Dear Mother Nature: Thank You

WinterHemlocksDear Mother Nature:

Thank you for reminding me that there are forces larger than me in this world; that there are certain things that I cannot control in my life. The weather is one of them. I accept that.

Thank you for giving me a reason to pause and reflect on the beauty of nature. During these times, I create a “snow meditation.” I simply sit, with crossed legs, and look outside to our snow-covered hemlocks (pictured above). I am transported to a quiet, peaceful place.

Thank you for snow. As an Aquarian, my love affair with snow has always been there. During my childhood, living in the snow belt of the Midwest, I thought it was normal to have a minimum of one foot of snow on the ground at all times during the winter.

Thank you for inventing Snow Days. What’s that you say? That wasn’t your idea? Are you sure about that? When I was growing up, there was no such thing as a Snow Day. We walked to school back then. I sound more like my father every day.

Thank you for reminding me how peaceful snow is. It feels good to hear the quiet of snow as it’s falling on my face and jacket. When I am fully present in that magical moment, I am one with nature.

Thank you for sending me a message of gratitude. Whether it’s the Polar Vortex or Winter Storm Nika that is rearranging my schedule, I feel most grateful for what I have. Many people are in need…of a roof over their head, food on their table or even spare change in their pocket. During severe winter weather like this, we need to reach out to our families, neighbors and strangers to make sure they are all right, to let them know that someone is there to help. At times like this, we look at both our individual and collective needs, as a community and as a nation. Let’s help each other and face the storm together.

Look Up and Around…and Connect

CloudsBlueAs my friend, Marty, prepared for her first trip to Africa recently, she expressed both excitement and a little anxiety. “What advice do you have for me?” she asked. My response required no thinking because it came from the heart. “Look up,” I said. You see, the night sky in Africa looks quite different than it does in Kansas City, where Marty lives.

I recalled two stand-out memories from my travels. The first was seeing the night sky of Bali in Indonesia’s Archipelago, with vast stars and constellations that I could only see there. The second was viewing the Milky Way while visiting Arizona. Since I live so close to the Great Lakes, the Milky Way is not visible from my home in Ohio.

I told Marty that her primary role as a traveler was that of observer, to be fully present in the moment and enjoy a more engaging sensory experience.

Leading an active, productive life, you may often find yourself immersed in work, errands, appointments and meetings, squeezing as many tasks into one day as is humanly possible. Yet, when you take the time to observe from every perspective — up, down and around, you will have a completely different experience because you are open to a deeper connection.

What is right in front of you that you are not seeing? What are you observing in  your day? In your life? Are you taking the time to look up and see everything with fresh eyes?