Fostering a Love of Nature in the Younger Generation

This weekend my husband and I met our daughter and granddaughter on the North Shore of Lake Superior. There are so many lovely views along the way. Majestic Lake Superior, beautiful waterfalls, and forests all make for an enjoyable day surrounded by natural beauty. Our granddaughter is 5 years old and a smart little girl with a naturally inquisitive nature, that made this day even more special.

As we voyaged along the North Shore, we made many stops. The first was at Gooseberry falls and the last was at the Temperance River. The paths were covered with snow, slush and ice from the recent April blizzard we had. But that didn’t stop us. That little girl was always excited to get out of the vehicle to see what new experiences this stop would bring her, what new path to trot down and what new sights to see. It was such a joy to watch her as she darted here and there. I could see her falling in love with this area of the country that I love so much.

Our other grandchildren love the outdoors just as much. They enjoy playing outside every chance they get. They love to hike down paths through the woods, are excited about upcoming camping trips, and enjoy getting to see the wildlife that are part of these types of adventures. Fostering this type of love in our youngsters does a couple of things. It helps them and it helps the planet.

It helps them by giving them an escape, that we all need sometimes. They learn that the world has so much to offer. There is more to life than just the TV and tablets. They learn that fun, as well as peace, can be found by getting out into nature. Helping them develop a love of nature at a young age gives them an opportunity to develop several coping mechanisms as they age. Going hiking and camping, are parts of my life, that help me during tough times. Paddling a Kayak down river, after a stressful day, helps all the tension melt away. When we introduce children to these things at a young age, it gives them more for their tool box as they age.

It helps the world by producing more people who will want to protect it. They are less likely to take actions in the future that could cause harm to the planet, when they see how special the natural world is. When they fall in love with Mother Nature and all she has to offer them, they are more invested in taking care of her. They will not all become tree hugging hippies but they may become responsible with their trash, recycle, or choose products with packaging that is earth friendly.

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Just as our little granddaughter had a blast exploring the beauty around us, I enjoyed watching her fall in love with the earth. Do you have children in your life? what kinds of things do you do with them out in nature? I would love to hear about your adventures with little ones. 

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you enjoy the world of nature with any little ones in your life, as if by magic.

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I Met God Today

Today I  meditated on compassion and not judging people, but just accepting them as is, including myself. My meditations are always a bit ADHD with thoughts coming and going. Images popping up before me and dissipating like smoke. I have learned not to fight what happens during meditation. I just stay present and accept what comes. I ignore my mind, which is constantly trying to narrate and document everything that is happening. I focus on my breathing, or a mantra, when the mind gets to insistent and just let it float to the background.

Today was no different. I was meditating, as usual, when suddenly there was this white light before my mind’s eye. It was a bright light and grew in intensity as it came closer. I grew to realize that this was God. I sat with him and just accepted the Divinity of this moment. My mind screamed at me to write it down and document it. I ignored the mind and allowed the observer part of myself to enjoy this extraordinary experience. Then it changed. The bright white light changed into an inky purplish black color. It was no longer a concentrated sun as the white light had been. It spread and filled the area of my vision, nebulous and changing. I came to understand that this was also God. She explained to me that God is all things; light and shadow. Duality is a necessary part of all things. She said just as I do not judge the moon, the negative charge of electrons or femininity, as bad, nor is the dark side of God or anyone. It just is.

This is a hard concept to wrap one’s head around. In the Taoist philosophy there is the Yin/Yang. This is the symbol we often see where the white and black swirls meet to form a perfect circle with a little spot of the opposite color on each side. It shows the nature of both being necessary for the whole and that each contains a bit of the other. Yin is feminine and the dark side. Yang is masculine and the light side. Neither is good or bad. But both are necessary for the formation of life. We could not continue the human race without both. A battery does not work if the charges are not aligned correctly. Night and day are both required for nature to exist in harmony. We must work and we must sleep. Why should it be shocking that God contains balance, duality within the Divinity of our source?

We have put so much negative connotation to the shadow side, that perhaps some of its true nature has been lost. Darth Vader tries to get Luke to come to the Dark Side and the movies make it all very evil. If you have ever watched the Disney movie Maleficent with Angelina Jolie, you know that a story can be told in a very different way, in which the villain’s story looks less like a villain and more human. Someone who is doing the best they can in the time and space they are in. What if we say that God is in all people? What if we noticed the duality and knew they were doing the best they could in the time and space they are currently in; to balance the duality within themselves? Know that they are doing their very best possible, to express the divinity from which they come. It does shift how we see each other, doesn’t it? I feel this makes it a bit easier to have compassion, rather than judgement, when experiencing others along this path called life.

Spend some time with this concept. Let it float around in your mind and in your dreams. Try it on and see how it feels. Find your own truth within it. I hope it helps you find more compassion for yourself as well as for others.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you find compassion over judgement naturally, as if by magic.

