Spirit of Dragonflies, LLC

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


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Mindfulness Outdoor Experience – Connecting with Mother Nature

Children Enjoying Nature

Two of my younger grandchildren enjoyed getting down on the ground with their new magnifying glasses and Mimi (me) enjoyed spending time with them exploring nature this summer. They discovered the shapes of the leaves, tiny insects unseen until viewed through the glass, the texture of mushrooms and bark on the trees, and the layers of earth.

After visiting with the littles I decided it would be fun to share the magnifying glasses with participants for the Mindfulness Outdoor Experience. We discovered that adults love them as much as the littles do so they have become a part of the experience. If you get the chance grab a magnifying glass and go out into nature to see what you can discover.

Some of the participants shared that they remember doing this as a child and wondered how they had forgotten how interesting and relaxing it was to get up close and personal to Mother Earth. Others lost themselves in the experience – forgetting time. It was just as fun for me as a guide witnessing their reactions and watching them explore.

When we move through life too quickly we miss a connection that is healing to the body, mind and soul. Those who walk or run for exercise looking down at their cell phone or checking their watch to see how far they went, to keep track of the time, to chat or text with someone never allow their body and mind to relax. They miss an opportunity to destress, to relax and enjoy the moment. Sometimes I see people running through the path and wonder if they ever really ‘see’ what is around them. Do they enjoy the sights, sounds, smells. Do they notice the textures, the small insects enjoying the flowers, the little newts wandering along the path. For to allow yourself to slow down you gain so much joy and appreciation of life. This feeling can be retained when you learn how to find this still point during chaotic life events. This is a gift that nature has taught me – finding my still point when life seems chaotic.

While slowing down in nature you begin to notice the colors, shapes, sizes, patterns, textures, scents, and hidden gems hiding in, on, and under leaves, flowers, bark. You realize there is life within the forest and begin to want to respect and protect Mother Nature and all who share this home with us – those without a voice who give us life.

As you begin to slow down you lose track of time, demands, worries and your body begins to relax. You begin to lose yourself in the moment as your body flows from space to space. After you remember what joy you found in nature as a child, or understand what you missed by not being in nature as a child.

Seeing With New Eyes

By getting up close and personal with nature you exercise your eyes, your muscles, your lungs as you breath in the fresh air. You begin to understand your reciprocal connection to Nature. Everything is connected. The tiniest of insects is living because there are flowers, leaves, trees. The mushrooms and fungi bring new life and restore the soil. As you breath out carbon dioxide the trees breath it in and as they breath out oxygen you breath it in. What a beautiful life giving connection we have. Almost like a dance of life.

After sauntering and exploring, it is time for our sit spot. Everyone finds a tree, rock or place they feel comfortable. We are very still and quiet with eyes open as we take in our surroundings. Our senses have begun to open and we hear new sounds – see movement near and far – begin to smell earth, leaves, flowers, trees – feel the textures of the dirt, leaves, bark nearby. Our bodies are very relaxed at this point in the journey and we settle in as we lean on a tree, sit on a rock or sit on the warm earth. This is when most of the participants enjoy a personal experience while in the midst of a group setting.

After our sit spot we gather for counsel and participants are invited to share our experience – anything they noticed while sauntering in the woods, while looking through the magnifying glass, or while sitting quietly. Sometimes the sharing are very insightful.

Sometimes as you sit quietly you may have a little visitor as I did while sitting quietly next to a pond. Not just one but several dragonflies over the 20 minutes or so that I sat quiet and still. Some would brush along my hair while in flight. Others sat on my hand, my arm and both legs – not at the same time but over and over again. It was a magical time for me, the lover of dragonflies.

Dragonfly Visiting Me At The Pond

One of my most exciting times of the month is guiding the Mindfulness Outdoor Experiences. Discussing forest bathing, mindfulness, grounding, centering, meditation, sauntering and sit spots is so enjoyable. Hearing from participants about the knowledge of trees, insects, moss, lichen, land formations, Druidism, Buddhism, soil, and more always adds to the experience. No one is an expert at everything but we are all experts in something. This is why I love the diversity of the groups and when they are willing to share. We always have a poem or quote to share that seems to be perfect for that days experience. It always seems magical and this is the way I want to live my life.

