Giving Thanks

A friend of mine, Thomas Puchtler, lives in Germany and gave this lovely response to my post about the “car dilemma” a few weeks back.  He gave me permission to post his poignant words here:

 

My friends Maho, Flora and I walking down a wooded path in Findhorn, Scotland in 2010. Thomas and I were part of a group who did the Experience Week at that magical place. Coming away with open hearts….and minds.

Although I do not feel any condition or requirement from the earth I am deeply grateful for all things I am presented.

 

I am grateful for the weeds. They do not ask for rich environment for propagation. They heal the earth whenever man has done it wrong. They grow and transform biologic substances to things the whole life circle needs.

 

I am grateful for the trees. They tirelessly produce oxygen for us. I gratefully use their bodies when I produce furniture from it. I know it is ok for them when I exploiting their existence for my intentions.

 

I am grateful for the diversity among humans. Quite often I meet people in the right place and the right time that add pieces to me. With open eyes so often things fall perfectly into the right places.

 

I am grateful for all the delicious food. If we look apart from fast food there are so many ways to refine nature’s gifts for our tongue. By the way I am lucky to have an excellent cook living by my side.

 

I am grateful for the birds. They greet me whenever I pass the border of the forest on my course. They entertain me when I relax in the garden.

I am grateful for the forest. Every time I walk through it I relieve problems, grief, bad feelings. When things are stuck I come into motion, can see new alternatives that I was not able to see before.

 

I am grateful for my car. It takes Elke and me devotedly to our garden. It can pull a trailer carrying all the things we want to transport to and from that garden.

 

On Listening…

This week, I lost my dear friend and mentor, Brent Cameron. He was 64 and an astonishingly beautiful human being on all levels.  I am grieving and thinking about the tremendous legacy he left us when he created SelfDesign Learning Community- a place where parents, children, and educators could come together, learn from each other within their communities.  Freedom to grow, love and learn on our own terms instead of in the boxes school and society would like us to stay in.  Over the years as a Learning Consultant working with this organization and its heart FULL people, I’ve been honoured to witness true healing as people learn and follow their passions and gifts in life.  I am not sure what better thing I can offer as a tribute to Brent than to share his vision of inner/outer peace and love and his vehement advocacy of children and their rights to learn in ways authentic to them than to post this here. Brent was a deep listener; this man had made it an art.  He knew how to slow himself down and stop everything he was doing to pay attention to another when it was needed.  I  share this to honour his gift and to also inspire deeper listening in your own heart/mind/body/soul…….

“In my work my title is Chief Listening Officer. I think of listening as a very active and also very passive thing. To listen deeply I begin by emptying myself out, by putting my feet on the floor, by breathing deeply, and clearing space to hear, to allow someone else to come into my being, whatever it is they have to say. The space you clear must be very big and have very little furniture in it. Your spirit is there to comfort the other spirit as they go on their journey of listening to themselves. It is almost like their voice, and their experience, is pouring into you. You hear them into being, you bear witness to their experience of their own divinity.

I see that happen again and again. It is the only thing I know that really creates change, and it is the only thing that has ever really healed me.

The thing I find intriguing about this is that it is all about practice. This isn’t something you can read about or study. You have to do it, again and again. You have to find ways to be quiet enough, and non-struggling enough, and non-agenda-ed enough, so that this kind of loving journeying can happen with other spirits. You also have to notice when you’re not doing it, when you’re thinking about your next meeting or what else is coming today or how what the person is saying is freaking you out. It’s a noticing practice, and you have to practice and practice, and notice and notice, and not judge yourself when you’re all crazy. But just try again next time with an intention to improve your practice. ” (Kirsten Olsen)

Love and gratitude to you, dear friend.

Joyful travels onto the next leg of your journey through the light……

Jen

for more information on SelfDesign, go to:

www.selfdesign.org

to listen to Brent’s TEDx talk go to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnIbrKxq5Wk

Photos from around Calgary

Not really endorsing carving on live trees, however, it did seem like a welcome when we found this while drumming in the forest in Elbow Falls.

