Thursday, December 13, 2012
These meditations are done outside in natural surroundings. They help to enliven the basic intelligence of nature in our awareness and physiology. Our being resonates with the sight of a flower, sound of birds, feeling of the breeze. These experiences wake something up inside of us, and help to set our lives into a more natural rhythm. Nature lovers have discovered this secret without ever studying meditation! In the nature meditations, we focus our awareness on the experience of nature — sight, sound, touch, smell (and perhaps even taste). As with every meditation on our website, when the mind wanders from the focus of the meditation, bring it gently back. There are several different ways that this meditation can be done. Experiment and find what works best for you. Basic Nature Meditation — Eyes Closed Find a comfortable position sitting or lying down. Begin with a few deep breaths, breathing deep into the belly, to help you relax and to bring you to the sensations of the present moment. Now close your eyes and be present to what is being experienced with your eyes closed. Notice how your body feels, as well as the activity of your mind and emotions. Experience whatever is present without resisting anything or trying to change it. Do this for about a minute. Now bring your awareness to everything that you can experience in your surroundings. Feel the temperature of the air on your skin, the feeling of the breeze and the sun. Notice the sounds around you — birds, bees, crickets, flowing water. Listen to the symphony of nature. For the rest of the meditation, continue to experience these feelings and sounds. Whenever your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the experience of nature. As you meditate, you can see where your attention is naturally drawn, or purposefully scan for different experiences. You can also focus on one experience and notice the experience in greater detail. If it is a bird’s song — notice the quality of the sound — as if you are going more deeply into the sound. (It may seem to have a shape or texture.) Don’t analyze the sound and label it with your mind — simply notice the quality of it. Once again, whenever you notice that the mind has become absorbed in thoughts, easily bring it back to the sounds and sensations of being in nature. At times both awareness of the sensations from the environment and thoughts will be present. That’s fine. Just easily favor the experiences of nature. Listening Meditation — Variation of Basic Nature Meditation Begin as described in the Basic Nature Meditation, but focus on sound only. Let your awareness be with all the sounds in the environment, noticing them in great detail. You can also focus on one particular sound, such as that of flowing water. Continue to bring your attention back to that particular sound when your mind wanders. Nature Meditation — Eyes Open This meditation can be done while sitting, standing or walking. Time spent in nature can always be a form of meditation when we put our full attention on what is around us — the earth, trees, flowers, animals, fresh air, the breeze… To intensify this experience, allow yourself to experience the sights, sounds and smells without labeling them and becoming mentally involved with them. Notice the tendency of the mind to name and evaluate everything — “Oh, look at that beautiful bird. What kind is it? Is it here all winter or where does it go?” When these kinds of thoughts come up, let them go. Simply experience the colors, shape, sounds, movement of the bird or whatever else you are experiencing. Let it be an experience without meaning and without reference to any other experience. Experience everything with an open awareness, as if you’d never experienced anything like it before. As always, when the mind wanders and becomes caught up in thought, simply bring it back to the experience of nature.
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Happy Autumn and Autumn Equinox! The equinox is a special time when the day and night are of equal lengths. Traditionally, the Autumn Equinox is a time to give thanks for the harvest, and honor bounty and the gifts of the Mother Earth. It is also a time to reflect on your journey, enjoy the fruits of your personal harvests and contemplate the path in front of you. Balance is the keyword for equinox time. It is a time to look inside, seek balance and embrace both the dark and light sides of yourself. As the night continuing to grow longer and the earth energy moving into stillness and darkness of winter, we need to align our energy to the earth dormant cycle and the stillness within. Happy Autumn! Let us celebrate this seasonal shift and enjoy golden days as the autumn leaves begin to turn color.
