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Posts tagged ‘Nature’

Middle Seasons

lake, water, transition

“Life is one big transition.” – Willie Stargell

“There are seasons in life. Don’t ever let anyone try to deny you the joy of one season because they believe you should stay in another season… Listen to yourself. Trust your instincts. Keep your perspective.” – Jane Clayson

Gratitude, hope and joy are the lifesavers that get us through each season of our life. I see people wilting from the weight of this pandemic and I want to shout “DON’T GIVE UP – EVER!” The strength within each of us is bigger than 2020. We have got what we need in this moment to not only survive but thrive. Resilience, grit and depth are woven through each and every one of us.

Nature is a good teacher and mentor. The lake is beginning the process of hard freeze. Open water, next to thin ice, butting up against fractured ice. Water transforming into shape and form as the wind pushes the open water to shore. The middle season where past, present and future linger together.

As we run into December to wrap this year up, we are in the “middle season,” not quite done but seeing a light ahead. Uncertain with a dash of hope.

We can and must find awe and wonder especially in the uncertainty. We are on sacred ground of becoming, of returning home to ourselves. Walk softly and listen. Middle seasons, transition time, prepare us for new buds, blossoming and full bloom.

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” – Anne Lamott

Forge New Paths

“Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure.” – Irving Wallace

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharlal Nehru

With the ping pong of warm, cold, warm, cold, snow and cold has won the game. Winter has arrived as it always does and it’s staying whether we “fight it” or not. We choose to fight unwinnable battles rather than accepting the seasons, change and uncertainty.

We waste time and energy in opposition to the inevitable. If we choose, we can go right through the middle with a sense of adventure in pursuit of joy.

Last winter, I cross country skied everyday through the holidays, so I got new skis in January and continued through the winter. Yesterday, Jeanne (my adventure partner) and I bought snow shoes – new tools to keep moving through winter, forging new paths “at our age,” proving that age is a number and youth is a mindset.

There are more lockdowns across the country with a surge in COVID as we enter the “long” winter months. The holidays will be flipped upside down. We certainly have all of the reasons to be disappointed and dismayed. And still, we can choose a different path.

Getting out in nature, doing new things, creative endeavors, fostering gratitude, optimism and hope are not locked down. They are in our control as they always have been despite our circumstances. Do not succumb to despair of the “inevitable.”

Transform routine into rituals, ordinary days into sacred moments. Forge new paths.

Opposite, Dichotomy, Pattern and Connection

“Life is a great tapestry. The individual is only an insignificant thread in an immense and miraculous pattern.” – Albert Einstein

“I believe we create our own lives. And we create it by our thinking, feeling patterns in our belief system. I think we’re all born with this huge canvas in front of us and the paintbrushes and the paint, and we choose what to put on this canvas.” – Louise L. Hay

In our effort to prove our rightness and others’ wrongness, we diminish the complexity and depth of the world and our place in it. While it may provide temporary comfort, we miss the rich essence of living fully by both observing and participating, listening before speaking, conversation rather than pontification.

Life is filled with dichotomy and opposite as well as pattern and connection. When we put down our ego, listen and open our eyes, we find that we share the road on this journey, with no one right about everything. In the blending, depth and connection, there are patterns, insights and answers that have been present waiting to be discovered through thoughtful, quiet inquiry.

A meaningful and content life emerges when we ask, “what am I to learn?” and “how can I give rather than take?”

While I may not agree with others, I can still maintain my principles and beliefs without diminishing them in the process. I can even go so far as being kind and generous, especially to those I don’t agree with.

We need to both insulate the noise that distracts us and absorb the rhythms to create music. When we are too close, we need to pull back. When we are too far, we need to move in. From simple to complex and back to simple again. Going deep, then rising to the surface.

Be open to seeing patterns and connections amidst the dichotomy and opposites. There is far more beauty than we account for as we count the wrong things. Be willing to learn and as a result, grow and change.

Count and Recount

“’Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.” – Alice Walker

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

Daily journaling is an opportunity to witness our life, its broader meaning and how far we have come. The outside world – circumstances, other people – distracts, scatters and triggers reaction rather than thoughtful response.

As I journaled this morning recounting yesterday, I felt a deep sense of gratitude. When we count and recount what already is present in our lives, we become aware that we are more blessed than cursed.

