The Wisdom of Not Knowing

Blue Ridge Mountains, Western N Carolina, Photo by Gaye Abbott, 9/7/22

Driving home from a temporary job yesterday I was weary and looked forward to arriving to a friends home where I was house sitting for the week. Then it happened all in an instant.

A brilliant rainbow presented in the sky over the Blue Ridge mountain range entwined with buckets of rain pouring down scattered here and there making driving a bit treacherous. I so wanted to capture it in a photo, but could not easily stop along the country road in a downpour so I trusted.

Trusted that if these were the only moments that I had this spectacular and magical rainbow as a companion to lead me home it was enough. The inner child, always along for the ride our entire lifetime, was in absolute delight and of course wondered if there truly was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. She was given free reign to dream into that possibility.

Once home, as I took steps along the walkway to the front door, I looked out at the mountain range and was stunned. The rainbow stretched from one end of the valley below to the other and yes was captured in the photo above. Elemental nature’s gift as a reminder that it is the moments of not knowing what will show up next that opens our awareness to beauty, mystery and the wholeness of being embodied here.

I am finding more often that letting go of what the cultural narrative, or the self critical voice inside, dictates we “should be doing and acting like” and instead revisiting the joy of inhabiting a child like curiosity and sense of play is truly freedom. Bringing depth and pleasure to our precious life moments. Even those that challenge us the most.

“I think on some level, you do your best things when you’re a little off-balance, a little scared. You’ve got to work from mystery, from wonder, from not knowing.”
Willem Dafoe

Within the uncertainty of our present world and our individual unique lives we are offered the opportunity to practice spontaneity, awe, wonder, curiosity – embracing the terrain of each unfolding moment – especially in those moments when we are off balance, challenged or scared.

As Hanna Naude says in the video below we all have an “inner child” that travels with us our entire life. Why not indulge and simply trust life unfolding…..all of it, even the hard parts.

“Why are we so obsessed with knowing everything? While there’s nothing wrong with knowledge and understanding, our insatiable desire to know and control all aspects of our lives often gets in our way of trying new things.  

There is no shame in not knowing, there is only freedom.  An uncertain mind is an open mind. It is a mind which is curious and interested.  It allows us to be creative and willing to live in a state of wonder and possibility, like children do.  

When we meet life with a genuine sense of uncertainty, we cease to project that which we think we know, and we instead begin to see life for what it truly is.  It is life itself, unfolding before our eyes.”

Filmed in Montagu, South Africa by Green Renaissance.
Featuring Hanna Naude.


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Gaye Abbott, Natural Passages Consulting, 9/8/22. Please feel free to share this post.


The Door Is Wide Open – But Don’t Let The Old Man In

WHY DO YOU STAY IN PRISON WHEN THE DOOR IS SO WIDE OPEN?  

Rumi

Facing the fact of our own mortality is something we fall into intimacy with as we enter the elder years of our embodied life.

What is dignified aging? Feeling the pain and the joy. The challenges and the easy parts. The tapestry of life we weave for ourselves and with others.

Living and acting from a place of peace, serenity, humor and gratitude is not always easy. We forget.

Open your eyes and your heart.

Engage with that which uplifts and inspires you.

“Don’t let the old man in.” ~Michael Canfield

People often assume that if someone is giving thanks, it’s because their life is easy and that they have nothing to be negative about. This is not the case at all. Those who practice gratitude understand that it’s how you think about a situation, that makes it easier or more difficult.

As you practice gratitude, the focus shifts from what is lacking in life to the abundance that already exists. It is a matter of retraining the brain to see all the wonder and possibility that lies before us each day.

So.. what are you grateful for today?

Filmed in Tulbagh, South Africa.
Featuring Michael Canfield. 

To hear more of Michael’s music, visit:
Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/album/52kdadFLUpEh2v8fZPDGO6?si=n9xgY6UYQ7ioFd14iNULyw&nd=1
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/RhythmSectionAfrica


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Gaye Abbott, Natural Passages Consulting, 7/22/22. Please feel free to share this post.