I will share that last year while out sauntering on my own I had a couple of very interesting interactions with animals. One time with a deer and another with an owl – both lasting quite some time.

This little deer was enjoying the apple tree as I was walking out of the tree line. There she was just enjoying her meal on a nice sunny afternoon. At one point I thought she was choking and wondered how I would give her the heimlich maneuver. Thankfully I realized she was just trying to chew the apple. So I stood silently in awe watching her. She looked over at me and started walking toward me. We just stood there looking into one another’s eyes and she came a little closer. I on one side of the trail and she on the other. We had a special moment and then I heard someone. I looked up the hill and noticed a couple standing watching the deer and I – they were recording our special moment. I said good bye and left her to enjoy her fruit fest.

On another adventure I met up with an owl, or rather the owl met up with me. I was going into a wooded area where there were picnic tables to enjoy my lunch. As I sat at the table I heard a something crashing through the trees. To my surprise an owl landed on the branch almost above my head. I said hello and asked if there was a message – it was my very first encounter with an owl. As I ate my lunch we chatted. Every time I went to stand up the owl would hoot. When I sat down he/she would owl chat. We conversed with neither knowing what the other was saying. When my lunch was done I told the owl that I had to put my lunch bag away but I would return if he/she wanted to wait.

When I returned to the area, there was the owl sitting up in the tree. I sat back down for a bit and again, every time I stood the owl would hoot. After about ten more minutes I said I was taking a walk before dark and invited the owl to come along. He/she hooted when I stood and then followed me along the path to the clearing. Once at the clearing I shared that I would return after the walk and stay to visit if he/she was still there. We both went our ways.

After about two hours I returned to the same path in the woods. I heard the same noise as early through the trees and could not believe the owl returned to greet me. When I was standing still the owl would converse and as I moved would hoot at me. Walking along the path the owl swooshed back and forth across the path from tree to tree above me. At one point flew so close I thought he/she would land on my head. We returned to the picnic table and I sat down as the owl sat on the branch nearby. We continued our conversation until the darkness began to set in. I said, “When you are ready I will leave but it will have to be soon.” Eventually the owl turned, looked back at me, said something in owl language, hooted, stepped back and forth on the branch and then feathers up and off he/she went. It was such an amazing experience and one I shall cherish for life.

Conversing With An Owl

Have you had any interesting experiences in nature with animals or other wildlife? If so, what type of experience have you had? Have you ever had any connections with a tree, rock, animal, insect?

Love to hear from you.

Love and Light!


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What Will You Focus on Today?

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Will you start today with a new mindset and change your life? Yesterday is gone, you can’t change what you said, did, thought . . . Don’t waste the day in yesterday, move forward from this day. Some actions you can take:

  • Write in your gratitude journal everything you are grateful for in this moment. Some things to be grateful for:
    • Family – love, connections, compassion
    • A good friend – or many
    • A job that provides necessities and security
    • A warm bed – pillows, warm blanket
    • Sitting in the Sunshine – feeling the warmth dancing along your face
    • Walking in the Rain, listening to the rain drops dapping on the roof
    • Healthy food choices – vegetables and fruits – enjoying the colors, textures, patterns, taste, feel
    • Water – potable drinking water, streams, swamps, rivers, lakes, oceans
    • A roof over your head – a place to cool or warm your body
    • Breathe – pay attention to the slow in and out breath
    • Nature – the gifts of food, all the variety of trees and the gifts they provide, vegetation, dirt, rocks, color, scents, textures, various size of each gift of nature
    • The way shadows and light play on the floor and walls around you
    • Children sharing flowers
    • Dew decorating leaves and flowers
    • Those creative moments when you bring items to life in a new way
    • The delightful sounds of birds singing, tinkle of wind chimes, rustling of leaves
    • And so much more

Here are a few things that bring me joy throughout the day, week, month, year.


