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Natural Miracles

 

Spring is indeed a time of palpable and visible miracles, but then again so are the other seasons of the year. Crocuses rocket out of the ground not long after overnight snowfalls, robins and northern flickers contest favorite spots on lawns for emerging worms and insects, and it’s easier for most of us humans to wake up with the sunrise, and stay up a bit past sunset again.

Saint Augustine had it right when he observed that

Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature”.

It’s a dangerous tendency to think we know it all.

Ditto for thinking we’re fine to go it alone in this world, to leave our thinking, free will, and decision-making to so-called “experts”, to wash our hands of making a firm decision or commitment to change, to surrender or give up, to crawl into a hermitizing hide-a bed of apathy and despair, you name it.

Miraculously, nature shows us that nearly everything depends on chance, on timing, on inspired action or intuition, on recognizing patterns, cycles, flows and opportunities. It also reveals how much we are not meant to do and be and live this thing called life alone-we all have an important role to play, and we are all part of the natural community.

Nature’s a risk taker-we are hard-wired to be and do the same.

The rewards are of risk-taking are universally uncertain and unknowable, yet the risks of not changing or evolving portend a death knell for all of us.

We stop growing. We dig in tenaciously, hoping someone or something else will change, yet ironically and miraculously, our entire world changes once we allow ourselves the miracle of seeing and experiencing things differently.

Nature does that for all of us, gladly, willingly and unconditionally. Nature doesn’t seen to have favorites or to take sides.

What’s the true cost of not being connected to nature’s wisdom, encouragement, support, and infinite wellspring of creativity and possibilities?

What miracles are we missing out on in life because we perceive and believe we’re too busy, there’s not enough time, the timing’s not right, the money’s not there, or we  need someone’s permission before we permit and commit ourselves to changing?

All you need is to allow yourself a tiny shift in perception, hope and belief. Once you take that leap, once you make an unwavering commitment, nature will always be there to meet, greet and support you, no matter where your feet are.

It was awesome and most inspiring to share with others how to “Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There: Four Fun and Easy Steps to Create Your Powerful Nature Connection Sit Spot, No Matter Where Your Feet Are”.

It was great being able to share such a portable, adaptable, and fun nature connection tool that has positively supported and served so many people,  whether we’re at home, work, rest or play. During the recorded tele-class, we created, envisioned and allowed a nature power spot to enhance and empower our lives. We used all of our senses, and connected deeply with the healing and transformational powers of water in particular.

If you weren’t on the call, you can most definitely benefit from listening to and revisiting this sit spot recording.

My intention is that this recording not only supports your deeper, more consistent connection with the natural world, and with your own authentic nature, but also that it’ll be an evergreen, go-to gift for yourself, so you may continue practicing and experimenting with what works best for you, and become more comfortable with sitting still and allowing nature to work its magic with you, too!
Creating a consistent sit spot place and space can enhance and empower your life in myriad ways.
If you’d like to purchase, receive and enjoy this 30-minute plus recording for an affordable $13.97, click on the Paypal link below, and your Nature Connection Sit Spot Recording will soon be on its way.

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=UAPNXKL2RA5NY

On Thursday February 20, don’t just do something-sit there!

Having a regular and consistent nature “sit spot” or “power spot” time and place is one of the most transformational and life-changing tools people can use to connect more deeply with the natural world and their own nature.

It’s not only a great stress reliever, but also a portal into discovering and tapping into your own inner wisdom, creativity and authentic self-expression, no matter where your feet are.

Join me for a short, fun, mid-day tele-class where you will learn “Four Easy Steps to Create Your Own Powerful Nature Connection Sit Spot, No Matter Where Your Feet Are”.

Everyone who signs up for the 30- to 40- minute tele-class will receive dial-in information for this exciting offering, and we will broadcast live at 11:00 a.m. MST on Thursday February 20 (that’s 10 a.m. PST, noon CST 1 p.m. EST, and 6 p.m. Greenwich).

Can’t make the call live?

Sign up anyway, as everyone who invests in the call can access the recording afterwards. Listening to and practicing what we do together on the call will help you further solidify and deepen your own nature connection, no matter how busy you are or where your feet might be in any given moment:).

Your Investment is just $13.97 for joining us, and I look forward to sitting with and empowering you on February 20th!

Reserve Your Sit Spot Tele-class Seat Now:

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=UAPNXKL2RA5NY

I recently returned from guiding a second group around Yellowstone National Park this winter, and it’s always inspiring to witness the personal transformation and growth everyone returns home with as a result of our collective adventures and shared experiences.We had amazingly mild, calm weather for mid-January, and saw a wide variety of Yellowstone’s winter wildlife, including wolves, elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, coyotes, trumpeter swans, a cow moose, a fox, and a pair of golden eagles. We were also blessed with good timing for eruptions of Castle, Grand, and Morning Geysers, and wonderful guest speakers with uncompromising passion, reverence and love for Yellowstone. 

