Clarity Found

I’m up early. I am still adjusting to the time change from the week before. When I look out the window and see everything covered in frost, how it all glimmers in the light of the rising sun, I know why I was called out of bed so persistently.

The excitement builds and I can’t get outside fast enough. Everything is sparkling. And the air, oh the air, is so crystal clear. I take deeper and deeper breaths, feeling the medicine on each and every inhale. The unadulterated medicine of pure clarity. I breathe it way down deep; into every nook and cranny of myself.

The experience is life-changing; taking me beyond my confused mind and the muddle of the world. I see in this moment that despite what we might believe about life in the midst of so much chaos and confusion, there is clarity to be had. Right smack dab in the middle of so much destruction and obfuscation.

It originates in the quiet stillness of the air and the way it smells. It is reflected in the change that comes over me as I take this all in; what is outside of me taking up a place inside of me. Rearranging me. Becoming me.

I can see further and I can hear more. Yes, I know partly it’s because of the leaves being down, but it’s also something more. Much, much more. It is something beyond words, but it can be felt. And known. If only we would make ourselves available to It. On this particular morning, It has made itself available to me because I allowed myself to step outside of my routine. Because I was willing to see the power of availing myself to something much grander than the man-made world.

No smartphone will ever do this for you. I don’t care how “smart” we think they are. They do not, and will not, ever compare to a perfectly crystalline morning. To believe otherwise shows just how far we have fallen from the Truth of existence. For no news cycle, exciting new app, more “likes,” what’s trending or another stupid cat video will ever quell the disquiet that lives within.

Will ever return us to ourselves and what it is we most yearn for.

What I am with on this morning is the greatest Source of anything I will ever need. The clearest guidance I could ever use. The deepest reflection of what it is that’s true. Why? Because it is real. And because it is beyond beyond the made-up fears, the hang-ups, the mixed agendas and the incessant worrying of man. Pure and agenda-free in its origin, delivery and intention.

To align with this is to know oneself. It is to step beyond the noise. It is to choose for something real. It is to make a sane choice in an insane world.

Wake-Up Calls


In the past week, I have either fallen or stumbled and almost fallen, three separate times. They all happened while I was out running in the woods. And they all coordinated perfectly to my mind being stuck on an endless loop of negativity.

A fake argument with someone inside my own mind. Indulging old protective mechanisms against an anticipated attack. Feeling responsible for another’s choices. On and on it went. Until bam! Down I went. A startling but effective way to get me off the well worn, beaten path of a mind stuck on negative thought loops.

It’s been a powerful awareness for me in these moments because habits of the mind are not always easy to notice. Especially if the various themes of our thinking have been going on for years and years. Meaning, that what we’re thinking about can go undetected for long stretches. A lifetime even. And without something a little, or a lot, jarring to the system, we just won’t change.

Which is why I don’t mind the wake-up calls because what I know to be true is this: Negative thinking unchecked erodes my experience of what it feels like to be me. And it’s not a feeling I enjoy. That’s why I have come to appreciate these physical stumbles in the woods and see them as welcomed harbingers. Lightening bolts from my own soul saying “Knock it off. You deserve better than that. You have more important things to tend to.”

The call of the soul cares not for our comfort. Nor will it indulge us in our habits of mind based on our fears, the past or any other pieces of old conditioning. It’s only aim? For us to express ourselves fully and uniquely all in the service of remembering the Truth, with a capital “T,” of who and what we are.

So while I have never found my soul to be controlling or forceful, it can be very, very persuasive with the nudges it gives me, large and small, through the circumstances of my day to day life. I believe that’s the way it works. Little nudges offering us an opportunity to course correct how it is that we are living.

Maybe it happens through the experience of a health issue, a breakup, an argument. Perhaps you’ll get fired, your house will flood, or you’ll be betrayed. The soul can show up as an unsettled yearning, a depression, or a regret. Really, any of the things in life we wish with all our hearts would not happen and that we spend a lot of time and thinking trying to keep from happening.

But what if you saw every unwanted “happenstance” as a wake-up call? As a message from beyond and within. What then? Would you say yes to the stumbles and the falls that allowed you to see the beautiful forest of Life that you are passing through? Would you say yes to the chance to grow beyond the self-imposed limitations that keep you stuck in the wrong habits?

If so, be on the lookout for what is not working, for what breaks and for what just feels way past its prime in your life.

