Sitting here, on the couch, listening to the clock tick, makes me wonder if I am afraid of silence; of being idle; of stillness. I always encourage others to cultivate that empty space – that quiet well – for themselves, but do I do it for myself? The pull to constantly be reading or figuring out a problem or checking for a message or writing a blog post (*ahem) or vacuuming or making something better, or cleaner, or more worthwhile…the pull to be productive in some form – to be doing something, always – is strong.
Sometimes almost always, it’s too strong, and I give in to the pull; the allure of constant engagement or stimulation or growth or value creation. The desire to always have something to show for how I am spending my time. Proof of worth. Validation that I am thinking or doing important things that matter. Ensuring I am making something of myself. Being the one who always knows the answer or who can figure it out, or refer you to someone who can. Continue reading “silence keepers”
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”
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”
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”
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”
Right now the garden is thriving. Every leaf is reaching its leaves toward the sky, and every root is nestling deep into the soil, drinking up the ample nourishment that comes with abundant rains and enough organic compost. The sunflowers that were a foot high two weeks ago will soon be taller than me, and their flower heads follow the sun as it arcs across the sky, ending the day gazing toward the westerly hills. There are cabbages as big as my fist, canopies of kale providing shade for the vole who munches the beets, and if you were to stretch all of the winter squash and zucchini vines out in a line they would reach down the road and around the corner. Bees and hummingbirds are buzzing about, happily drinking up raspberry and oregano blossom nectar, doing their important pollinating work. The scarecrow is earning his keep as the peppers, tomatoes and eggplants stake their claim and the potato plants are starting to lean over in hopes of harvest. Eva, the resident three year old, likes to dart between the staked rows with bare feet and hide behind bouquets of wildflowers. Like I said, everything is thriving. And when I can remember how much life and abundance and beauty and breath catching astonishment exists just outside the door, I thrive, too. Continue reading “Let Wildness Find You”
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”