Letting Go of the End of the Rope

We were standing in a circle all blindfolded. This was the beginning exercise of the ropes course that some of my “sole proprietor” business women friends and I had signed up for when I lived in Sonoma County, in Northern California.

If you have never done a ropes course it is quite an adventure and a test of courage, balance, trust, discovery, team support…..and willingness to let go and try something that you may never have done before (and may not ever do again!).

Granted this was decades ago I did this, but my body still remembers the experience. More about the standing in the circle blind folded in a moment…..

Ropes Course Participant

The image above is an example of what ropes course participants navigate. In the very last exercise of the day we were actually blind folded once again and asked to climb up a skinny tree with some narrow pegs to climb upon, get to a very small platform (that wiggled when you stepped upon it) and then trust that you could catch a trapeze ring that was somewhere in the air ahead of you.

For those of you who are gasping at this daring feat, we were indeed harnessed in so if you miss the trapeze ring you would bounce and then be lowered to the ground. After watching some of my team members miss the ring and simply bounce up and down I thought I was teaching my body that this would be OK.

When I bravely took my turn and landed on the wobbly platform it was then shear terror coursed through my body. Feeling through my other senses to assess right timing and where the ring was ahead of me in the air (ground facilitators could move it back and forth), I took the leap and actually caught the trapeze. With a whoop of delight from me, and a rousing cheer from my team and the facilitators on the ground I was lowered back to stand on the safety of the earth.

Leaping for the Trapeze
Sometimes I feel like the leap into elderhood is like this. We are supposed to know what we are doing as our body ages and challenges we have never experienced arise without the benefit of an elder rites of passage.

I have found, like the ropes course, it takes courage, trust, a willingness to let go – to not only accept limitations when they present – but also to test those perceived limitations, cultivate curiosity leading to discovery, and most important a supportive community along for the ride.

Now back to the beginning of standing in a circle with blindfolds on. Though I knew a couple of the women in the group the others were strangers to me. We heard the facilitators say to us that they just placed a long length of coiled rope in the middle of the circle. Our task was to make a perfect square on the ground from that rope.

As I bent down to start the process of trying to find a part of the rope I was surrounded by everyone’s voice posing a way to perform this task. It was like a cacophony of voices competing with each other saying they knew how to do this.

Meanwhile I had miraculously found the end of the rope and instead of moving around stood rooted to the earth saying over and over “I have the end of the rope, make the square from me.” It seemed like a very long time before anyone really heard me and I was partly in despair that they ever would. But I held my rooted place and finally the din ceased as a few got what I was saying.

After that it didn’t take long for the perfect square to be formed on the ground – starting from where I “had the end of the rope.” Afterwards when we were instructed to take off our blindfolds and hear the facilitators comments I was the first to be targeted.

They pointed at me and said, “”You are the type of person any company/business would value a great deal. The person that grounds and anchors everyone else in order for tasks to be completed, effective actions planned and carried out, and teamwork enhanced.”

I learned a lot about myself that day in so many ways. What the facilitators told me of my pattern of being in life and with others has now come full circle. It feels like I am indeed blindfolded and taking a leap of trust without always being the one to “have the end of the rope.”

Both experiences now blend together. In the dark liquid of creation never having navigated this terrain before. Like being in a chrysalis and emerging as something entirely different.


Today is the day of my birth 74 years ago. Some say that birthdays no longer matter to them, they don’t care about being recognized or celebrated. I on the other hand say why not? There are so many that never make it into elderhood. We are the privileged ones, though sometimes it may not feel like that, to have these elder years to keep exploring, sensing, feeling, offering our wisdom, humor, compassion and love, creating….and simply being.

I envision a rites of passage into our elder years where we support each other along the way by taking turns having the end of the rope….and encouraging each other to leap into the exploration of new territory, though we can’t quite see where we are going to…. or who we are becoming.