The Creepy Places


Out in the woods recently, the most amazing thought dropped into my mind: The less afraid I am of my own nature, the less afraid I am of Nature herself. I did not intend this thought to occur, nor was I even thinking about anything related to this statement. Nonetheless, when that knowing dropped in, I felt gifted by an enormous understanding of myself, as well as being the fortunate recipient of a map for how to think about what I see reflected in myself and in the natural world.

And that is why I love being in the woods. Or at the ocean. Or in the mountains. I never know what pearl might just drop into my mind. Solutions to big issues and ways of knowing the world in a more honest way find me without effort, and reveal to me what is possible with these minds of ours when we are not filling them with fear, excessive screen time, addictive substances, incessant distractions or insipid conversations laced with gossip.

Nature has its own undeniable and uncommodify-able Intelligence. A bounty that cannot be forced to offer itself, but that is available to us when we make ourselves available to it. My experience has been there is a kind of wisdom just waiting to express itself to us. If only we would just get out there and listen. If only we would just get out there and see that how we feel about the natural world is actually how we feel about ourselves.

Which is why I have noticed over the years that the less I make myself wrong, the less I need to make things like ticks, bees, slugs, and other “creepy” and “gross” things wrong. The less afraid I have become of my own dark and murky places, the less I need to demonize the shadowy woods and other locals or creatures that I don’t fully understand.

My time in nature has taught me that the more I accept and understand myself, the easier it is for me to include that the world is full of creepy, stingy, gross and slimy things that I just don’t get why they’re here. But whether or not I understand their existence is not the point. The point is, they belong, therefore we all belong.

With this said, it leaves me thinking maybe all of the chasing and the yelling and the legislating we are doing around Mother Earth and how to “save Her,” is actually another one of our human diversions that covers up what truly needs doing. Maybe what really needs to happen is for us to double down on getting to know the truth and the totality of our own human nature. Because I can guarantee you one thing: When we know the Truth of who and what we are, we will not harm, squander, demonize or try and control any of the Earth’s beauty or bounty.

No legislation required.

Getting Stung In Life


We got two new hives of bees this year. It’s been a nightmare. Since the very first day, they have been “overly” aggressive. I put that in quotes because I am quite sure that from their perspective, they are doing what they need to do. Nothing more, nothing less. But as someone trying to be in her garden, communing with nature and the bounty of the Earth, without being hounded or stung, it has felt over the top for me.

At times I have been outraged by this situation; threatening to others that I was going to set fire to them in the night and murder them all. I have rerouted my morning routines in an effort to placate them. I have avoided the garden and sent my husband, fully suited up in his bee suit, in my place. I have covered up, prayed, appealed to them in my mind and sent them love. All to no avail. They continue to do what they do, which sometimes means, stinging me.

All of this has left me with a hint of PTSD and a good dose of paranoia whenever I hear their telltale buzzing sound. It has even transferred over to my experience with the bumble bees who I get along with quite well; having no concern to be face to face with them when my head is poking around inside the flowers they are on while I am weeding.

Today, one of our bees landed on my basket of flowers while I was harvesting some fruit. I watched as the anticipation and fear of getting stung, again, welled up inside me. I looked around to see if there was more than one, having created of late in my mind, horror movie scenarios where hundred of them are attacking me.

There was only one. That gave me pause, and allowed me to see that with all of the stories I had in my mind each time they were around, or not, I was trapped inside a self-made hellish narrative where I was conjuring up fear before anything even happened.

We do this all the time. We anticipate all kinds of things we don’t want to happen; believing that our fears and worries will somehow prepare us. Will leave us in control. It’s all an illusion. Worse yet, our conjured fears rob us of the enjoyment of life and leave us with the impression that the world is an awful and dangerous place, and the best we can do is to clamp down on everything we are afraid of. Control it. Get rid of it. Make rules about it.

But to live a good life is to get stung sometimes. It is to face the fears of the moment that are born of the ghosts of the past. It is to recognize that it all gets to be here; the things we hate, the things we are afraid of, the things that offend us.

And so, when I add it all up, the getting stung against all of the angst I have created around this, getting stung is not such a big deal after all.

Exactly What Or Who Is It That Needs Saving?


I know we are all well aware of lots and lots of concerns, and even potential dangers, when it comes to what it happening to the Earth. I also know there are many ideas about how to proceed from doing not much at all, to regenerative approaches, to very intrusive and aggressive “solutions,” in our attempts to save the planet.

