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”

Advertisements

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”

Own Your Story: Managing Stress in Three “Easy” Steps

Own Your Story: Managing Stress in Three “Easy” Steps

Stress.  It’s something that every living being experiences.  From animals to plants to humans, stress is a part of life on this planet.  A zebra experiences stress when a lion springs from the bushes: that rush of adrenaline and cortisol that fuel the instinct to flee keeps the zebra alive for another day.  A plant in the garden experiences stress when the weather is hot and windy or cold and too damp: the resiliency that is built due to these conditions helps the plant to thrive when conditions evolve.  Much like in the zebra’s story, a human can experience stress when life is physically threatened whether that threat comes via a gunman, a grizzly bear or an icy road.  The heart races, palms get sweaty and all we can think about is the crisis at hand.  We react. And that reaction to a life or death threat is necessary for survival in such cases.

However, in our modern societies today, we generally experience significantly less life or death stress than our hunter/gatherer ancestors did.  For most of us, stress arises when we perceive a situation to be stressful and when we let our perception hijack our response.  There are challenges galore in a human life – that goes without saying.  Schedules are tight, communications with loved ones or colleagues or neighbors are strained or non-existent, traffic is bad and there are too many bills to pay.  But are they life or death situations?  Usually not.  Yet they often trigger the same fear or stress response:  Our hearts race, palms get sweaty and all we can think about is the crisis at hand.  We react.  But in this case, our reaction is not helping us to survive: in fact, it might even be causing damage to our health in the form of elevated blood pressure, chronic tension headaches or inability to get quality sleep. In today’s modern culture, particularly in the corporate workforce, values of more, better, faster have invited everything from chronic stress to burnout to a general disliking of Mondays. When we view the world as an emergency room, our stress levels soar.  But when we can really see what’s going on, we regain a sense of control and peace. Continue reading “Own Your Story: Managing Stress in Three “Easy” Steps”