ice in the woodsThe ice queen was born during an avalanche of sorts. Of course, all the trouble began with a war. There was a difference of opinion. It’s hard to remember what it was all about. It was so long ago.

People chose their sides. Walls were built. The people the queen loved the very most left for the other side of the wall. She didn’t understand why, but it didn’t matter. Nothing she said or did would stop them.

The queen pushed on, but one day she broke her favorite coffee mug, her cat disappeared and her magic wand ran out of battery power and she couldn’t find any AA batteries in the castle. The queen slid down to the floor, the contents of her junk drawer scattered around her and she began to cry. She kept crying and crying until a creek began to run through the castle. She still kept crying until the creek became a river and the river began to rage and the queen’s furniture and clothing and kitchen appliances were carried away in the flood.

And still she kept crying. If anything she cried harder. And she’d been crying so long that summer had turned to fall and then into winter and her tears became snowflakes and ice. The queen stopped her wailing for a moment when she heard a loud rumbling, followed by groans and creaking and crashing.

Continue reading

dog being fully present in the snow

“Behind the facade of the familiar, strange things await us.” ~ John O’Donohue

Over my Christmas break, I did a year-end ritual that I found in the book “The Not So Big Life” by Sarah Susanka. There were twenty-eight questions to help me dig away at what went on over the past year, plus three questions about the future. It took me about eight hours to ponder and answer all the prompts.

The intention of the exercise wasn’t to create goals or resolutions for 2017. It was more like recording what felt right and what felt wrong about 2016 — what patterns I felt stuck in that I’d like to watch out for and change, and what habits I’d rather have instead.

Now, after all that work, I’ve put everything I wrote away. Next year at this same time, I’ll go through the entire ritual of answering the questions all over again. And at that time, I’ll look at what I wrote this year and see if any of the things I hoped for or planned to change have in some way progressed, been fully realized or been forgotten about.

Mississippi River overflow

As Susanka explains it, the idea is just to plant the seed in the subconscious and let that part of my brain work on it. Of course things don’t happen if you don’t do anything at all. In “The Not So Big Life,” the reader is told that they need to create a good environment for the seeds to grow in:

  • Good Soil – slow down a bit
  • Water – be fully present in your life
  • Sun – regular meditation to open yourself up to discovering who and what you truly are

Continue reading

walking dogs by Mississippi River

I used to try and vary the route I walked my dogs. Occasionally, I even drove to state parks that were hours away to spice things up. Then I noticed that I was the only one who found walking the same area boring. My dogs didn’t care.

Every time we headed out, it was as though it was the first time — new smells, new animals, new people. Moving with their noses pointing up in the air or dragging along the ground, they found a new scent story on every trip.

dogs sniffing the snow

I decided to try out an awareness exercise I read about in the book “The Not So Big Life,” by Sarah Susanka. I was to look, listen and smell, without putting a name to what my senses took in. Then do the same kind of observations, only attach the names to the sights and sounds and smells.

What I found is that without naming what I observed, I noticed colors and shapes and the contrast of light and shadow.  I heard sounds in volumes, directions, and characteristics such as high or low, percussive or long and flowing — I even heard the space between the sounds.

When I began to put names to things (crow, wind, footsteps), they became just another familiar word — letters that encompassed a group of assumptions.

It’s easier to think and talk with words that quickly define a thing. But was “easy” and “quick”what I wanted?

Continue reading

Page 3 of 77« First...2345102030...Last »