Zen Moment: Sunset Calls

So fellow travelers, it is sunny and 53° (F)  outside today.

It’s also December 3rd.

About two weeks ago when a deep plunge in temperatures brought an early round of Lake Effect snow, the garden around the edge of my pond took on an early air of Christmas decor.

Today, I spent most of the day clearing out the remnants of the prolonged garden season and tending to a little bonfire in the backyard fire pit where I was burning off the piles of yard debris and many branches which had come down during recent windy days.

All around me, little birds chattered at a few lingering blue jays demanding their turn at the feeders I filled just this morning.  Every now and then the nasal “hwonk hwonk” of our resident nuthatch could be heard as it dug into the fresh suet I’d also put out. As temperatures have begun to dip down to freezing most nights, I’m mindful of keeping the feeders stocked with sunflower seeds and suet to provide good energy to help my feathered tenants and visitors refuel after the long cold nights.

Days end so quickly now, as the Solstice approaches, that I am often caught off guard when shades of pink, gold and purple begin to tint the drifting clouds overhead.  Today, when I caught the firstglimpse of color I jumped in my Rav and dashed down the road to a field where I knew I would catch a clear view of the setting sun . I was rewarded with this image.

After getting a few photos, I sat in my car and watched the sun sink below the treeline, painting a thin red orange line of light along the horizon.  For the first time in several days I felt completely in the moment and totally at peace.

I’ve reached that point of the work year where I am feeling the full impact from the loss of the daily writing time my summer break allows me to follow.  I’ve been struggling with a few different pieces of writing for a few weeks, pushing myself to finish something I felt was post worthy, but whatever I was trying to say was encumbered by undefined purpose and heavy emotions. As I drove home with the zen of this moment still wrapped around me like a forgiving hug, I gave myself permission to simply sit down and write about this and leave the other pieces be.  In time they will either coalesce or not.

Meanwhile, I will be more mindful of being present in the simple moments of joy, reminding myself they matter more than the “shoulds” on the “get done” list I might impose on myself.  Which reminds me the last full moon of the year is about to rise.  I’ve got some more joy to fit in before this day is done.

moon edit

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

 

 

 

 

Jack’s Lament

So fellow travelers, early Lake Effect snow has brought a chilling end to a luxuriously warm Autumn.

Snow dusted leaves linger in the trees and the last of my wildflowers have turned into frozen mush from the sudden killing frost which preceded the cold front.

My porch Jack O Lantern looked a bit mournful when I came to put him away.

 

 

 

Oh Jacko cry not

Seasons come and seasons go  

Autumn will return

 

 

 

 

 

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Window in the Sky

So fellow travelers, Zen moment framed by the trees at sunrise this morning. Yeah, I am up and out with our dog that early.

Window in the sky

First light bird songs remind us

Seek another way

At any given moment we can make a choice to respond differently. A slight shift in perspective can make a substantial difference and help us break free from reactive patterns, sense the pain in someone else’s anger and choose to not add to it, or accept the blessings in early morning wake up calls.

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Reaching

So fellow travelers, challenges at work are on the rise right now. Mindful of the toll stress took on my physical, mental and emotional well being last school year, I’m striving to counter act it’s effects proactively.

During my recovery this summer, I learned how significant simple moments can be and how important it is to attend to them by being present in those moments.

Moments like seeing light streaming in a window after a tough session with a student struggling to get through the day.

Reaching for sunlight

Plants know to turn from darkness

Learn from Nature’s ways

Focus on positives, use what’s working well to move forward one step at a time and for the joy in those moments of Light.

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Zen moment : Glimmers

So fellow travelers, November is living up to it’s reputation as a cold, grey month. The slightest hint of sunlight sends me dashing outside to capture what Light I can.

A break in the clouds

Leaves hold a golden moment

Hope infused our hearts

When we catch a brief glimmer of hope, we must dare to take that thread and weave it into a possibility for healing and change. Our world is greatly in need of those threads of possibility. Gather and share them whenever and wherever you can.

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Waiting 

So fellow travelers, it’s November and suddenly our luxuriously warm and unseasonable weather has flown off with the migrating geese leaving behind chilly winds and rain.
  My mood this week mirrors the grey skies viewed from my car as I wait for my morning coffee on my way to work.

Being a long distance mom is a tough challenge.

There comes a point when standing by in support mode is the most essential role we can take on as our kids take charge of their future. At times the need to be there nstead of here just to give my daughters a hug stretches my heart strings so much it physically hurts. It actually physically hurts.

Zen masters teach me time and space are illusions. In my meditations I focus on being present with the love I feel for family. It helps ease some of that ache,

but I still wish I for those hugs.

Editing a photo for an online project I found these words rising from the heartache

Trapped by illusion

Just a shadow of yourself

Hold fast til sunrise

 

Both my daughters are visiting in the next few months and I will get to give them the hugs I wish for.