Nature is ever changing just as our lives and what a beautiful way to embrace life by just enjoying the simple pleasures. Over the past year I have been incorporating nature into crafts whether using a sticks and seashells along with beads to create wind chimes, taking nature photos, using found sea glass and small stones to create jewelry, essential oils to create emotion roller balls, it has brought me closer to where I want to be in life. Living in a state of simple pleasure, being grateful for all experiences – those we label as good or bad, happy or sad . . . Each brings with it a learning lesson.

During times when we find ourselves out of vibration with where we were intending to be are the best times to focus on gratitude. Gratitude for the life lesson which confirms we are not moving in the direction of choice. Life happens – illnesses arise in ourselves or others, death occurs, jobs and relationships may end – however it is during those times that we can be thankful for the experiences, for the pleasure of knowing those who are no longer with us and the lessons learned from having them in our lives. Once we overcome the low vibration we can set out vision on the higher vibration by giving gratitude for simple pleasures and remain focused on those. Before you know it, new adventures present themselves, new people come into our lives, new life events to be grateful for and we are back on the path leading to where we rather be. Remember, not everyday may be filled with high vibration – someone may cut you off, you may spill coffee on your work clothing, you may be exhausted from a night of crying baby – however, it is your reaction to those events that will influence your day and what you remember of the day. Where you place your focus will determine the overall outcome so why not focus on all the blessings of the day and let the other flow off you like eggs on a Teflon pan.

So the question is, what will you focus on today? If you would like to share please leave a comment or complete the contact form below.

Love and Light!


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WPC – Mirror

“Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it.” ~ Ernest Holmes ~

This week’s topic – Mirror – is one of my favorites to capture with my camera. Whenever I see a mirror image it makes me stop to admire this phenomenon. It is a miracle that occurs right before our eyes.

My first image is of my grandson. While visiting him a couple of week’s ago I noticed his reflection in the counter top. If I had turned the camera upside down and only captured the county photo it would have been the same except the background would look as if he were in a dark room. Thankfully he was so involved playing with his new car that I had purchased, he didn’t even pay attention to Mimi.

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Lakes are another love of mine to capture when there is a mirror image. Fortunately I was visiting Lake Placid when the water on Mirror Lake was exactly that, mirror like. It was a perfect day for taking photos and reflecting.

Glass windows are another way to capture a mirror image. In the photo below my son and grandson were looking at toys in the window. My favorite part of the photo was their hands. Tanner’s hand on the window and the reflection look like two children touching hands. As my son’s face is a little distorted due to the toy on the shelve behind the window it made the photo feel like another person was pointing back at him. Notice Tanner’s other hand with is right index finger, pointing down mimicking his uncle Joe. Wonder if that was unconscious on his part.

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Another fun way to capture mirror images is on the wet sand while walking on the beach. My grandson, daughter, her husband, sister-in-law and mother-in-law were walking in front of me jumping and being silly with Tanner. They were having such fun and their mirror images were interesting captures. Notice in the one to the right, Tanner is actually in the air. If you look close you can see his little feet in the mirror image.


Still rivers are also perfect for taking mirror images. This is the railroad bridge located along the Hudson River between Mechanicville and Stillwater New York. It is a popular spot for photographers who come from miles away to capture this bridge. On this day we were riding by and I had my daughter stop the car so I could capture this beautiful shot. One of my favorites.

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The dock on the Hudson River in Stillwater is another popular spot for photographers, especially in Autumn.

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We can’t have mirror images without some wildlife included. This is a photo from a little stream in Congress Park in Saratoga New York. The ducks were enjoying some family time bathing in the water.

Adirondack Lake in Indian Lake New York has become one of my favorite places to visit and kayak. The lake is like a mirror, the loons sing to one another, and it is very peaceful.

