Nature Will Always, ALWAYS Take Back What Is Hers

Have you ever noticed that when humans step away from things, Mother Nature is quick to say “Ok, I’ll take that back”. Sometimes she even takes it back before we might be ready to give it up. This thought has occurred to me several occasions over the last year or so. In the end, all that we think is ours, (including our bodies) will belong to Nature once again. IMG_1612

Have you seen where a store has closed and no-one has gone into the parking lot for awhile? It doesn’t take long before there is all kinds of green grass and weeds growing up through the blacktop. I tried to look up how long it would take for New York City to revert to nature if humans disappeared. The answer was not as easy as I thought it might be. Somethings would happen rather quickly like wildlife returning, vegetation growing up, and things starting to decompose. Within 10 years Nature would definitely have an eco-system functioning quite well within the city. Give it another 50 years, 100 years or 200 years  and it would be nothing more than ruins among the wilderness.

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Sometime the human race doesn’t even need to step back. Sometimes Mother Nature decides she wants something back and will force herself on a certain area until once again it is hers. Sometimes we can do something about this; like fill in a sink whole, rebuild after an earthquake, or divert water to another course. Other times there is nothing we do can to persuade the natural world to give us back what we “think” is ours. IMG_6458

When you really think about it, if Mother Earth decided that she was no longer going to tolerate us, and wanted to take back all that we think is ours, there is not a thing we can do to stop her. Have you been through a natural event? Hurricane, tornado, flood or earthquake? Have you ever truly seen the power of nature? Have you been there when she swoops in fierce and angry? There is nothing we can do to stop her when she is like this? DSC_0231

Even when she is not full of turmoil and destruction, even when we think we are living in harmony with her, she is slowly taking back what is hers. It is only through our constant maintenance, presence, and a pushing back, that we maintain a delicate hold on our corners of the world.

So the next time you see a crack in the sidewalk filled with “weeds”,  an IMG_2702abandon building that is over run by vines, or the pigeons sitting on the head of your favorite statue; realize that this is Mother Nature. Patiently waiting for her opportunity to take back what was once hers, alone. Remember to thank her and offer her blessings for allowing us to coexist with her. Respect her and try your best to take care of her and the creatures that are part of her. Keep in mind that she could wipe us from the face of the earth at a moments notice, if she so chose to. Nature will always win in the end. She will always take back what is hers.

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Thank you for reading my blog today. May you easily and happily coexist with Nature, as if by magic.

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Common Ground, Can We Find It?

As I was scanning through Facebook this morning, I saw several people who felt the need to voice their opinion, on other people’s posts. Have you ever felt so angry or strongly disagreed with something a friend posted on FB, that you just had to reply? I bet we all have. But have you ever replied with a snarky comment in response to someone else’s post? This is what I witnessed this morning and have many times before. Someone feels so strongly, that they not only need to respond, but respond with a fairly negative comment. I have been told these people are called trolls.

I do not believe this is a healthy practice. First of all, many people rallied to support the person this “troll” was attacking. They were not kind to the “troll” thus becoming trolls themselves. (I do not like name calling and I think calling these people trolls probably hurts real troll’s feelings. They don’t want that kind of reputation- even if they did try to eat the 3 Billy Goats Gruff… it’s the circle of life after all!) I think expressing our opinions can be a positive thing, when it is done in the spirit of working to understand one another and find a middle ground. Then it is a beautiful and mature way to deal with our differences in opinions.

I really believe we need to allow others to have their own opinions. In this human experience, we are all having, we are all in the place we are perfectly meant to be. No one is better than someone else. From a spiritual stance there are probably some flaws in all of our opinions. Instead of trying to berate or change the opinions of others, what would happen if we just accepted others “as is”? Imagine if we all looked for our similarities, worked together, and just agreed to disagree on certain issues. I believe there is a way. Through loving our fellow voyagers in this human journey, we can work together. We do it all the time in our ordinary lives. I have co-workers who have a whole array of various opinions and beliefs. Some align with mine and some do not. Yet we still all manage to work together and are a wonderful team that, not only supports each other, but is very productive as well. My parents each have beliefs and opinions that are different than mine but I still love them like crazy and respect for them as they are.

