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”

5 Ways To Make Your Mornings Better

5 Ways To Make Your Mornings Better

Have you ever woken up late, rolled out of bed with your heart pounding, and started rushing around trying to get everything you need ready to start your day? Yeah, me too. Not an awesome way to begin a new day of life. When I get up late and frantically try to cram in all the things I like to do at the beginning of the day (i.e. put the coffee on, make a nice breakfast, practice yoga or run, and sort out the day’s to do list… before I power up the computer for coaching appointments or get my 4 year old daughter up and moving) I start the day feeling frazzled, drained and fuzzy headed. What I want to feel at the beginning of the day is calm, gently energized and clear minded. Because every day is a new day, right? Each and every morning offers up a new opportunity to make the choices that will set up a day full of actions that invite the feelings that we want.  So how can we ensure our success in starting the day off right and feeling how we want to feel? Continue reading “5 Ways To Make Your Mornings Better”

The Freedom To Improvise

The Freedom To Improvise

“Attachment guarantees that you will wake up every morning with a mission: to prove you are who you think you are—today. But it’s a total energy drain. You’re so busy performing a role that you miss out on the freedom to improvise, to be real rather than rehearsed.”
― Gabrielle Roth

As a new week begins and you return to the desk or the cash register or the carpool line after a few days away from the daily grind, take a moment to reflect.  How’s your energy today?  Is it low because you are trying to live up to the expectations that you revive each morning?  Did it start high and then start to seep like a dam with a slow leak because you started role playing instead of living your own story?  Or, maybe it’s the same as it always is, a dull hum that you wish would start to pulse to the beat that you know is in you somewhere.

However your…

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Wild Springs

Wild Springs

Late August.  Western Wisconsin.  Mid afternoon.  Picture a big white farm house with people flowing in and out carrying trays laden with home cooked food, two bearded men with guitars on a stage in front of an old granary surrounded by hay bales, flags akin to those you might see in a mountain city in Tibet fluttering in a swift breeze, and more life of all sorts milling around the grounds, laughing, painting, eating and exploring.  There’s a tent city in a lakeside clearing down a short grassy path from the refurbished – yet – simple barn and a guy on a green tractor pulling a wagon full of people through the middle of it all.  Welcome to the Wild Springs Festival at Lily Springs Farm.

The farm’s namesake, a lily — or lotus — grows out of the mud and, in that spirit, their mission is:

..to provide a sanctuary in the natural world, dedicated to bringing beauty out of murkiness by reconnecting to what is essential and generative.

Permaculture and whole systems design are being applied to restore our habitats to health and to build a sustainable perennial-based farm system that integrates land, people and the built environment. Programming flows naturally from that work and from our intention to foster health in ourselves and the land.

Continue reading “Wild Springs”

Let the Rain Fall

Let the Rain Fall

The following was shared with me recently by a fellow wellness coach, and it’s an adaptation of a story that was shared with her by one of the individuals she’s been working with over the last few months.  It’s a story of new beginnings, of being truly present in the moment, of accepting what is, of finding resilience in the midst of chaos and of letting negativity wash away as gratitude fills in the empty space left in its wake.  Continue reading “Let the Rain Fall”

Ground Yourself: Tap Into The Earth’s Intelligence

Ground Yourself: Tap Into The Earth’s Intelligence

Spring has arrived here in Minnesota. Though the trees remain bare and the ground is still mostly brown, there is a fresh resonance outside — there’s an energy to the ground when you walk that wasn’t there just a few weeks ago. The frost has moved up and out, and the soil is regaining warmth. The moss on the shady hillsides is starting to come to life will new delicate light-green growth, and the silver maple trees are starting to bud. Things are waking up. Birdsong fills the air from dawn to dusk, I can hear the newest members of the beaver family barking to each other as they learn the lay of the lake, and the ice-free water sparkles with every breeze that ruffles its surface. I can sense the re-forging of winter dormant connections as the days progress and the sun regains power.

In my day job as a health coach, I talk to all sorts of people who work for large companies around the country. I talk to linemen who work in oil fields, coal miners, executives, sales people, secretaries, teachers, call center workers, managers, nurses, even the occasional big ag farmer or chemist….there are a lot of jobs and professions that are controlled by the corporate world today. And as I talk with this wide range of people, the theme that comes out is that there is not enough time for, well, anything and spending time outside in a natural setting is either a luxury for the weekend or something to be avoided unless it is sunny and 78 degrees. Even the farmers spend a fair of their time inside – or in the cab of a climate controlled piece of machinery. People are generally stressed out, have too much going on and spend most of their time working on their daily tasks indoors or commuting to the places where they need to be. Of course, there are exceptions to this generalization and not every person who works for a corporation fits into this description. But overall, I have witnessed a huge disconnect in corporate culture between people and the natural environment.

The problems with this disconnect are many, but the one that I want to focus on today is that due to this “people as separate” approach to life and the ways that we literally disconnect our physical bodies from the bare earth, we are setting ourselves up for lowered immunity, increased inflammation in the body, and a less than desirable sense of wellbeing. Continue reading “Ground Yourself: Tap Into The Earth’s Intelligence”

Shopping With Integrity

Shopping With Integrity

How do you feel about visiting your local large, big box grocer? I don’t know about you, but I tend to dread most things about such an act: from driving to its location perched just off the highway to piloting the car (and a car’s a must…these establishments are typically not pedestrian friendly) through the football field sized parking lot to dodging traffic on foot to get to the front doors to navigating a cart through isle after isle of brightly colored packages, searching in vain for something that fits with my family’s organic, non- processed food preferences and then scanning what I do find through the automated check- out line while the people behind me wait impatiently because my apples are rolling around because I don’t like to put them in the plastic bags the store provides. In short, it’s stressful, over stimulating and isolating all rolled into one “convenient” experience. I typically leave big chain stores feeling depleted even though the goal upon entering was to procure some nourishing, life sustaining food. I leave feeling like a consumer; like just another one of the numbers on an economic check list.