See, smell, hear, touch…appreciating what each day has to offer as we fling ourselves out into our lives….one step at a time.

The beauty of withering is actually moving towards a simplicity of living and an acceptance of living.”

Annie Norgarb.

“Wrinkles, lines, scars – there are many ways that time leaves its mark on our bodies. Yet mainstream culture dreads getting older – we are urged to fight the ageing process, and many feel pressure to lie about their age. But as Betty Friedan famously said: “Aging is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” With age can come confidence, and freedom to realize who we really are. As we age, we grow into a deeper kind of beauty, one which works its way from the inside out. It’s a more authentic beauty because it radiates from within. So let’s celebrate lives well lived. And feel lucky to wake each morning to appreciate what the new day has to offer.”

Filmed in McGregor, South Africa. Featuring Annie Norgarb.

Filmed by Green Renaissance: All of our films are made possible through the generous support of our patrons. To be part of this journey : https://www.patreon.com/greenrenaissance


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Gaye Abbott, Natural Passages Consulting, 7/7/22. Please feel free to share this post.


Aging Priorities

“Don’t prioritise your looks my friend, as they won’t last the journey.

Your sense of humour though, will only get better with age.

Your intuition will grow and expand like a majestic cloak of wisdom.

Your ability to choose your battles, will be fine-tuned to perfection.

Your capacity for stillness, for living in the moment, will blossom.

Your desire to live each and every moment will transcend all other wants.

Your instinct for knowing what (and who) is worth your time, will grow and flourish like ivy on a castle wall.

Don’t prioritise your looks my friend,

they will change forevermore, that pursuit is one of much sadness and disappointment.

Prioritise the uniqueness that make you you, and the invisible magnet that draws in other like-minded souls to dance in your orbit.

These are the things which will only get better.”

Judi Dench

No matter what your gender is these words by Judi Dench remind me what is important as I age….and what is definitely not. What a remarkable face she has, as does the man below.

I would imagine that the stories these elders will tell you and the wisdom they share is worth the price of admission. Admission to elderhood and the remarkable and at times challenging journey of aging.

I decided in an instant today to really look at my aging face in the mirror….. like a lover would gaze at their beloved.

Each line and furrow telling a story about my life laid down over the years, soon to be 74 of them. I used to make people guess how old I was. I don’t do that anymore because it no longer matters.

Are the lines radiating out from my eyes born of laughter and smiling, from squinting at too much Southern California sun, or even being near sighted and attempting to see more clearly. I choose the laughter!

The faint horizontal lines between my eyes at the bridge of nose go completely away when I open my eyes wide and raise eyebrows. A reminder to open vision to see life more clearly?

The furrows traveling from side of nose to corners of my mouth, then artistically traveling down to chin. If I make faces at myself and move my mouth around, especially in a big smile, they disappear and then fall back into place when my face is at rest. And when I really let go I am surprised to see my father’s mouth and furrows of his elder years looking back at me.

As I gaze ever downward at the loose folds embracing my neck I wonder just when my skin decided to let go of its elasticity. One day it was just there….or so it seems.

The horizontal lines marching across my forehead like railroad tracks laid down by drunken laborers or artists with a flare. Though no grooves to fall into here….yet.

Oh, and the droop of eyelid at half mast over my left eye. Will I not be able to see out of that eye one day because it simply can’t hold itself up any longer?

And where did the long black hair come from growing out from my chin? It wasn’t there yesterday I swear!

Age spots, moles, acne scars oh my, reminding me of beach time in the sun and challenging teen years when appearance was so very important.

When did this sneak up on me, this aging face that tells my life story?

Thank God for it all as they say in novels, I have finally grown some “character”!

For a moment I flash on the young elastic skin of youth and the innocence in feeling I would always look this way.

But you know what? My face now reveals the depth of living that has brought me to now and the stories I can tell about my life.

….and I have fallen in love with this elder whom I am becoming – all of her.