I believe it is important that we allow others to have their own opinions and beliefs as a practice in love and acceptance. I also believe that doing so will bring us more peace. We can’t change others and when we are constantly trying to, it messes with our sense of peace and security. I am not suggesting we tolerate comments that are hurtful to ourselves or others. I only want to suggest we deal with them in such a way that we do not also become hurtful to others as well. Accept that this person is in a different place on their journey than you are. Kindly provide them with education if you can. Perhaps right now, some issues are so big, we can’t get to a middle ground. On the smaller issues, keep trying. On the bigger ones; try by looking for the good, the Divine, the Human behind the opinion.

Yes, I understand this is my usual happy Pollyanna attitude about life, but if we don’t start changing our approach to others, we’ll never get beyond the superficial. I feel we are so much more than our beliefs and opinions. I encourage you to let others have their opinions and look for the common ground. It is there! Sometimes it just takes more digging to find it in others. When you do I bet you find we have more in common than what makes us different.

Thank you for reading my blog today! May you have a life of feeling loved and accepted, as if by magic! I love you!

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Have You Heard of the Buy Nothing Movement?

I first time I heard of this amazing idea was when my friend Dawn mentioned it to me. At that time, there was not a group in my neighborhood, so I moved on from the idea. Later, when I relocated to a different neighborhood, I thought for sure there would be a group. Nope! How could this be? It is such an wonderful idea. So I decided to look into it further. What is Buy Nothing and what could I do about the lack of a group in my area?

The Buy Nothing Project is the idea, that instead of sending no longer needed stuff to the landfill, you can give it to your neighbors that need it for free. It is run as a private group on Facebook. Each group has defined neighborhoods with their streets set as boundaries. You can only belong to one group and only the group for the area you live within. There is a reason for this. The groups are intended to not only prevent usable items from heading to the landfills but also to help build community. It is encouraged, that when you pick up an item, you arrange a time when you and the gift-giver can meet. There by helping to build a community and helping neighbors get to know neighbors. This is such an amazing idea, right!?!

It is also possible for neighbors to borrow items from other neighbors or put up posts asking for something (maybe something someone no longer has need of). Gifts of service can also be given as well on the buy nothing site. Maybe someone needs help with lawn work or a ride somewhere. It truly is a community (and Site) of people just giving and helping one another.

So how could neither of my neighborhoods have this amazing group? I went to the website to see what could be done about this and I found my solution quickly. There was no one willing to be a administrator of the site in those areas. So I could volunteer to be the administrator of my local group if I wanted to start one there. I am pretty busy but I felt that this would be worth it.  I reached out through the website and volunteered. In no time at all I was starting my own neighborhood group. I worried if I would be able to grow the group large enough that it would become self-sustaining, healthy and active. I knew a few people in the group and had recently joined the My Neighborhood App. That was all it took! The group grew quickly and gifts began being shared freely and it took on a life of it’s own.  I am proud to say that my neighborhood Buy Nothing group currently has 270 members and counting.

Some groups are more interactive. Some run contests, which are fun. Like can you gift something everyday for some many days, would be one example. I read about another group where a whole wedding was planned and all items provided by the Buy Nothing Group! Wow! That is really great some random acts of kindness. It is also encouraged that the first to respond should not always get the item automatically, but rather people should comment why they were hoping for the item,  then a selection made for the person with the biggest need or the most interesting reason to get it.  Additionally those posting items are encouraged to tell a story about the item they are offering to their neighbors. Gratitude is always encouraged amongst the group. Freely expressing thanks for items received; is a beautiful way to keep the neighborhood vibration high and intentions pure. All of this is meant to continue to build strong a community and spread love.

Do you belong to a Buy Nothing Group? If not, it’s is worth looking into. If there is not one in your neighborhood, do what I did, volunteer to be the Administrator! There are resources and support people to help you and offer suggestions. I have found that being a Buy Nothing Administrator takes very little of my time and is very worth while.

Thank you for reading my Blog today. I wish you a lifetime filled with random acts of kindness, as if by magic.

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OMG! Read This Book! It will take you places you didn’t know you need to go. (An update on my Complaint Free Adventure)

A recent post from a FaceBook Friend set me off on a journey I didn’t know I needed to go on. My other blog, Can You Go 21 Days in a Row Without Complaining?, explains the journey and how I found myself on it. Until I started this adventure, I had no idea how much I complained. Until I read the book, I did not correlate how complaining and focusing on what I did not want to happen, was stealing from me the opportunity to live my dreams.