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Success: Where does it come from and why is it important?

During this mornings meditation with Deepak, he spoke about Success as it relates to our Ego and Gratitude. As I slipped into the peaceful space of meditation, I contemplated this truth. Success is important to many of us, but why is that? Where does success derive from? The principles of manifestation would say gratitude. My upbringing and pride though, would say just hard work.

I am not saying that hard work is not important or helps us a realize our dreams. It is certainly a part of the recipe, just not the main ingredient, as our ego would have us believe. Our ego wants to take credit for everything. It needs the constant praise and appreciation that comes with accomplishments in order to feel worthy. Getting to a deep place changes everything. A place where you can step aside from the ego. A place where the observer can watch and see how the ego pumps out it’s chest and struts around taking credit for it all.

When you change the way you look at your “work”. Whether it’s your career, the stuff you do around the house, or whatever “feels” like work to you; the words we use can help to shift our energy. If we say, “I get to…” instead of, “I have to…” it can help us focus on gratitude. Gratitude can bring our dreams into reality. Try it on for size. Instead of, “I have to get this project done”, say, “I get to work on this project and bring it into being”. Notice how the energy shifts from one of dread to one of gratitude. The more gratitude in our hearts, the more the Universe will conspire to bring us an abundance of items to be grateful for.

It can seem like it is unpopular to be grateful. Think how often you have conversations with others where you complain about things, even though deep down you are grateful for them. This has become the way we relate to one another. Somehow the ego thinks if we work really hard, then people will love us. If we are working hard at something we love, the ego tries to take points away from us. By shifting back to a space of gratitude, for the work we get to do, it takes away that martyr energy. Ego wants others to see all the sacrifices you are making. You are not making sacrifices. You are exercising your free will and making choices.

Let me share an example from my own life with you. I make inspirational memes for the Adventures Sisters Facebook page. I will often hear myself saying, “I need to…” or “I have to get memes made and posted.” Sure it takes a lot of work and a lot of time to take the pictures, select the quotes, edit the pictures, and get them posted with hashtags and links. But, what I really mean to say is, “I get to make inspiration artistic pieces that I share with the world. This task allows me to use my love of photography and love of inspirational quotes to combine them in a way that lets me use my artistic abilities and inspires others. By using this artistic outlet, I get to raise the vibration of the planet and serve my life purpose of spreading joy.” Isn’t that a very different energy from the “I have to get this done” comment.  How many times in your life do you express yourself in a way that pleases the ego but does little to bring more gratitude into your life?

As you go about your day today. I challenge you to notice how you say things like, “I have to…” and shift it and find the “I get to…” in it. They are there. Pay attention to how that shifts the way you feel about the things you are doing. That’s it for now! I get to go back to work at my amazing job that allows me to travel and provide education that improves patients care.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you find the shift to gratitude happens naturally, as if by magic.

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5 Reasons Self Care & Your Purpose Are Connected

You have a purpose in this life! Yes, you! Even if you do not know what that purpose is, it is there, pushing you forward. This is precisely why it is important to take care of yourself! Here are 5 good reasons how self care and your purpose are connected.

1. Put the oxygen mask on yourself first! They say it on every airplane ride. If someone needs assistance, put the mask on yourself first before you help them with their mask. If you pass out from lack of oxygen, then you cannot possibly help that person who needs your assistance. It may seem like the noble thing to give to others first, but once your cup is empty, you will not have anything left to fill others.

2. You set a good example for others! When your children, family members, and those who admire you, see you caring for yourself, you set a good example. They begin to understand that self care is not selfish. They see how it provides you the much needed balance. By caring for ourselves, and therefore having the energy to care for others, those watching will learn that it is okay to take the time they need to recharge their own batteries. Isn’t that what you would want for those you love? That they feel they deserve to take care of themselves too? Of course it is. So be a good example to them.

3. Allow for creativity! If we are always busy with this or that, running from point A to B, how can we possibly have time for our creative juices to flow? Creativity needs some space. Taking time for meditation, art, exercise, and other self care activities give us time for inspiration to hit. Even if you do not consider yourself a creative person, in the midst of these self care activities, you may find yourself coming up with solutions to problems. Inspiration can hit while you are walking in nature, sitting in silence, or expressing yourself with paint on a canvas. You just never know when it’ll strike.

4. Define your purpose! Self care allows you to explore different activities and interests that may help you learn about your true purpose. Personnel development classes or retreats are self care options that can help lead you down the path toward your purpose, as is just trying something out. Maybe you think your purpose is to carry on the family business, by working in the tire shop that has been passed from father to son, you may come to understand that now it’s your turn. Perhaps that is a part of your purpose or not. Caring for yourself can help you feel the tug towards where the Divine is leading you. It can give you the space or help you develop new skills that can help you define your purpose.