Take full inventory daily to foster gratitude and hone your sense of joy. Your light within is brighter than you realize so keep counting and recounting. Create the space to choose your response with forethought.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor E. Frankl

Threads of Hope

“Hope is patience with the lamp lit.” – Tertullian

“Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times.” – Aeschylus

There are threads of hope woven through every day. Look for the threads and do not cease before finding them. Rainbows after rain. Color all around. Beauty in the forefront. Joy to embrace. When we open to hope, we can offer it in return. Hope is a way of life, not a last resort. Choose hope. Choose light and cast it.

“Hopeful thinking can get you out of your fear zone and into your appreciation zone.” – Martha Beck

Sweet Nectar

“We ought to do good to others as simply as a horse runs, or a bee makes honey, or a vine bears grapes season after season without thinking of the grapes it has borne.” – Marcus Aurelius

“No greater thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” – Epictetus

We’re on the cusp of fall now as summer wanes. Warm during the day, cool nights and mornings. Not quite before, not quite after, in between on the edge. Through seasons and transitions, we make our decision how we will go through. Some will choose to fall backward into the past, comforted with familiarity and false certainty. Others will trip forward still hanging on to pieces of the past, begrudgingly moving into the future. And then there are those brave few who hurl themselves forward into the unknown with certainty that action and momentum will do their job of revealing what’s next and our role in it.

Be that brave soul and launch into the unknown, allowing transformation and fruition.

“Transformation literally means going beyond your form.” – Wayne Dyer

Seasons

“Beauty is the only thing that time cannot harm. Philosophies fall away like sand, creeds follow one another, but what is beautiful is a joy for all seasons, a possession for all eternity.” – Oscar Wilde

“Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.” – Sarah Ban Breathnach

Labor Day 2020. 54 degrees, cloudy, with the day wrapping up with a cold rain. Summer has taken a sharp left into fall. Like summer to fall, fall to winter, winter to spring back full circle to summer, life is cyclical. We live our days linearly, in pursuit of the straight line between point A to point B. We miss the cues and clues of seasonality and certain change.

As we move into fall, trust and enter the transformation of the season, knowing we all have the capacity and calling to change, to be transformed. There’s comfort and certainty in the seasonality of living in the moment. Swirls and detours rather than straight lines and efficiency. Glancing into the future, releasing the past and embracing now.

“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” – George Santayana

Streaming Light

“Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind. To walk safely through the maze of human life, one needs the light of wisdom and the guidance of virtue.” – Buddha

“Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days, days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God.” – John Muir

Whether we choose to see it or not, light is streaming all around us. In nature, in people, in our very being. What we focus on, what we look for, what we think about, what we have hope in becomes our daily reality.

Be honest. Were you content before the pandemic? Are you now? Will you be after? The illusive and perfect someday withers away our today. When you guard and savor joy, circumstances, other people, even a pandemic can’t take it away.

Be intentional not accidental in what you see, think and say. It is a daily decision and discipline to choose light and optimism.

Look for and allow the streams of light to break through the cracks in your life. Break open.

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen

Daily Prescription

Take time off.
Minutes. Days. Repeat.
Enter the woods.
Step into the water.
Cease activity.
Leave worry by the wayside and do not return to reclaim it.
Embrace the air, sun and water.
Let it embrace you back.
Wandering, wondering with no schedule.
Take it all in until the sun sets.
What we carry defines what carries us.
Witness beauty in each day.
Let it permeate your bones and change you.
Breathe deeply with all of your senses.
Lay down the unnecessary to make space for what truly is necessary.
Count your days so you make each one count.
Awe, delight and gratitude – all side effects of this joy prescription.

“Life is the flower of which love is the honey” – Victor Hugo

“He who postpones the hour of living is like the rustic who waits for the river to run out before he crosses.” – Horace

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”– Frances Hodgson Burnett

“Write your worries in the sand, carve your blessings in stone.” – Robert F. Kennedy

“Flowers don’t worry about how they’re going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful.”– Jim Carrey

Wingspan

“There is nothing holier in this life of ours than the first consciousness of love, the first fluttering of its silken wings.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.” – Ray Bradbury

When a butterfly’s wings are together, they are thin as a piece of tissue paper, camouflaged amongst the flowers. Invisible. Unseen.

Oh, but when they expand. Oh, when they dare to expand. From east to west, wingspan broad, immense and heroic preparing for flight.

May we walk, better yet, may we float, fly and transcend though this life with wings spanned. Letting go, light as air and filled with delight and joy. Bright, brilliant and wider than we ever could imagine.

Expand your wings and discover their span. Take flight.

“I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?’ – Zhuangzi

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