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Autumn is a perfect time to capture the beautiful color of nature. When mirrored on a lake it can take your breath away. Autumn is my favorite time of year. If it would only stay with us for several months instead of a such a short period of time. Every weekend and during the week while traveling for work I love to stop and take in the scenery, smell the freshly fallen leaves while enjoying a cup of pumpkin flavored coffee and an apple cider donut.

And, we can’t forget the beauty of winter snow and decorative lights. I love to capture photos in the winter just before sunset, that little lull between sun and darkness which is short-lived and earlier than we would like during those cold nights.

“We constantly wait in anticipation for a miracle to happen in our life, unaware that the miracle is actually life itself.” ~ Daniel Chadiac

Everything before you is a miracle – YOU are a miracle. Just think about birth – no one can yet explain why we are alive, where our thoughts come from, how one is conceived or how our bodies actually work – it is a guessing game with new ideas and discoveries occurring daily.

I hope you enjoyed viewing my entries for this week. If you would like to view more photos for this week’s challenge or would like to enter your own photos please click on the link below:

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

Love and Light!

 


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Terrific Tuesday!

Wishing you all a Terrific Tuesday. Take time to enjoy the little moments in life that diminish before your eyes. They will not return for a later day.

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Spending time walking on the pier with my daughter and grandson (2.5 years) reminded me of when my daughter at the same age. We would walk together holding hands enjoying the day. At home she would follow me around the house singing “I’m watching you, watching you…” while we prepared meals together.

Those were cherished times – holding hands and cuddling were my favorite times of the day. My grandson didn’t want to cuddle as much on this visit so we shared special moments playing, enjoying nature walks, and watching Curious George. Yesterday before heading back to San Diego he wanted to repair the tire on our McDonald’s toy. I gave him a roll of tape and he worked on repairing the tire. It was adorable. While watching Curious George they would show George’s antics and then children would try to replicate the cartoon by drawing maps of their park and finding their way around, learning about pulls bringing items to the second floor of the porch, and repairing things. Tanner was absorbing everything the entire time he watched the movie.

Thankfully I knew during our visits as we explored nature, laughed and played that these were precious moments. Exploring with children can open your eyes to things you may have long forgotten to notice. Watching them absorb their environment, observe the adults actions and listen to stories is amazing.

For today, enjoy those you are spending time with, get out in nature, check out shadows, the sound of trees rustling in the breeze, water dripping, and all the wonders of life. You don’t have to travel to enjoy your day – there is beauty all around you.

Have a terrific Tuesday:)

Love and Light!


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WPC- Frame

“A cheerful frame of mind, reinforced by relaxation… is the medicine that puts all ghosts of fear on the run.” ~ George Matthew Adams ~

Try looking at objects from a framed reference point to see the world a little differently. IMG_5594

Try looking through something to see objects through a new frame of reference. I discovered looking through an opening in a cross on a cemetery stone allowed me to focus in on the engravings on the cross. Framing the deer within the trees provided a nice photo of the deer peering back at me.

If we learn to slow down and see the world around us through new eyes we can change our life by enjoying every moment a little bit more.

If you would like to participate in this week’s photo challenge or would like to view other photos please click on the link below:

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

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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WPC – Morning

This morning I had the pleasure of waking at my son’s home to a light rain. I grabbed my camera and headed out the bedroom door into the woods and captured the beauty of nature.

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” ~ Marcus Aurelius ~

“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.” ~  J. B. Priestley ~

 

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Thursday morning I also woke in the morning at my son’s home and after witnessing the morning light shining through the trees grabbed my camera and explored the paths behind his home. It is like awaking into a dream world here. Feeling blessed.

“The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.” ~ Henry David Thoreau ~

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“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” ~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden ~
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“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. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.” ~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden ~

Wishing you the joy of adventure and enjoyment of life’s simple pleasures. Open you eyes to the beauty around you.

If you would like to view additional entries for this week’s challenge or would like to submit your own click on the link below:
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/morning-2016

Love and Light!


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WPC – Details

For this week’s challenge, try to look past the big picture and take a more intimate approach. Zoom in on details in unexpected places — it can be something from the natural world, or it can be human-made. We’re excited to see what you find with your lens.