One last note is gratitude to humor, constantly breaking into the day pleading to not take ourselves so seriously. To let go and “lighten up a little why don’t you”. And that will be revealed in our face as well.

Humor – the antidote and the connector – a facelift for the heart and soul. When shared with others it ripples out and gathers others into its warm and hilarious embrace creating a feeling of vibrant aliveness.

Besides, aging begs us to have a sense of humor! You know what I mean?


RESOURCE: The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul by Connie Sweig


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Gaye Abbott, Natural Passages Consulting, 6/23/22. Please feel free to share this post.


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Grounding Anchors In A Crazy World

Nature Park, Weaverville, N. Carolina. Image: By Gaye Abbott

To find some footing amidst all this instability, I’ve had to dig deep within my heart, body, mind and intuition to identify some anchors, some practices that can stabilize and help me to stay centered to move forward in a good way.” ~Nina Simon,, Co-Founder of Bioneers

Where to place attention when the world seems to have gone crazy…..

I find it is not easy these days to find a space of well being, calm and peace inside amidst all that is going on in our human created world. Even to find solitude that is not cluttered with stimulus.

We each have unique ways and practices to center, increase resilience and stay grounded amidst intense change and uncertain times. Most can be simple, sustainable…… and elemental.

Just a moment ago I was standing on the earth barefoot and closed my eyes. I felt pulses of earth energy move through opening up spaces inside that felt protected and closed off. An energy we cannot directly feel as well if wearing shoes. All of a sudden I felt raindrops softly falling on my upturned face and a huge smile broke out across my face.

My world suddenly became that of a child about 8 years old who with her brother, both wearing bathing suits, scampered about on the sidewalk outside the house laughing at the sun shining and rain falling at the same time – nature’s playful game to delight children. I remember we lived away from the ocean at that time, rare for the 40 years I spent in San Diego in Southern California where I was born and grew up along the coast, beaches and tide pools.

Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA

“Anchors” and practices to stay grounded in a time of global instability? So many to choose from. Here are a few that align with our senses and the elements of earth, water, fire and air.

EARTH: The natural world is a definite anchor for me. Purposefully choosing landscapes over the years where I could wander and find solace. Much of that spent barefoot where it was safe to do so. Little did I know back then that “earthing” would scientifically be found to “improve circulation, lower blood pressure, improve digestion, lower inflammation, assist in wound healing, combat jet-lag, and slow free-radical damage associated with aging.” It simply felt right and good as a child. That was enough. As was communing with a tree, riding a wave with my body, or simply being still to listen to birdsong.

Tree Wisdom and Regeneration

FIRE: Though sunlight has gotten a bad rap these days, and my aging skin certainly shows the damaging affects from too much Southern California beach living, experiencing bright, natural, unfiltered sunlight first thing upon waking up is an ideal way to reset your circadian clock. We now know that Vitamin D from direct sunlight exposure plays a critical role in healing, immune function, and overall well being. Another way to positively impact and optimize our brain, mood— even digestion!

WATER: This anchor I have had a love/hate affair with for many years. One of the most compelling links to a “stronger immune system, better sleep quality, improved mental health, and even relief from symptoms of certain autoimmune diseases is either plunging in cold water or 1-3 minutes of “as-cold-as-it-can-go” temperature at full blast at the end of your shower.” While living in Austin, TX for 5 years the 68 degree spring fed pool near downtown was a regular enlivening and “wake-up” practice and though I didn’t always want to jump in invariably I felt renewed, rejuvenated and intensely alive after doing so. Certainly brings attention into the moment….. and your body!

Barton Springs, Austin, TX

AIR: Down through human history the simple act of breathing in and out has always been a way to ground, come back into the moment and the body, and a means to raise consciousness and increase well being. That hasn’t, and will never, change as long as we have lungs to move air in and out.

