Spirit of Dragonflies, LLC

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


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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

 

 


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Mindfulness Outdoor Experience – Forest Bathing – Joys and Benefits

What can slowing down in nature do for you?
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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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!


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Finding Beauty in the Light

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love and Light!


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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

 


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Variations on a Theme

 

This week, use your camera to discover the endless variety that one thing can contain. It can be a single photo featuring some visual play on repetition and variation — ducks in a pond, each swimming in a slightly different angle, or a wall of stained glass in a church, each panel echoing the other. You could also opt for a series of shots showing the same place, person, or object in slightly different light (literally or figuratively, as the case may be). If you’re not sure how to approach this topic, just let your daily life guide you: every day, you probably repeat several actions, movements, and rituals without even noticing. Choose one and show how even within this repetition, there’s a wide diversity of experience.

“Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.” ~ William James ~

Slow down and pay attention to the world around you. Breathe and enjoy every moment noticing the subtle changes in the world around you, this will allow you to notice the subtle changes occurring in yourself if you take the time to connect with nature all the beauty in our lives.

Love and Light!

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


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Pedestrians – Parades

What does pedestrian mean to you? Perhaps this is a great chance to go out and practice some street photography. Maybe you’ll capture something truly “pedestrian” — something that could use a dose of inspiration. Regardless of how you interpret this challenge, I’m looking forward to seeing the results.

A good day for a parade – Strolling of the Heifers Parade in Brattleboro, VT. The crowd after the parade walked together along the roadway, replacing cars, as they made their way to the after parade activities. As they strolled over to the park at a slow pace the one thing you could notice was the mood – people were smiling at others, allowing others to walk ahead of them, catching up with neighbors, and remained in a festive mood.

We walked along at a quicker pace when we arrived so we could find a place to stand as the parade was starting. Once we secured a place we stood behind some women who separated and allowed my daughter to step in front of them with my grandson. There always seems to be a kindness to people at a parade especially when children are present. It was fun watching the parade activities, cows decorated for the Heifer Parade, cars decorated like black and white cows, and children enjoying themselves. The pedestrians on the sidewalks were walking a little slower, paying attention to their fellow community members, laughing, and enjoying life.

My grandson enjoyed the cows, dancers and bands. He had a front row seat and enjoyed watching the pedestrians across the street as much as he did the parade. Fun was had by all. Parades seem to make life a little lighter, a little slower, a little happier – even if only for an hour or so.

When attending a parade, do you notice how time slows down? How people seem happier? What can you do in your daily life to bring that same feeling?

Love and Light!

If you are interested in viewing other photos or would like to submit your own, click on the link below:
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/pedestrian/


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Walking and Observing Life

What does pedestrian mean to you? Perhaps this is a great chance to go out and practice some street photography. Maybe you’ll capture something truly “pedestrian” — something that could use a dose of inspiration. Regardless of how you interpret this challenge, I’m looking forward to seeing the results.

Walking and observing life – to witness the beauty of people in our communities can bring a sense of peace as you witness the interactions.

Sometimes as we walk through areas where others are in a relaxed state of being the first thing you will notice is the stress has disappeared from their faces. Their pace slows down and they begin to have some fun. This is true whether walking around a flea market enjoying the possibilities, walking in a park and stopping to set up a rope to balance on, sitting on a park bench taking selfies, or setting up a photo shoot in the Veteran’s Memorial Park as others walk along the path. For those of us with camera in hand, walking allows a time to stop and notice nature or people. We get to enjoy life at a slower pace as we witness our world through a slower speed.

When you walk do you slow down to witness or do you walk at a fast pace and miss all the gifts this world has to share? This weekend, take a half hour or more to walk a little slower than normal. If you have a camera bring it with you and stop to notice the birds, butterflies or dragonflies, the pedestrians that are walking the same path as you.

Love and Light!

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

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


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Is Your Life Becoming a Blur?

Are you moving too fast to enjoy life? Are you missing out on the day-to-day beauty of the world around you? This photo is a visual of what many people see as they move through their daily lives.

Reflections of life on the lake

Reflections of life on the Mirror Lake

Nature is all around yet many don’t take the time to enjoy it or to even notice their connection to it. We see it in a flash as we travel in our cars, buses, trains, planes. I see people on bicycles or running and they don’t even notice the squirrels playing or dangling on branches above them. Our children are raised to see everything in a blur as they sit in the backseat, infants facing backwards looking at the seat instead of riding in a carriage learning about the world around them. Isn’t it time that we slow down, take a breath, and enjoy the gift of life. We wouldn’t have life if it weren’t for the gifts of nature.