I am about 2 weeks into my “Complaint Free World” Adventure. I’ve been using my cute little happy turtle bracelet to switch back and forth on my wrist every time I complain. The articles suggested this action as a way of bringing my complaining to my attention. I thought I could easily whip through the 21 days and be off to my next adventure. Nope. After 2 weeks I am still on day 1. Because I am struggling so much with this challenge, I decided to buy Will Bowen’s book, A Complaint Free World; How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted.

This book has taught me so much.

1 I am not alone in the fact that I complain “way” more than I realized.

2 I modeled this for my children and taught them to complain, as they grew up, without ever realizing it.

3 It is robbing me from living my dreams.

4 Complaining is contagious.

5 It does make for easy conversation starters.

6 I have a lot of work to do to become the best me I can be.

These are just a few of the lessons I have learned from reading the Will’s book. I felt it was necessary for me to read the book because I was wondering what was wrong with me that I could not make it “one day” without complaining. It was a comfort to me that even the author of the book, as well as most other people who go on this journey, find getting through one whole day complaint free, a struggle.

I continue to push on towards living a complaint free existence. I will continue switching my bracelet back and forth until the day I notice it has rested, undisturbed, on the same wrist for a whole day. I will then work towards going another and another day until I break this habit of complaining.

I am currently at the stage where I am starting to become aware of my complaints. Hopefully, soon, I will enter the stage where I stop them before they even cross my lips. Luckily, no switch of the bracket is required for unspoken complaints. I will strive to live my great grandmothers advice. “If you do not have anything nice to say, do not say anything at all”, she would tell us.  Ura McGurran was so wise.  I am human; a work in progress that is striving towards practicing what I preach and in search of living my dreams.

I did decide to go to Will’s website and purchase the purple bracelets he sells for this challenge. I have been using my cute little turtle bracelet but, after hearing how many people broke brackets switching them back and forth, I decided a purple silicone bracelet would be a great idea. I really like my little turtle bracelet.

Will you join me on this adventure? Will you walk this journey towards a Complaint Free World with me? I hope so but make sure you bring a lot of bracelets if you do.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find yourself moving easily in the direction of your dreams, as if by magic.

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Regrets; Looking Back on the Life You Have Left Behind

I have always tried to live my life in such a way that I have no regrets. Recently, someone told me that I will regret living my life the way I currently am. They feel that I will regret traveling so much and not spending more time with family. It gave me pause to reflect on my life and choices. Will I have regrets in the future?

As I reflected on my life so far, there are 3 things that came to mind that perhaps I wish I had made different choices. One was a high school friendship that fell apart related to my ego. I have since found this person and apologized. I no longer regret this, as I believe all things happen for a reason and they help us learn and be better people. The second thing is a stepdaughter, who I wish I would have fought to raise when I heard she was in foster care. I was divorced from her father at that time and although I considered fighting for her, I was really not in a place in my life where I could have taken her on and provided her with the life she deserved. I also have since found her and apologized. She easily forgave me and told me her life was going well. Once again, everything happens for a reason and perhaps the journey she walked help form her into the wonderful person she is today.

The final regret I have in my life still haunts me to this day. I wish I had stuck up more for my children. Don’t get me wrong; I fought the school systems, volunteered as a Girl Scout leader, scrimped so that they could be involved in more things and have experiences. I worked hard to be a really good mother and advocate for them out in life. But at home, when their step-father had a very different parenting style than I did, I didn’t have enough self-confidence that my way was the right way and to speak up. I allowed him to set the tone for our house. I do regret that I did not stand up better for my daughters at home. I think they are wonderful mothers and women and hope that these earlier life experiences are what helped form that “will” to overcome barriers in their lives. My hope is that, my not having enough self-confidence to stand up and speak up for what I believed in, made them stronger. This is the one part of my history that still haunts me when I look back on my life thus far. I have healed from the experiences and now have the confidence to stand up and tell others what I believe and why.

Being told that I will regret living my life and traveling, instead of staying home to spend all of my free time with family, gives me pause. Because I intentionally try to live a life free from regrets, I cannot simply let this comment pass without reflecting on it. I have worked most of my career as a nurse caring for the elderly and those on hospice. I saw countless people and couples who waited to take the trip until they were retired or until they had “enough money” (however much that is). Then one of them would get sick and those dreams would die with them. The trips were left untaken and those dreams never reached. Their money went to pay for medical care. I don’t want that to be my story.