We are each breathed over 20,000 times each day. Yet how often do we pay attention to this, our most intimate partner in life? ~Richard Miller

Simply stopping what we are “doing” and witnessing the breath move in and out is a simple means of “being” always at out disposal. Instead of “coffee breaks” I wonder what it would feel like to have “breath breaks”?

http://gayeabbott.net/books/

EARTH/WATER/FIRE/AIR: All of the elements collaborate when we bring nature indoors via potted plants, herbs and other edibles.

Caring for plants/gardens aligns with sustainability, helps cleanse the air of toxins and pollutants, brings us into the moment, and connects to the natural world. Even living in an urban setting, small space or with intense seasons where nothing can grow outside there is a way to grow indoors or on a screened in porch. Make it simple. (see Resources below)

Cherry tomatoes, apple mint, cubano peppers, wild ginger, clary sage.

Perhaps you would like to share your anchors for grounding and centering here. Who knows when it might just be the perfect one for someone who is reading this!


RESOURCES:

*Here is a tip I just found. Click on this link for an innovative way to grow indoors: https://www.clickandgrow.com/pages/about-us

*Give Us This Day Our Daily Breath by Gaye Abbott: 52 weeks of breathing spaces to delight, rest and reflect in: http://gayeabbott.net/books/

*Earth Runners, Earth-connected sandles created to re-wild our lives and connect with the earth’s energy: https://www.earthrunners.com

*What Is Your Frequency, by Diana Turner-Forte on raising your vibrational frequency: https://dianaturnerforte.substack.com/p/whats-your-frequency-?s=r


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Gaye Abbott, Natural Passages Consulting, 6/9/22. Please feel free to share this post.


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Breathing Connection

Blue Ridge Mountains, Western N. Carolina, Image by Gaye Abbott

“Did you know that you aren’t really breathing? It is the planet’s atmospheric pressure that sends breath into the body. With the process we call breathing, our body simply changes its shape in such a way that the pressure in the chest cavity is lowered, thus permitting air to be pushed into the body during inhalation. During passive breathing, as when sleeping, it is the universe that breathes for us. On the exhalation, we do nothing; the body tissues that have stretched during inhalation simply spring back to their original shape.”  Anna Hunt

When we consider that the cosmos is doing our breathing for us it reflects an unlimited potential for freedom and connection.  The innate intimacy with everything around and beyond us feeds and nourishes our individual and interconnected lives at a level so vast that it is rather mind boggling to me. 

As collaborating partners even the trees, soil and oceans here on Earth participate in supplying us with the oxygen we need to thrive.
Wild Trillium, Appalachian Trail, Western N. Carolina, Image by Gaye Abbott

“Entering a forest is not unlike crawling into a wardrobe and finding a portal to another world. A place where the quality of light changes, becoming softer, subdued. Leaves filter sunlight into misty shafts of amber and gold. The air is fragrant with life, the trees releasing restorative compounds, breathing out the very thing we need to breathe in. Sound becomes muffled, our footfalls almost silent upon the mossy, leaf-carpeted ground.

Sue Fulmore

Imagine that when we are asleep (and awake for most of us) there is nothing that we are having “to do”, but instead are gifted with the experience of complete freedom and support in simply being.  We are being kept alive and vibrant by forces beyond our control, ones that are intimately collaborating on our behalf.

My being here at this moment in time in terms of gratitude begins with the possibility of the breath, understanding that through the breath coming in through my nostrils, feeding my body, my brain, my energy, and my spirit, it is what gives me the opportunity to make sense, especially with this thing called light. To be able to see and know that it’s reflecting off everything that I see and it’s with that kind of energy that I give thanks every moment because when we forget to pay attention to these simple things as air, light, sound, energy and vibration, we miss the connection to each other and the universe.

