Go out into the woods, child.

Go out into the woods, child.

 

Go out into the woods, child, go out.  Let your feet carry you on the worn path behind the house, down to the marshy shore of the lake.

Go out into the woods, child, go out.  Wander into the dense tree cover, trail your hand over the bark of an adolescent maple tree, and find your shelter among the roots and branches.

Go out into the woods, child, go out.  Splash through the puddles that pool at the base of the valley and listen to the call of the Sandhill crane in the fields as it stands at attention amidst the dying autumn crops.

Go out into the woods, child, go out.  Lay down in the hay-field and let your gaze drift with the passing clouds as the leaves rustle their lullabies.

Go out into the woods, child, go out.  Race through the blazing midday light, and once you are tired, pick up a stone and let your hand fit its shape to the smooth sun-warmed surface.

Go out into the woods, child, go out. Rest in the shade of an old oak tree and feel the wisdom and strength of deep roots and patience fill you up with something you didn’t know was missing.

 
Go out into the woods, child.  Go out.

5 Ways to Fall in Love With Winter

5 Ways to Fall in Love With Winter

It happens every year in many parts of the world. The days get shorter, the gardens get tilled under, the lawnmower goes into storage. Heavy coats and hats and sweaters get pulled out of storage, and chili starts sounding good again. Frost appears in the morning grass where dew used to be, and you can see your breath when you walk around the block. And then it snows. Winter is coming.

Granted, not every place on the earth sees harsh winter weather, but plenty of places have their fair share of cold and wind and dark.Daylight in the northern hemisphere wanes as the winter solstice approaches, and sometimes if we aren’t careful, whole days can go by without feeling any sun – however cold it might be – on our faces. Cabin fever sets in, and we start to wait for spring.

But…..maybe it doesn’t have to be that way. What if we could embrace whatever Mother Nature decides to dole out and made getting outside a priority no matter how cold or wet or snowy or dark it gets? I think it’s worth it to give old man winter a little love. Because a whole season with no natural light and letting a little cold weather keep us inside? Every year? No way, man. No. Way. Life’s too good to spend it waiting for summer. Continue reading “5 Ways to Fall in Love With Winter”

A Summer Day

A Summer Day

Wake up to bird song, or waves or whispering pines.  Open your eyes to the dawning of a new day, and wander toward voices when you are ready for company of the community.

Stretch your body, swim, kayak, run, hike.  Let your body move how it wants to move as the light starts to fill the sky.  Remember that you are a body and your body is you – you are partners in this life, not enemies. Continue reading “A Summer Day”

Why to Love May in Minnesota

Why to Love May in Minnesota

I live in Minnesota.  You may have gleaned that bit of information from other blog posts on this site by now, but in case you are new here, the land of ten thousand lakes is the place I currently call home.  Right now it’s May. A glorious month in a state that has a long winter and a spring that usually gets either a slow start or a false one.  That’s what we had this year: a false start of a spring.  It was almost 90 degrees for one day in April, with lots of days in the 60s and 70s to boot.  Things started growing fast, buds popped out and flowers started hinting at blooming.  We rejoiced, threw open the windows, got the boats ready, tilled up the fields….and then it got cold.  The starter’s gun fired a second shot.  A chilly few weeks of rain punctuated with a few nights in the low 30s made us a little nervous.  But we covered things up and life went on, despite the curveball that climate change likes to throw now and then.  We toed the line again, and and now it’s 75 degrees, we are running strong and the forecast for the next ten days looks just about perfect. Continue reading “Why to Love May in Minnesota”

Questioning Beauty

Questioning Beauty

Guest post by Melissa Kirby of Wildfire Wellness

Tonight at the health food store where I work, I had a random conversation with a stranger about chocolate (imagine me, imagine that). Her eyes were beautiful, her cheek bones piercing.  She couldn’t have been more than 80lbs.  She physically ran to the store, which meant she was limited with what she could purchase because she had to be able to carry it back home.  Through our conversation, it was evident that she was struggling with a number of things in life, yet she hung on my every inch of chocolate wisdom. She complemented me on my hair and then she said, sighing, “You are so pretty – you make me feel so ugly. Thank you for helping me.  Thank you for listening to me.” Speechless and somewhat shocked by her words, all I could do was give her a hug as we parted ways in gentle tears. I found myself thinking back to looking in the mirror that morning;  I had joked to myself that my…

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Sunrise

Sunrise

There is something magical about watching the light of a new day spread its fingers across the sky as the horizon changes from black to dusky pink to tangerine orange to glowing yellow.  Maybe it’s the ancient rhythm that persists despite increasing human impact.  Maybe it’s the spectacular color show that sometimes comes with it.  Maybe it’s the opportunity to live another day on an incredible planet.  Maybe it’s witnessing something that is infinitely bigger than we are, but of which we are still a part.  It’s probably all of those things and more.  Living on a small lake with a view out the kitchen to the east has afforded me plenty of opportunity to reveal in the first new colors of the day.  I am grateful for the daily opportunity to put myself in the way of beauty.  After all, it’s going to show up whether I notice it or not.  I think it’s better to notice.