I want to find balance in my life. I love my family and enjoy spending time with them. I enjoy doing things with them. We try having a family meal once a week. There are times when I am not home, because of my job or a trip I am taking, and I am unable to make the weekly family meal. But when I am home it is a wonderful get together. Holidays are spent with family as well. My Family has grown and spread out, so it is not always possible for me to spend holidays with “all” of my family. I have daughters, grandchildren, parents, a brother, a niece and nephew, and a whole other set of family with my in-laws. Decisions and compromises must be made. I do love my family in a very big way!

I feel that traveling also makes me a better person. I get to see and experience the ways that other people live. I see that our way is not always the right way to do it. There are other ways to accomplish the same things. I learn through my travels. I have fun and feel fully alive when I travel. I know that I need to travel to be fully me. It feeds my soul. Perhaps there will come a time in my life when traveling is no longer the right choice for me. Right now though, I feel I must travel.

I appreciate that this person felt brave and comfortable enough with me to share their opinion on my life choices and how it may affect me in the future. It was not something easily dismissed. I caused me to reflect on what they had said. It caused me to think about my family. I reflected to things my parents and grandparents did before me. Those wise ancestors who I came and learned from, made choices about their lives too. Did they regret the choices they made? I don’t know. I do know that I am responsible for my life and my choices. I will continue to work to find a healthy balance between time with family and living my life the way my soul is calling me to live.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find perfect balance in your life, as if by magic.

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Can You Go 21 Days in a Row Without Complaining?

I am here to ask if you would go on another adventure with me? This is a challenge that sounds easy, but it is not for the squeamish. This will require you to come face to face with the type of energy you are REALLY putting out into the world. When I first heard of this challenge, or movement might be more appropriate, I thought it sounded like something I could master pretty easily. After all, I am a positive person. At least I thought I was a positive person. Does this intrigue you? Do you think you can do it? Of course you can. We can do it together.

First, let me start by telling you this is one of the reasons I LOVE social media. This movement, was totally off my radar, until I saw it in a Facebook friends post. She was starting the challenge of 21 consecutive days of being complaint free. I was intrigued and wanted to learn more. Thankfully, she posed a link to a keynote speech given by Will Bowen. After watching his speech, I thought, this is something I have to do even though I had no idea what this was going to entail and what it would teach me about myself.

I naively jumped into this challenge believing my natural Pollyanna attitude would carry me easily to day 21. I knew I was not perfect. I do hear myself complain from time to time. I know, that at times, I even relish the complaining. Really enjoying an occasional good “bitch session”.  Let me tell you something. Despite how self aware I think I may be, I have big old “blind spot” where I don’t see my own imperfections. I complain, A LOT.  I have been on this adventure now for about a week and I am still on day one.

One of my favorite things Will says, in his key note speech is, “There is no shame in day one”. Boy oh boy, I have embraced this as my mantra! After a week I am still on day one. I think some of the days I have complained less, than I would have, before I started this adventure. I have certainly become more aware of how quickly and easily I do complain. I am trying to notice when I am the one who is initiating the complaints verses when I am the one who jumping on the complaint bandwagon. I will tell you, I am certainly guilty of both.

I was beginning to feel a bit discouraged by my inability to get past day one. I thought, maybe I wasn’t keeping it front of my mind, enough? I get it that complaining is a habit and will take time to break it, but a week without being able to go past 1 day without voicing a complaint?! What am I doing wrong? I decided I need to keep the adventure front of mind for myself. I looked for the audio book that Will wrote. It’s called, A Complaint Free World: How to Stop Complaining and Start Enjoying the Life You Always Wanted. I downloaded it and started to listen to it while I was commuting. Surely, this will be what I need to remain complaint free for a day or two. Nope! I am still catching myself complaining but there is some really great stuff happening. 

One of the really wonderful things is I am now aware of myself and my complaining in a way I have never been in the past. I am telling you, I really thought I was Stacy Sunshine. I was more than a bit surprised to find out that is “not” the vibration I am sharing with the world all of the time. The other thing that I learned, from listening to Will’s book is this; he struggled too. He did not immediately jump to day 2. There were days he celebrated that he only complained 5 times. Ok, so now I feel better. I am not alone in my Eeyore nature. We “all” do it.