Grateful Voices, James
Grateful Voices, James – a Caribbean born elder (https://gratefulness.org/grateful-voices/james/)

I believe it’s our human potential for connection, potential for love and respect, that can liberate us. But this will only fully manifest when we redefine success and power from how it is currently being defined — as competing and winning, as dominating others, and as acquiring wealth. When we begin to hold our markers for success in concepts like interconnectedness and kindness, when we place our highest value on each other, our children and our relationships, then our human spirits soar.” James

Thus receiving air and giving it back again without any effort on our part is a gift that most of us share.  The eternal circle of giving and receiving born out of the freedom of living in this human body. The intimate interconnection with all life of which we are an integral part. Let us not forget to soar…..


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Gaye Abbott, Natural Passages Consulting, 5/26/22. Please feel free to share this post and link to WildlyFreeElder


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Attention Is The Beginning of Devotion

Laurel River Trail, Western N. Carolina

“I got saved by poetry and the beauty of the world.”

Mary Oliver

If asked what my first thoughts are as I awake each morning this is what I say. Gratitude for waking up and feeling the breath fill my body, and in the Spring how much I love the sweet sound of birdsong outside my bedroom window.

After preparing green jasmine tea my writing notebook finds its place on my lap with fountain pen poised as I gaze out at the River Birch outside my bedroom window.

The question posed each and every morning is “where will I place my attention today?”

I am wondering what your thoughts are as you awaken each morning? Where your attention goes and what beauty you find in your day?

As Mary Oliver says “we are bits of energy transforming the world through our embodied lifetimes here.”

Like the image at the top of this post we are a unique stone placed in the embrace of nature set here for a “purpose” that we most often spend our entire lives exploring and being challenged by. Each stage of life seems to offer something uniquely different.

The elder years are not exempt from this on going inquiry.

In fact we may question our place in this world even more as we become “invisible” to many going about their busy lives. Yet this very invisibility may be what brings us to the sweet recognition that we have become more solidly embodied and very selective in where we place our attention.

Life moments feel ever more precious as we come back once again to Oliver’s call to us – “What is it that you want to do with this one wild and precious life?” What is it now at 50, 60, 70, 80 and beyond?

Shifting and changing as we find our way past the challenges and into devotion to the exquisite beauty that surrounds us in every single moment. Not just in the natural world, but in art, music, poetry, dance, relationships, food….and in the single moments that takes our breath away.

Devotion to the life moments we have left to us through the pathway of where we place our attention.

Below you will find On Being Krista Tippets interview with Mary Oliver – “I Got Saved By The Beauty of the World.”

Mary Oliver

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Please note that all blog posts can be seen on the HOME page if you scroll down to the bottom for Archives

You can find ALL of the 31-Days of Joy & Laughter Project posts in the archives here: http://wildlyfreeelder.com/2021/12/


Gaye Abbott, Natural Passages Consulting, 5/20/22. Please feel free to share this post!


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Improv Humor

Improvisation by its very nature is spontaneous creation in the moment. Taking advantage of a situation or interaction that may be normal or mundane and embellishing within it.

A great example of that happened in the grocery store today when a woman walked up in line behind me and I placed the small divider between our orders. She said thank you and I of course said you are welcome.

Then she thought I said something else to her and when I said no I did not I happened to glance up at a image of Mickey and Minnie Mouse on the top of a store display. This is where the improv was born.

I told her that it was actually Mickey and Minnie that were speaking and she followed by saying “with a very high squeaky voice”. Then it moved on to me saying she was probably of an age where she remembered the Mickey Mouse Club show. And guess what she did?

Broke out in the Mickey Mouse Club song and I joined her right there in line at the grocery store. We were laughing throughout it and started joking back and forth about two “old ladies” being kicked out of the store for causing a ruckus in line.

For those of you who are too young, or don’t know what the heck I am talking about, click on the video below and sing along!,

This small simple exchange brought humor, connection and brightness into our day during a usually mundane task. Who knows what it brought the man in front of me or the cashier, but I did see a small smile break out on his face.

What other opportunities show up every single day that we may overlook or miss completely because our mind is too busy plotting what our next task will be. I know I miss them all the time!

How does one tap into improvisational humor?

