Spark of Recognition

Have you ever looked into a strangers eyes and seen a familiar soul? It happens all the time to me. I pass a stranger in the hallway, our eyes meet for the briefest of seconds, they smile, I smile back and we each go our separate ways. There is no way our paths have crossed in this lifetime. In this lifetime, this was just a chance encounter. There is no discussion and no explanation. Just 2 souls passing like ships in the night.

Perhaps these souls that have been part of my past lives. Maybe they played a significant role in some long ago, far away, drama. Or perhaps it is just a case of the Divine in me; recognizing the Divine in the other. After all, we are all one.

If you have not had this experience before, I bet that you will start to notice it now. The next time you make eye contact with strangers. For some, this can be intimidating. For me this is a sense of connection with those other Divine souls out there living this human experience. These brief interactions with my fellow voyagers are like little oasis’s in the desert. They are reminders that I am not alone, others voyage with me.

Never would I have thought that brief eye contact with a stranger, an angel, would have been confirmation that I am on my right path. Finding comfort in the fact that my soul family is much bigger than I realize; is mine due to this briefest of encounters. I also realize that I am safe to enjoy this moment without a need to cling to it. There is no desire to make it into something that it is not.

As you journey through this magical life, notice the other Divine souls around you. Smile at them, share a moment, and carry on with your crazy, beautiful adventure.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you find connections that provide you comfort, as if by magic.

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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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Plastic a go-go

I have decided to reduce my usage of plastic. I feel bad when I see articles about plastic being found in the bellies of sea life and that so much of it cannot even be recycled by our local recycling facilities. I want to do my part to reduce the use of plastic. I was raised Catholic and all my Catholic friends and family are talking about what changes they will make for Lent. For those of you who do not know, Lent is a 40 day period when Catholics make some sort of sacrifice or commit to do more good deeds.  Although I am no longer a practicing Catholic, I decided Lent was a perfect time to start a commitment to decrease my consumption of plastic.

Right off the bat, I learned that at this time, I cannot completely eliminate plastic in my life. Making this conscious effort to decrease my use of plastic has fully brought to my attention how it is everywhere. Let’s just start with my yesterday.  It was a travel day for me. That meant I was served my first beverage of the morning on the airplane. My water was given to me in a plastic cup, so I decide on the next flight to ask for the can of water without any ice and therefore eliminated the use of that plastic cup. For lunch I grabbed take out so I could get into the office and get to work. The takeout summer rolls were wrapped in plastic and came with a little plastic sauce cup of peanut sauce for dipping, that also had a little plastic cover on it. Then it was in a cardboard box which was placed inside a plastic bag with plastic utensils and a napkin.  I do not carry my own shampoo and conditioner with me when I travel. I just use whatever is in the hotel room. That is nicely package in more little plastic bottles.  When I checked into the hotel I was given 2 plastic bottles of water. For breakfast this morning I just grabbed some oatmeal to go. I put it in a disposable coffee mug and covered it with a plastic cover. Wow, this is going to be much harder than I thought, now that I see how much plastic I really do use.

I am having some success in the early phase of my efforts though. At home we are avoiding using the zip lock bags that I love so much. When we empty one that was used prior to this initiative, we rinse it out to reuse it. Out leftovers are getting put into storage containers that are reusable instead of plastic baggies. I am not using the plastic wrap either. If I do need to cover something, I am using tinfoil or putting it in reusable mason jars. Both my husband and I have reusable travel mugs and water bottles. We use those rather than plastic bottled water. We recycle the plastic items that come as packaging on things we buy. We use reusable shopping bags or ask for no bag whenever possible.

Just becoming aware of our use of plastic has got me thinking about how and where can I make other, better choices. Hopefully more and more companies will understand the damage this is doing to our planet and start to decrease plastic packaging. Better yet, switch over to biodegradable packaging. Until then, we will do what we can to make a difference. Even a small step can make a big difference, especially if a lot of people join in. You do not have to be a total “no plastic” purist, to have your small efforts matter.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you follow the call of your heart wherever it may lead you, as if by magic.

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Recent Retreat Experiences

I recently shared that Adventure Sisters, Emy and I, were going on a private retreat of our own making. I would like to share some of my experiences and insights from this with you. As it turned out, it was all about finding the Joy. That we not only hold in our heart, but are.

We had a schedule, we had a plan, we shopped for groceries, and prepared our space. We were excited to be together, to be in Florida and out of the snow and extreme cold. We even both expressed a bit of anxiety about the upcoming long period of silence.

