Zen Moment: Deep Freeze Sunrise 

So fellow travelers,  a deep cold  snap has settled over our humble home.

My little pond has become a skating rink for the resident squirrels who slide across the surface to drink from little pool which forms around the heated aerators. Below the ice, fish sleep suspended in hibernation until Spring.

Last night when howling winds woke me I thought I was hearing voices singing. The clock showed just past 3am but no ghosts of Christmases past, present or future appeared. Still the eerie chorus must have echoed in my sleep, strange images swirled in my dreams until dawn, fueled a bit by the dynamics of  processing the stress from the last month at work and balancing the logistics of family gatherings throughout the holidays.

I’ve been feeling the impact of some personal losses this season too so when I caught the radiant light of sunrise this morning it stirred a desperate longing for peace giving words to this haiku styled prayer.

 

I want to believe

In every sunrise promise

Dig deeper for faith

Breathe in reach for hope

Deep in my soul I know each of us will find our way forward through challenging times.  We have strong bonds of love woven by family and friends near and far. A new year is coming and although it is “just a flip of a page on the calendar,” as someone rather jaded recently pointed out, for me at least it is still a chance to review our direction and reset our course as needed.

The glowing Light of sunrise is my daily reminder every day brings the hope and promise of  a new beginning.  I will greet this coming year holding strong in my resolve to believe the journey always brings us to where we belong.

 

 

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

 

 

Christmas 2017

So fellow travelers, the last of our Candle Night lights has been lit.

Christmas Day has come.

Beautifully wrapped gifts from my dear friend Lisa.

There will be gifts and greetings shared with family near and far. We will linger over hearty meals and hugs. Thanks to the technology  of Skype we will be together with all our kids for a little while later today.

Outside winter winds howl and lake effect snow adds more and more inches to the holiday card scenes in my yard but no weather can lessen the warmth and Light of the joy in my heart on this blessed morning.

Treasured ornaments

Lifelong memories shine bright

Bringing peace and joy

Walk gently on the path my friends and may blessings of the season go always with you.

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

Zen Moment : Secret Smile

So fellow travelers, it’s that time of year when darkness begins to encroach on both ends of my day.

Now sunrise kisses the sky just as I am headed in to work. A few days ago, I caught sight of the last faint sliver of the waning 4th quarter moon. Just a wisp of light, a smile fading quickly in the glare of daylight, a symbol of hidden joy. Hidden perhaps by the harsh glare of day’s demanding realities but known now to me, a secret tucked into my awareness to reach for when my own smile fades.

Night gives way to day

Crescent moon’s ghost of a smile

Joy’s hidden secret


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

Postscript: The moment also reminded me of another smile I found on my #Spiritof60 Road Trip. You can read about that in the post at this link .

Voices in the Myst

So fellow travelers, now that the school year is in full swing my sweet summer morning ritual of sitting with a good cup of coffee and writing for an hour or so has been pushed back again.

I miss it.

 

(Photo : a bit of humor a friend sent me on social media. I might have to add this mug to my collection)

Writing not only helps me process life, it actually compells me to seek out experiences. Other times something happens and I’m thrown off balance.  I hit the trails, letting the my emotions swirl and boil at will in the relative safety of solitude. Then, when I am ready I sit at my laptop and let the words come.  Often those words need a sleep or two to become cohesive.

This summer more than ever I drank deeply of the spirit to follow the call in my heart. Relinquishing the freedom to rise and write was harder than ever this September.  My wake up call for work is too early to allow for time to write before leaving and so far I have been too exhausted at day’s end to put coherent thoughts together.  So, for now I accept I am back to weekend writing sessions and yet even as I do it’s only possible because I know I will have that freedom once again.

Creative exploration and expression are an essential element of my ability cope with the increasing challenges of my job. The beginning of this school year has brought some positive changes but also a growing awareness our administration’s expectations far exceed their ability to support the special education teams I am part of. (“Make it work,” for example, is not a productive response to staffing shortages.)  Coming into this year I made a committment to strengthen my own support system. I am determined to prevent a repeat of the detrimental impact stress had on my mental, emotional and physical being last year. In combination with other routines my creative time is part of my self preservation.

Why we have to fight so hard to stay on track with making positive choices is a puzzle. Getting caught up in negativity rarely feels good, yet we all find ourselves stuck from time to time. Self-awareness is a gift which calls us back from the pits of distress but we have to be listening to hear that call.

First light this morning revealed a thick mist settled eerily just above the ground. As the sun rose, it cast strange colors into the fog. I slept poorly last night, unsettled emotions from powerful conversations echoed through out the darkness. So I sat by my pond watching the “myst”erious interplay of light and fog.

A shot from another equally misty morning

Feelings shifted

Words came

and just like the rising sun dispersed the heavy fog,  clarity lightened my thoughts

Mystified

Suddenly lost in the fog

you stop

unable to see the path

standing still

breathing deeply to calm the fear

and over your breath you hear them

the voices in the mist

angry, monstrous sounds

you dare not proceed

yet you cannot go back

so you wait

and now you hear cries of pain

the need to help compels you to move

even as the fog thickens growing darker

so you hesitate

and stepping back a bit you see it

a ray of rose gold light

piercing the mist

watching as it grows stronger

dispersing darkness

as the path emerges from the fog

you realize those voices came not from out there

and the monsters you feared are yours

to leave behind or carry forward

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