I would say that life is full of opportunities every single day in the cracks and crevices of interaction. Even if you are alone. Simply trusting what is arising within the moment and not holding back is a key. However, one underlying characteristic you must possess is that you don’t mind at all being silly, “out of step”, different from the mainstream around you, and most probably looked at by others in the vicinity.

In other words simply being uniquely you in any given moment. You may be surprised what expression is born when you just let go and play with others. There is a tendency for it to effect others around you in a positive way so be prepared to attract attention.

Now for those who don’t “approve” of your spontaneous humor or how you are acting….simply smile. They may be missing out on passing along positive energy, humor and spontaneous connection, but one thing is for certain you aren’t!


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Gaye Abbott, Natural Passages Consulting, 5/5/22. Please feel free to share this post!


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Just Be It

Image by National Audubon Society

Being brave said the firefighter, the last of the boys mentors, doesn’t mean never being afraid. There’s no such thing as never being scared. Being brave means knowing your fear, even being friends with your fear. You want it to tell you when to push past it and go on ahead, when to hold its hand and walk side by side, or when you are better off following, walking in its footsteps.”

Excerpted from “A House Among the Trees” by Julia Glass

They were walking slowly with poles in hand, the husband watching that his wife could navigate the hill. Seeing their slow and somewhat shaky pace on a very narrow trail I cut across the grassy slope, which was much steeper, so that I could be ahead of them and then went on my way leaving them behind.

A bit later they were heading towards me on the trail and I was able to see more clearly the shirt that the woman wore which said in big bold letters “JUST DO IT!”. Saying good afternoon I inquired about the shirt by asking “do what?” and in her strained voice she said “exercise”. I nodded my assent with a smile and went on my way.

Reflecting on this very brief interaction I realized that it was most likely vitally important that she do the exercise for reasons that were important to her, essential to keeping mobile and increasing strength and endurance in the face of whatever her health challenge was.

Often going days or weeks without considering how fortunate I am to have mobility, so I could take that shortcut across the steeper part of the grassy slope, it struck me. I was in “doing it” mode.

Thoughts of whom I might meet on the trail next, or what my agenda was for the day filtered through as I walked along the familiar route. Yes, I appreciated natures Spring beauty yet I wasn’t being fully with it in those moments.

As we age we experience physical set backs and limitations. Most of us have experienced this by now. For some it is a major challenge that completely disrupts everyday life, and for others something to accept, let go into, and then explore possibility.

My personal fear is not “death” but instead having to be taken care of because of physical or mental limitations. Having independence somehow curtailed.

Do I know that fear? Can I make friends with it?

Yet the times I have been “limited” because of injury or illness have been my greatest teachers. Certainly not comfortable in many ways and often times scary, but spaces for learning, increased awareness and emerging possibility.

I ask the question now of myself and you the reader. What if “just do it” became “just be it”? A devotion to, and acceptance of, being fully present in as many of our life moments as possible.

By fully inhabiting the body and the experiences we have been given..

I am well aware that the “me” I have depended on waking up to every morning may one day be replaced – like an overnight abduction – of what I have always been.

If we are lucky enough to be able to explore the territory of sliding from “doing” to “being” within a simpler life in our elder years it can become a regular practice of awareness in the everyday moments of life. Try on the simple exercise below:


JUST BE IT

BE IT

BE


Take a look at the hummingbird with the flowers at the top of this page. Just Do It.

What did you see? How would you describe the image to someone else?


Now BE the hummingbird and flowers as you gaze at them. BREATHE….

Did you have a different experience?


Did you become the hummingbird with wings whirring in figure eights 80 times per second, heart beating at over 1200 beats per minute?

Could you taste the sweet nectar deep into the throat of the flower?

Were you aware of the natural instinct that attracted you to that particular flower?

Did you melt into the vibrancy of the colors?

Where are you innately guided next?


Patterned mind of “doing” is found in what seems like an endless series of actions or tasks to be taken. Is it possible to interrupt that cultural and survival narrative and land in the spaciousness of simply being?