As Cheryl Strayed once wrote, quoting her mother:

There is a sunrise and a sunset every day and you can choose to be there for it. You can put yourself in the way of beauty.

Continue reading “Sunrise”

A Journey into the Wild Feminine

A Journey into the Wild Feminine

The Art of Living Wild is a six week journey into what it means to embody one’s wild feminine nature. It is a journey for those who are interested in living an authentic life; a life that is rooted deeply in nature and in the soul.

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of Women Who Run With the Wolves, writes:

Where does wild woman live? At the bottom of the well, in the headwaters, in the ether before time. She lives in the tear and in the ocean. She lives in the cambria of trees, which pings as it grows. She is from the future and from the beginning of time.

The wild woman, that is the say, all that is natural, wild and free, is found within every women on this earth. Wild woman is never far away, but it can be easy to forget about her. We forget about…

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Fire Starters

Fire Starters

Act in ways that make you feel what you want to feel. ~Danielle LaPorte

I started listening to The Fire Starter Sessions a few days ago.  I was already familiar with Ms. LaPorte’s take on aligning your actions with what she calls “core desired feelings,” but listening to these audio sessions has been a good reminder to actually take that advice.  I spend a lot of time as a wellness coach asking about what underlays a desire to lose weight or stop smoking or get in better shape.  In a corporate coaching world, sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to get people to pick up the telephone for appointments, much less talk about what they truly desire for themselves.  But sometimes we go there.  Sometimes people are willing to look deeply into what is driving them to want something different. And it’s always a feeling. Continue reading “Fire Starters”

Returning to our Roots: Healing Healthcare

Returning to our Roots: Healing Healthcare

Being a yoga teacher [or a wellness coach] is similar to being a physician [i.e. one that is invested in healing, not keeping business good]: my mission is to find the origination of my clients’ problems and help my clients heal themselves, so I can send them on their way, out in the world with the ability to maintain their health, on their own.

~Rebecca Lammersen

It’s not about business or client retention or making more money than we did last year.  Sure, on some level it is important to create business and have clients and keep them around long enough for everyone involved to benefit in the ways that matter.  But these days, it seems that the ever important dollar gets the final say more than anything else.  Pulling a profit that’s bigger than before takes priority, and we tell ourselves that if business is booming, well, we can help more people.  In some ways, it’s true.  We can try to keep clients coming back for as long as possible, plant the seeds of positive change, treat the disorder with a pill, and along the way help the bottom line.  Everybody wins, right?

In this world we live in, money is important.  You might know this already.  Depending on where we live and what sort of lifestyle we are aiming for or born into, we need a certain minimum of incoming cash flow to thrive.  Living on the planet comes with a price tag for most people in the modern world.  So, while money is obviously important, I might dare to say that authenticity is more so.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not super interested in working with someone who doesn’t really want to interact with me, or only does so out of fear or guilt or whatever other reasons people do things that they aren’t intrinsically motivated to do.  People can benefit from programs and classes and 1:1 appointments, absolutely.  That’s not my issue today.  My issue today is that yoga and wellness coaching and health care, at the core,  is about healing. It’s about honoring the process. It’s about authentic ways of being together and in the world that increase beauty and take energy away from destruction.  Too often our culture has lost sight of that.  Too often we hook people and try to convince them that they need us forever.  Too often we become part of the message of lack. Continue reading “Returning to our Roots: Healing Healthcare”

Lost in Transformation

Lost in Transformation

May has taken hold in Minnesota with warm temperatures, very little rain and lots of sunshine. The lake is being swallowed up by weeds already, but the birds and frogs are conversing, the wildflowers are holding up their brightly colored arms in triumph, Jack in the Pulpit has returned to the shady parts of the woods and the crab apple trees are flaunting their beauty as only a flowering apple tree can.  Life is emerging and flowing and thriving in every direction, and it shows no sign of letting up.

But in the midst of all this growth and aliveness, there is death, too.  The river has claimed another young life.  A dear friend lost her brother. A family in the community mourns a son.  Cancer took a friend of a friend sooner than anyone thought it would.  The sweet spring air is laced with a sense of loss, and it is jarring to try to find one’s balance as the beauty and vibrancy of a new season sits next to the sadness and grief of death.

We feel for the ones who lost those dear to them in unexpected ways.  We wonder how to give our support, we are unsure of what to say.   We suspect that simply showing up and feeling the enormity of what has happened is what is important, but we don’t have a road map for navigating something that has never happened before.  No one does.  Every death is new, never to be repeated.  Like every birth, every blossoming, every newly unfurled leaf, death leaves us gasping in astonishment.  It shows us the amazement of life, and it shows us the fragility.  It offers these things to us as another’s life passes on into whatever comes next. Continue reading “Lost in Transformation”