“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life. “ ~ William Morris ~

“The details are not the details. They make the design.” ~ Charles Eames ~

Live in the moment. Pay attention to the details that make up the design of your life. What are you paying attention to the most? Is it the chatter in your own mind or the drama in your environment?

For today, take time to breath in the beauty around you. It’s every where. Not only in nature, look around your home. There are designs in the shadows dancing on the walls, floor and furniture, and on the ceiling from a candle or light. Looking at a marble, table setting, food, pets . . . Open your eyes and notice a new world. This world is peaceful, beautiful, loving and compassionate. If we begin with ourselves to see the world in a new light, then we will begin to share this with our family, neighbors, community and the world. Love and compassion spread like wildfire. It is after the fire is put out that people forget. Let’s not forget.

“Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.” ~ Ernest Hemingway ~

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” ~ Mahatma Gandhi ~

See beauty in everything and everyone. Sometimes it is hidden right in front of your eyes.

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

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

Love and Light!


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WPC – Look Up

For this week’s challenge, take a moment to look up. Whether it’s the fan above your head at work, your bedroom ceiling, or the night sky, what do you see? Is it familiar? Or does it show you a new perspective on your surroundings? Looking forward to the peeks into your worlds!

Look up or you will miss some of life’s beautiful gifts. Bubbles floating into the air, tree canopies, vibrant reds in autumn, birds in flight or flying in circles protecting their large nest hiding in the tree.

When sitting in a traffic jam or driving down the road are you focusing on what you are going to do once you arrive? Or, are you living in the moment paying attention to what is before you? Do you ever look up and notice the rainbow after a storm? The moon looking down in the daytime or filling the night sky?

I am always amazed to learn when people have become oblivious to their surroundings. When living in California I was always amazed at all of the flowers. They were every where. When driving in Irvine, Costa Mesa, Laguna – flowers of all colors and sizes. Walking into my shared office I told my coworker how lucky she was to have grown up where flowers grow year round. She said, “What flowers?” I shared where I saw the flowers and couldn’t believe she hadn’t noticed. The next day she came to the office and said that she had never noticed how many flowers there were. I bet she is still noticing those flowers years later. Sometimes, a visitor needs to refresh your senses to all the beauty and hidden treasures in your community. Tomorrow when you leave your house, pretend you are visiting the area for the first time. Maybe visit a local site that draws visitors or walk around your neighborhood as if for the first time. Then write down what you noticed that you had ignored or not noticed before. Walk slowly around you neighborhood with a baby or a dog. Both the baby and dog bring new things to your attention because they are living in the now and paying attention to everything in their environments. Have fun with this.

Have you ever noticed how often children look up to notice the world around them. My grandson was on guard while walking through the corn maze. My daughter held him as he looked up at the scary masked scarecrow. Once he noticed all the scary decorations hiding in the corn he was ready to leave. While sitting in the swing he would point up to show me the birds, leaves dancing in the breeze, and, most recently, sunsets. He loves to watch the sunset. My 9 month old grandson is always looking up because everything is above him. He loves to watch the fan spinning or the shadows dancing along the ceiling.

Be childlike, look up. Notice the world around you and live in the moment. Pay attention to the shadows on the ceiling, the rays of light shining through the clouds, or the leaves dancing in the breeze. Enjoy the different phases of the moon and its varying sizes and colors throughout the year. Look for the hidden birds nests, look up when under the tree canopies, and discover other treasures hidden right in front of your eyes.

May tomorrow bring you more joy, fun, and inspiration. Do yourself a favor and notice the beauty in nature and in your home. Learn to live mindfully. Look up, down, to your right and left. Pay attention to the things children are looking at. Get down low and look up without judgement. Look for a new perspective on your surroundings and notice the miracles that exist in your world. Stop the constant mind chatter. Learn to live in the now because that is all we have, might as well add some playful living into your daily life.

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

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/look-up

Love and Light!