Until then I will seek joy in the shadows.

 

 

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.


Autumn Zinnias

via Daily Prompt: Gratitude

So fellow travelers, today’s blog prompt from WordPress is Gratitude.

With a forecast for heavy winds, rain and plummeting temps I knew the flowers still lingering in my garden were better cut and brought inside to enjoy than left to the elements.

 

 

Gratitude today

Is gathering zinnias

So late in autumn

 

 It’s a rare treat to even have flowers so late in the season.

The zinnias greeted me cheerfully on my kitchen table this morning as wind and rain sent leaves scattering all through the yard. One last breath of summer to be grateful for.

 

 

 

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.



Zen Moment : Milkweed

via Daily Prompt: Surreal

So fellow travelers, the WordPress blog prompt for today is the word “surreal.”

 

One experience from a few days ago immediately came to mind, as did several images I’ve captured recently. There is something about the way light can transform an ordinary object, like a milkweed plant so it generates an ethereal feeling in which significant messages are embedded

The change of seasons

Continuity of life

Illumination of hidden hopes

all these contained in the tiniest of seeds

Given the choice between a surrealistic ride in an ambulance where the future morphs into to blurry question mark or the surrealism of sunlit milkweed casting seeds of hope I’m going with the milkweed

Life’s too short not to bet on hope.

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Zen Moment: Park Bench

So fellow travelers, warm weather continues to linger and I’ll take it in as long as I can.

Yesterday a passing front left behind dramatic clouds, promising photo ops worth the drive to the other end of the lakefront park where Delilah and I often walk. It’s not far, but that end of the park is often more crowded and I usually prefer the quiet trails closer to my house. They are a go to spot for sorting through a challenging day’s residual impacts.

Delilah was delighted to have some new critter dens to explore while I stood in awe of the gallery which greeted my senses. The lake and sky had outdone themselves in creating canvases of light.

The smell of autumn leaves filled the air, a light breeze brushed my face. Laughter echoed from the playground where many families had gathered. Is there any sound more joyful than the sound of kids laughing? It lifted my heart which is carrying concerns for several friends facing life challenges.

Walking towards the lake I spied a bench where I could sit to watch the sun paint the sky with golden light as I sent some positive thoughts to my friends. This morning as I looked through the images from our walk I found one with that bench and this haiku with an extra line emerged from the memory of the moment.

 

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Park bench in my mind

you meet me here and we sit

in silent laughter

with the setting sun

 

Friendship is a treasure beyond worldly rewards. Like the golden gift of a beautiful sunset it’s value is beyond measure.

 Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready.

Life in Black and White

So fellow travelers, there is a challenge trending on social media called Seven days in B&W. Here are the guidelines, which we use as the header for each post:

Seven days. Seven B & W photos of my life. No people. No explanation.  

Post and Challenge someone new each day.

A collection of some of my daily life in B&W photos

The admins of an on-line creative forum posted a similar challenge adapting the theme from daily life to #ordinaryextraordinary. Those guidelines read as follows:

*Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to post one black and white photograph per day here that represents the extraordinary in your ordinary, everyday life. Look for these things, smile at them, shoot and post with *one sentence* telling us why what you shot is extraordinary to you.

Creative challenges spark my interest and jump start my brain by giving me a focal point. A challenge like this encourages me to experience the world around me from a different perspective. Framing common elements of my day in just the right light so they make an impact when rendered in black and white as well as finding deeper meaning in ordinary components of my life has unveiled a rich array of  treasures whose value I now appreciate more fully.

Some of my images from the #ordinaryextraordinary challenge*

I’m also quite certain I would not have had the fortitude to stand up and speak my truth in the Me too campaign without this gift of uncovering extraordinary beauty in my daily experience. The B&W challenges gave me some solid touchstones. Because I was already  committed to those challenges and dedicated to continuing the process, the images I found became trail markers back to normalcy. The mere existence of  joy woven into my every day life helped me find my way back after diving deep into long silent emotions.

This is why art and creativity matter. When society fractures at rates beyond comprehension we scramble to hold on to something, anything, familiar. Creative processes can teach us how to shift perspective to see our lives from different vantage points. Creative expression gives form to feelings we cannot bear to carry within ourselves any longer. It helps us face the unthinkable acts of our inhumanity to each other and embrace the hope we can change the immutable.

So challenge yourselves. What are the extraordinary elements of  your daily life?  Go find them and see them reborn in the clear contrast of  mindful awareness. Maybe take a photo or two and share them. Who knows what ripples of inspiration you may create.

Walk gently on the path my friends and may adventure find you ready .

*Note: The #ordinaryextraordinary challenge  can be found on Facebook, under The Crazy Ones  page . It runs through October 22nd.