Personally, I would say we need to rethink the whole idea of saving the planet.

This is something I’ve been feeling for a long time now and it got touched off recently when I read the research our government is doing around solar engineering technology. In a nutshell, through the use of various technologies, the sun’s “harmful” rays are reflected back into the stratosphere.

My blood ran cold reading this as I began to wonder about the chain of events this could set in motion. Does it not occur to those in charge that directing the energy of one of the most powerful forces in the Universe back against itself and the rest of the solar system, might create something cataclysmic?

And as for the so-called “harmful” rays of the sun, how is this idea even in play given the life-giving influence the sun has on our planet? Without whose rays, we we would not be able to be here. Digging down further, does it make any sense whatsoever to interfere with something that is actually not even the problem?

But maybe that’s the point. Maybe this is another set of actions, strategies, initiatives and monetary outlays that keeps us from having to tangle with the most essential question of all. Is the sun our problem, or is it how we are living?

You would think given our illustrious history of disrupting the planet through DDT, glyphosate, GMO’s, deforestation and more, we might have learned something along the way about the consequences of our interventions. That we might have humbly learned to be the tiniest bit more cautious when it comes to our ideas about what can and cannot be controlled here on planet Earth.

Deepest of all questions, Are we once again refusing to address the root cause of what is happening? Of how it is that we have gotten to where we currently find ourselves? I think we refuse this question, because if we didn’t, there is only one conclusion we could possibly come to; the problem is us. It is us that needs the intervention. The planet does not need saving. We do.

I think the reason we are so overwrought with saving the planet is because it allows us to live in denial of our own actions. So like the family overly-focused on the behaviors of the addict, each person’s need to change goes unrecognized, and therefore undone.

But if you step back from all the denial, the fears, the arguments, the blame and the legislations, one thing is for sure: The planet will be just fine without us. She will go on. The real question is whether or not we will.

“Save the planet by saving yourself” is my motto.

In my experience, those of us who have learned how to “save” ourselves are those of us who have found greater balance within. People who know how to value and care for their own life, know how to value and care for the Life all around them. From this way of being there is no interfering with or trying to control anything. There is only a deep appreciation for Life in all its forms which goes on to serve as the basis for all decisions and actions taken in the world.

But here’s the catch: It’s way harder to save yourself than to save the planet. Far more difficult to roll up your sleeves and do the life-saving work on your own life. Way more strenuous to root out all the self-loathing, the disconnections and the misunderstandings and misuses of your own power that result in our current collective circumstances.

Maybe that’s why we don’t do it.

Effortless Effort


While away on retreat, I was reminded of one of my favorite concepts: Effortless effort. At first glance, it can seem like these two ways of being could never go together. When you look to the ways of the natural world though, you see that it is the only way that it goes together. But in order to see this you must be willing to strip away the striving, the scarcity, the worries and the comparisons of the fear-based human mind that drive so much of the unnecessary efforting in our lives.

All the stories that we create and buy into that would say life must be difficult. That in order to get what we most desire, we have to work really, really hard to get it. That we can only get there on our own, and that there will always be forces opposing us. Screwing with us. Against us.

To understand ourselves at this level takes time, and it takes our willingness to pay attention to the words we use and the thoughts we think around how hard we believe we need to work, and perhaps most importantly, why. In other wordsWhat do we believe, down deep, about what we deserve and what we need to do to get it?

Nothing in the natural world feels undeserving. Nothing in the natural world worries that it will be in trouble if it outshines something around it. Nothing in the natural world believes that any other part of Nature is screwing with it. Nothing in the natural world feels as though it needs to prove itself, outdo another or justify its existence by working harder than anything else around it.

There is nothing wrong with effort. It helps us to accomplish what it is that we need and desire. The problem comes in when our efforts are driven, scattered, destructive. It’s easy to spot. Are your efforts filling you, or do they leave you depleted? Do your actions lift you and those around you up, or do they pick away at your sense of self and the quality of your relationships?

Be on the lookout for a lot of energy expended without a proportionate return on your investment. Be alert to how often you are busy to be busy, because anything less feels too hard to be with. Pay attention to the end of your day and the exhaustion that leaves you empty and wired. Tune into the sensations of being on a treadmill that never ends; no matter how much effort you put in.

