Spirit of Dragonflies

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


Leave a comment

Mindfulness in Creating Wind Chimes

Creation of any type is an individualist endeavor even when in a group.

The sticks all have the same 6 holes – 4 for the beads and chimes with two on the end to hold the wind chime. Everyone has the same choices and sometimes will bring a few of their own. All have the same fishing line and crimpers. We take a few minutes to breath, I show them some techniques – many times only one or two listen because others are in their minds thinking. Then they are set to create.

It is always interesting to step back and watch the process. The perfectionists have the most difficult time creating. They want everything to line up, they are generally the same  people who were in their heads while the instructions were being shared. They want to know where to start even though the first step is always to go and browse the beads and trinkets. When done correctly, they will have looked over the beads more than once. Stopped to breath and visualize, taken a little paper tray or cup and filled with some of their choices.

Seed beads are a must because most of the beads have a larger hole and when tying a know in the fishing line – even if knotted twice – the bead will slide over the knot. The tiny seed beads are not really seen on the end product but result in success.

Once back at the table they will try to start stringing – they are reminded to design their wind chime, maybe go back and grab a different color or size and play with it a little before stringing. The perfectionists want to get started and have a difficult time waiting and designing. I’ll remind them this is a fun time, breath, play, there is no perfect creation and yet all will be perfect in the end.

I spend the next two or three hours running from one to the other, restating the process, assisting with knotting, and reminding everyone to breath and have fun. Two hours is never enough time especially if someone arrives 20 minutes late. It takes time for them to select items from the table, to figure out how to knot, where to place beads, and toward the end I am in a mad rush to assist with finishing their creations without actually creating the entire wind chime.

Truthfully, I love the process the most – guiding, slowing people down, sharing that this is a mindfulness practice, and to know in the end it will be perfect. Throughout every workshop those who struggle always love their end product and sometimes they are quite surprised at how long it took them to settle in and enjoy the process. It always amazes me that there are never two final products that are the same given everyone has the same selections. Their unique personalities shine through.

What do you do to bring mindfulness and peace into your life?

Love and Light

 

 


Leave a comment

Mindfulness Outdoor Experience – Forest Bathing – Joys and Benefits

What can slowing down in nature do for you?
0 3
The benefits have been proven time and time again in research all over the world from Japan – Germany – Australia – Finland – Norway – British Columbia – United States and many other countries. The benefits to our children are countless as well. Here are some of the benefits that I have found:

  • The fresh air feels like it cleans out your lungs and revitalizes the body, mind and soul. I prefer being outside in the cold of the winter because the air is so refreshing.
  • Stopping the chatter releases the mind to be in the present moment and observe all the beauty around you. Leaving the chatter behind brings me into the moment to enjoy my surroundings.
  • Giving gratitude and asking permission before entering carries out into daily life waking with a mindset of gratitude for another day to experience miracles. When inside I am always grateful when I walk into the kitchen and see the light filtering through the crystals forming rainbows around the room.
  • Sitting still in nature allows our ripple effect to dissipate as we become one with nature. Paying attention to our ripple effect in our daily life makes us aware how anger can be almost contagious by paying attention we can stay with love in our hearts and allow that to ripple out around us changing the environment we are in.
  • When we enter the forest, meadow, desert the wildlife will send out warnings – many times this goes unnoticed as people are in their own minds, on the cell phone, running, or not paying attention to their surroundings
    • You will begin to see more birds, deer, chipmunks and squirrels, and other critters go back to their daily activities
    • As you sit in silence you will notice the sounds of the wind, trees crackling, birds communicating to one another
    • Chipmunks chattering back and forth to one another
    • The sounds of leaves gently tapping on the ground as they land
    • Rustle of leaves in the trees
  • I believe that paying attention to the signs in nature brings a heightened awareness of our environment and enhances our intuition – something missing from being inside and on electronic devices too many hours of the day. If our children were in nature more and allowing their natural intuition to return they would be more aware of the dangers of the internet predators. As it is they are removed from intuition and do not have the sense of danger being in nature teaches.
  • Your senses will open to the different scent of trees, fresh and dead leaves, the air of the forest, the soil and more. Being inside has been a detriment to our sense of smell. When in nature we can renew our sense of smell.
  • Your eyes will feel relieved as they take in the greens and blues of the trees and water. My ophthalmologist shared that the muscles in my eyes are very healthy even though I wear glasses and my eyesight has been improving over the last couple of years.
  • Your stress is reduced as your body is allowed to relax and release tension. No matter how much stress I am feeling, when out in nature I return from the experience relaxed and refreshed.
  • It has been proven that blood pressure drops. Luckily my blood pressure has not been an issue and maybe that is because I have always been a lover of nature and have used walking in the woods, on the beach, in the desert as a means of promoting health as long as I can remember. 