As I have expressed in previous blogs; Emy and I have our sun signs across from each other in the zodiac. We often have very different perceptions about things, other times it is like we are of one mind, anticipating what the other is thinking before she even says it. The retreat was full of such dualities. What I needed, was not always what Emy needed and vise versa. When these things came up though, we navigated them with ease and love. We accepted the other for what she needed or her perspective. We allowed and loved our differences.

Silence was broken after only about 17.5 hours. We decided eating our breakfast in the morning sun would be lovely. A couple of our neighbors in the marina came over and chatted with us. We broke silence to avoid rudeness and heard some very interesting tales from neighbor retirees. Their experiences and perspectives gave us even more to reflect on and we decided that our continued silence was not really necessary.

We allowed the wind to blow us where it might. We floated without resistance on the marina waters. We took liberties with the schedule; doing the various activities as we felt called to. We had so many “ah ha” moments. Like pausing the video to discuss a concept that was lay out before us.

One of my favorite take homes, from the retreat, was the message to live in Joy! For this, Emy and I picked a symbol. Every time we see that symbol it is a reminder to be in the joy of the moment. We have been seeing it everywhere and sharing it with each other. I would encourage you to pick your own symbol to remind you to see the Joy in the present moment.

Being back in the everyday world now has been a call to be more mindful of Joy, regardless of what is happening around us. It was easy to remain joyful during the retreat. We were focused on self development and growth. We were mostly out of touch with the outside world and it’s issues. We were together. Enjoying sharing and experiencing all that was there for us, in the richness of the retreat.

The Nabhi Kriya yoga set we did, so moved us, that we have even decided to take on a 40 day practice of it. I had been feeling called to this prior to the retreat. In fact, the teachers manual, with the Kriya’s pages marked, is sitting on my bedside table at home. Patiently waiting for me to hear the call and take it on an adventure. Please feel free to join us. In the Kundalini Yoga tradition of: you miss a day you start over on day 1. Be committed to you! Remember to modify the exercises to keep yourself safe and visualize yourself doing the movements as instructed. Because the brain doesn’t know the difference between actual or powerful visualization.

Overall the retreat was lovely and joyous! It was just not what we originally expected or planned but so much more.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you find life offering you experiences, which are so much more, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken in Cassadaga, FL

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A Retreat With The Adventure Sisters!

I have felt guided to attend a silent retreat lately. When I checked into them, many were quite pricey, required travel, and a substantial amount of time off from work. It was simply not in the budget! However, the impulse to go on one still remained very strong for me. I decided I needed to do this. So I spoke to Adventure Sister Emy and we decided we could do our own silent retreat. So, would you like to come along, virtually?

We have an agenda all laid out with links to different types of meditation as well as instructions from different teachers. We are headed to the boat in Florida. It will be a nice quiet place for our retreat, but we could have just as easily done it at her house or mine. Our bags our packed and intentions set.

Below is our retreat schedule. Feel free to join us! Set your intention, raise your vibration, and dig down deep inside yourself to remove what no longer serves you so you may move forward into all the glory that is meant for you. Please feel free to adjust the times to suite your needs. Also, if you need more time in silence and less time listening to instructions, feel free to do that too. I was worried about spending the whole weekend in silence, so I planned lots of different links to help my monkey mind stay busy. I figured either Emy or I could walk away from the space where it was playing and find a quiet place if that is what we needed. It is meant to be structured enough but free flowing enough to offer you what you need.

I recommend, prior to your set start time, planning your meals and prep anything you can to make cooking as simple as possible.  Also prepare your space or spaces. Where will you spend your time during the retreat? What items will you need for comfort. Plan your clothing too. It should be comfortable clothing with layers so you can adjust according to temperature.

We look forward to sharing this experience with you if you join us. We will see you in the ether. If you cannot join us, we have blogs scheduled to post and memes for our FB page. We look forward to sharing our experiences after the weekend.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May you find what you need, as if by magic.

Silent Retreat Schedule 

Set intention for retreat, prior to beginning.

