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following true north
taking the path back to simple
First truth. First green. Tender new life unfurling, rising, reaching out. You can almost hear the buds burst and the rustle of dry leaves pushed aside by emerging life. It wakes up my senses. I want to touch, smell and taste everything. Have you chewed a fresh blade of grass lately? (we all did as kids, right?) Anyway, it still tastes kind of ...... green!
I just simply love Spring. It makes me feel energetic, more alive and connected to the natural world around me. At this point, I am winter weary. (Rhymes with dreary for a reason) Although I try, I repeatedly fail to find something to love about it. I respect winter and all that, just can't really get into dancing up and down, singing out loud about it like I can about other seasons. Full disclosure. #winterhater
I walked the paths at Brookegreene Gardens yesterday. Everything I saw and heard seemed to hold a secret meaning. This Black Swallowtail landed just as I was framing my shot. Did she arrive with a message for me? Yep. But I can't share it because it's a secret.
aaaaaaand this is the way I feel in the winter.......
Quick! Name a song that makes you feel 17 again. Or one that reminds you of your first love or first broken heart. Easy, right? Honestly, for me there is nothing that prods the old memory synapses into high gear like a song lyric. Joni Mitchell was my muse for years and I lived right our of her song book. But everyone has that one song (or more). Because of this lovely phenomenon, YouTube can be a very, very dangerous site for us to visit. But, just to encourage you to fall back into the time capsule of music, here is a link: youtu.be/IK1XIMsTgmM ENJOY!
I heard this statement in the film "Out of Africa" and have never forgotten it. Do we actually want to know our future? Back when I was 18, absolutely. Bring out the Ouija board, the Tarot cards, the palm readers. By 28, yes, to some degree. At 36 - not so much – too busy living. But, now? Nope. Not at all.
Even though I may have a long list of “possible futures” at this point, I try not to think too much about any one of them. To know for certain about tomorrow might steal some of my focus on today. And today is all we really have isn't it?
News Flash! Forest Bathing is a "thing"! (Or a practice, like yoga.) AND it doesn't involve nudity or water, unless you choose those options :-) And it's really, really good for you. Interesting, yes? The Japanese call it Shinrin-Yoku and have done extensive studies on the health benefits: lower blood pressure, lower stress hormones, better digestion and more. Apparently not only do trees give off pure oxygen during the day but they also emit a type of essential oil (phytoncides) which kill or inhibit bacteria, fungi and other bad things. So, here's the basic technique. Go to a forest, sit comfortably and then....... do nothing. Except breathe. No hiking, no push ups, no reading. I know this sounds challenging. But for your body, which is your very own vehicle in this life, give it a try!
When was the last time you walked barefoot
on a dirt path in the heat of a summer day?
Dust rising from each footfall.
The skitter of a pebble tossed aside by your toe.
The rhythm of your stride matching your breath. Walking barefoot on the earth makes the choice of a simple life seem so real to me.
So attainable. I should do it more often. Shoes are definitely overrated.
I took this photo in a country garden near Bournemouth, England and of all the images on my hard drive, this is one of my favorites. I've spent a lot of time looking at it and I think the reason it speaks to me is that I believe we all have a kind of virtual door in the garden that is our life. It may be buried in the vines and rarely used, but it is always there for us. Although making the choice to open it can take courage, leaving it closed all the time will stunt our growth. So we evaluate and waiver. We step forward and back. It's almost a dance, making that choice. But, too much consideration, research and general dilly dallying (don't you love to use that verb?) can lead to missed opportunities. That super cool idea that you had last week might get gobbled up by some less timid soul and WHOOSH... there goes your chance! (Please click on Read More below)
My husband kept a piece torn from a magazine in his top dresser drawer for many years. It said something like, “How much time in our lives do we waste by waiting.” (For background, Kevin is pure Irish by bloodline and is prone to a certain romantic melancholy.) Anyway, he would take out that well worn morsel of paper and read it often and we would talk about it. It troubled him.
I never found it as profound as he did but it did inspire me to write down something vaguely similar that was written on a chalk board in an Annapolis restaurant in 2009.
“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass,
but learning how to dance in the rain.”
(please click on Read More below)
Do you believe that nature can communicate? Why not? Maybe not in words but in a peculiar type of sign language. After all, the flower kingdom has a highly developed sense of color consciousness. Blossoms develop exactly the perfect hue they need to lure their favorite pollinators (very fashion forward, right?) And, as any gardener will tell you, plants have a variety of physical expressions to communicate their needs. I swear, my Rhododendron knows how to look absolutely pathetic when it needs a drink. (please click on read more below)
Being unavailable is not a crime. It is, however, becoming a rare condition and one that is almost considered an illness. I strongly disagree. (please click on Read More below)
And what is that supposed to mean???
Did you ever have something pop up in your life repeatedly? Not in any particular context. But again and again in different places? For me it seems to be blue doors.
I don't know why, but they keep appearing in my life. Am I attracted to them? Are they attracted to me? I only noticed this when editing images for my blog and I kept finding photos with blue doors somewhere in them - dozens of them. (click Read More below)
By definition (and I only know this because I looked it up) a touchstone is a stone used to test the quality of gold alloys by rubbing to leave a visible trace. Pretty amazing, right? But, in the vernacular, for most of us, it means a person or thing that we lean on or touch for support, validation or reassurance when we need it. (please click Read More below)
In my childhood memory there was a bookshelf in my parents bedroom that held a random collection of old books with worn covers. I only remember a few of them with any accuracy. One was a pictorial history of the civil war. It held stark, black and white images of battlefields littered with bodies and sad men in crumpled uniforms on glossy pages . In my child's eyes the images were horrific but intriguing. I'm sure my parents never knew that I looked at them. (Please click Read More below)
(Another Diana post - can't help it. I'm becoming obsessed with her!)
What are we aiming for as women?
Every image I see of the Goddess Diana depicts her with her bow, her arms steady, her gaze focused. The arrow seems to be optional but her stance is full of power and dedication to her goal. And I can't help thinking that her image is resonating with me because I believe we all need encouragement to aim for something in our lives.
It really helps to keep a target in mind. It gives us purpose, reminds us to stay alert and focused. I don't think it's a problem if we cannot always descibe our target and it's perfectly OK if it changes from week to week. Like Diana, we don't always need an arrow either.
I think we just need to aim.
These lush green spaces belong to you now.
In winter your dreams have held the scent of lilac and rose.
In spring, your hands have held the spade
and forced it deep under the tough, weedy sod.
Your fingers have crumbled and smoothed this soil around tender seedlings.
You nurture, you touch, you protect.
You breathe, you sing, you pray.
Your daily watering, feeding and weeding are rituals that
have connected you to your deepest intuitive knowledge.
You have become a garden Goddess!
For years I kept a copy of “Monastery Guest Houses of North America” in my home office.
I could judge how well I was doing emotionally by it's location. On the shelf, on the desk, on my bedside table or in my hands. At the moment, I have misplaced it entirely, which must mean I'm doing really well. But then again, I have just checked Amazon for the latest edition …
(please click Read More below)
I have more questions than I have answers for. When I wake up in the middle of the night
(3 a.m. being my preferred hour) my mind can pull up the longest list imaginable.
Why am I awake being question number one -
but the queries rapidly evolve into so much more....
Is the instinct to mother/nurture a learned skill or is it in our DNA?
Does it really matter to whom I address a prayer when I feel the need to pray?
Am I being selfish if I want to live in the now - meaning my own "now"?
How long will it take for my pineapple skins and leafy top to break down in my compost?
There was a time when I found those late night sessions annoying.
Now, I think about it as just an excuse for another pot of tea.