DSC_0786

Those are just a few of the benefits of a mindfulness outdoor experience and forest bathing. While sitting at your sit spot – generally on your own – you can experience an open eyed meditation. This allow you to notice your surroundings without judgement, just observing with your senses. You never know when a deer, bird, or squirrel may come along without noticing you.

0-3 2

Slowing down allows you to observe nature and all living beings within nature. During our walks we may stop to discuss what we are noticing. The Pileated Woodpecker has left its mark on this dead tree.

You may find prints throughout the forest of deer, turkey, coyote, rabbits, squirrel and sometimes bear. In some areas they are very active. Just slowing to touch the back of a tree. Sauntering allows you to look up, around, behind, and in front to take in all that is around you. The paper like bark on the tree, new buds, intricate designs of spider webs, or maybe lie in the snow and allow it to embrace you.

Walking through the woods in silence even when there is a crunching snow underfoot is a remarkable experience. We practiced fox walk at a slow pace so the crunching was at a minimum and sometimes in the soft snow there was no sound coming from our steps.

We should be respectful of the living beings within the environment. Like us they are just trying to live in peace. Being aware of our own effect on them allows us to learn about ripple effect in our daily lives. If we can respect nature we can respect ourselves. Once we respect ourselves we can respect others. When we respect others we show people how to respect us. It is a circle of life and we can all play a part in making this a more harmonious world. We need a healthy environment to survive and we can all take steps to ensure the same for future generations.

Some of the benefits of participating in Mindfulness Outdoor Experience and Forest Bathing over the last two weeks – slowing down and sauntering in silence as a group in nature brought us together as one. No one knew anyone prior to the gatherings and by the end sitting together for counsel we were all one – sharing tea and our experiences without fear or being self-conscious about what we were sharing from our personal observation. It was quite beautiful.

Bringing this experience to your own life or to children – you can walk out your backdoor, to a local park, nursery, to a local tree, sit outside and look at the stars to experience nature.

My goal is to ensure that my grandchildren have the benefit of connecting with nature. Not really a sit spot but this little guy, my grandson, loves to connect with nature anywhere he goes.

DSC_0767
While I was in the garage grabbing his snowboard and sled Colt was out in the snow waiting for me. When I came out he was lying on the dirt path quietly looking up at the clouds enjoying the moment. I believe this comes naturally to children when provided the opportunity. We had just been out looking at animal tracks and sitting quietly by the stream. I showed him deer ears and once we were quiet for a few minutes, on the other side of the stream, a fisher cat ran across the edge. Birds began to sing loudly back and forth from one side to the other. I said they were talking to one another and Colt said, “No, they are singing to each other.” As we sat in silence more birds began to fly from tree to tree. It was a beautiful experience.

Have you participated in a mindfulness outdoor experience or forest bathing?

Many of us remember this from our childhood before anyone gave this a name – it was just hanging outside lying on our backs looking up at the clouds or stars, playing in the mud, rolling down hills, hugging trees, lying on the ground looking at insects, watching butterflies and dragonflies, jumping in mud puddles. It comes naturally to children when given the opportunity.

Being a Kripalu certified Outdoor Mindfulness Guide has brought the ability to share my love of nature with others. Looking forward to many years of sharing experiences with others.

Please share your nature experiences if you like. I would love to hear how you enjoy nature especially for those who live in different environments – desert, seashore, grasslands, tundra or other. Mindfulness Outdoor Experience can be shared in any environment even in the inner city there are ways to enjoy nature. Mine preference is the forest but have enjoyed the desert, seashore, rain forest, and open fields.

Love and Light!


2 Comments

Forest Bathing – Grounding – Connecting to Nature

I do not know whether it is possible to love the planet or not,
but I do know that it is possible to love the place
we can see, touch, smell and experience.
~ David Orr, Earth in Mind

DSC_0571
Nature is not a place to visit, it is home. 
~ Gary Snyder

DSC_0561

When we walk upon Mother Earth, we always plant our feet carefully
because we know the faces of our future generations are looking up at
us from beneath the ground. We never forget them.