I do know this! I do not want to be a complainer. I do not what to bring others down and put negative vibrations out into the world or even boost myself up by gossiping about others. This is not who I am on a soul level! This is not the person I am here to be. I want to raise the vibration and be an inspiration. So, you want to go on an adventure with me?! Let’s do a 21 consecutive days; complaint free! I will write update blogs to let you know how I am doing and you can share hints, tips, and tricks of what is helping you along the way. Together we can help Will’s movement of a complaint free world spread even further and faster across this planet. He does say; it takes most people about 8 months to reach the 21 days. Let’s see if we can beat that!

We can do this! Remember that Will says; “There is no shame in day one”. Want to join this adventure?! Why not? What have you got to loose?

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you find your spirit positive and your words hopeful, as if by magic.

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12 Reasons to Get into Nature!

Where I live, you can see the change of season coming. Some of the leaves are already starting to turn bright colors. This is one of the signs that Summer is coming to an end as it does every year. So here comes Autumn! I love all of the seasons for different reasons but Autumn is truly my favorite. I love the crispness in the air, the crunch and smell of the leaves on the forest floor as you hike, and the beautiful colors that splash onto the canvas of the world. I enjoy getting out in the kayak or on the hiking trails in the Fall. Exploring what I have seen before, but now looks entirely different. In the Winter, when the temperatures here dip below zero, I often find it hard to get outside and be a part of Nature. But I still try. Last year it was dogsledding in Northern MN. Finally Spring, rebirth and return of the sun. Always appreciated. Here are some reasons for all of us to remember the importance of getting outside (and into Nature) no matter what the weather.

 

1.        It gives you room to breathe – Removing the walls and the ceiling around you can give you the opportunity to see the sky, relax and just breathe.IMG_9974

2.        It lowers stress – The sounds of the birds and rustle of the trees, the clean smell of the air, the sun on your face; it can all help reduce stress and anxiety.IMG_5938

3.        It helps to keep your clock set- The natural light of the outdoors can help to reset your internal clock. Your brain responds to the sun on your face. IMG_1088

4.        You realize you are part of something bigger – The web of life happens all around us, all the time. When we spend time in nature, we can see how we fit into this bigger world.IMG_2486

5.        There are amazing things to see – There are so many things waiting for you around the next turn. Beautiful things are available for your five senses in all seasons. You only have to get out there.IMG_9876

6.        Feel more alive – Have you ever sat on a covered front porch and watched a lightning storm? You feel so alive with the wind, the electricity in the air, splashes of light and booming thunder putting on a show. There are so many of these experiences in Nature!IMG_4515

7.        Be inspired – So many outdoor sights can be inspiring. Whether it is the bumble bee making its way from flower to flower, a beautiful waterfall, or breathtaking rock formation – from the small to the large, Nature can be very inspiring. IMG_1813

8.        You time – It gives you time to unwind and step away from all of the “to do’s” on your list. Laying in the sun, swimming in the surf, or walking through the forest; it gives you some space to honor yourself. IMG_8501

9.        Just full of analogies – I, have many times, been out in Nature and noticed something that I can see as an analogy for my life. For example, once I saw how a beaver had built his house. I thought about the hardworking beaver. He doesn’t complain. He just gets to work and gets it done. Then he can go for a swim and relax. IMG_1044

10.     Experiences – I think most of my favorite experiences have happened outside. After all, it was an impulsive BWCA trip that inspired this whole journey that led to blogging and Adventure Sister Emy! IMG_8513

11.     Bonding time – My grandmother used to take me on Nature walks to pick wild flowers. I took my own daughters on fairy hunting treks and my grandchildren have gone kayaking with me. Whether it is friends or family, time in Nature can be such a lovely bonding experience. IMG_2489

12.     Appreciation – Finding things to be grateful for attracts more blessings into our lives. When you look around outside, there is so much to be grateful for and appreciate. IMG_9500

 

I am sure there are many more reasons other than these 12. Get outside today! Enjoy the weather, as is, without wishing for it to be anything other than what it is. Take a moment to be thankful for all the beauty that the natural world gives us.

Thank you for reading my blog today. May your life be filled with opportunities to get out in Nature, as if by Magic!

***No Trees, insects, or birds were harmed in the making of the art on the featured image of this blog. All items were found on nature walks.

 

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