My mission in life is to guide people to a life of mindful living and finding their true path. A path of creativity, joy, laughter and love. It isn’t possible to have a fulfilling life when everything is a blur. You may say, that’s great but I don’t have time to slow down. People who slow down get passed over for promotions, children are overlooked when parents slow down, I need to be in competition with others so high-speed is where I live. If you end up with ill-health then living high-speed have been worthless.

Think back to the times in your life, maybe when you were a child, when you truly enjoyed your life. Maybe you sat under a tree with a good book, played with your friends until dinner time, read to your own children before bed, enjoyed swinging or lying on the beach. Are you doing anything today that brings back that feeling of those carefree days? Yes, there are bills to pay, dinner to make, a job to go to, loved ones to care for, events to attend, children to drive from place to place, etc. What would you do if you knew five to fifteen minutes a day of finding peace can change your life? What if you knew that slowing down for this short period of time daily can improve your health, mental state, relationships? Did you know that meditation can change your brain and actually make you more productive? There are many studies that have proven this.

When I am visiting patients in the hospital who are suffering from an illness I wonder if this is their body forcing them to slow down and take a break. I don’t know about you but I certainly would rather take a few minutes a day to slow down rather than go full force until my body forces me to take a break.

You are the only person who can the trajectory of your life. If you make small daily changes a state of bliss and peace will follow.

Let’s look at some ways to slow your day down to allow yourself to breath and enjoy being alive.

  • When you wake in the morning stay in bed for five minutes and think about everything you are grateful for – being alive can be the first – feel the emotion of gratitude
  • Listen to happy music while getting ready for work instead of the news – allow the energy to flow
  • When preparing dinner notice to the textures and colors of the food – be grateful for nourishment
  • While sitting at your desk stop and close your eyes for a moment and slowly breath in and out three times – be in peace
  • While driving your car every time you stop at a red light focus on your breathing – say “I breath in, I breath out” – connect with your body
  • When stuck in traffic notice the shapes and sizes of the trees, clouds, and buildings – connect with the environment
  • Take at least five minutes to meditate every day – there are many meditations available on YouTube – allow your mind and body to connect in peace
  • If you have children, sit on the floor and let them tell you a story about their day – envelope yourself and children in love and happiness
  • Take a walk around your neighborhood and notice the color of the houses, the number of trees or wildlife, pay attention to the sounds and smells – honor your daily life
  • Eat breakfast and chew your food slowly paying attention to the smell, textures, tastes – be thankful for the blessing
  • Look in the mirror and tell yourself how wonderful you are, how fortunate you are to have another day of life – love your inner self
  • Look into the eyes of those you love and let them know how precious they are to you – sense the love
  • Create a vision board for yourself or with your family – choose pictures that excite you – allow the emotion of this vision to penetrate your cells
  • Journal three pages every morning – connect with the pen and paper – share your joy
  • Sit on a swing and lay back as you enjoy the ride – feel the freedom of movement
  • Color with pencils or crayons – there are many coloring books available for adults today – connect with your  inner child
  • Turn off the television – it is a time (life) waster – enjoy your own life not Hollywood’s projection of life
  • Play board games with your children – laugh and be silly
  • Set up a puzzle on a table to work on a little each day –  slow down

Those are just a few of the many activities you can engage in to slow down, breath, and enjoy life. If you can’t meditate then the other activities will allow you to slow down your thinking mind and allow time for quiet. When my mother was alive and still able to work on puzzles she would empty the box on the dining table. Whenever anyone stopped to visit they would sit at the table with her and work on the puzzle. Sometimes we would sit together without saying a word. Other times we would listen to stories of her past or discuss problems someone was facing, then sit quiet and think about possible solutions or just support them. It was a very peaceful activity and a wonderful time spent with loved ones.

When my children were little the weekdays were sometimes a blur but weekends were spent walking in nature or playing games. We enjoyed seeing deer wandering nearby, watching squirrels and chipmunks playing with birds, rolling down the grassy hills, playing tag, lying on the ground watching clouds. If my children were still young today, I would do more of the latter and less of the blur. My weekdays would have included more quiet enjoyment and less hurrying, stressful days. This is the life I now share with my grandchildren. We slow down, laugh and act silly together. Don’t wait until you have grandchildren to slow down – start today. Do this for yourself and others will enjoy the benefits of your loving, peaceful energy.

Life is meant to be enjoyed. Learn to slow down and enjoy the little things.

Blowing in the wind

Blowing in the wind

What do you do to slow down and enjoy life? If you are a person with too much blur and would like to learn to slow down, please contact me and let’s partner together to get you on the path to healthy living.

Love and Light!