~ Oren Lyons, Onondaga Nation

DSC_0309

It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.
~ Robert Louis Stevenson

DSC_0325.jpeg
When in nature it is not a time to rush. Slow down, stop and look at the gifts nature has blessed you with. Take in everything in front of you, above you, to each side.

What are you smelling – the flowers, trees, dirt, earth? Take off your shoes and feel the earth under your feet. Let the energy of the earth revitalize you. Look up and watch the leaves dancing in the breeze above. Is the sunlight shining through the spaces between the branches? Raise your hands above your head and move your body like the leaves dancing in the wind. Release all that is holding you back. How does that feel?

DSC_0439.jpeg
There is so much to see, smell, taste, feel, and connect with in nature if you just pay attention. When you are out, sit down and feel the earth. Let the dirt sift through your fingers. Feel the texture of the trees. Notice how each tree has a different shape, thickness and texture. Notice the trails – some are well worn while others are covered in moss or greenery.

Do certain sections of the forest feel like rooms? Maybe there are sections of trees protecting an area while other areas are open. What insects, little or big critters are scampering around through the trees, under foot, or along the dirt bath?

Pay attention to how the sunlight filters through and decorates the forest floor. Listen to the birds singing or sending out a warning signal. Sit and watch the dragonflies, butterflies and bees dancing from flower to flower. Can you find any edible plants along the path?

Forest bathing is learning to slow down and take in a section of the forest at a slow pace. There is no destination – just being present in the moment. Being mindful of life, of your surroundings. Slowing down to allow your body to heal. The forest has healing properties that are being discovered everyday. We have this beautiful gift if only we slow down enough to appreciate this blessing.

Last week I had my first experience facilitating Earth Walk with my client. After searching for several months I stumbled upon the perfect setting. A doctor had purchased a home and planted trees, flowers, and shrubs around the property. There are several ponds on the property and varieties of trees from around the world. There are many ‘rooms’ on the property with benches placed for a visitor to sit and contemplate the beauty that surrounds them. When he died the property was left for others to enjoy.

You can sit on a bench near a pond and watch dragonflies chase one another for hours. My client took her time and with my guidance she was able to release something that has been holding her back in life. We would walk to the various ‘rooms’ and she would sit on the bench and write in her journal. Then we would sit in silence until it was time to move on to another area. Sometimes after experiencing this type of walk you can feel melancholy for several days. After my first experience in New Mexico I traveled home and wasn’t sure what was happening to me. I felt sad but not depressed, a bit quiet and wanted to be alone, it felt like a loss or death. Which it actually was – a loss of what I had been holding on to for a couple of decades. We had buried something I had brought along and had a little ceremony to release. The night after our our ceremony I felt so upbeat and excited about the future it surprised me how melancholy had set in once I returned home. I reached out to Mary to share this experience and she said this was normal. You have to go through the stages of grief after releasing. After the week was over the scene from my memory could still rise up however it was like a movie that I no longer had any attachment to – it was someone else from long ago. It was a wonderful feeling to release that emotional connection. Two years later and I am still unattached to what had been a painful memory. Think about what you will be able to release while in nature? You can have your own ceremony.

When in nature give yourself the privilege of spending an hour or two in a state of relaxation. The beneficial effects will stay with you for days after the visit. If you can manage to experience this two or three times per week you will begin to notice the physical and mental health benefits. If you take someone with you try not to speak to one another during your walk – only to point out something that you are seeing, smelling, feeling – a shared experience. It is fine to bring a journal to write down what you are experiencing. If you are with another person after your experience sit down and discuss what you noticed and share your personal journey with one another if you wish.

Please let me know if you decide to experience this journey. I would love to hear from you.

Love and Light!


7 Comments

Satisfaction – A Day in Nature!

This week, share a photo of something that brings you satisfaction. It can be monumental, minor, or something in between.

