It’s snowing now. Trees sway in bellowing winds. Hazardous forecasts have appeared for days, maybe even a week, I’m not sure. I try to tune most of it out. Heck, I just returned from a reprieve in 80 degree Jamaica. The northeast grey and cold I so easily left behind hasn’t yet set in. It’s usually a good 10 days before my neck reacts like a telephone pole, the abundant warmth still clutching my bones.

e-mail warnings hailed my return, “Sounds like we’re getting a snowstorm this weekend. Not sure exactly what areas, but something is brewing.” “Well the storm that was South of us did not hit this past weekend, but there’s something coming. Weather reports are looking ahead at potential snow for Sunday.”

Alerts surge like the Caribbean waves that soothed me a week ago. A foot of snow they say. Or more. Ice. Single digits. The utility company cautions customers about possible power outages and demands patience. If the electric goes out there will be no heat, or plumbing for that matter. No lights, no frig. Sub zero temps threaten to freeze pipes.  Frenzy is in the air but I’m not gripped with worry. I’m still riding those warming trade winds and Jamaican blue skies. beach-1029012_1280

I disconnected from the incessant media hype a few years ago when they sensationalized simple thunderstorms. It was just too much. Even the silent Web catastrophizes with headlines like “Big Ice Threat,” “Snowstorm Lurking,” “Dangerously Cold,” “Emergency Measures in Place for Weekend Weather…” Who writes this stuff? Being prepared is one thing but our culture seems addicted to worry. No wonder anxiety is the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million persons age 18 and older (and one in 20 children). And now we have weather anxiety?!

The good news is, we have a choice. I use to plan my day around the forecast to best work with Mother Nature. Now, I look out the window. It’s snowing. I’m prepared. Really important news always finds its way to me without my tuning in to the constant drone of fear. I’m stocked with the staple eggs and milk that neighbors run to the stores for in times such as these. If the power goes out, I have candles and matches…long underwear, heavy socks, gloves, a hat and warm coat. Plow trucks salt and clear the roads.scene-863040_1280

Oh what to do. Just be prepared. Turn off the noise and tune in to the quiet. Let go as easily as the gently falling snow. Last week I listened to rhythmic waves on Seven Mile Beach. From an expanse of sand to an expanse of snow, it’s all just a moment in time.

 

Nature Teacher: Change

Look at the movement of the clouds

and understand

life is change.

Don’t waste your time

lamenting

things are not as they were

and will never remain so.

That is not the truth of reality.

Forever cannot be.

Look at the clouds

long stratus

puffy cumulus

and feel their struggle and joy.

Clear skies,

when things are going smoothly, no issues to deal with so to speak,

are also transitory.

Go with the flow,” others say.

The clouds already do.

 

A Non-Religious but Spiritual Palm Sunday

The calendar indicates today is “Palm Sunday.  Being a religious holiday, I often wondered in my youth why it wasn’t called “Psalm Sunday” but as a gardener I’m just as happy to see green palms after a long, grey winter.

And while it’s (sadly) becoming increasingly unpopular and even dangerous to identify Frond-Lwith any religious affiliation, I will say organized religion is not the source of my spirituality.  Yes, I was baptized and confirmed a Christian, but I also practiced Buddhism in my teens, then investigated Catholicism, Judaism, Unity New Thought and A Course in Miracles doctrines.  I have friends of all faiths and of no faith.  I pass no judgment if someone chooses to be religious or not, or the path they have taken to their own spirituality.  What I do have a problem with, though, are acts of cruelty, hate, torture or killing — evil, in the name of religion or God.  So contrary and senseless to me.

Thankfully, I was not raised to believe in a condemning and punishing God but instead one as loving protector.  Studying Taoism and working in nature have deepened my understanding of life and some of the religious teachings of my youth.  To me, all of these sources are akin to tendrils of a plant, offering various meanings and interpretations of life, expanding with my maturity.

Frond-RAs a variety of flowers constitute my garden, and a variety of races and ethnicities constitute the world, I am open to a variety of religions in life.  I do not believe that one religion has all the answers, or that only one particular religion has the only true God.  I believe there are as many spiritual roads to God as there are in the names we choose to call Him or Her or whatever is meaningful to the particular person in that particular part of the world.  Opening my mind opens my heart.

And so, today is “Psalm” Sunday for me — spiritual being synonymous with psalm, and psalm being a sacred song.   I acknowledge this day not in blasphemy but in honor of the sacred songs each of us carries in our hearts.  As a gardener, I view this day as the triumphant arrival of Spring, a fresh start after a long winter, the Pre-Easter beginning of infinite life, and with gratitude for the richness Mother Nature offers.  I believe God is everywhere as in nature, but also in our hearts.  And in the end, isn’t that all that really matters — what is in our hearts?


“…Every day something new

Open mind for a different view

And nothing else matters…”

 

Happy Psalm Sunday!

Present

“Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry — all forms of fear — are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.” — Eckhart Tolle

 

The greatest gift from anyone is to be present.  Not just with those around you but with yourself as well.  Forget the distractions. model-2614569__480 Don’t be distracted.  The greatest gift to anyone is being present. Give the gift of being present.  To yourself, and others as well.

 

“When you have an intense contact of love with nature or another human being, like a spark, then you understand that there is no time and that everything is eternal.” – Paulo Coelho

 

crab
Think this little guy has anything but the present?

