Tag Archives: nature

Simplicity.

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When Brenda and I were in Asheville, we did some hiking in the mountains there. Although we both enjoy hiking, we have not done it with any regularity over the last couple of years. Being in Asheville, in the mountains, reawakened that enjoyment in us. We loved walking the trails, taking in the beauty of nature, and sinking into the quiet of it all.

When we returned from Asheville, we decided that we wanted to continue to hike on a regular basis, to enjoy the beauty of our own (current) backyard until we are in Asheville once again, and to remind us of some of what we loved about the place until we go back. So, last weekend and again yesterday we ventured out for some hiking fun. Our destination was Ricketts Glen State Park. We were not disappointed.

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What amazes me the most about being out in nature is the simplicity of it all. I can seek out a nature destination, even if it is my backyard, and what I find there is always waiting for me. The lilacs are in bloom, and the air is warming up gradually. There are creatures that find their way to us, and the green is exploding all around.

No matter where I am at, in my head or in my heart, I need only go into the beauty of nature to get precisely what I need. At first, when we were out in it yesterday, I wanted to think to myself that I find true peace when I go into nature. But, that isn’t exactly accurate for me. I have a true sense of peace within myself most of the time, and when I am feeling conflicted, or disrupted or at a crossroads, peace is never far away. However, the peace that I experience out in the beauty of nature is like nothing else I experience.

Whether it is the green of the green in the forest, or the rocks and branches are right where I need them to be to climb, I am in bliss. Hearing the water running from a dozen waterfalls that we experienced, hearing the hush of the woods that even a breeze isn’t blowing, that is true home to me.

And, it is so simple. I don’t have to buy anything, or download an app, or have any special talent to take in what is always waiting for me. Pure and Simple.

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Feeling Broken.

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I have been going through a deep, difficult life lesson over the last few days. It has come my way before, and I feel certain that I will continue to keep learning it over again. Over the last two days in particular, I have felt like something inside me is broken, and needs to be fixed.

I believe that each of us as human beings, every one of you that reads this blog regularly, and ones that may be reading it for the first time, all of us have a place within ourselves that, as one of my favorite bands, Switchfoot sings, needs “adhesive for a place that feels broken”. It is enough to bring me to tears; not tears of sadness or hurt, mind you. Today, the tears are in frustration, because I no longer want to feel like there is something in me that needs to be fixed in some way.

We each have our own, unique triggers for sure, that take us to that feeling of brokenness within ourselves. For me, it is almost always related to my body, and around sex and sexuality. My body is either not slim enough, fit enough, or the right size or shape. Or, I see myself as not sexy, or have negative thoughts about the sexual part of my identity. The results are feelings of shame, self loathing, and saying really awful things in my head about myself.

Whenever this happens, I can pretend that it is because the outside world is providing some type of evidence to me, that the thoughts in my head are true. I go to the store, and I have to buy a bigger size of clothing. Or someone thinks Brenda is my daughter. Or, I read or hear something about how wanting to be sexual, or being sexual as a woman is a shameful thing. The real story, however, is that these thoughts, this perception of being broken in some way, has nothing to do with the outside world, or any of the people in it. It has only to do with the thoughts in my head, and how I view myself.

The truth is, each one of us is whole, just as we are. We are each a beautiful, unique entity that has our own gifts and treasures that we bring into this world. And, at the same time, we are part of a beautiful whole, the whole of humanity and all living things and beings. At least that is how I view it. So, in reality, there is not one piece of who I am that needs to be changed or fixed in ANY way. I am perfectly imperfect, just as I am. I am individual, and part of something bigger than myself.

To be able to see my own beauty, and to be be WILLING to love myself more, is what I strive for in my life today. To make choices that I feel at peace about in my life, to live in the moment, and to stand in love, rather than fear, as I go forward.

Today, I get to celebrate being a bright piece of a brilliantly created tapestry that is this world.

And, I am WHOLE.

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Entering the Quiet.

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I have spent the last two weeks considering, and then, detaching myself, from social media. I deactivated my Facebook account last week, after tossing the idea around for a few days. Although I appreciated the easy access that I had to others in my life, and it was a great platform on which to feature my writing, I was trading away a lot: my time, my attention, my peace of mind.

This all came to its conclusion, after I found myself to be spending more and more time outside, in nature. I have always been a lover of nature. I love being outside, working in the earth, bare feet on the ground, and the sun shining strong on my skin. I love the sound of streams, and ocean waves breaking on the shore. I love hearing rain, and walking in it, snow storms and even sledding in the dead of winter.