To be effortless in our efforts is to flow with the river as opposed to trying to push it. It is to know yourself and why it is that you do what you do. It is to be plugged into Something Greater than yourself, and to trust that you are being carried along. No matter how much effort you put in.

The Myth of Being in Control


Coming home on Sunday night from hiking with a friend, a day that was both awe-inspiring and grueling, I hit a bear on the dirt road to my house.

The bear shot out of the woods so fast and with so much focused momentum, I barely had time to hit the break just as I was hitting her. The sound was awful. Worse than the sound though, was the feeling of hitting the bear. Twice. I went back to check on her, but she was gone.

I felt like I had slammed into a wall head first after feeling so empowered by the day I had had. What was going on here? Was I driving too fast? Could I have dome something differently? How could this be happening after such an amazing day? What was the Universe trying to tell me?

I love the wildlife that lives all around me. More to the point, I look to them. I watch their comings and goings, and I am always alert to their messages. They are my inspiration and my teachers, and I had just hit one of my most revered guides.

I immediately went to wrong; as in this must have been my fault. I must be out of balance somehow. I must be in need of some lesson. But within seconds, I caught myself going to self-blame, set it aside, and opened up to see what else might be there.

Right away I had the knowing that even when we do not intend to cause harm, we do. It seems like it would be a hard pill to swallow, but in that moment, I was able to say Yes, I know that is true. There was such freedom in admitting just that. And while that was an incredible insight and shift, there was still more to come.

The next day in practice, as I contemplated what had happened, I got a strong message: There is so much in Life that is beyond your control. So while you would come up with all kinds of reasons for this and why it happened, some things in Life are just not in your control.

I think that for us humans, admitting we do not have the control we think we do is so terrifying, that it is far more palatable to blame ourselves, or another, then to recognize how much is not up to us. And that as we stand on the brink of the next generation of technologies which threatens to amplify our already out-of-control-god-like estimations of what we believe we can do, we further blind ourselves to just how much is not within our control.

So terrifying is it for us to feel how not in control we are that we would rather create a world based on a destructive illusion of absolute control of man over Nature than to align with our proper role in the scheme of things. Worse yet, the further we stray from knowing we don’t decide the ways of things, the unhappier, lonelier, the more desperate, sick and harmful we have become. And continue to be.

To be human in the age of so many technological advances masquerading as a source of complete control, the greater our challenge becomes to remember our place in the order of things. So if you’re inclined, get in the habit of regularly saying to yourself, “That is not something I have any control over.” 

You might just surprise yourself and find that instead of feeling terrified by that statement, you feel a sense of relief. Relieved to finally be in alignment with how things actually work here.

How Blessed We Are


Recently, I went for a walk in the forest as the snowstorm giving us close to a foot of snow up where I live, was winding down. Needless to say, it was magical. Everything draped in a soft, sparkly white covering. Everything so very, very still. Nothing moving in the woods, but me. And at times, not even me, as I felt called to be still as well. Wishing at times that I could just lay down in it all and stay there for a good long time.

There is nothing like Nature to help us Remember.

The natural world is my go-to for so many important and vital things. For communing and for clearing out. For remembering and for grieving. For connecting and for learning. For listening and for receiving guidance.

On this particular day though, it was a time of revelation. It hit me how incredibly fortunate I am to be able to be in the woods in a snowstorm, for pleasure. Because it pleases me, and because it calls to me. Because I am nourished by it. And because at the end of it, I can go back to a warm home and shed my wet clothes effortlessly. Being in no danger of overexposure or recklessly expending energy when survival is at hand.

There was a time when no one would be in the woods on a day like this for pleasure. We would either be snowbound, or out looking for help. Or perhaps, scavenging for food or fuel if we had run out. In that moment, it struck me how very, very fortunate we are to be able to be in relationship with the natural world in a way where our survival is not being challenged. It also struck me how very, very callous and ignorant we have become about Her importance in our lives.

That importance having nothing to do with what She can do for us, or as a way to control Her, but as an opportunity to be reminded of what should never be forgotten. Like how to be a human being. One who lives and breathes the beauty of what is all around us for no other reason then because it is who we are. For no other reason than because we understand our place in the order of things.

Sadly, and dangerously, it seems we need a lot of reminding these days about what it means to be human. About our real role and place here on Earth. But I will tell you, all you have to do is start spending time outdoors, without trying to fight or control anything, and it very quickly becomes apparent who you are and your true place in the order of things.

