The Landscape of My Soul

I believe that many of us search for answers to the deep questions of life. The quest to understand. Why are we here? What is our purpose? These questions often lead us in many directions. Trying to discover that sometimes elusive knowledge and awareness. To find a deeper meaning and connection. It is a lifetime journey. And for me this journey has brought me into the landscape of my soul.

The landscape of my soul is rich and vibrant and wondrous. It is familiar yet mysterious. It is has no beginning and it has no end. It is vast and wide and deep.

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My travels and exploration of the natural world are at the heart of what gives meaning to my soul. It is here in nature where I find my purpose and I understand better why I am here. This realization isn’t surprising. It feels like a truth I’ve known forever. But I had to uncover and rediscover it. It is all there for me I only need to reach for it.

I recognize these landscapes. It has been a journey into the wildness of my soul.

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Like the trees I am learning I can stand tall even in adversity. My roots deep in the soil finding the nourishment I need from the earth.

Like the mountains I scale with determination, strength, and endurance. Because at the top, the view is magnificent and I can see everything more clearly.

Like the wind whispering truths and the rains that wash my spirit clean

Like the rivers that flow with ease and grace reminding me to move through life in the same way.

Like the sky vast and infinite with its storms and rainbows, its dark clouds and bright sunshine, giving me hope that this too shall pass.

Like the ocean full of beauty, mystery and healing. Its ancient wisdom always teaching me what I need to remember.

All these landscape. All these places within me and around me. I see and embrace them all.

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Places of inspiration, places of joy, places of peace, places of light, places of wonder, places of harmony and places of gratitude.

This is a journey that never ends. This journey into the landscape of my soul.

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For now, it is time to wander in a new direction. I will be back here again someday.  I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for your support and encouragement and for joining me as I wandered…

Better Late Than Never

Fall was late this year in Vermont. We wondered if it would ever arrive or just go straight from summer to winter. The trees were parched as we had little rain. And we wondered if this would affect their color. We waited. We watched. We wondered.

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Then it came. And it was as glorious as ever. I found myself once again in awe at this amazing natural cycle and rhythm. Nature knows. Nature has patience. Nature follows her own timetable. And it was better late than never.

I am also following mine. In this journey called life I am finding I need to have patience too. For so long I have meandered. I have traveled different paths only to find they ended and I had to turn around. Others paths have led me closer to the answers this heart of mine yearns for. Yet I’m still meandering. I am still learning. And I am still growing.

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It is a beautiful thing, this journey. As I dive a little deeper into who I am and to what my purpose here is, I find surprising discoveries..

I am more present. I am feeling tremendous gratitude for the many precious gifts in my life. I am listening closer to what my heart is telling me. It’s not always perfectly clear, but I’m getting better at truly hearing what’s inside me. It’s a journey of progress. Of steps. Of surrendering. Of opening and expanding and most of all…letting go.

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After 23 plus years of sobriety, I think I’m finally figuring it all out. Better late than never.

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Forest Bathing

A term that means visiting a forest for relaxation. Or a walk through the woods to aid in a person’s well being and serenity. And what better time of year for this idea of forest bathing, than fall.

The forests here in Vermont are finally undergoing their autumn changes. Warmer weather in September slowed the process. And some worried that the colors might be muted or the leaves would fall off too quickly once the cooler weather arrived.

But as I stroll through the forests near where I live, as I bathe in their colorful splendor, I know that nature is right on schedule.

Autumn is here. And the forest is displaying her extravagance, splashing the earth with her glorious hues.

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It is truly the perfect time for forest bathing.

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There’s Something in the Air

Or perhaps it is something inside of me. I feel myself expanding and growing, opening and blossoming.

Last summer I journeyed to the edge. I explored new territory and dark places within me. It was a time of healing.

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This summer I am still journeying. I am still exploring…

but it is with new eyes and a grateful heart

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I have discovered so much that I never thought possible. The world around me is more vivid, more beautiful, more alive. And me…I feel more alive than I ever have felt before.

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I am not sure where or when or why this shift and transformation happened…perhaps it is something in the air.

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Or perhaps it is me.

The true me, finding her way out into the light.

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Mosaic

I’ve learned a lot this past year. I’ve learned that things break. Like dreams and hopes and hearts.

Here’s the thing…

Things do break, but they come back together. Rearranged and combined in new and beautiful ways.

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Like a mosaic. The pieces are what make the masterpiece. And each piece has it’s place. Each piece part of the rich tapestry that is me, that is you. That is all of us.

I am grateful for the breaking so that I could put my pieces back together. My mosaic heart. Stronger than before. Stronger because of it. Stronger because what holds it together now, is faith and grace and love.

Works of art don’t just happen. It is through the breaking and the healing and the putting back together…

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Until the pieces all fit…and a mosaic masterpiece is born.

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Shadow Boxing

In AA, as we work Step 4, we look deeply at ourselves to illuminate those things that we need to change or work on. I’ve also heard this called “shadow boxing”. Because it is the darker parts of our hearts and souls where these things reside. In the shadows…

This process is important. For many reasons. It is shining a light on our darkest parts so that we can see them more clearly and so that we can begin to grow in new ways and new directions. Because once those shadows are in the light they have less power over us.

It is said that in the midst of great loss, failure, and struggle we move from unconsciousness to a deeper awareness and consciousness. We feel an inner freedom. We find grace. And we see rightly. From darkness to lightness. A spiritual awakening.

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Our souls grow best in the shadowlands.

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In the light, there will still be shadows. But now they can reflect truth and radiate compassion for others who also have shadows. They allow us to love and be loved. They are what make us human and ever evolving works in progress.

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Shadow boxing…another gift of sobriety.

A Year of Grace

This year, my word is grace. It is a word that can mean many things to different people. It means many different things to me…

All things I aspire to be, feel and experience.

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As I think about my life and where my journeys have taken me and where they may lead me, I believe that grace is the perfect word as I begin this new chapter.

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Defining grace isn’t easy though so I looked to others for help…

“Gracefulness has been defined to be the outward expression of the inward harmony of the soul.”  William Hazlitt

And then I thought about what grace means to me. Fortunately I am surrounded by grace. Nature knows what grace is.

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The smell of the earth after a thunderstorm

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The sound of waves as they kiss the shore

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The quiet hush of snow falling

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The tender flowers blooming in the spring

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The leaves gently rustling in breeze

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The feel of the warm sun upon your face

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The enchantment of discovering magical places

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The reverence for the beauty that is all around us

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Grace is integrity and honor. It is doing the next right thing. It is moving forward and not having regrets. It is the small courageous voice that keeps us going.

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It is growth and learning and the wisdom that comes from sadness and pain. It is surrendering and letting go and turning over. Grace is crying and laughing. It is small moments and small miracles. It is open hearts and open arms.

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It is blessings and gratitude. It is faith and the deep belief that it will all be ok. It is finding serenity and peace. It is hope and optimism and truth. It is the hand of a child and the kindness of a stranger. It is friendship and compassion.

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Grace is light and love

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Most of all, I think grace is the ability to be still, take gentle breaths, and fall in love with life again.

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Here’s to my year of grace.