The trees are calling for you

Dear clients and fellow nature lovers,

Those of us who have experienced and been deeply nourished by the trees and forests in our lives, may share my experiences of helplessness and despair when realizing that our natural wild spaces have been systematically destroyed for fleeting monetary profit just in our lifetimes. The act of replanting rows of financially profitable species of fast growing trees with the goal of “harvesting them” does nothing to correct the error of disturbing centuries old forest communities. These elder forests do so much we still don’t understand, but some of what we do know shows them sequestering carbon and harboring multitudes of beings, including undiscovered and rare or possibly lost species. The medicines contained therein are incalculable.

If you need a more greedy perspective, there are many discovered and many more undiscovered human and animal medical cures in the plants and trees of the forest that heal and cure and prevent diseases. These could realistically save your and your loved ones lives one day, if they haven’t already. Also, because of the amount of carbon they sequester, they are vital to help insulate us against the catastrophic weather events that may continue to occur more frequently than in the past. Most of us feel deep in our hearts the inherent value of respecting and protecting the trees of the Earth.

Any of you who grew up, as I did, climbing trees and sitting for hours in their strong protective branches, who watched forest creatures become increasingly comfortable with us as we sat in their worlds, will know the truth of this and want to do everything we can to keep mature and old growth forests in all of our environments. These are vital to all Life.

Now is your chance to do something that will make a difference for both forest and human communities for generations to come- for we are inextricably linked and bound.

Hopefully, this is one step on a path of ever increasing human awareness and respect for our small but vital part in the web of Life. If we want to survive as a species on this gem of a blue green planet, we have to act as a people who are willing to cooperate with each other to protect and expand mature and old growth forest ecosystems.

Here is a link for ways to help reverse a logging contract into our pristine lungs, the forest ecosystems along the US – Canadian border- some of our last remaining mature forest communities.

https://protectancientforests.org/stopblackram

Here is a short film about this project to stop the black ram project

https://protectancientforests.org/

Here is a links to learn more about the proposes Curtain of Green and

https://protectancientforests.org/curtain-of-green

Celebrating Old Growth with Robin Wall Kimmerer and more

https://protectancientforests.org/learn-more

Thank you for caring and doing and being part of the solution. I appreciate all of you!

Peace in every step.

Love is in your hearts.

Breathe in and out

Feel the harmony of Nature.

Love to you ALL

Ways to reconnect with gratitude and joy

Photo by Karen Peters
Appreciating the beauty

I’d like to share some techniques to encourage a state of contentedness or joy or something better than the winter blues. I’d love to hear back from any of you who have other ideas that I haven’t covered here. Winter can be a tough time for many people, and the holidays can be triggering for many. Please know there are others who feel like you do, you are not alone! Reach out and connect with others who care, especially your animal friends, and your human friends too.

What keeps you going during the cold dark months of Winter? This could be a time that is natural for reflection, for inner nurturing.

. Here’s some ideas.

  1. Journal on gratitude. Journaling in general is a great way to get out your feelings and express yourself in a safe and totally private way. I’ve been told that the actual act of putting pen or pencil to paper and physically making marks is healing to our brains. Sometimes typing into a computer feels most satisfying. After you pour your heart out to the paper or digital machine, you can either burn or erase what you wrote, or save the words to review and get perspective on your life another day.
  2. Exercise. There are tons of studies showing that exercise releases natural endorphins and is good for mood regulation and circulatory health, among other things. I’ve found the key for me is being realistic about what kind and how frequent and long each session needs to be. If you have an already active life, with alot of walking and stairs in your day, that counts too. It seems to matter that at least some of your exercise is cardio- active, or getting your heart rate up to a level that is appropriate for your age and fitness level. One of my favorite ways to do cardio is to put on some of my favorite music, then sing and dance to my  heart’s content!
  3. This brings me to the next great idea- Music! Music is the great healer for people. It connects us and brings many different emotions to the surface. What emotions are strengthened is up to you. Upbeat happy music, soulful evocative music, R&B, Funk, Country, Classical, all of the above might be right on one day and not another. I have my favorites. Spotify has some great playlists that they have created. Check out some recent ones around a Giving Thanks theme
  4. Notice dietary habits that may be helping or suppressing your natural Joy and satisfaction with Life. I’ve been taking a course with Charis Lindrooth and Paul Bergner called Food for Optimal Health. It’s been really good to reconnect with what I put into my body, including the power of plants and flower essences. I highly recommend this course or something similar.
  5. If anxiety is part of the mix for you, you could try some farm grown individual whole plant high CBD plant tincture. I think anything we are going to put into our bodies needs to be researched and either made with our own hands so we know what is going into it each step of the way, or buying from someone, in this case an herbalist, whom you know and trust.
  6. Connect with old friends or make new ones. I know this can feel  hard for introverts like myself. I also realize how nourished I feel when I make connections with other people or animals. Sometimes pushing past your comfort boundaries just a little bit can be very rewarding. Take baby steps and retreat if it doesn’t feel good. You can suggest a project to help others in the community and see who signs up with you, this can be the basis for a new friendship.
  7. Do Art. I am a watercolorist – and I have a very individual style. What is your way of expressing yourself creatively? It could be sculpy animals, knitting, dancing, and so many other possibilities.
  8. I’ll be updating this post as I think of any more ideas to share. Please reach out and connect. 💓💗💕💜🌈
Photo by Karen Peters😌
Soon the endless stars will come out!

