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…

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Symbol

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I discovered this compass on top of hill near rocky cliffs on the coast of Maine. I have used it frequently in my writing. To me, it symbolizes what my life is all about. The path I’m traveling, and my journey towards myself. The compass reminds me, life takes us in many directions. Sometimes we get lost. And sometimes we get found. And sometimes in getting lost we are found.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Symbol.”

Thrive

I’ve been thinking about the word thrive lately. Especially as the school year winds down and I feel like I’m merely surviving rather than thriving. But I think it’s more than that.

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This idea of thriving has taken root in my mind and in my heart. It is growing. I am realizing that in life we are meant to thrive. We are meant to flourish and truly live.

Yet I have begun to wonder…am I really thriving or just surviving in my life?

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Perhaps it’s because of this journey I have found myself on. A journey of uncovering and discovering who I am and what I want from this life. There is a deeper purpose and meaning that keeps whispering to me and I’m starting to hear what it’s saying. I’ve dived into the depths of my heart and my soul. I’ve healed wounds and grown in countless ways.

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And now there is a longing, a yearning for something more.

So I’ve begun a kind of transformation…and taken a turn down a mysterious and yet exciting path.

I’m not sure where it will lead. And that’s ok. I have faith in where I am heading.

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I do believe this path is where I will find what it is I am yearning for. And along the way, I will learn what it means to thrive. After all, I have seen how nature thrives…

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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Country Girl

I just spent 5 days in Chicago. I was there for the National Science Teacher’s annual conference.

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And while I enjoyed every minute of my stay there. And immersed myself in professional learning as well as the landscape of the city. I was happy to return home. I am and probably always will be, a country girl.

Chicago is an amazing city. I was awestruck at the skyline, the parks…

and of course the lake.

The sunrises are something to behold. And it truly does appear to be an ocean. A horizon that goes on forever.

There are things I experienced and felt during my visit. Things I will never forget.

I left there feeling inspired. So many incredible things happening in my profession.

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I left there feeling an awareness and openness. No matter the size of our community we are all human beings.

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And I left there with a deeper appreciation for people who live in a city…and for people like me. Country people.

No matter where we live or what we do. Deep inside us we are all the same. Our hearts, our souls and our spirits. We are all living and loving. Learning and growing. Life in the city or life in the country.

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My heart leapt as I landed in Chicago. Excited for what lay ahead. And my heart did the same as I flew back over my familiar mountains and wide open spaces.

This country girl is home.

Breathing Under Water

Every so often I read a book that is incredibly powerful and inspiring. A book that causes me to think and feel and wonder and learn.  A book that opens my mind and my heart and my spirit. A book that affects me so deeply that it moves me to tears.

“Breathing Under Water” by Richard Rohr is just such a book.

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I had no idea when I opened to the first page that it would impact me so profoundly.

But perhaps I should have realized it would after reading this poem in the introduction:

BREATHING UNDER WATER

I built my house by the sea.
Not on the sands, mind you;
not on the shifting sand.
And I built it of rock.
A strong house
by a strong sea.
And we got well acquainted, the sea and I.
Good neighbors.
Not that we spoke much.
We met in silences.
Respectful, keeping our distance,
but looking our thoughts across the fence of sand.
Always, the fence of sand our barrier,
always, the sand between.

And then one day,
– and I still don’t know how it happened –
the sea came.
Without warning.

Without welcome, even
Not sudden and swift, but a shifting across the sand like wine,

less like the flow of water than the flow of blood.
Slow, but coming.
Slow, but flowing like an open wound.
And I thought of flight and I thought of drowning and I thought of death.
And while I thought the sea crept higher, till it reached my door.
And I knew, then, there was neither flight, not death, nor drowning.
That when the sea comes calling, you stop being neighbors
Well acquainted, friendly-at-a-distance neighbours
And you give your house for a coral castle,
And you learn to breathe underwater.

(Carol Bieleck, R.S.C.J. from an unpublished work)

And I cried. Not tears of sadness but tears of awareness. Because I am learning how to breathe under water.  And my tears come from a place of gratitude. Because the sea came into my life too.

And I thought I was drowning.

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So I let myself drown.

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And it was then that I began to learn to breathe underwater.

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This book reminds me to never stop learning…

How to breathe underwater.

Because the sea will always be a part of life.

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.