5. Find the fun again! Self care can help you find the fun. As the proverb goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. According to Wikipedia this proverb was recorded as early as 1659. That’s at least 360 years of encouraging you to let your hair down. Dancing, laughing, playing are all great self care activities that will help you “Feel joy and share it”, as my friend Nancy says. Without some fun in your life, you may find that your purpose can start to feel like a burden. Life is meant to be joyous! Find the fun!

Whether you know what your purpose is or not, self care is important. Even if you do not believe you have a life purpose, life is too short to not take care of yourself and enjoy this adventure! I beg you to find at least a couple self care activities that feel good and feed your soul!

Thank you for reading my blog today! I love you! May you find self care a part of your routine, as if by magic!

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Let’s Talk About Desire; 7 questions to help you explore yours.

I was raised Catholic and I remember getting the distinct impression that desire was a bad thing. That is was a sin, something to be avoided and resisted. I remember believing that weak people gave into their desires. Through studying wise teachers and texts, as well as meditation and seeking guidance; I have come to understand that this way of thinking is wrong. Let us explore the notion of desires and understand why they are often our friends.

During a meditation, Deepak Chopra introduced a centering thought that started to shift my perception of my desires. It was “My life moves forward through my desires”. What a freeing thought. That I have these desires because they are moving me forward. When you really think about it we strive for things, work hard, get education and all because we desire something. It is these desires that keep us reaching to be better, do better, accomplish more.

There is so much in this life we can accomplish. It may be personal goals, like being calmer and more centered. It can also be professional goals, like starting a business that improves the world at large. One person who has done this is Sage Lavine. In her book Women Rocking Business she also talks about desires being a positive thing. She provides a quote from Janet Attwood which says, “Your desires aren’t necessarily your destiny. Your desires are stepping stones on the path to your destiny”. I really like this imagine of following my desires like a path into the unknown; bringing me face to face with my life purpose. Sage says, “…Source is using your desires to communicate what you need to do”. Looking at our desires as messages or directions from God, changes everything.

I do think it is important to differentiate between desires and distractions though. Sometimes I want to drink wine until I am comfortably numb. This I would not classify as a desire leading me to my destiny, but rather a distraction to avoid feeling something. By allowing that feeling, I can acknowledge it and move past it.  Activities such as shopping, eating, drinking, and staying busy could fall into this category of distraction.

Other things that can appear to be desire is looking to gain someones approval. This may be because you are wanting to live up to someone elses expectation of you. Are you chasing that next promotion because it will make your parents proud?  Do you want a new vehicle because the neighbors have one? These types of things maybe more connected to your self esteem. When our self esteem is low, we are more likely to give our power away to things that others want or want for us. So it is important that we take a look at those things we are wanting to discern if they are true desires, or something we are doing for another reason. Having people be proud of us may be the underlying desire but is that the reason for your actions. There maybe a way to accomplish this that is more in alignment with our true nature.

Here are some questions to help you look at your desires to see if they are true to yourself and have your best interests in mind.

  1. Are you using this to avoid something?
  2. Are you doing this to “keep up with the Jones”?
  3. Is your drive behind this to make someone else proud?
  4. Are you fooling yourself about one of the previous answers?
  5. Why do you want/desire this?
  6. How long have you wanted this?
  7. If this has been calling to you for a long time why have you not acted yet?

Be honest with yourself. It is easy for “justifications” to get in the way of the deeper truth. I am an expert justifier. I can make myself believe all kinds of false truths that do not help me dig down to the truth of what is under the surface. Have fun exploring your desires! May they bring you face to face with your destiny!  “This above all, to thine own self be true…”, William Shakespeare.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find your desires leading you in the direction of your dreams, as if by magic!

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Making Time for Your Priorities: 6 questions to ask yourself

What are the things that are most important to you? What are the things in life that you wish you had more time for? Life is so full of the push and pull to do various things, that finding balance amongst all of these, is one of the challenges we all face. I used to look at people who were retired, or didn’t work for one reason or another, and thought they must have it made. They have all the time they need to do whatever they want. As I have paid more attention to this perceived abundance of theirs; it seems not having a job does not mean that there is plenty of time to do it all. These people are still very busy and vocalize having a lot on their plate to get accomplished.

So, I had a couple thoughts about priorities during a meditation this week.

The other morning, as I sat in meditation and my husband scurried around cleaning up the kitchen, it struck me that we make time for the things that are priorities in our life. If we feel that there is no time for our priorities, we need to take a look at our life and see how we are really spending our time. What things have crept into our life that are not priorities, but we just treat them as if they are? I am blessed to have a husband who shares the household duties with me.  He never suggests that I am not carrying my fair share of the load or that I should be doing more and this helps allow for more time. Working a full-time job, that often requires more than full time hours and almost weekly travel, makes the time to pursue things like blogging, planning retreats, offering classes, sharing inspiration, and my own personal development quite sparse. I have changed things in my life to be able to have time for the things I feel are priorities. Here are some things to ask yourself. I have and continue to reevaluate these as life marches on.