Choices

As I prepare for my journey around the world, again, this time to Thailand to volunteer at an elephant rescue place, I reflect on why I am going.

Because it feels good to do so.

Is that such a foreign idea to most people? Is it just New Jerseyans?  I don’t think so. When I stopped at the bank yesterday to withdraw money, somehow I mentioned to the teller/manager at this tiny adjunct bank in a supermarket),that I was going to need this money because I’d had some hard knocks recently The look in her eyes changed immediately, and I suppose expecting I would sympathize, she began to tell me the long story of her life, a tale of struggles and past triumph, but always coming back to the present – now – the one where she hated her job and was completely miserable. I began to wonder why anyone would continue in a situation where they were so clearly miserable. So I asked her – “what are your choices here?” She stopped and looked at me in confusion. Why wasn’t I feeling sorry for her? Where were the pity phrases we utter automatically, condolences for her losing her vice presidential position that landed her here, in a job that paid her a quarter of what she had been making.  Didn’t I understand that she had no choice?

“We all have a choice” I found myself saying. She kept staring at me as if I was holding up the bank about to ask her to empty the safe. “If you are so miserable, why not make a change?” I said. This is particularly telling to me because I have been that woman at other times in my life, and I’m not going back. Not going to put energy into justifying my misery anymore. You can all hold me to this! As soon as I realize I’m doing it, I’m making a new choice – to what feels good now. This has been a lifelong endeavor, and so it’s particularly painful to see others still caught in the sticky grasp of  this demon.

Well, this woman was not going to give me my money until I commented on how awful her life was. I felt sorry for her, but mostly I felt repulsed about having to hear her insist she was a victim of life. Not because of her situation – I’ve been there myself too many times, but because of her disbelief in the idea that she had a choice, that she could make a new choice and create a better life- one where she loved it. In reality, the repulsion and how it bothered me after I finally left her window was from the recognition that I have made the choice to be like her at times, and how deeply painful – like self inflicted torture- it was. I reminded myself to let this serve as a cautionary tale for me, to send good wishes of change for the better her way, and to be grateful for once again returning from the dark side of pessimism to the joy of finding my bliss and leading it forward into a new life that feels good.

What really made me notice this dynamic was that this same scenario had been played out earlier at a swim class I had been a part of that morning. One of the students had monopolized the instructor’s ear with unrelated complaining chatter for most of the 45 minute class. It was my first class and I could have used more of the attention of the instructor, who granted, did an admirable job of throwing some instruction my way, in-between polite listening to this housewife brewing over storms in her teacup. Near the end of our time, I mentioned that I wouldn’t be attending soon because I would be away for awhile.

“Where? “ they inquired.

“Thailand, to volunteer at an elephant rescue facility.  I’ve always loved elephants and I’m really excited about this opportunity to be close to them and learn more about their life and their world”

The chatty woman who had spent the class intent on describing every problem in her life in detail, glared at me. “Boy I wish I could do that.” She seemed more angry with me, than happy for me.  I said “You could go.”  She did a double take and whirled on me, immediately listing all the reasons why she most certainly couldn’t go. I said, “Well, it is a choice. We all make choices and all these choices have effects on our lives. “

There’s nothing wrong with deciding to stay at home and be a mom and a wife in New Jersey, but it is such a downer when people start railing on how “lucky” you are when, in actuality, you made a choice and then another, and more choices,  because these choices are the most life giving, joy filled, exciting and eager-to-get-up-in-the-morning-for-things you could possibly create at this moment in time. I don’t want to be stuck justifying my choices to anyone, I want to be free to live, to enjoy, to find my passions and live them fully down to the very last day I have on this earth. There is a saying going around on the internet about rather than carefully creeping up to one’s old age, another choice is to come careening in, holding a spilled beer in one hand, and a winning hand of poker in the other, while cursing up a storm and laughing hysterically, with a bunch of friends at your side.  Somehow I like the latter image, returning to my Tomboy roots as I age, being like Idgie in Fried Green Tomatoes, aged in her 80’s selling honey at a warm southern hospitality roadside stand with her compatriots. And of course the honey is from the wildest of bees, which she still hand gathers on misty mornings, using her special bee-charming ways.  All in a place where wild bees still thrive and fulfill their place in Nature.  Although I did give up cursing on all except the worst of days quite awhile ago, I do like the image of a winning poker hand – implying that I am finally winning at this game we call life.

Yes, it really is all about choices. I am choosing to do what feels good and I’ve been doing it for awhile. I don’t always get it right, but that’s ok because as soon as you make one choice, if that was a mistake, there are 20 more choices waiting for your attentions. If I can only make the smallest increment that day toward feeling better, I take it. And if I can make a super leap into the trip of a lifetime, and it feels good to do so, then I do it. After that first decision, more choices come up at almost every moment to decide again to do what feels good.  I’ll keep making those decisions toward moving in the direction of my happinesses, making more real friends and finding freedom of spirit, for a start.

You can too.

lek with trunks

This is a picture of Lek Chailert, the founder of Elephant Nature Park in Thailand. Life can feel good while we are doing what we love! Make a choice to support her work  at www.elephantnaturepark.org