Birdsong

“Those little nimble musicians of the air, that warble forth their curious ditties, with which nature hath furnished them to the shame of art.” ~Izaak Walton 

My little spot in the world is fully encompassed by an immense natural beauty. Each spring, which has arrived quite early this year, the redwoods outside my window host a menagerie of birds. At daybreak one chickadee harkens to all the others, ceaselessly belting out his special tune as if to say, “Everybody up! We have bugs to catch, worms to slay and nests to build.” All day long these feathered friends chitter and flit about; my own personal aviary. Later, as the day wanes and the sun begins to descend toward the horizon, my little town crier returns to fill in all the other birds of the news of the day it seems.

We all have a song to sing, gifts to share and talents to explore. Many times we push them aside, perhaps out of fear, lack of time, or the absence of support from those we care about. Then, as if by happenstance, someone remarkable crosses our path. They shine the light that creates an awakening in us and inspires us to expand, like the earth in spring. We open up to the possibility that we too are remarkable and that nothing can hold us back. We push through our fear and find the courage to be who we really are.

So, like my little bird I encourage everyone to open up, sing your song, share your gift…what are you waiting for?

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Happy Monday!

I think I’ve always liked Mondays.

When I was in school, Monday morning meant getting back to the business of learning and sharing with school friends I didn’t see on the weekends.

In the working world, holding down a Monday thru Friday, 9-5 job may have seemed tedious and routine at times. But, Mondays were always a chance to start fresh; to get out there and do good work (and of course earn a paycheck).

Even though now I am working independently, which pretty much is 24/7, I still look forward to Mondays as a chance to move forward and ease into the week with a clean slate.

Whatever day of the week is your “Monday” embrace its greatness for the opportunities it brings, the chance encounters that allow us to touch the lives of others in meaningful ways, and as always, a new day to explore, learn and grow.

“…This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on yesterdays.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Signs

It's a sign! Someone built a cairn on my thinking spot on the Pleasanton Ridge.

We’ve all had them, those gut feelings or a sixth sense about something. Or, that moment when you thought of someone and they called or came by to see you. It’s our intuition guiding us on our path.

My favorite author, Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist and, most recently, Aleph) refers to these as signs. It’s a common thread that has been embroidered in the tapestry of his works. In a recent podcast he explains that the language of signs is unique to each person and that if we tune into them it’s as if the Universe is speaking directly to us, conspiring to bring us to our highest good. At times, this may look entirely differently than our egos would want. So we ignore the nudges and omens being lobbed at us, taking wrong turns or ending up at a dead end. Paulo assures that it’s okay to make mistakes when learning a new language.

I’ve been guilty of not following the signs, a lot. Recently I have noticed that the more I tune in, life flows and seems to be in its perfect place.

What are some signs that you notice or which speak to you?

Lake Chabot

“The world is too much with us; late and soon, getting and spending we lay waste our powers; little we see in Nature that is ours; we have given our hearts away, a sordid boon.”

~William Wordsworth

In 2010 I embarked on a hiking mission fueled by my desire to hike the Camino de Santiago in Spain (750km over a 14 day period). The regional park district in my area (East Bay Regional Park District) was coordinating with Kaiser Permanente to encourage area residents to get fit by hosting “Fitness to Trails Challenge”. Each participant was to hike and log a marathon’s worth of hiking throughout the park district’s lands (26 miles, not all at once unless by choice). A long time hiker, this was right up my alley and timely preparation for reaching my Camino goal.

I took the opportunity to visit some parks I hadn’t ventured into. Lake Chabot, a stone’s throw from my home, offered a 13-mile hike around a beautiful lake with a terrain that changed from verdant to almost desert-like along a somewhat moderate trail with peaks and valleys for an interesting challenge.

Read my thoughts about a day at the Lake:

…As I crested a rise in the trail, a break in the trees revealed a bird’s eye view of a lone fisherman, shrouded in tule fog, casting his line from his boat (reminded me of my dad). Soon, I crossed a long, narrow, wooden footbridge that traversed a gorge and led me to a steep ascent (harkening back to a mountain biking trek I took along the Cuale River in Mexico). The sun began to climb high in the sky and I took a rest on a stone wall next to a waterfall and brook. Sunlight was filtering through the massive ferns, giant rhododendrons and towering eucalyptus trees creating otherworldly shapes on the trail. Suddenly it caught my eye as it lay up ahead; a dead mole. I had never seen one before alive or dead. It was interesting the way it simply appeared to be sleeping; a perfect still life…

“When he feels the wind blowing through him on a high peak or sleeps under a closely matte white bark pine in an exposed basin, he is apt to find his relationship to the Universe.”

~Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

The Beauty of the Rain

“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” ~Langston Hughes

There hasn’t been enough rain this winter in the San Francisco Bay Area. After last winter’s deluge of record, above average rainfall I would usually be doing a happy dance rather than a rain dance. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sunny days and warm temperatures we’ve been blessed with this year. Too, I’m empathetic to other parts of the world that are suffering through tough winter weather. I’ve just changed my perception of how I view the rain and the unpredictability of the weather. It’s a metaphor for life.

Unlike life, high definition Doppler can assist in predicting what weather might be coming our way. But the weather is a lot like life in that it can change in an instant. We have to be able to flow with what changes come our way.

I used to loathe bad weather because it meant staying indoors when I’d rather be outside running, hiking, or sitting outside at the café. It meant changing my plans.

“Be still sad heart and cease repining; behind the clouds the sun is shining; thy fate is the common fate of all. Into each life some rain must fall. Some days must be dark and dreary.” ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I decided that I couldn’t let the weather keep me from the activities I love. Then I found a beautiful handcrafted plaque with the words “the beauty of the rain” written in elegant calligraphy on a sky-blue swirl with crystal clear droplets and white sakura blossoms dangling from silver chains.

My new found perspective had me wondering exactly “Why is the rain amazing?”

The outrageous rainfall last winter brought an explosion of wildlife to my favorite hiking spot; some I’d never encountered there before. Running in the rain is cooling and refreshing. The rain is amazing because it nourishes the earth, nourishing all of us.

Now, I fully embrace the rain. I wish more were on the horizon for this winter season. There really is a beauty in it that brings life, adventure and a comfort in its steady falling that emulates the steady change of life.

“I am sure it is a great mistake always to know enough to go in when it rains. One may keep snug and dry by such knowledge, but one misses a world of loveliness. ~Adeline Knapp