Friday, June 8, 2012
Mic Mac Story One cold, autumn morning in a low valley a great, gray stone sat covered with dew. The rock was very old and had sat there for many, many moons. It had seen the passing of many animals and many seasons but this day as Niskam heated the rock and the dew rose as a mist from it Niskam decided to give life to this rock. So as the rock grew hotter and the steam from the dew hovered over it this one old rock was given the body of an old, old woman. This was Nukumi. Kluskap had been watching the birds and the plants and the animals and learning all he could. Now there came a day as he traveled that he wandered into this valley and there he met Nukumi. As Kluskap talked to Nukumi he realized how much wisdom she had and he wanted to learn all that he could from her. Nukumi explained that she would be happy to be his grandmother and share her wisdom but as an old woman meat was necessary for her. She could not live only on plants and berries. Kluskap was so happy to have a grandmother that he called to Marten swimming in the river. He asked Marten if he would give his life so that Kluskap's grandmother could live. All of the animals were friend to Kluskap and Marten said he would do this for his friend. Now Kluskap told Marten that for this sacrifice he would make Marten his brother. So Nukumi snapped Marten's neck and placed him on the ground but Kluskap felt so bad that he called to Kisúlkw to return Marten to life. Now Nukumi used her wisdom to speak with Kisúlkw and Kluskap and Marten was brought back to life so he could return to his river but where he lay on the ground was the body of another marten. Nukumi told Kluskap that from this point the animals would be brother and friend to Kluskap. They would be there willing to provide food and clothing, shelter and tools but always they must be treated with the respect given a brother and friend because they would only be there to provide what is necessary for life. Marten will always be the first of Kluskap's friends. Kluskap asked Robin to fly to the place where the lightning had hit the ground to give Kluskap life, and bring the sparks that were there to him. Robin flew to the place but he had to use two dry sticks to carry the sparks because they were so hot. As he flew the wind caused the sticks to burn and robin's breast turned red. Still he brought the fire to Kluskap and Nukumi put more wood on this fire and Niskam breathed on the sparks so that they burned the wood and created Great Spirit Fire. But all robins after this had red breasts and when two dry sticks are rubbed together they make fire. So the first meat was cooked over fire and Kluskap and his grandmother started their time together. Kluskap would help his grandmother survive and she would share her wisdom and knowledge with him.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
When I was about ten we lived on the Kennebec road in Hampden, in a little green house. My Dad was raising chickens then and had close to one hundred of them. If people on the outside could have seen me at times, I am sure they would have thought me to be a lunatic child. It is no secret to anyone that knows me that I am an animal lover and I was building quite a little menagerie if I do say so myself. I had some little white mice that I brought home from one of my visits to the island. A woman there raised them for Jackson Lab for experimentation. I convinced my Uncle that I was saving six of them from sure pain and potential death. He agreed I could have them as long as I got permission from my parents. They agreed. I was all for saving something. I had a Blue Jay that got caught in the shed trying to steal chicken grain but realized with in a day or so that he could not be kept and must be set free, much to my dismay. I had one special chicken out of the one hundred that had a bum leg, his name was Blackie and I carried him around the yard with me because I knew it was hard for him to walk…hey what can I can say…he needed me!
We also had a beautiful female German Shepherd named Princess.
