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i enjoy exploring the magic in the everyday ordinary, co-creating change through a focus on love, gratitude, good health & sustainability—and occasionally pausing to take a few photographs or write a little. welcome & thank you for being here.

the pines that i grew up knowing

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it’s been years since i’ve dipped a brush in acrylic paint and i sometimes miss it. playing around with a watercolor app doesn’t offer the same sort of creative satisfaction, yet i’m still digging it.:)

above is a photo-turned-painted-scene of the pines that i grew up knowing—taken yesterday morning. it is always good to commune with any trees, but the trees that i grew up with—though many are no longer standing, as the whole stand recently met with a tornado and continues to slowly step into its last stage of succession—are a special brew.

these days, my moments here are largely full of being with and around others, yet the rare moments that i find myself alone amongst them, i breathe deeply, taking in familiar scents…and reflect on a more carefree time and the ever-changing ways of life and of living.

yesterday, while walking through them, i thought about these words from hermann hesse…

“for me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. i revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. and even more i revere them when they stand alone. they are like lonely persons. not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like beethoven and nietzsche. in their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. when a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. and every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

trees are sanctuaries. whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. they do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

a tree says: a kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, i am life from eternal life. the attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. i was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

a tree says: my strength is trust. i know nothing about my fathers, i know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. i live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and i care for nothing else. i trust that God is in me. i trust that my labor is holy. out of this trust i live.

when we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: be still! be still! look at me! life is not easy, life is not difficult. those are childish thoughts. let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. …home is neither here nor there. home is within you, or home is nowhere at all…

…so the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. they are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. but when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. he wants to be nothing except what he is.
that is home.
that is happiness.”

original photo

the pines

between chapters and cups

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this past year has been fun and insightful.

a few highlights:
traveling to spain…in my mind, candidly addressing several questions upon discovering that i no longer like mayonnaise after a ten-year hiatus, convincing a friend that it would be a good idea to give people macaroni art this holiday season…and writing out the traditional list of obscure and irrelevant things that sort of happened, happened or that just make me laugh when i imagine them happening. (i convinced nobody about the joy and wonder that would follow opening a macaroni-laden paper design.:))

on an entirely different note; last winter seemed rough. the far-too-long-feeling break from the outdoor activities that i love and accompanying sense of disconnection felt palpable and weighty.

this year, i am back to appreciating this stretch of time for what it is and what it offers; our earth’s primordial invitation to settle into stillness and an opportunity to quietly reflect and simply be.

the art of doing less and turning inward comes with big rewards.
i always reconvene with the more active spring-time world with a refined awareness of and appreciation for the source within me, for the intelligence of my cells and body, for directional clarity.

another year of boundless possibilities and sincere connection lies ahead of us.
for now, i’m content to occasionally think about it all between chapters and cups.

happy new year, loved ones!
warmth and blessings for a beautiful 2016!

sky & earth

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it is no secret that i love to write, yet some days i don’t feel like writing much at all.
i am content just to be, to notice, to take in; occasionally, when i have a camera with me, to photograph the things that catch my focus enough to revisit later.
i have become a little neglectful of this online space.
this morning, however, it occurred to me that i have been unnecessarily limiting myself.
i tend to share here when my thoughts seem many.
i can share, too, when my thoughts seem few.
i can drop by with photos and a handful of words.
i can drop by with photos and no words at all.
i can drop by with quotes that echo in my mind.
inspiration is everywhere—and has no boundaries or rules or limits.

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“the mind i love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody’s fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.”
—katherine mansfield

 

i am that

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 “i am that which i am seeking.”
—franciscan mysticism

i spend many daytime hours writing and editing, but it is an interesting treat when i write during my sleep. during rare late-night or early-morning hours, i will wake up remembering an experience—and, further, remember having written about the experience while dreaming.
this happened last night.

i dreamt that i was in my hometown at a local cafe. a few high school friends, whom i haven’t spoken with since that time, walked in. we were all excited to see each other. one of the guys began negatively speaking about the state of our world. he wrapped up his delivery by telling us all that there is nothing any of us can do about it—aside from asking God to change our experience.

once he was finished, and everybody was in a space of quiet contemplation, i offered up the idea that Source, or the energy of God, runs through each of us—and through our daily intentions and actions, we, ourselves, have great ability and potential to change our experience, both individually and collectively.

“God is a verb, not a noun.”
—buckminster fuller

there are quiet, surrendered moments during which i choose to speak, create and pray with Source in a more conversational way—in the way that i learned and was accustomed to while growing up in both a catholic and protestant church.

many more moments, i choose to speak, create and pray simply through the ways in which i live—through kindness and compassion, through playful interaction and understanding, through focused intention and visualization…through plan, process and movement.

the specifics of what we each have and will come to believe about God matter less than the ways in which we allow this divine energy to move us and to move through us.

“within myself is that which is perfect, that which is complete, that which is divine; that which was never born and cannot die; that which lives, which is God—the Eternal Reality.”
—ernest holmes

 

i am here

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thirteen years ago, after a short stretch of teaching, i had the treasured opportunity to work on a state-funded project at the state nursery in southern indiana. i spent many, mostly-solitary days grafting trees and taking care of the orchards—a couple of which i planted, while trying to stay onboard an old, shaky planter making its way through rows of rugged terrain.:)

i cultivated lasting friendships with these trees in the same way that i cultivate friendships with any other being. they have listened to my dreams and have heard my laughter. they have caught frustrated tears and have touched my sweat. they have witnessed both weak and strong moments.

it’s been over ten years since last visiting them.

they have grown and changed.

so have i.

often, while working here, i would slow down the tractor—or pause, if on foot—to take in the beauty around me—the trees, the insects, the animals, the forested, hilly vistas just beyond my immediate surroundings. i remember frequently, during these momentary breaks, hearing myself say the words, ‘i am here’—an audible acknowledgment of all encircling grace.

this majestic world was and is a part of me, in ways that i am certain i will only appreciate more as i continue to age with this planet.

i really loved working and being here.
it was good to be here again.

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