One magical moment in particular stands out, the morning when we traveled via snow coach from Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful. It was a beautiful bluebird day as we traveled along Swan Lake Flats, with the snow-capped Gallatin Mountains shimmering to the west, It was still well below zero as we headed south past Obsidian Cliff, our visibility limited by tight formations of lodgepole pine trees guarding both sides of the road.

As we approached Roaring Mountain, the landscape became enveloped by slow drifting clouds of steam rising from nearby hot springs and fumaroles. Hidden in the ground-hugging clouds was a large group of bison. Encrusted with ice and snow, and ghostlike in their silence and stillness, the herd of juvenile bull bison loomed large in their capacity to inspire awe in a species that nearly wiped them out over a century ago. We watched and photographed them from a respectful distance, cognizant of their winter energy survival needs in an unforgiving yet harshly beautiful environment. 

Nature has unsuspecting and subtle ways of revealing her wisdom, whether you’re in Yellowstone or in a large metropolitan area, ten miles from a paved road or ten feet inside your home. In that bison encounter, we viscerally remembered that nature doesn’t care who we are as individuals or a species, nor does she prefer one species over another. As individuals and as human beings, we have the opportunity to capitalize on our strengths, to dare to express our own unique voice, talents and gifts. By doing so, our individual and collective wisdom  profoundly impacts not only the lives of those whom we share the planet with at this time, but also the lives of those who will surely follow us.

In the late 19th century, the voice and wisdom of Bison bison was nearly drowned out and extinguished, with the last few dozen wild animals finally being protected within Yellowstone’s boundaries. How much poorer we all might be in spirit and wisdom today had we not finally listened, heard, cared or taken action. The same goes for not listening to and expressing our own unique voice, and fearlessly bringing it forward into the arena of life.
 


A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.- Albert Einstein

 

The first sign of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -Aldo Leopold

 

I am not sure if Albert Einstein and Aldo Leopold ever crossed paths, but if they did, they probably had a lot to talk about when it comes to pondering human nature. Thinking about that reminds me of the 1985 movie “Insignificance”, where Marilyn Monroe, Albert Einstein, Senator Joseph McCarthy and Joe DiMaggio converge and collide over the course of one night in Manhattan.

So what if Einstein and Leopold actually crossed paths and connected? What pearls of wisdom might they have for those of us living today, and for those who will hopefully follow us?

One might be that if we want to widen the circle of compassion for other beings with whom we share this world, we must first widen the circle of compassion for ourselves, Waiting for others or for the world to change is futile and can serve as an excuse for us not to change-we give up or surrender our power and potential to others when we live in this mindset.

We end up passing the buck, or kicking the can down the road (or insert your other favorite metaphor here!) when we do so, and end up with  predictable, eerily familiar, yet still uncomfortable results. Change always starts from within, and we are all capable of change.

A second gem of wisdom might be that each of us has unlimited potential, wisdom and resources available to change in every moment, if we release and transform deeply held stories and beliefs of separation, scarcity, and other forms of fear. These stories and beliefs have taken a huge collective toll on planet earth over the last few centuries and decades. Enslaving the biosphere for private, short-term gain is tantamount to enslaving human and other natural communities. It diminishes our souls, our spirits and our capacity for faith, hope and change. It insatiably drains and destroys the health of natural and human communities worldwide, severing the web of life that has sustained us all for countless generations.

In the end, and in our heart of hearts, we know it’s not sustainable. It’s destructive. Would it not be wiser to act as guardians and stewards of our natural commons, rather than consumers?

Would it not be a tremendous act of love, compassion and humility to leave future generations a healthier, restored planet so that all beings may thrive and flourish, and so that everyone with whom we share the planet today can also experience and enjoy this as well?

Where can we individually stand up and speak our truth? Where in our lives can we take a stand for what’s really important to us, or to someone or something else? Where can we be more aware, more kind, more loving, more forgiving, more encouraging?

There’s always time to do what really matters-what matters is that we create the time to do so, and to take action in each and every moment, even if it feels like very small steps. I believe that’s what Mahatma Gandhi likely did every day for most of his life. What if he also had encouraging words of wisdom stemming from a chance encounter and conversation with Leopold and Einstein?

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” immediately comes to mind.

May this new year of 2014 be incredibly powerful, transformational, and positively life-changing for you, and for everyone whose life you touch and impact. May you also remember that you’re never too old, it’s never too late, and never too hard to make changes in your life.

After all, change is a constant part of our nature.

A mighty bright light passed on to the next universe with the death of Nelson Mandela two weeks ago.

Mandela has been a huge, towering, extraordinary lighthouse of life and hope in my life ever since the song “Biko” by Peter Gabriel shattered my first-world preoccupation on being a college student in the early 1980s. It feels rather surreal knowing he is now gone and belongs to the ages, as countless others have eloquently eulogized Mandela since his passing at age 95.

