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Archive for September, 2013

30-Hour Sale at WildHarePhotos.com

If you’ve been waiting for a window of opportunity to bring more nature into your home and work places, and to those of other nature lovers in your life, the next 30 hours at http://www.wildharephotos.com is the place to be!

From now through 4:00 p.m. Mountain/6:00 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday October 1, when you buy two 8″ x 12″ signed photographic nature and landscape prints via Paypal at WildHarePhotos.com you get one same-sized bonus signed print F.R.E.E.

After completing your paypal order for your 8″ x 12″ nature and landscape photographic prints, just hit the contact button on my website and leave a message as to which 8″ x 12″ free print or prints you’d like.

You can purchase up to four 8″ x 12″ signed prints and then receive up to two free same-sized prints, so this is a huge opportunity to purchase, and give, gorgeous, inspiring photographs of our natural world to those you care about, and to yourself! (Please Note that “Summer Dream” and “Winter Dream” are not available as 8″ x 12″ or 11″ x 17″ prints at this time)

http://www.wildharephotos.com

AND, when you buy two 11″ x 17″ signed photographic nature and landscape prints via Paypal from now through 4:00 p.m. Mountain/6:00 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday October 1, you receive one same-sized bonus signed print F.R.E.E.

You can purchase up to four 11″ x 17″ signed prints and then receive up to two free same-sized prints (Please note that “Cloud Dance” and “Winter View From Fishing Bridge” are not available as “11 x 17″ prints at this time.

Again, just hit the contact button on my website and let me know which F.R.E.E. 11″ x 17” prints you’d like dependent upon the number of signed photos you purchase.

There are over 100 images to choose from, with compelling images from Alaska, The Canadian Rockies, The U.S. Northern Rockies, the Desert Southwest, and the Northern Great Lakes, and just about every landscape and season in these regions is represented as well.

Carpe diem. Don’t miss out on bringing more nature home today!

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THE RISKS, AND BENEFITS, OF CONNECTING WITH YOUR NATURE

 
Two nights ago I awoke after an extremely vivid dream, which reflected not only how far I’ve come since last August, but also how much more there is to learn, grow and experience in this one wild precious life helping people to connect more deeply and consistently with nature..

Here’s the dream:

I am in some sort of waiting room, more like an auditorium or audition studio in size. A former employer is scurrying back and forth conversing with other colleagues as the interviewees settle into their respective chairs.

The first candidate, a chicken, flaps into the room and rests atop a desk.

Then candidate number two, a mellow golden retriever, leaps onto the seat of another desk, slobbering, and then a squirrel scurries into the room and cannot sit still!

I then see a seat with my name on it which also says “2:30 tomorrow”, and afterwards three people shuffle in, fidgeting as they find their seats, yawning, and awaiting what may, or may not happen next

Just before I leave this circus my former boss pulls me aside, pleading with me to return, this time full-time, coordinating risks and benefits for other employees. She assures me that the job is mine, and that everything else happening is a ruse to make things look more legitimate.

 
I tell her I’ll think about it overnight. As I walk out the door, a former colleague from the same place rushes over, and shakes and wakes me up, saying, “Hobie, you can’t go back. Remember why you left in the first place!”

Sometimes it’s awfully comfortable to scheme and dream about turning back the clock and doing things differently so that things today can or could be different. The same goes for reciting excuses, obstacles, and reasons that because some unchangeable things happened in the past, things cannot possibly change in the present, or even in the future!

Risks, and benefits, are always present, no matter where we seem to be in life, no matter how old we are, no matter what we decide to do or not do. The natural world is full of structure and order, yet nature is also a profound risk-taker. Consider ivy species that scale buildings, and snake along brick-lined suburban driveways. Or look at the grizzly bear in the fall, ranging more widely into human-occupied habitats when foods such as whitebark pine nuts and army cutworm moths are in short supply at higher elevations.

For many people, though, it’s easier to not even dare  to change, and know what you’re going to get, than to take action and dare to dream and live differently.

You cannot go back, yet you’re feeling stuck.

How do you move forward through fear and resistance and guilt and all the other shit that comes up when you know that something in your life is not working for you right now, and when you know you need and want to connect more deeply and express your more authentic, true, natural self?

One key is knowing and trusting that this will always be a process, and a work of art in progress, and also having the desire, intention and commitment to change.

The second key is having ongoing support, encouragement, and accountability, a safe, respected place and space in which to grow and thrive, and community where others have your back, and you have theirs.

We’re all in this crazy and exhilarating experience called life together, and it’s way more fun to discover and share your gifts with others than hiding and pretending that you don’t have anything of value to offer to anyone.

A third step is to find your particular muse, vehicle, gateway, or portal to personal and life transformation.

One friend and colleague in Missoula does this through empowering people to discover their voice and confidence in all areas of life through singing and love of music, while my vehicle and proven pathway for helping others happens to be through nature connection.

Do work that you love.

Listen to your muse and find someone who’s farther along the path than you are for guidance and insight, and for the critical tools, resources and practices that will help you be where your heart and soul are yearning to be, instead of just wishing and talking about it.
Share and celebrate your successes, which will in turn motivate, inspire and encourage others to do the same.

Pay it forward.

Find a way that works for you, for there is always more than one door or window that will open for you to do what you want to do and where you want to be.

No obstacle is too large, as long as your faith, trust and perseverance are unwavering. Begin. Today. Now.

In turn, you’ll be an oasis in the desert for other life travelers who will surely follow you. We’re all natural risk takers, and the more we risk, the more we all benefit, including all of our fellow inhabitants on this third rock from the sun that we call home.