Friday

  • 4:00 – 5:00pm Dalai Lama https://youtu.be/lTLe5TFTh24 basic techniques of meditation 
  • 5:00 – 6:00pm Kundalini Yoga https://youtu.be/Q3lU1rRyoW4 Nabhi Kriya For Courage, Confidence, Power
  • 6:00 – 7:00 Dinner prepared and eaten and cleaned up after; mindfully 
  • 7:00 – 8:00  Meditation for Connection https://youtu.be/PkVvpfld7DQ
  • 8:00 – 8:30 Walking Meditation/ Free Time
  • 8:30 – 9:00 Shamanic Drum Journey https://youtu.be/MmQ1H4wU0zs (If you have not drum journeyed before substitute optional video from below, mindfulness meditation, or inspirational reading)
  • 9:00 – 10:00 Hot tea and journaling before bed
  • Restful night sleep

Saturday

  • Dream journaling upon waking
  • 5:30 – 7:30 Sitting meditation (if awake)
  • 7:30 – 8:30 Sun Salutations https://youtu.be/L4Z7lix6Qao
  • 8:30 – 9:30 Shower, prepare for the day and have some tea; mindfully
  • 9:30 – 10:00 Your Destiny Is Waiting For You ~ Michael Bernard Beckwith https://youtu.be/zViQiX2T2rQ
  • 10:00– 11:00 Breakfast mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 11:00 – 11:45 Hypnosis for Letting Go of the Fear of Success  https://youtu.be/yh-V9q93XC8
  • 11:45 – 12:00  Walking Meditation/ Free Time
  • 12:00 – 1:00  Yoga Nidra for emotional healing https://youtu.be/lBx7crrZw3A
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 2:00 – 3:30 Inspirational reading and journaling (Deepak’s 7 Spiritual laws for success or any spiritual or mindful text you have been meaning to get to)
  • 3:30 – 4:00 Walking Mindfully / Free Time
  • 4:00 – 5:00 Kundalini yoga for expansion and elevation https://youtu.be/vwpm0F8L820
  • 5:00 – 6:00 Dinner mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 6:00 – 7:00 Becoming Limitless ~ Wayne Dyer https://youtu.be/gNZ1JqvXeN0
  • 7:00 – 7:30 Shamanic Drum Journey https://youtu.be/MmQ1H4wU0zs (If you have not drum journeyed before substitute optional video from below, mindfulness meditation, or inspirational reading)
  • 7:30 –  8:00 Free Time 
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Guided Loving Kindness Meditation https://youtu.be/c2iCoEluq8A
  • 9:00 – 10:00 Hot tea and journaling before bed
  • Restful nights sleep

Sunday

  • Dream journaling upon waking
  • 5:30 – 7:30 Sitting meditation (if awake)
  • 7:30 – 8:00 Sun Salutations https://youtu.be/9ZZa4psFcpk
  • 8:00 – 9:00 Shower, prepare for the day and have some tea; mindfully
  • 9:00 – 10:00 Kundalini yoga https://youtu.be/IX5vn7rAsuU
  • 10:00 – 11:00 Breakfast mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 11:00 – 12:00 Lisa Nichol’s Step into your lives purpose https://youtu.be/40LXbK94lxY
  • 12:00 – 1:00pm Crystal Jungle Meditation https://youtu.be/Zp3pZee34fo
  • 1:00 – 2:00 Lunch mindfully prepared, eaten and cleaned up
  • 2:00 – 2:30 Shamanic Drum Journey https://youtu.be/MmQ1H4wU0zs (If you have not drum journeyed before substitute optional video from below, mindfulness meditation, or inspirational reading)
  • 2:30 – 3:00 Mathew McConaughey Speech on Finding Yourself https://youtu.be/p0p1fjLPjYQ
  • 3:00 – 3:30 Closing ceremony (not silent but something you have prepared that feels good to you) 

 

*Photo was taken in the BWCA

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11 Birdseye Persecutive Observations

I am on an airplane twice a week, almost every week. The world looks different from my window view. This birds eye view of the world below allows my perspective to shift. Here are a few of my realizations that have become evident to me from this view.

1. We are all connected. Cities flow into countryside, which flows into small communities and back into cities. There is no separation, just a flow to it. Recognize that we are all connected.

2. A winding path is a beautiful path. As rivers and stream meander through the landscape they create an interesting type of beauty, which is in contrast to the square grids of city streets and the fields they pass through. Allow your path to take its own course.

3. It is all beautiful given the right view. Mountains, canyons, plains, cities, and forests all hold their own unique beauty. Embrace your unique beauty even if your perspective doesn’t make it obvious to you.

4. Sometimes really great stuff is hidden. The clouds often obstruct any view of the ground. They are beautiful in and of themselves but dipping below them can show a whole new layer of interest. Remember that there is more to people that what they show you or the world.