About a week before Mandela died, a fellow mentor and friend recently shared how hard it can be for some people to create lasting, positive life changes. The prison walls they have constructed or allowed others to build around them often lead to some complaining that it’s too late, they’re too old, or that their particular circumstances are so exceptionally challenging, exceptional, unchangeable and impossible that it just ain’t gonna happen.

I loved how she described this conflict and cut to the heart of the matter: “Do we argue for another person’s limitations, or for their possibilities?”

Nelson Mandela refused to accept imprisonment or limitations placed on him by others. He never gave up on his vision of freedom, justice and equality in South Africa, and he lived to see his dreams come true. Even from his jail cell, he envisioned peace, reconciliation and  new possibilities for all South Africans, and by extension, all people of the world. Where on earth would be now if Nelson Mandela had caved to the limitations and restrictions others had created for him and most non-white South Africans?

It’s hard, if not impossible and unknowable to say, but please read on and I’ll try to connect the dots…

About one month ago, I volunteered to facilitate the second of two Creativity For Life Saturday November workshops with Living Art of Montana, whose mission is to promote healing through nature and the arts. That day we read and shared favorite nature quotes that I had brought in, and from there we selected a few key words from each one to create our own “bowl poem” which would accompany individual  artwork we had started creating the Saturday before.

I’ve always been inspired by these amazing, extraordinary women and men I’ve met through Living Art of Montana.

Some are living with, while others are recovering from, cancer, and they all seem to courageously, fearlessly and honestly live their lives without regret or excuses.

One of the common threads shared and taken deeply to heart from them is that this is the gift that a life-threatening illness has brought them. Another is to live and be fully present now, to never give up, to always find a way to keep taking action and moving forward, to never be a prisoner, and to be as free, authentic,vulnerable, loving and loved as possible. To never lose your sense of humor, or to forget about what is really precious about your own life, or about life itself.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the poem I wrote that day, especially given Nelson Mandela’s passing, and the knowledge that none of us really know how much time our souls have to enjoy living, loving and being in our human earth bodies::

 

Earth love story grows
Quiet Courage, Creations Hitched
Wild, Willful Rivers of Universal Chaos
No Mistakes
Need More Union
Precious Surrender
 

Have a wonderful, safe, peaceful and Happy Winter Solstice, and enjoy the return of the light in a few short days. May we also always remember that it is indeed our own unique light that makes a difference in the lives of others, and to always keep on shining on.

Happy Solstice!

As the days grow increasingly shorter and the nights longer now in the northern hemisphere, my mind often wanders back to the winter of 2001-02 when I lived in the wild heart of Yellowstone National Park. Nearly everything that season felt surreal at first, from riding a snowmobile and lugging my belongings to my winter home near the shore of Yellowstone Lake, to traveling over un-plowed roads over 50 miles to West Yellowstone, Montana every three weeks or so to restock on provisions. Cell phones didn’t work there, wi-fi access was sporadic and limited, and the snow piled up as winter progressed.

Ravens, bison and trumpeter swans easily and by far outnumbered my human neighbors, and a winter solstice encounter with a lone bull bison unexpectedly unleashed a floodgate of creativity, inspiration and appreciation that inexhaustibly fuels the nature connection work I continue enjoying today.

The bull bison had several battle scars on his face and flanks, revealing stories from competing with other bulls for breeding rights during the annual late summer rut, or perhaps from fending off hungry resident wolves. He seemed far more skilled than me at conserving his energy, and being fully present and patient. Perhaps this came from transforming past encounters, experiences and lessons into wisdom that helped him thrive in that moment. I thought long and hard about that as our twilight standstill continued-the bison refusing to yield his comfortable place standing in the middle of the snow-covered road, and me, fairly new to the workings of winter in Yellowstone, unsure whether or how to pass by him on snowmobile to return to my own winter home. 

Nearly twelve years later, the bison’s scars, countenance and perseverance still motivate me to bring my full talents and nature to the table of life to share with others. Earlier this fall, the calling to serve, empower and inspire even larger numbers of people to connect with the natural world and their own nature was palpably triggered by something actor Wentworth Miller shared in an Out Magazine interview:

…What you think of as scars are medals. They’re badges of honor, testifying to something inside you that is determined, tenacious and enduring…Don’t feel sorry for me. Because I know what it is to be tested. I know what it’s like to be broken and to have to pick myself up again. I know who I am in those moments and I’m stronger for it.

Twelve years since that pivotal winter in Yellowstone, I am deeply thankful to know more fully and deeply who I am and why I am here, and indeed I am stronger for it. I am grateful for the love I have given and received in my life so far, to be able to share and cultivate that love with Erik, our families, friends, neighbors, clients, customers, and everyone else we know and meet. I am thankful for everything at the table of life, and this Thanksgiving, may you also be grateful for everything as well.

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