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What An Urban Squirrel Taught Me About Nature, and Myself

I learned a lot about disorganization, chaos and finding my own true north this past summer, and the month of June was especially a butt kicker.

On our way leaving Butte Pride for home this year in mid-June, an out of control driver going well over 50 miles an hour bounced off a curb in the opposite lane, suddenly now careening in our direction. Somehow, the driver magically corrected and missed hitting us head on, then sped several more blocks in the opposite lane before hitting a curb, sailing into the air, and clipping several recently planted trees before smashing into two parked cars. 

We pulled over, and sprinted back up the hilly street as emergency and medical teams were already en route. The lone driver’s airbag had deployed, the car was crunched in on three sides, and the driver was being comforted by a nurse who had also witnessed what had happened.

Erik and I shuddered to think what might have happened had the driver done the same thing the day before, when hundreds of people were gathering downtown to celebrate Pride in Montana, or what might have happened had they struck us head on that day.

It also happened to be Father’s Day, which since 2011 has become especially bittersweet, given that my father lives with Alzheimer’s, and can no longer care for his formerly quite independent yet still feisty self.

The following day I still felt rattled and unsettled by the near-miss with the erratic driver. Early that morning, I dropped off my car for fairly extensive and expensive repairs, wondering and worrying over how that would impact our late June break camping and hiking in the Big Snowy Mountains of central Montana, and other plans and projects envisioned for the summer.

While walking home from the mechanic’s to start the work week, I careened from a somber to a sullen mood after learning that my email account had been hacked. The hacker had told people I was detained in The Philippines and needed a few thousand dollars in order to return home, and lots of friends and colleagues called and contacted me to let me know what had happened. Flo-Jo the cat sensed my steaming mood-she quietly left the house, and bedded down outside in some tall grass while I continued to stew, and simmer and swear.

I became even more enraged as I realized that the hacker had stolen and deleted nearly all of my contacts (plus she or he had somehow managed to steal the youtube video from my website) that people had been deluged with spam from my address, and that the hacker had set up a yahoo email address that looked very similar to mine.

Furious, vengeful ideas reigned for a few hours, coupled with the anger and annoyance at what this meant to my work day, my work week, and everything else on my plate. I also felt vulnerable and violated, and wondered what else the hacker may have gotten his hands on.

So what does any of this have to do with an urban squirrel?

I had hit a boiling point with the scope and scale of the hacking, and as I walked outside to take a break I saw a large squirrel devouring ripening cherries from our lone cherry tree.

Instinctively I picked up a heavy, corrugated empty cereal box, and with perfect aim and anger sailed it at the squirrel ten yards away, grazing his skin, startling him, causing him to run up a nearby apricot tree. He sat there panting, still, blinking his eyes repeatedly, while I continued to yell and swear and explode at him. Now really pissed off, I stomped into the kitchen, having totally lost my shit and sense of connection to anything. Come to think of it, the squirrel seemed to be mirroring physically what I was experiencing!

Suddenly I was aware of how crazy this all looked, seemed and felt, and how I was choosing to respond to what was happening.

Here I am, someone skilled at mentoring others to consistently deepen their connection with nature and their own lives, having a major meltdown and exploding at a squirrel that just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time on a bad day for poor Hobie. “Wow. How pathetic!” was my first reaction, but then I started thinking, “How funny, too!”

What if this were all happening in the right place, at the right time, for the right reason? What if this were indeed a good day, and the squirrel was a messenger for me to reconnect with nature and my own true nature?

I sat out on the front steps for several minutes, focusing on bringing my breath into balance, and envisioning myself grounded with the earth’s healing, peaceful  energies. I decided to act calmly, and to communicate in the spirit of forgiveness towards the squirrel, myself and everything else that I had conjured up to be a threat and a problem these two days, and to shift the spiraling, unproductive energies that had surfaced.

So I approached to where the squirrel was still resting and breathing hard on a high branch of the apricot tree, and stopped once I was within 20 feet of him.He blinked his eyes once while acknowledging my presence, and it seemed that his breathing slowed down to a more restful, calm and natural rhythm.

Then I shared the nature of how and why I was feeling and acting toward him:

“Mr. Squirrel, I am really sorry I exploded at you like that. You don’t deserve to be treated that way, in fact, no one or nothing deserves to be treated that way just because something bad, unpleasant or awful happened to me. I am really sorry for how I have acted, and I give thanks for your understanding and forgiveness. But please, it was a real bummer last year when you ate all of our cherries and didn’t leave us any to enjoy. Can you please this  year leave us some, and instead enjoy some of the apricots and other fruits?”

Flo-Jo had woken up from her feline nap in the grass, rubbing up against my foot as I talked to the squirrel-she was likely thinking that one of her owners was now certifiable, given that he was bantering with the enemy. I gave her some extra food for putting up with my rants that morning, and proceeded to make the most of the rest of the day in a focused, calm manner.

Looking back at this past summer, the squirrel didn’t touch the cherry tree again. Instead we saw him lunging into the apricot and box elder trees and traversing the garage roof en route to feast in the neighbor’s garden, but he left everything alone in our garden this season.

Out of all this chaos and shit came much-needed order and clarity, and from an encounter with a squirrel returned discarded and disregarded humility, respect and wisdom. This course correction also brought me back into my own natural orbit again, one where I work in harmony with (and not against) the universe in being and doing my best, and in mentoring people to have a deeper, more consistent connection with nature, no matter where their feet are.

I wonder what animal will be my next teacher, and what my next lesson will be in life, yet I also hope that next time I don’t have to totally lose my cool in order to become more enlightened. Stay tuned!

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