  1. Where does time go? By looking at how we spend time, it is possible to find some extra space in the day to do more. Things that steal time for me are playing games on my phone, procrastination (where I stay busy to avoid something else) and the occasionally TV binge.
  2. Is it really important? About 25 years ago, I made a conscious decision that the TV would not be in the main room of the house. When there it steals our time. It is easy to fall into the trap of coming home and plunking down in front of it. Don’t get me wrong; there are a lot of really great things to watch on TV. Just be mindful about what you are watching and how much of your time it is truly taking. Is it really the priority? Our Tv (at home) is in a family room in the basement. So that it is not in the center of attention when meals and conversations are had.
  3. Is there another way to accomplish it? We all know that living in a sanitary way is important for health. I am not a germaphobe and my house does not have to be perfect, but It does need to be tidy. Also, according to Feng Shui, a cluttered environment causes a cluttered mind. Your space needs to be a priority, but maybe you make a chore list to share with others in your house? Can you hire a housekeeper? Are there efficiencies you can add like cleaning the shower as you get out of it in the morning once a week? We have worked out a trade deal with one daughter so she comes and cleans our house in exchange for us helping her with things she needs. Be creative!
  4. Is there times when you can multitask? I love audio books! I listen to them while I commute, exercise, cook, etc. It is a nice way to fit in some learning or self development while doing other things that I have to accomplish anyway.
  5. Could you start your day differently? I am a morning person and getting up early to get things done, before the demands for the day start closing in, works well for me. Even if you are not a morning person, is there a way you can make a morning routine more supportive of the things you want to be priorities in your life? I recently started daily meditation again as well as another 40 day yoga practice. I have found that if I get up a little earlier in the morning I have time to meditate, do my yoga, and often even blog, before I have to go to work. Having this routine has been very positive for me feeling more centered and finding balance in my life.
  6. Check your attitude. How is your mood or your tude? In March, I had a tough month. I couldn’t seem to find the energy or desire to blog or commit to other healthy habits. I was eating poorly, vegging out in front of the TV, and I was uncharacteristically crabby. Then I started “shoulding” all over myself, which made it worse. I felt guilty for the choices I was making but yet I seemed incapable of changing them that month. On April 1st, I decided enough was enough. I made intentional changes to take control of my life again. I got my diet back into check, stopped the sugar and restarted intermittent fasting. I stopped zoning out in front of the TV. I started the daily meditation and the 40 day yoga practice. My mood shifted the first day. It is very empowering to take control of your life.

I hope these questions will help you to make your priorities, priorities. Remember that you are a priority and not to give all of yourself away. You need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, so that you will have what you need to be there for the others you hold dear.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May your priorities fall into place, as if by magic.

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21 Days Without Complaining: I Am Gratitude.

During this morning’s meditation, Deepak told me that my true self sees only gratitude. This got me thinking. How would this view change the world if we saw only gratitude in all situations? Along this line of thought, Adventure Sister Emy recently inspired me. After a March where I just couldn’t seem to get going, Emy inspired me to use April to refocus on myself. By going back to all the healthy initiatives that I had been working so hard on recently. Daily meditation, avoiding refined sugar, financial wellness, 40 day yoga practice, and 21 days without complaining. Then it hit me! How does gratitude change these things?

Of all of the health initiatives listed above; the 21 days without complaining has been the hardest for me. I believe what you think about you bring about. So it makes sense that if I was focusing on not complaining what I was actually attracting was more and more complaining. What if, instead of 21 days complaint free, I work on 21 days of gratitude? When a situation arises that I may be tempted to complain about, I will instead look for something within it to be grateful for. Find the underlying blessing or lesson in each situation. This is not a new idea or concept, just a new way to focus on my life, in order to live it to the best of my ability. To be the best person I know how to be. I do not want to be that person who drones on and on about things I am not pleased with. I want to be grateful.

Last night, I once again placed my purple bracelet on my wrist. This morning is day number 2! I will flow through the next 21 days with gratitude in my heart. I will change the way I see the world. I will know that life loves and supports me while I love and support others. I will know that when something or someone pushes my buttons; there is always something to be grateful for. Noticing these opportunities to embrace my deep and true nature, will propel me forward to success in this endeavor.

Many of you have reached out to me to let me know you would join me on the 21 day adventure to a more positive mind set.  Are you still with me? What success have you had? What things helped you stay the course and get you to new days without moving your bracelet? For those of you that are new to this adventure, please click on the embedded links to learn more. I would truly love updates on how you are doing on this path to a world were gratitude rules.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find all the blessings in your life, as if by magic.

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