"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Archive for the ‘The Five I’s’ Category

Knowledge is Power

Doing some cleaning while watching this. I keep finding myself stopping to sit down and really listen. What’s really impacting me is that the stories in this film begin around the time I was born. The stories from yesterday are the roots of the challenges of today. The branches of today are the leaves of tomorrow.

It’s been 50 plus years since my time in this story began and yet somehow the stories of today are still the same. We’re they also the same 50 years prior to me? Will they be the same for my children and grandchildren in 50 years?

I recognize some of the faces in these stories as part of my childhood watching them unfold on the evening news. The narrative that went with them then made me believe that I needed to fear these people. “Here’s what’s going on with these armed and violent thugs in other parts the country,. We are telling you about it because we want to scare you. But don’t worry! We have it all under control. Our government agencies are on full alert and are monitoring the situation. We won’t let them get you.” Seeing the same stories narrated by the voices behind them is quite a liberating experience!

What I’m grateful for is this age of information and the ability to connect to the world in my own way via the Internet. My life and my understanding is no longer controlled by what is chosen by others to be broadcast to me via the black box in the living room. Now, I get to choose my own programming. Now, I get the chance to find the real stories behind the narrative of what “they” want me to believe.

I think the power that the ability to choose awakens within me is the very reason why the powers-that-be want to limit what I can do and what I can know. We, the people, are empowered with knowledge and are connected across the world in seconds. In that connection we learn that we are not alone. Knowledge is power.

How will we use that power? What will we DO with it? Will we speak up or will we stand down? Will we put aside our differences and come together with one voice? Can we put aside our differences and unite peacefully to make a positive difference? I think we can and I think our indigenous brothers and sisters are showing us the way.

From “Save the Whales” to “Save the Bees”

In my lifetime, as I’ve become aware of the bigger world around me with each passing year, I’ve come across causes where a group of passionate people unite with the intention of making a difference to what they see as a problem.

As a young child it was Save the Whales and now as an adult, it’s Save the Bees. The 1970s Save the Whales was the yellow on the traffic light. The current day Save the Bees is the red.

And there have so many other causes in between and overlapping. Save the trees, wolves, water, climate, seeds, seals, dolphins, birds … And they all tie back to one thing … Save the Planet!

I came across an article this morning about whaling in Iceland and how it needs to stop. In the comments there were many opinions expressed that said, …”stop picking on Iceland, Japan is the real bad guy. ” and “Whales?! Pah! What about bigger issues such as crime, poverty, economics?”

I think what most are unwilling or not able to see is that all of these causes are symptoms of a debilitating and terminal global disease. In my 50 short years here I’ve watched us go from Save the Whales, the largest creatures on earth, to Save the Bees, one of natures smallest.

Look at what this is saying about the bigger picture. These causes are not about giving people a new group of wrong-doers to hate and pick on. They are pointing out the symptoms of the disease. One is the sniffle, one is the cough, one is the fever, the infection, the abscess, the cancer … That something we ALL share together! Our planet, Mother Earth is sick and is being raped on her death bed.

And here we are, people. Distracted by media, gadgets, stress, consumerism, drama, illness we are being kept too busy living in fear to feel like we have time or energy to devote to a “new” cause. And while the cat is away, the mice will play … and the playground is turning into a mine field.

Leonardo DaVinci, one of the most respected men in history said, “Realize everything is connected to everything else.” Think about that for a moment … Go ahead, I’ll wait …



What that means to me is that saving the whales is no different from saving the bees, wolves, water, trees, birds … we are required to save it ALL for our very survival. It all starts with us, each individually becoming aware that these issues and causes and symptoms are connected to a global disease.

All it will take to start producing medicine to heal the global disease is is each one of us making small changes in the way we go through the world on a daily basis. Really connect to and look at our own lives, beliefs and ways of doing things and making changes as we come across things that do not accurately reflect who we are and what we wish to be contributing to the world.

We may be conditioned to think that as an individual be have no power, but that could not be more untrue. Our individual daily choices drive everything that comes after them. If, one by one, we refuse to purchase pesticide laden strawberries and opt for organic instead, before too long the commercial strawberry farms are going to have to adapt to what we want, or die.

One choice by one choice we have the power to make a real difference, for ourselves, our neighbors and our planet.

You in?

The Joy of Creating

10354-fallen-tree-02Here’s an example of what SEEDS from HOME means to me. I’m an artist. It’s not something I choose to be, it’s something I just am. What that means for me is that I’m in a state of perpetual inspiration. There’s a muse constantly dancing through my awareness painting pictures of possibility and “what if’s”. Bringing the pictures from within me to a place outside of me where they can be shared with others takes many artistic forms. One of them is through 3D art.

It was my honor and pleasure to collaborate with very gifted and talented artists to create this beautiful 3D woodland scene. While the creation process was not easy and required me to learn new things, it was done with ease and with the in-JOY-ment of creating.