Last summer, I was in transition, planning on moving into a new career that I thought that I wanted to be doing. Over the summer, I stopped working full time at my day job, and was job sharing the old career with the new one. The new one required a lot of time on the phone, and on the computer. I spent much of last summer, days and evenings, on the INSIDE looking OUT. Sitting at my kitchen table, for hours at a time, focusing on my tasks and not out in the world. I was taking in the outside world, and yet, not taking it IN TO myself. That is essential for me.

I have since chosen to stay in the career that I am in, and absolutely loving that choice. And, I am recollecting a time over twenty years ago, when I was deeply connected to the world, in nature, and felt at ease, deeply spiritual and one with the earth. It was an amazing time of transition for me, and my nature time was key.

So, for the last few weeks, I have been walking as much as possible outside, at parks and the local lake; hiking; picnicking in the grass; and gardening. I have been in touch with all of my senses, and how they come alive in all ways when I am outdoors.

I have been tuning OUT, to better tune IN. The result, has been that my mind is quieter, because I am turning down the volume in my head. And, my soul feels more peaceful. I also feel connected with all that is around me more often than usual.

So, disconnecting from technology has been easier for me than I imagined. I am enjoying the quiet, and it is no great surprise that it is available to me.

The outside world is always there, waiting for me. I only need to heed the call.

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So, as I started to give that to myself more

Sensing my world.

I took a brisk, refreshing walk on my lunch hour at work today. I have been doing this more often lately, and really enjoy the break in the middle of my day. Today, when I started out, the first thing that I noticed, besides the warm air, was the bright blue hue of the sky. It was tremendous. I couldn’t stop looking at it, so brilliant, so clear. No clouds anywhere to be seen.

It was truly amazing, one of the miracles of nature.

I tend to get almost obsessed about the sky, day and night. Sunrises, sunsets, clouds, or cloudless sky. Thunder clouds rolling in, or snow skies. Stars by the hundreds, and full moons. So, it wasn’t that unusual for me to see the sky, and really be taken in by it.

But then, something even more beautiful happened. I turned the corner of the area where I was walking, and was suddenly captured by a beautiful scent, almost Lily-like, in the air. It stayed with me for a couple of minutes, and although I looked around for where it might be coming from, I couldn’t determine the source. But it was sweet, and natural, and such a delight to catch as I was walking by.

I was truly sensing my world, in all ways.

My sight was so alive with the sky, the woods and all that there was to see on my path. My sense of smell was awakened by that sweet smell in the air. I could hear the music pounding from my Ipod, and felt connected to the songs. I felt the way that my feet hit the ground, as my new sneakers met with the street. I didn’t taste anything along the way, but thought about the abundance of berries in the early months of summer along this path.

Last night, while walking with my beloved, she pointed out to me the scents of the outdoors by her home, something that I might have easily missed in my haste to continue with our evening. It was so interesting, and invigorating to not miss it today, out in my world.

So, tap into those senses, as you wander through your day and walk in your own world. There is so much to be found.

Or, to be missed.

The Sky.

I have been really diligent in the last week or so to really stay in the moment. That is not as easy as it may seem. To really stay present, in what is happening right now, is truly a challenge. It is not just about not getting distracted by other happenings in the vicinity where we are at the time. It is not getting distracted by where our thoughts want to take us, which are unproductive, or even destructive or harmful.

It is those moments when we want to be at peace, and yet, we find, I FIND, many things to worry, obsess, or think about.

So, I worked really hard this week to spend many of my moments during the day, to be in that moment. When I was on the phone, keeping my attention on the person whom I was talking with. When I was with my daughter, really enjoying those moments in the car or at home, without thinking of the half dozen things I needed to tell her right then. When at work, being present to what I was doing and really committing to that.

As I said, it was difficult much of the time. It takes real skill, and focus, and diligence. Yet, when I did feel fully in the moment, I felt really joyful, because I was present to my life, what was happening right then.

I realized this week, that one thing that inspires me to stay in the moment is the sky. Why? Because in almost every moment, it looks different. The clouds move, the colors change, the dawn or dusk is upon me. As I watched the sky in all of its amazing forms this week, whether from my car, while I was walking, or from my home out the window, I got present to its magic in that moment.

I feel so blessed and fortunate that I get to observe that amazing sky each and every day, and it reminded me this week of the importance of staying present. Because, once this moment is gone, it is gone.

And I don’t want to miss it.