Cave at Elbow Falls.

Elbow Falls

Leaning tree at the Glenmore Reservoir. Always astonished and inspired at the tenacity of living things to thrive no matter what their conditions…

We saw a bunch of these prairie dogs (AKA. gophers) on our hike at Glenmore Reservoir. I’d never seen these creatures before although had noticed their holes throughout the city. It turns out that they are specialists in developing true, supportive communities. They hug when they greet each other and they have homes underground where they work to protect and support each other. Wow. If only humans could learn those skills and hone them.

Following “the path” on a lovely nature walk through Nose Hill.

Water droplets on a plant in a friend’s garden after rainfall…

 

When I grow up…

Here’s what some kids said about what they wanted to be when they grew up…..

I am personally with this kid…

I once said to my mom a few years ago after she asked me when I was ever going to grow up in a moment of exasperation at my not having a conventional life:

“What’s so great about growing up anyway?  You just get grumpy and boring.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if more of us adults could figure out how to keep our child-like natures in tact while also being responsible in our adult lives?

From the Mouths of Babes…

A friend of mine and her little girl and I went to Science World the other day.  In the Creative Kids Gallery, there were these beautiful trees erected with all these kid’s wishes hanging off them….I thought I’d share some and put out a wondering in kid spirit….

What do YOU wish for?

Elephants Grieving their Human

So much for the theory that elephants are not sentient beings….or any animals, for that matter…..

In reverence,

Jen


So, how after Anthony’s death, did the reserve’s elephants — grazing miles away in distant parts of the park — know?
“A good man died suddenly,” says Rabbi Leila Gal Berner, Ph.D., “and from miles and miles away, two herds of elephants, sensing that they had lost a beloved human friend, moved in a solemn, almost ‘funereal’ procession to make a call on the bereaved family at the deceased man’s home.”

“If there ever were a time, when we can truly sense the wondrous ‘interconnectedness of all beings,’ it is when we reflect on the elephants of Thula Thula. A man’s heart’s stops, and hundreds of elephants’ hearts are grieving. This man’s oh-so-abundantly loving heart offered healing to these elephants, and now, they came to pay loving homage to their friend.”

An amazing article:
http://delightmakers.com/news-bleat/wild-elephants-gather-inexplicably-mourn-death-of-elephant-whisperer

New Love and Walking the Tightrope…

A close friend of mine is in a new relationship.  She told me that sometimes, it feels like walking a tightrope.  Sometimes she’s balanced and sometimes she falls off.

This got me reflecting today on new love and the metaphor of tightrope to describe the feeling of it.  It can be a vulnerable thing to open one’s heart to another human being.  Certainly, it can take a while to learn how to love one another well.  One goes from single to couple and the negotiations begin.  Maybe one person minds if socks are left on the washroom floor and the other doesn’t.  Or maybe the discussions are of a bigger nature: to mix finances or not to mix?  The point is, it is a LOT to consider and the transition can be overwhelming.  As I walked around my neighbourhood, I realized that we all fall off that tightrope in learning to love others and ourselves better.  It is as it should be.  If we never make mistakes, how do we learn? The thing that keeps it all afloat is remembering to put on the harness before walking the rope.  To me, the harness is the grace of forgiveness.  If mistakes are inevitable in life then learning to forgive ourselves and others becomes a really important skill to cultivate.  How can we understand one another unless we communicate- even and maybe especially the hard things to admit?  How can we communicate from our hearts unless we forgive and create space there?  Perhaps the most important place to start is inside ourselves.  I know that when I can forgive myself, I have a lot more room and compassion for others as they create their own blunders on their journey through life.  What do YOU want to forgive yourself for?  What are some ways you have been able to forgive in the past?  How can you pull those skills forward?  I wonder what beauty you will be able to add to your relationship with yourself and others with all that spaciousness that is left behind in your heart where the old grudges and hurts used to be…..

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