to share with the class. Each person is given the same opportunity to select their wood, charms and choice of fishing line, string, wire or whatever else will hold their charms and wind chime. It always amazes me how given the same material each wind chime is unique. No one seems to want the same charms, beads, or shells. The end product is personal.

My wind chimes hang on my front porch and I love to listen to the light tinkling. It is a very peaceful sound especially as I lay in bed preparing for sleep.

If you are in the Albany, NY area on October 21, 2018 please join us for a wind chime class at A Place Called Om – 2022 Western Ave, Albany, NY 12203-5014, United States. We will meet from 1 – 3 and plan to have a fun time learning how to create wind chimes. Everyone will take home their own creation for a small price of $20.

This is one of my favorite classes to facilitate. Each participants begins by selecting their material. Some will lay it out in front of them and organize the pieces. Others just start creating without thinking how their end product will look. Most will change their mind during the creative process. They may return to the material table several times as they listen to their creative voice guiding them through the process. What begins as a bit noisy becomes quieter as each individual goes within and creates using their heart and spiritual guidance. It is a beautiful thing to witness.

If you have created your own wind chime please share a photo. We would love to see and hear of your experience.

Love and Light!

 


2 Comments

Return To Spirit of Dragonflies

Sometimes we need to step back and reevaluate our direction. For a while after the closing down of the Photo Challenge site I was unable to access my WordPress website. Word Press staff are very helpful and it was determined that I would have to switch to Chrome in order to access my site.

DSC_0120.jpg

After missing several weeks of posts, I didn’t return very often. During my absence, I even slowed down taking photos. Many of you are familiar with similar time periods – life changes, interest change and you are pulled in a different direction. I wandered off track for a bit while discovering new ideas, going on adventures, reevaluating priorities. It has been an interesting experience.

Some things in life change which we have no control – maybe areas of our life that we loved have to release – other interests come and go in a short time period and take us in a different direction from where we wanted to travel. It is at that point we should stop and take some time to prioritize, decide which activities are raising our vibrations and making us feel light, which are weighing us down, costing money, ill health, returning us to a past that wasn’t working. These are the growing times, recuperating times when we slow down, allow ourselves to say no to people or activities. This is where I have been for the last couple of months – discovering, learning, experimenting, growing, healing.

Today I return, revitalized and ready for the next chapter. As I woke at my son’s home this morning, I noticed some mushrooms near a tree outside his front window. After making a cup of coffee I headed out to the woods with camera in hand. He has paths through the woods in his back yard with some treasures hidden throughout nature. It is a very peaceful location and I am always grateful when asked to house and cat sit.

Once back in the front yard I checked out the mushrooms. First the one which can be seen from the window, then noticed there is a circle of varying size and color mushrooms around the cedar tree. There was a slight drizzle that didn’t stop me from getting low to the ground to check out these beauties.

“Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art a mushroom.”
~ Thomas Carlyle ~

Update: After posting I went to a second  hand bookstore nearby (it’s really a house filled with books) I shared with the bookstore owner about the circle of mushrooms and she said “Oh you found a fairy ring.” Having no idea what a fairy ring is and had to Google this. Sure enough this is a  fairy ring. There is a scientific and mythical description so I’ll go with the mythical as it is more fun. Glad I didn’t step into the center.

“If you see a fairy ring
In a field of grass,
Very lightly step around,
Tiptoe as you pass;
Last night fairies frolicked there,
And they’re sleeping somewhere near.”
William Shakespeare

When I arrived last night I noticed how the light was hitting the flower planters and loved the playing of light and dark. The night was filled with the sound of frogs and other insects singing in harmony with an occasional call from the coyotes.

DSC_0059

This reminded me of my walk in Thatcher Park a week or so ago. As I was walking along the path from the light into the dark, unknown it reminded me that this is what life is like sometimes. We are walking along enjoying life and then either by choice or circumstance we move into a darkness – unaware of our new surroundings, environment, situation. Whether this be the result of a loss of employment, new job, new home, death, illness we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory.

“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” ~Aristotle ~

Just knowing the light is always present, waiting with open arms allows us to move through the dark moments. Last November, my otherwise healthy heart, began waking me in the night as it danced and beat like it was trying to find its way out of my chest. After a few weeks, and a week’s vacation, I finally I decided it was time see someone. To my surprise, I was experiencing atrial fibrillation. For someone otherwise very healthy this was a shock and a wake up call to take action.

Since that time I began visiting an acupuncturist, using my essential oils, eating more fruits and vegetables, meditating, saying no, having monthly massages, walking regularly and spending even more time in nature. Yes, I visit my cardiologist and take my meds as prescribed with the goal to one day no longer need them. Also, I have been delving into my creative side in new areas. Wire wrapping, using nature with beads, drawing, and experiencing nature in new ways and even taking classes – The Language of Nature, Listening to Trees, Meditative Walks, Forest Bathing.

After taking a local wire wrapping class I went home and wrapped some stones. My granddaughter and I had a fun time at a wind chime class. We enjoyed it so much that I made two more and then facilitated a diffuser wind chime class. Adding the essential oils was a nice touch to the project. This week, I’ll be facilitating a wind chime class at the local library.

My check up with the cardiologist went well this week. He said keep doing whatever I am doing and he will see me in six months. I believe once you can get your mind off the darkness lingering over your light, you begin to see the beauty in the everyday no matter what is happening around you. Become proactive, take charge of your life and how you want to feel about it. Whether that be meditating, breathing, creating, singing, dancing, laughing, walking, sitting in nature, hugging a tree, eating healthy, volunteering – all are good for the soul and carry you through life in lightness.

If you feel stuck and would like some guidance, please comment or email me at spiritofdragonflies@gmail.com. Let’s prepare for 2019 now and make it a year of creating a new life adventure for you. Learn to flow through the darkness – find your still point no matter what challenges you face.

Love and Light!


11 Comments

I’d rather be . . . – WPC

Although I am quite content to be doing exactly what I am doing in the moment, whether that be washing dishes, vacuuming, dusting, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow . . . Each daily task brings a sense of being in the moment, enjoying life. This week we are asked to share what we would rather be doing, which is a bit hard when I sit here doing exactly what pleases me, so I will think about a nice sunny day and what I would rather do given the choice on such a day.

I’d rather be . . . sitting on my front porch with a glass of iced mint tea reading a book or, if the grandchildren were here, playing with the toys on the other end of the porch. There is nothing better than sun, sheer curtains dancing in the breeze on a nice warm, sunny day.

DSC_0449 (1)

If I were not home, I’d rather be . . .

Exploring woods and nature with my children and grandchildren . . . Hugging trees . . . meditating at the ocean, lake or stream while listening to the water . . . walking barefoot . . . Earthing . . . anything outside in nature . . .

I’d rather be . . . creating – taking photos, making jewelry, preparing blends of essential oil roller bottles, facilitating Vision Board classes . . .

I’d rather be . . . Sledding with my family at the golf course . . .

I’d rather be . . . Always with camera, book, and notebook maybe enjoying a latte and treat . . .

I’d rather be . . . Anywhere on the water enjoying my kayak, nature, birds singing, quiet of the evening . . .

img_5184

Enjoying simple pleasures – feeling very blessed. LIFE IS GOOD!

Now, it’s your turn. What would you rather be doing? If you’ve got more than one hobby, don’t be shy — you’re welcome to share the myriad ways in which you’d prefer to be spending time.

If you would like to view other photos submitted for this week’s photo challenge or would like to submit your own, click on the link below: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/rather/

Love and Light!