 

 

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Present

Skin Sensation Meditation

In the same vein as my last post, I’ve begun trying different types of meditation and I’ve had a delightful experience I’d like to share with you:

Remember that just one minute of meditation can do you good?  Well, during my morning shower, I keyed in to how the natural boar bristles of the body brush felt on my skin — down my arms, sides, thighs, calves…across my back and down the other side.  How the hot water soothed my shoulders…and then the silky liquid soap running from my palm through fingers to become foamy lather.  For these brief moments, all I focused on was the pleasant sensation on my skin.

bad-1253863_1280 brush bowl

This experience reminded me of a practice I’d forgotten – dry brushing (aka Garshana).  Besides the obvious benefit of exfoliating the skin, dry brushing has been used for centuries to increase energy, blood flow, circulation and immunity.  It is done before showering and in a particular circular, stroking, upward pattern.

While traditional meditation clears the mind, body brushing clears toxins from the skin.  So, why not do both at the same time and get a double bonus from one effort?

Hope you’ll try it and let me know what you think.sponge-2541251_1280 Loofah Heart

One Gift to Return

Have you noticed how many smiles you see?  Or don’t, in this overly busy time of year when buzzing around making returns, shopping, doing errands, or whatever tasks need to be done.   I counted only one smile today.  And it was a wide one as another customer and I passed each other at the store.

One priceless gift to return is take one second and smile — at whomever you encounter.  It’s a gift to yourself as well.  You don’t have to say anything, although a pleasant word is a bonus.  As is a smile returned.

 

When you smile, your face muscles trigger a release of endorphins.  Helping to reduce stress levels, they are responsible for making you — and others — feel happy.

So the next time you see someone, offer up a smile.  Like a breadth of fresh air in a weary day, notice how much lighter you feel too and it didn’t cost you a penny.  Just one…second…of conscious…thought.  A gift you can be happy to return.

It’s true.  Smile and the whole world smiles with you.

 

Set the energy in motion…Let it begin with you.happy dance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Still

“To be still, get still,” popped into my head while feeling dizzily over-stimulated from noisy store crowds, parties, and meandering traffic this week.   The holidays can drain anyone and especially with technology’s hastened pace and constant bombardment.

For many years I’ve chosen to celebrate the holidays through the beauty of the land.  Whether it’s gathering aromatic pine boughs on the morning of Christmas Eve or breathlessly climbing a steep slope of evergreens to gain fresh perspective on New Year’s Day — intimately connecting with Mother Nature is my holiday spirit.  It is the quiet, the crunch of my boots in the snow, the sun warming my face, and breathing in fresh pine, that speaks to me deep within.  Glowing candlelight and a poinsettia paint the mellow ambience I love.   Add in laughter, healthy food and hand drumming with friends, and voila’; I’ve created a non-traditional holiday out of love, not stressful obligation.  And as an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), I want for nothing more.

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This year, I’ve received wise words from unexpected sources — women I’ve never met but with whom I share a Nature-focused spiritual path:

  • Particularly comforting in the midst of losing so many trees to pipeline construction are the words of a Yoruba priest: “Nature is resilient. The trees will come and go – some naturally and some by the needs and destructiveness of man.  Don’t cry for the trees.  They have served their purpose and they have planted their seeds.  They have helped those of the earth in many ways – the humans, the animals, the air, the soil, and other nature beings. Their spirit is resilient and they will be reborn in other forms and once again, serve their purpose. Perhaps one of them lies in you.  This is the nature of life.” 

pine candle

 

 

 

The Sacred Science Pinecone Meditation

Find a pine cone and place it in front of you. Gaze at the pinecone for a full minute, then close your eyes and imagine the pinecone-shape behind your third eye. Envision the scales of the pinecone unfolding and opening to take in nourishment from Divine Light, and see your pinecone-shaped pineal gland energized and radiant. In this space, consider all the benefits of pine medicine and imagine this energy as a white light healing your mind, body, and spirit.

pinecone 12-17-17 001

The wisdom of the land is why I love it so.Santa Key Smile  It teaches me about living life.

 

Presents

Madison Avenue says Christmas is about presents. Lots of them.

christmas presents galore

I say that’s a typo.  It’s about presence — lots of it.  Be present with yourself, loved ones, and each moment you (hopefully) come in contact with someone.  Well, anyone for that matter.  This is more than sitting next to someone while staring into a device.  It’s about being mentally present, focused on your interaction with that person.  Giving someone your attention is as true a gift as it gets.

It’s easy to “buy” some thing and hand it to someone or the more recent scenario of leaving it on someone’s desk or at their door.  How many obligatory gifts have you received that were a pre-packaged something-for-anyone that you didn’t use? same gift Note:  “re-gifting” was created for a reason.  Yes, some will say, “It’s the thought that counts.”  I counter, “How much thought was there?”  A sincere kind word or sentiment means more.  At least to me.

More precious and worthy than material gifts, giving time is a gift so large it can’t be wrapped in any box yet overflows the heart. Ask a soldier being deployed or a dying patient.  Ask your spouse.  Do they wish they had more time?  Do you feel overly stressed that there isn’t enough time?  Stopping the distraction and being present is the most generous gift of and to thyself.  (Hard lesson learned — see prior post “Meager.”)

weihnachtsbaumschmuck-219641_1280

You can give yourself the gift of time by being in Nature.  Whether planting the season’s garden or trekking through the woods, time seems to slow without the constant pings of phones or e-mail.  The stillness of  Nature’s tranquil beauty reaches the soul.  Gift your time by being present with others this holiday season.  Play with your children.  Visit an elderly person.  Smile at the store clerk.

Feel the isolation and loneliness disappear as you put down your device and look into someone’s eyes when they speak to you.  Listen to what they have to say.  Offer something in return.  Maybe it’s just a hug, or thank you to Nature.

 Time – The Perfect Gift for You and Everyone on Your List white-male-1740707_1280