But maybe that’s it. Maybe the reason we less and less have a connection to Nature is because we don’t want to know. Some of us want to go on pretending that we are the ones in charge; driving forward an ever-increasingly inhumane agenda. Others of us have grown accustomed to letting that happen.

We have come to believe that we can force, coerce, distort and destroy without consequence. That Nature is against us, instead of us.

Somewhere down deep though, we know that in Her presence, our false assumptions, our false gods, our false ways of living, do not hold up. So we do not go to Her. Because we do not want to know.

But I will tell you, She will either be our Saviouress or our Destroyer. And it all depends on whether we take these times and see what a blessing it is to be able to be in the woods for pleasure, or…



In a recent personal exploration, I came in contact with what I will simply call here, “Waiting.” That part of me that gets put on hold, that stops breathing fully, that gets frozen, that even, on some level, ceases to live.

All while I wait for something to happen.

For that email, that phone call, that person to change. For the permission to be myself. For the madness to be over. For the guarantee that something will or will not happen.

Contrast that to the part of me that could not wait to get out onto the trail this morning. The part that didn’t let a standing temperature of eight degrees with a wind chill of well below zero cause her to wait for another time. The part that actually reveled in the gale force winds causing the trees to talk and sand tornados to appear out of nowhere.

We are a world of waiting. For the next text, the next like, the next, next, next…

These recent years have found us all in a waiting game. Waiting for a test result to tell us what’s going on and how we must proceed. Waiting for the permission to go outside. Waiting to be told when we could be with loved ones again. Waiting to be given the okay to take our masks off, go back to work, gather. Waiting for something to go away. Waiting for something to save us.

We wait for our boss or spouse to change. We wait for vacations, the weekend and retirement. We wait for the next package to arrive from Amazon. We wait for the diagnosis to tell us how we’re doing, or for the weight to finally come off. We wait for ourselves to change. For things to be somehow, somewhere different. We wait to die.

We wait and we wait and we wait.

Waiting is child’s play. It is a mentality that says my life is not in my hands. It is a mindset that says my freedom, my health, my wellbeing, my very life is not up to me. That there are forces out there that will decide how free and alive I can be. Where I can go, how I can live, and what is possible.

But the Truth is, Life does not wait. Our lives do not wait. They go on, with us or without us. So just as the wind did not wait for me to go on a run before it unleashed its full force, I ask you, as I ask myself: Are you waiting or are you living? 

The Light


For the Winter Solstice this year, I spent the late afternoon into the early evening in front of a fire outside. The temperature was comfortable enough to make being outdoors easy. The clear sky revealed, one by one, the arrival of each star. Night birds called.

Everything was still, but for the sounds the fire was making. A kind of deep, deep stillness that can be felt in the bones, and on the level of the soul.

I kept coming back, over and over again, to the intense need for us as people to turn towards those rituals that align us with the season, and therefore, ourselves. Marking moments like the Winter Solstice remind us of the deeper meanings in Life, and of the necessary adjustments we must make to remain true to who and what we are.

Time-honored rituals built to bring us back to what we have forgotten. We need this. A lot. 

I would even go so far as to say, more than ever. For as we continue to separate from our natural roots and rhythms, we deaden ourselves to the dead lives we are living. We make excuses for why it’s okay to “live” so overwhelmed. Why it’s okay to seek sustenance masquerading as food that poisons and harms. Why it’s okay to pretend that what we’re doing is normal, and even necessary.

It’s a fool’s errand to believe that if we just run harder on the treadmill, if we just create that next life-saving technology, if we just make it to the weekend, if we just make it past cold and flu season, then, then, we will, finally, find the peace and ease we are all seeking. Not only untrue, but a detrimental diversion that blinds us to what needs doing.

It’s not out there. It’s in here. And rituals like Solstice fires, Hanukah candles and Christmas lights are there to remind us of just that. So spend some time in this Season of Light reminding yourself of the light that dwells within you. As cheesy and trite as this can sometimes come off, I believe it lands that way with us now because of how far removed we are from the fundamental Universal Truth that we are, indeed, Light.

But don’t take my word for it, spend some time with a light, a candle, a fire, and maybe, just maybe, if you stay long enough, you will have the experience that I did on the Solstice: A welling up at the recognition of that Truth.