All posts tagged: nature

MBSR

28,762 days

By Janet Solyntjes // This is the number of days that make up the average life expectancy of a person born in the United States. How many of these days will US citizens spend appreciating life? How will you spend this one? We are a time-conscious society. Productivity, connectivity, pressured to beat the clock—how often do we look at our iPhone or laptop to see what time it is? Do we understand what time is telling us? The clock and the calendar are both saying that we won’t be here forever. They reveal one simple truth: time only runs in one direction. An aspen tree doesn’t look at a clock to see when it is time to turn golden. The northern lake doesn’t need a timeline or deadline to tell it when to freeze or thaw. As humans, we often experience time-related stress. Rather than seeing the passing of time as a source of pressure or a reason to feel that we are too lazy, too crazy, or that we are losing our grip on …

Mindfulness is the Key 

by Stephen Vosper Mindfulness is the key to everything.  Being awake in the present moment is the gateway to everything.  Being awake and being mindful are completely inseparable.  Mindfulness is the natural ability of mind to be aware of something, aware of anything, aware of everything.  Through our sense perceptions; sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and from a traditional eastern point of view, thoughts, emotions and intuitions; we can be mindful and awake to the whole world in our own life.  This is actually our birthright.  By just being awake and mindful, in our natural state, we can begin to appreciate the miracle of our senses, our perceptions, our emotions, thoughts and intuitions as they arise, rather than turning away and distracting ourselves in daydreams and fantasies of all kinds.  We can actually be fully awake and alive completely in our lives, right now.  We have everything we need to experience our joy and sadness, our doubts and hesitations, our confidence and inspirations. We can afford to relax and open to our world completely. Why not, what’s holding us back? Let’s find out. Come join us, at …

Mind Blindness 

by John Rockwell A while back, I read an article about “plant blindness.” When shown a picture that shows a pair of elephants in a clearing and asked what they see, virtually everyone says, “Two elephants.” Even when the question is repeated, “What do you see?” people persist in saying “Elephants,” as if the questioner were stupid or blind. No one says that they see grass and trees, much less describes the type of plants. The biologists lament this lack of appreciation for the greenery that is our constant background. They point out that plants are just as important and in fact make up the base of the food chain that supports our existence. This lack of connection and community with the plant world can ultimately support a life style and work ethic that is destructive to our environment. What we don’t perceive, we have no feeling for. What we have no feeling for, we don’t care about. What we don’t care about, we can destroy and feel nothing amiss. Of course, by destroying the plant world, we are undermining our own existence.  When …

Catch a falling star

by:  Andrea Schweitzer                                   Night sky photo credit:  NASA Bill Ingalls “People underestimate the stars and the connectedness they bring between spirit and matter. More often than not, when lost, we seek solitude in staring into the darkness hoping something speaks back to us, usually through a feeling, a thought or a rare occurrence of a shooting star.” -Nikki Rowe This week is the peak of the summer Perseid meteor shower.  Falling stars are likely to be visible in a dark sky all week, and especially on the night of August 12-13. If you can find a dark location, away from city lights (or at least away from street lights and porch lights), linger outside and look up.  Take in the beauty of the stars and enjoy a quiet moment with the universe. The Moon is in its crescent phase, setting to the west in the evening. This allows pleasant dark conditions ideal for star gazing and hopefully catching a …

How to live my life after cancer? 

by:  Natalie Pascale Boisseau  The question is similar for everyone, no matter which cancer one is diagnosed with, no matter the stage of the cancer, no matter the treatments or the side effects afterwards.  The question is the same, how do I live my life after a cancer diagnosis, after a deep brush with a life threatening disease?  Ten years ago, I experienced this first hand when I was given the shocking news that a large tumor, a rare cancer, was growing, invading my belly.  The next Friday that week, my primary care doctor called me after hours.  She told me, “Natalie, no matter what will happen to you in the next weeks and months, no matter what challenging treatments you will go through, please know that you are not to identify yourself with the illness.   You are not the disease.”   In the middle of it, though, or even after a series of treatments and surgeries, cancer is the center of your life.  So the question arises: who are you?  Where are you at? What is next?  …

How to Prepare for Autumn’s Arrival

by:  Sara Avant Stover Autumn is my favorite time of the year, perhaps because I grew up in Connecticut surrounded by the splendor of changing leaves. The season’s crisp winds, golden light, and first days of school instill a fresh, buzzing, alive feeling inside. I feel inspired to complete unfinished projects before the holidays, and I love bringing out cuddly winter sweaters, woolly scarves, and cozy tights. Long walks through crinkly leaves remind me of romping in leaf piles on my way home from school as a young girl. The magic of the season extends deeper than our wardrobes, though, for during these crucial months, nature prepares for her long winter’s rest and teaches us to do the same. It is time to gather, store, organize, and wind down from summer’s high tempo and the relentless forward momentum that modern living usually demands. When the crisp winds of autumn start to blow, we need to tune in to the signal that it’s time to start slowing down. As leaves fall to the ground, they decay …

Emotional Resilience: Learning from the Buddha’s Life Story

by:  Lama Elizabeth Monson, PhD The life story of the buddha is one of the most powerful examples in religious literary history of how it is possible to transform our relationship to difficult emotions from one of suffering and avoidance to one which allows us to live lives sourced in kindness, ease, wisdom and love. We could say that the life story of the buddha presents us with a paradigm for exploring how to be in relationship with the reactive emotional energies, both internal and external, that keep us from accessing and responding to the world from our innate place of refuge – our Buddhanature – a way of being that is naturally compassionately responsive and which is unconditioned by reactivity. Even for those who do not identify as “Buddhist,” the Buddha’s life story offers a powerful template within which to explore one’s personal spiritual journey and relationship with emotional reactivity. When we read carefully, we see that the Buddha’s life story is our own story writ large and as we explore the Buddha’s life …

Giving ourselves grace, Part 1

Marissa C. Knox When life is painful or difficult, we are often told to “give ourselves grace.” But what does this really mean? How do we give ourselves the thing that is already and always here? Perhaps it means to be self-compassionate, or to allow ourselves to be human. Or maybe it is about prayer, asking for help, seeking guidance. Some might give themselves grace simply by giving themselves space – space to feel, space to rest, space to breathe, space to be. It may be the act of listening to a song, a bird, a river. It may be a delicious nap. Yes, and there is no one right way to give ourselves grace. For me, giving myself grace is a life practice. It is a way of being that guides my days and provides an anchor, a compass, and a map for how I want to be in each moment.  Trusting in the presence of grace is how I begin and end each day of my life. Though, this is not something that …

New Weather Patterns

by Kay Peterson // As citizens of the earth, events of the past year have certainly illuminated the preciousness of this human life and offered us an opportunity to reflect on how we’ve been living it. Now, as we find ourselves collectively navigating yet another palpable transition or “change in weather,” we have a choice: to be lulled back into comfortable, familiar patterns, or to meet each new moment with greater awareness and intention together. You probably noticed that while we were trying to adjust to quarantine in our homes through the storm of a pandemic, nature continued to offer us examples for how to adapt, to strive toward better balance no matter what the obstacle, and in many situations, to even thrive in the space less encumbered with human confusion. With far fewer people traveling and emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, air and water quality significantly improved in many areas and a variety of species seized the opportunity to thrive in the places we’d vacated. Though this simple observation is not a panacea …