I remember one year, my Fathers garden was doing great all except for the Cucumbers. I watched him come home every night and go straight to the garden and look at the crops and each night he would come into the house and complain that the cukes just didn’t seem to be doing that good. We were not allowed in the garden, but one day I decided to sneak a look, and all I saw were little bitty cucumbers. I had been playing in the field between our house and the neighbors earlier that day and saw that they had big green Cucumbers on their vines. I wanted my Dad to have big Cucumbers too! And I knew if he came home and saw that the Cukes had grown he would be happy. Together Princess and I walked up the slight incline of the field; stopping at the edge of the neighbor’s garden…I looked around, and picked two of the longest Cucumbers I could find and brought them home. I placed them strategically among my fathers Cucumber vines.” Now all we have to do is wait Princess,” I said.” Dad is going to be so happy!” I could hardly contain my excitement until Dad got home. After what seemed like forever Dad arrived home from work, only this night he did not check the garden. Another day, trying to contain myself. On the second night dad went straight to the garden. With me watching him from the kitchen window, up and down the rows he went, when he reached the Cucumbers he squatted down and stood back up holding two big beautiful Cucumbers in one hand…But, wait…He didn’t look happy. In fact he looked very, very mad and somewhat confused. When he brought them into the kitchen he raised his left eyebrow high and said,” Where did these come from?” I began to wail like a child in mourning and told him what I did, and the reason why. I could see he was touched by my wanting to please him, but he knew there was a lesson in this that I had to learn. I mean really! Cucumbers eight inches long when his were only an inch or two and they weren’t even hooked to the vine! “C’mon!” he said.” Let’s go!” Up to the neighbors we went. I had to tell the nice neighbor lady that I was a thief and apologize. I was grounded for two weeks, and I felt like a fool, but it was a good lesson learned. You don’t take that which doesn’t belong to you even if you think someone needs it more.
I grow my own garden now and I never pick a cucumber without thinking of the,” Cucumber Caper.”
Friday, March 2, 2012
I grew up spending part of my summer vacation and other school vacations with my Aunt and Uncle in North East Harbor on Mt Dessert Island in Maine. A quaint little Island community, where life was slow and easy in the winter until the, “Summer People” arrived.
My Uncle did outside repairs, got cars ready for the summer, (spit shined to a high gloss) and picked the Summer People up from the airport when they arrived. My Aunt cleaned their Mansions and got linens ready for their arrival. I was blessed to be able to see all these places first hand and play in them while Auntie readied them for summer. I remember pretending I was rich and she was working for me. I was every beautiful rich star I could think of. Some of the summer homes were so big I could actually lose myself in them. I would call to my Aunt and when she responded, I followed her voice to find my way back to her.
Each summer I was taken,” Down Street” to one of the high end clothing stores where my Aunt purchased a full ensemble for me ,head to toe…
I remember a time when I got into a bit of a quandary. My Uncle had taken me to the dock many times where he had a little skiff tied up. He would row me out into the bay and we would have our lunch out there as we watched the boats come in and leave. I asked several times if I could row the boat,” Not this time, you’re hardly strong enough to handle it yet,” he would say. What I heard was a challenge. I didn’t have to prove anything to him but I had to prove it to myself.
I had a friend named Diana who lived a few houses down and asked Aunt Doris if I could go and play for a couple of hours.” Yes,” she said,” But don’t go anywhere else.” I won’t!” I exclaimed. As soon as I was out of her sight, I headed for the docks. I sauntered up to the skiff, untied it and jumped in; I took the oars like I knew what I was doing. It was my luck that there were not too many boats moored there that day and I rowed out into the bay with ease. I made a few tiny circles, my arms felt like jello! I sat there for a bit to rest and realized I had just passed two boats that were moored. I had no inkling that when I took the skiff…The tide was going out, and me along with it! I knew I had to muster everything I had in my little body to get this boat back to the dock! I could see a man standing on his sailboat watching me and I could see the concern cross his face. I rowed with everything I had but I wasn’t making any progress. If anything…I was losing ground. I was bawling like a newborn baby and I just couldn’t row anymore as the boat slipped further out into the bay. Is that a motor I hear? Up beside me in a boat comes the man from the sailboat. With tears running down my cheeks and the hiccups to boot, I look into his eyes with a,” Please Save Me,” look. He nods with a slight smile, takes the rope on the front of the skiff in his hands and tows me back to the dock. I tie the Skiff up and as I look back at him he leaves with a wave of his hand and returns to his sailboat. That man potentially saved my life. I never said a word to anyone about my adventure; I knew the price I would have to pay would be too big. I learned that day that I didn’t have to prove anything to anybody not even myself and that it is ok to be weak, we are all weak…until we become strong.