Matthew Matheson, Flickr/CC
Matthew Matheson, Flickr/CC

Yesterday I had a few unexpected hours to myself in the afternoon, so I figured I’d use the time to get some things done that are easier to do without a toddler in tow. I needed some flour, some broccoli (our toddler’s veggie of choice these days) and some cream. I needed to clean the bathroom, do the laundry and bring in some firewood. I thought about heading to the local chain store on my way home from dropping Eva off at her grandparents’– it is right on the way and the act of going in and purchasing a couple items would have been a quick detour. It would have been over and done in 15 minutes, and I would have been on my way to the next thing on my list.

Continue reading “Shopping With Integrity”

A Heart Opening

A Heart Opening

Stand with your bare feet on the ground, hip width distance apart, if you are in a climate that allows doing so, or in front of a window if you are in a part of the world that is currently covered in snow. If standing isn’t an option for you, sit with your back straight; in a chair or in a comfortable cross legged position on the floor.

Let your arms dangle at your sides, roll your shoulders on your back and let your gaze roll down the tip of your nose, or close your eyes.   Engage your core.

Breathe in through your nose, deep into your belly, and let your arms reach out and up above your head. Bring your palms to touch and look up. Exhale and let your arms float back down again to your sides.

Repeat.

Breathe in through your nose, deep into your belly, and let your arms reach out and up above your head. Bring your palms to touch and look up. Exhale and let your arms float back down again to your sides.

Feel the energy from the core of the earth rise through your breath and ground you fully into your being.

Feel the energy that you hold in your own core mesh with the energy that pulses through all of creation.

Feel the energy and let it offer a sense of calm.

Feel the energy and let it offer a place of strength that you can always return to. Continue reading “A Heart Opening”

Waiting for the Sacred

Waiting for the Sacred

It is three weeks into the month of December and across much of the continental United States it feels like winter has arrived in full. The solstice – the official turn of the season – was yesterday: the end and the beginning.  Those of a Christian faith continue to wait in hopeful expectation for the promise of light to arrive on Christmas as another season of advent progresses.  The sun continues to rise and set in an ancient rhythm. Undertones of anger and injustice remain alive and well in too many places.  Living creatures die at the hands of other living creatures, for reasons that are as wide ranging as the stars even as they mirror patterns that have repeated for generations.  Traffic moves across the globe, we continue to consume, and our footprints seem to go deeper by the day.  Yet I hold onto expectations and hope that something better will reveal itself in a way that can be recognized.

Professor Debra Dean Murphy writes,

“Waiting” works if you live in a world where you know that a little more patience generally would do you good. “Hopeful expectation” has a pleasant enough sound if your life is going reasonably well at the moment. 

[….]

What does “hopeful expectation” sound like, look like in places where justice has long been delayed, meaning, of course, that justice has been denied? 

Hope is not wishful thinking; it is risk and action and the courage to undertake both.

But ……  it is also vulnerability and a willingness to walk alongside those whose hopes have been crushed.

Continue reading “Waiting for the Sacred”

Listen

Look out the back door into the sunrise.

Listen.

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There is a faint, yet unwavering beat spreading horizontally over the landscape. It has a rhythm like the powwows of the Lakota people, of a drumming circle, of a collective chanting and funneling of energy into a medium that can be felt and heard by all. This pulse is coming from Gaia, from the core of the earth, from the Being that is represented in all life on the planet. It cannot be ignored. It can be pushed aside and is by many, but it is persistent. The authentic earth is speaking.

What do we hear? What are we going to do with this pulse that is reminding us of who we are? What are we going to be as the ancient rhythm settles into our veins and spreads outward through our choices?

Through our choices, by the actions we take and because of the way we walk on the earth, we are  part of the life that continues to unfold all around us. Nothing that is life – that has the capacity to love, that is the essence of something bigger than we can fully understand – can be contained by systems that are not peace centered and life giving. Though we have plenty of broken systems, we as a collective are an integral part of the unwavering beat – the pulse- and the energy that is propelling our world into something that we know is truth.  To something that is more beautiful than we can imagine on the good days.

This forward motion, this horizontal push into the newness of what has always been at the core, is not without challenge. Change is hard for humans, even when the change is full of light and promise. It can be easy to hold on to what we know, even when it doesn’t serve who we truly are. Even while we welcome change, we don’t know what our reality will look like in the days to come, and we have a hard time with the unknowing. We want something concrete; we want dates to look forward to. We want to plan, and we want to see changes and energy shifts manifest in ways that we can understand and see in our daily lives.

We will get these things, even when it feels like we are still waiting for a sign that Now we can truly live how we are meant to live.   Because while we question, while we still feel like we are waiting, while we strive to exist in a way that is authentic, the pulse is still there. It has always been there.   Many ears are still deaf to the realness of the beating, but it is getting louder with every intention to live as a part of the whole and to be as one with the heart of creation.

Look out the back door into the sunrise. You will see the pulse of the earth. You will feel the collective call to be a people of wholeness and of healing. You will remember that you are the true value, the energy and the answer.

Listen.

Remember.

Be part of the sunrise.

lakesunrise

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.

–Alan Watts