How To Work

How To Work

 

pretend there’s a string

attached to your head,

pulling it toward the ceiling.

 

roll your shoulders back

enjoy the crunching sound

your shoulder blades make

after a morning of hunching forward.

 

Continue reading “How To Work”

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What Life Belongs To

What Life Belongs To

Somehow it is well into 2018 already. February will be over before we know it, and I finally feel better, almost like myself again. I wonder where the fall and early winter went, or where I was for them.  I am glad to be here now. It feels a little like waking up from a dream, the scary or depressing kind that you are ready to leave behind.  The issues that came to light during my illness haven’t just gone away, so I must be diligent about continue to look at them: the need to be in control, to ask for and accept support, to be viewed as competent and in the know, the constant push to do more and be more. Maybe it helps just to have clarified the issues and to have called them out.  The work is not done, but perhaps there is a bit of a path now.

Skiing and walking outside these past few weeks, now that I feel up to it, has been a reminder that I am most content when being present with myself, others, and the natural things of the world. Moving through a snowy and quiet forest, tromping with my daughter around a blindingly white lake, following a deer path along an icy ridge-line, all while breathing in the cold and clear air — these things are what is real and what matters. It’s not the photo I take or the likes that it gets on instagram, or the new followers that it entices to join the crowd. It’s the actual experience.  This is obvious, but I think it’s easy for us to forget that in this social media driven culture that we have found ourselves fully invested in.  I need to check myself regularly – it’s so easy to get sucked into the allure of virtual validation.  Continue reading “What Life Belongs To”

Woodland Manitou: To Be on Earth

Woodland Manitou: To Be on Earth

Writing a book takes a long time.  And then publishing it takes a little bit (i.e. a lot) longer.  But it’s worth the effort and the wait, I think, to have something tangible that says what you want it to say that you can hold in your hands and give to others.  It’s fair to say that yes, it does require using trees to print the books, but when your publisher is committed to ecological stewardship, that helps.  It also helps when your publisher is committed to putting forth publications that are meant to be returned to again and again, not thrown away after a quick read.  And when they donate a portion of all profits to a different charity every year.  Add the mission that the mainstream is not the only stream, and you have a pretty stellar combination.  Continue reading “Woodland Manitou: To Be on Earth”

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.

3 Ways to Live Earth Day

3 Ways to Live Earth Day

Today is April 22nd, and it’s the 46th April that has recognized an ‘official’ day to honor the Earth.  As the day fades into night, the moon is full and shining over the waters of our little lake.  We have a full length window in our shower, (weird, I realize….the former owners of our home had some slightly odd design ideas..) and as I washed off the day’s grime after putting my daughter to bed, I felt like a moon goddess being purified as the water shimmered under the tawny light.  (or something like that…at any rate, the perk of having a full length mirror in your shower that looks out over a lake is a great view of the lake.  It’s worth noting that we have no close neighbors.)  So let’s start with that.   Continue reading “3 Ways to Live Earth Day”

Palpable Joy: A Mindful Thanksgiving

Palpable Joy: A Mindful Thanksgiving

It’s two days until Halloween in America.  If you’ve gone into any commercial establishment in the last few weeks, you’ve been bombarded with pumpkins of all sizes and materials, plastic decor of infinite variety, mountains of orange and black wrapped candy, and enough cheap costuming to clothe the entire country for a year.  The holiday season is about to begin in earnest as October gives way to the season of shopping, otherwise known as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Commercialism abounds, we get sucked into the frenzy even if we don’t like to shop, and good deals take our attention from being content with what we already have.  We eat too much too quickly and have more excuses than usual for why we can’t exercise.   For many of us, the holidays mean putting on weight, being stressed out, spending too much money and throwing in the towel until January.   Often times we are multi-tasking, working late to prepare for a few extra days off or packing frantically to visit the in-laws.  We get snippy with our children, our neighbors put up lights that are too bright and we hope the time goes quickly. It doesn’t feel like a time of celebration when the culture calls the shots.  We forget to be mindful and live in the present.  Continue reading “Palpable Joy: A Mindful Thanksgiving”

Let’s Get Back to Nature

Let’s Get Back to Nature

Earlier this week I drove 20 miles south down WI 35, a roadway punctuated with greenery, gentle rolling hills, a few curves and some more rolling hills.  I took one left turn and meandered slightly east from the St. Croix river valley and sank deeper into the forest with every passing mile.  Then I abruptly remembered to pay attention and turned right at the correct fire number and parked in from of a pole barn.  A van had pulled in right before me, and a man covered in grass clippings was walking across the lawn in greeting as I approached.  The occupants of the van got out and joined us.  I had arrived.

The destination?  The site of “The Great Back to Nature Exchange”  as visioned by herbalist Kelley Hagenbuch.  She and her family moved onto 30 acres of wooded Wisconsin wildness late last year with the mission to live close to the land, and she’s passionate about sharing nature-based wisdom and cultivating a sense of community around realigning with ways of being that foster living attuned to our environment, rather than separate from it.   Our purpose of the day was to tour the site and do some planning for the event that will take place in early September.  After brief introductions, we started off into the woods, stopping frequently to discuss the plants along the trail, identify mushrooms and commune with the resident grouse, all the while absorbing the energy of a place that is still mostly wild. Continue reading “Let’s Get Back to Nature”