5. We have one Mother Earth. We cling to her and she supports and gives life to us. We dot her surface and enjoying the bounty she provides us. We must take care of her, because without her, we are only dust.

6. Things in the distance are hazy. Things far out along our path have a haze over them that makes them difficult to see clearly. When others’ perspectives are far from our own, we may not see clearly what they are seeing. Allow others to have a different perspective.

7. Sometimes the path is bumpy for no obvious reason. When flying, clouds can be bumpy, but sometimes turbulence comes out of nowhere and we can not predict it. This happens in our lives to. Buckle up and enjoy the ride! The bumps will eventually pass.

8. The horizon is always in the distance. There is always a destination beyond this one. Once we arrive at one goal there are still many more journeys to take. Keep going; your destination is not the end.

9. The sun is always shining. Even on cloudy days, once the airplane rises above the clouds, the sun shines bright and strong. There is always things to be grateful for in life, even when it seems all is dim and drab.

10. If you don’t look, you won’t see. Often I get so focused on work while on the plane that I don’t think to look out the window. I have looked up from my work to see miraculous views. Look for the beauty!

11. The magnificence of this planet should not be taken for granted. Volcanic mountains rise above the clouds, meandering canyons carved by mere water, the sunset along the coast of Florida, rainbows and shadows on the clouds. I cannot predict what awesome views might grace my trip nor can I expect that all I will see is beautiful clouds, but I expect to be amazed somehow, always!

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you. May a new perspective help improve you outlook and life, as if by magic.

*Photo was taken some where between St. Paul and St. Louis (the cities, not the people).

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Croatia; A Visual Journey Through a Country of Splendor

My husband, stepson, and I recently journeyed to Croatia. This country was such a surprise to me. I found a country full of rich heritage, natural beauty, and kindness. I had first heard of it a few years ago when another friend traveled there because of his family’s heritage. I had no idea what to expect. Through my blog, I would like to share some photos of this beautiful land. 

I must tell you, I thought writing an “photo” blog would be an easy short cut to get a blog done. This turned out to not be true. There are so many lovely photos to chose from and so much I want to share with you about Croatia, I will have to do a short series to share even a handful of the photos and the experiences with you.

Lets start by talking about the people of Croatia and the hospitality. Complete strangers opened their homes, restaurants, and kitchens to us.

Long lost relatives brought us grapes they had grown, bread they had baked, and salami they had made from animals they raised.

The generosity was overwhelming to me. Such a blessing.

Early one morning as we were traveling along the coast we stopped for breakfast. We did not really grasp that Croatia does not do breakfast in the way America does. A restaurant owner who was setting up for lunch welcomed us in. Her brought us a smorgasbord of food and cooked us eggs. Another blessing on our trip.

Next I want to share with you the landscape. Croatia is a relatively small geographically. The state of Minnesota (where I live) is 4 times larger than Croatia. The landscape of Croatia is diverse. As we drove across the country we would see the landscape change, and change again. It is a beautiful country.

There were coastlines, forests (of different types depending on region), mountains and valleys. We saw farmland and we saw land that would never be farmable. All of it was breathtaking.

Growing along the roadways we saw grapes, pears, apples, plums, sugarcane. There was a valley we drove through were you could se many diverse crops all growing in close proximity to one another. Honey was often offered in roadside stands.

The homes changed from area to area. In the North we notices lots of cute balconies adorned with flowers. There were brightly colored flowers everywhere we went.

There was such charm in the homes, it was easy to believe that this is a very happy place to live.

Business and churches also had a lot of charm. Often as we were driving down the road I would squeal in glee seeing a church that was so cute. We would have never made it around the country if we stopped to take a picture of everything that caught my eye.

This country is truly a country of slender. It starts with the people and their big, kind, generous hearts. It moves on to a beautiful landscape that covers all of the country as it moths and changes from area to area, and charming, homes, business, and places of worship are not to be forgotten.

I will be writing future photo blogs about our trip to Croatia. There is just too much to share for one blog to possible be enough to show you all that I want to here today.

Zagreb and Dubrovnik: Two Very Different Cities

The Roman Theater at Pula, Croatia

The Most Beautiful Place I Have Ever Been; Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Thank you for reading my blog today. May your life be filled with journey to places of splendor, as if by magic.

** Thank you to SydneysByDesign for doing photo editing to featured image on the blog. Your work is breathtaking!

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