“The dragonfly spiritually embodies the stripping away of negativity that holds us back, helping us to achieve our dreams and goals. Dragonflies are the keepers of dreams, the energy within that sees all of our true potential and ability. Dragonflies inspire spirituality and creativity, they help us on the path of discovery and enlightenment. They reminder us that anything is possible.” ~ Beauty and the Green ~

DSC_0540.jpg

I had the pleasure of watching butterflies, dragonflies and bees enjoying a nice sunny day in the Saratoga National Historical Park. The butterflies teased with this fluttering wings coming and going too quickly to capture with my camera yet this little lady stopped to pose for my camera. Possibly she received as much satisfaction as me.

Please take your time to feel the satisfaction I felt while enjoying a long walk through the park. This is one of the places near my childhood home that still touches my heart and reminds me of wonderful times spent with family. A place to slow down, enjoy nature and all her many blessings.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A sweet little deer was walking out of the woods as I stepped on a twig and we were both startled. A quick peek and gone not to be seen again on this walk.

“To be able to look back upon on one’s life in satisfaction, is to live twice.” ~ Khalil Gibran ~

Do you have a place that you visit that brings you satisfaction? A place that reminds you to slow down and notice your surroundings?

Hope you enjoyed my stroll through the Park. If you are ever in the area stop in and take a walk on the trails or the road. If you don’t feel like a walk take a leisurely drive and stop to see the sights along the way. You can read more about Saratoga National Historical Park here: https://www.nps.gov/sara/index.htm

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

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

Love and Light!

If you would like to learn how to slow down and live mindfully, please leave a message below or email me at spiritofdragonflies@gmail.com


5 Comments

WPC – Evanescent

This challenge is wide open. Evanescent can be any fleeting moment in time. It could be the moment you drop a seed into your garden, marking that promise of new growth to come. It could be a photo of the Eastern Phoebe that visits your deck each day, wagging her tail as she calls her own name. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, it could be that carpet of leaves that fell overnight, before the wind scatters them. It might be the moment you light the first fire of Fall.

“Human life is as evanescent as the morning dew or a flash of lightning.” ~ Samuel Butler ~

dsc_0348

Just as the morning dew vanishes with the sunshine of the day, children grow and move on into adulthood in what seems a blink of an eye. The time passing is caught in little glimpses of memory.

We don’t really realize how evanescent youth really is until we are older. Thankfully our memories hold reflections of the past, never remembering an entire scene or event, just a little glimpse of what once was.

DSC_0517

When I see this photo of the reflection of my son and grandson in the window, I see the evanescent of youth as I wonder when did my own little boy become this man. Wasn’t it just yesterday that he was that little window shopping with me. My grandson lives on the other side of the country so we only seeing each other one or two times a year. I am always amazed at how tall he has grown between visits and all the new ideas, words, and skills he has mastered since our last visit.

This is why living in the moment and being mindful of the people in your life is so important. When together turn off electronics, engage in conversation, activities, fun and play. Build strong memories to bring you peace and joy later in life, and the knowing that you took the time to enjoy every precious moment.

Love and Light!

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

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


12 Comments

WPC – Edge

“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed … We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.” ~ Wallace Stegner, The Sound of Mountain Water ~

The first time I stood at the edge and looked out at the frozen lake I didn’t really notice the house. The house is built at the edge of the rock formation and made with stone to resemble the natural habitat. The occupants must have a wonderful view of the mountains and lake below. Across from the home a tree grows on a rock, almost in competition with the home as it shouts out, “Look at me.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you would like to learn more about Minnewaska Preserve click thee link below: http://hikethehudsonvalley.com/minnewaska-state-park-preserve/

In winter the Preserve is quiet. The roar of the waterfall could be heard from quite a distance while hiking through the woods. Once you get a little closer your heart beats a little faster in anticipation of seeing the rushing waters. As you walk down the stream you will first reach the edge of the falls. The water is so powerful that you don’t want to get too close the edge.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A trail that leads down the mountain to the bottom of the falls. The photos above are a mix of two visits. As you can see one is later in the year when the I’ve has thawed and the other is in the midst of the freezing weather. It was breathtaking.

This location is a perfect place to slow down and enjoy the winter weather. Sitting on a rock listening to the falls is a great place to meditate, get in touch with nature, and just allow your mind to quiet for a short period of time. Time seemed to stop for a while as we sat enjoying the sounds of nature.

We spent hours at the edge of the waterfalls capturing ice melting, green life poking through the snow, leaves caught in the rocks and other amazing gifts of nature.

“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” ~ Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods ~

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

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

Love and Light


Leave a comment

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.

DSC_0878.jpg

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!