If we are fortunate to have the freedom to choose, the answer is yes….

JUST BE IT….

If you don’t want to miss future posts simply sign up for the blog here: http://wildlyfreeelder.com/blog/


Please note that all blog posts can be seen on the HOME page if you scroll down to the bottom for Archives

You can find ALL of the 31-Days of Joy & Laughter Project posts in the archives here: http://wildlyfreeelder.com/2021/12/


Gaye Abbott, Natural Passages Consulting, 4/29/22. Please feel free to share this post!


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Love With Your Whole Body

The vibrant energy of the pink blossoms continue to stop me in my tracks every time I come or go from my small home sanctuary. For this magnificent cherry tree in the image above is right outside the front door to my house.

This morning those 100’s of blossoms made me stop for more intimate moments of connection. To simply fall in love with the beauty of this light filled Spring day and my place in it. It was impossible to have an agenda even though I was on my way to a close by Farmer’s Market.

Instead it felt as if I was being made love to. In return I was loving with all of my being.

If I would have walked by without paying attention this experience would have been missed. The shift from thinking about where I was going….to being intimately present and embraced in the moment by this grand nature artistry shifted my entire day.

The tree wisdom I received in that moment taught me to connect with the beauty of the world around me within a space of gratefulness, curiosity and .discovery.


What does it feel like to “love something with your whole body”?

Nature is a perfect partner to learn with and from. This week it might be fun to explore what you can “befriend and court” and trust what happens. Tell the story to others….and even share it here if you are so moved!


Below is a practice that may teach you about how to “love with your whole body” with nature as the muse.

Earth Altars: A Practice for Grateful Living

By Laura Loescher

“What started as a “hobby” for my own healing and resiliency turned into something that could soothe and inspire others. It has connected me so much more deeply with the natural world and with my sense of place. I am so in love with this planet, more than ever before, as I get to know the names of what’s growing all around me. I walk through the world seeing color and shape and possibility everywhere.

If you’d like to explore creating your own earth altar or nature mandala, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Wander and gather: Whether in a park, your own yard, or around your neighborhood, take your time to wander and look around you with new eyes. Take in the colors, textures, and patterns all around. Look up into branches and look down onto the ground. Pick up, gather, and clip things that speak to you. Gather them in a basket or bag.
  2. Choose your ‘canvas’: Find a patch of dirt, or a stump, or any other background you wish to use for your altar. You can even work indoors if you prefer – using some soil you bring in from outside, or sand, or even a beautiful piece of fabric as your canvas. Even a plate or platter can work beautifully.
  3. Settle and begin: I often begin by placing something in the center and then working outward from there. You can also start with framing the outer edges of your altar and working inward. See what patterns emerge. You can create a mandala by placing items in concentric rings from the center to the outer edges. You can play with diamonds, squares, circles, hexagrams, stars, or any other shapes you wish. You can go for symmetry or not.
  4. Complete: As you continue to place items, building your earth altar, pay attention to when it feels done. Take a break. Sit with it. Ask whether it wants anything else. Sometimes I don’t notice when enough is enough, and end up taking some things away until it feels “just right.” Enough, but not too much.
  5. Take a picture: If you wish, take a photo. While the art is impermanent, the image you snap can be enjoyed in the future or shared with others. I would love to see your creations! Please feel free to describe your experience below and/or post photos in the Gratitude Lounge.””

*NOTE: Check out Andy Goldsworthy for some amazing earth art!


If you don’t want to miss future posts simply sign up for the blog here: http://wildlyfreeelder.com/blog/


Please note that all blog posts can be seen on the HOME page if you scroll down to the bottom for Archives

You can find ALL of the 31-Days of Joy & Laughter Project posts in the archives here: http://wildlyfreeelder.com/2021/12/


Gaye Abbott, Natural Passages Consulting, 4/22/22. Please feel free to share this post!


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