When I allow myself to be at peace with who I am, to release the judgement of myself and others of what I “should” be doing, and dwell in that place of HOME within me, it’s like adding soil, water and sunshine to the SEEDs that my muse has been scattering within me. The ideas begin to germinate, take shape and grow. The more I relax into the space of HOME and enjoy the process of creating, the more they grow.

The process reminds me of a quote I read somewhere … Something like, “If your soul were a garden and your thoughts were the seeds, would you grow flowers or would you grow weeds?” There certainly were weeds that cropped up here and there that threatened to take over my garden, but once I identified them as weeds I was able to pluck them right out and send them to the compost pile … all part of the Joy of Creating.

Creating “something from nothing” isn’t only about artistic mediums. Creating happens in everything we do from our roles, to our jobs, to our passions, thoughts and dreams. What are YOUR seeds of possibility? What would the Joy of Creating be like for you?


One Word – What is YOUR word?

Recently I had the opportunity to spend the weekend at the shore with some of my favorite people, my family. After a long night of fishing we sat together on the beach talking and enjoying breakfast in the morning sun.

Alexandria quietly played in the sand at our feet. She used a small piece of wood to scrape the sand smooth, like a blank canvas, and then made fingerprints, foot prints and bumble bee prints with a plastic bumble bee we found on the beach. Sometimes she coaxed one of us to make prints, too. Every so often she picked up the board and wiped the area clean to start again.


If you could summarize the purpose of your life with one word, what would it be?

Our conversation shifted into wondering aloud about why we are here or what our purpose is in life. I shared that I had heard from different places that our individual purpose in life can be summarized with one solitary WORD. And that we can find clues to what that word might be in some of our most challenging moments or life patterns.

For example, for someone who is overly critical of everything that is “different” from their perception of what “should” be, the word might be ACCEPTANCE. Being overly critical and always finding something wrong or something to complain about feeds the negative energies of hate and intolerance. It also indicates a rejection of one’s own SELF. It attracts and brings more situations to complain about … often over and over and over again.

So, for this person, what is required is to become aware of the pattern of rejection. Then to make the conscious choice to evolve from the energies of hate into those of LOVE – to make the shift into being more accepting. That choosing to shift the energy from hate to love requires practicing ACCEPTANCE, beginning with accepting the SELF … over and over and over again as life brings its challenges. And life will bring challenges to practice on!

We were quiet for a few moments and then began sharing around the circle what our greatest challenges were and what we each thought our word might be. After everyone had a turn speaking it was again quiet for a few moments … Alexandria, still looking down and playing in the sand said, “I think my word is be …” and the rest of what she said was cut off by a loud noise from somewhere else. I asked “What did you say, Alex? Your word is be happy?” She looked up at me, right into my eyes, and with the perfect certainty and wisdom of a four year old said, “No, my word is BE. Just BE.”

no words …


Happiness: Where does it come from?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about feeling good. It seems sometimes that much of my actual time is spent feeling bad about something when I  know what I really love is doing, saying, thinking and reflecting on things that make me feel good. As I give more conscious attention to watering those “feel good” seeds I have discovered a few “weeds” representing me giving myself permission, or allowing myself, to be happy or feel good.

Last night I watched The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer on DVD. One thing at the beginning that really resonated with me was his sharing of his voice mail message. It was something like “I’m not available to take your call right now. Before you leave a message please be aware that I want to feel good. If your message is designed to make me feel anything but good, please hang up and call Dr. Phil.”

Hearing him say this illuminated the unhappy, faceless voices in my head that are sarcastically saying, “What are YOU smiling about?” or “Why are YOU so happy?” In response to wanting to be happy, they deliver messages that it’s wrong to be happy. They are there to plant the seeds of doubt and guilt in my happiness garden. They say that there’s too much in the world and perhaps in my own life or with the people I love to be unhappy about. That things in my life are not perfect … that I am not perfect … so how can I even consider being happy?” And these seeds want me to water and nurture them.

Seeds of HappinessIn sitting with these voices I could see just how easy it is to allow these seeds of guilt to be planted in my happiness garden. Misery certainly does love company and there’s no shortage of misery out there. I could see how I have spent a great deal of time and energy giving these seeds of dissent water and assisting them to grow. That I have based my own happiness on external things like, I will be happy when I ‘have this thing’ or ‘do that thing’ or ‘achieve that goal.’

Going through life this way means that happiness will always be just out of reach and is always based on some thing or event outside of me. It also means that happiness is fleeting. For example, I can say that I will be happy when I get a particular car, but I know that after a few months driving the new car the feeling of happiness will wear off and I will once again be searching for a new source of future happiness

I began to ask what it would it take for me to know happiness right here and right now, in this moment, no matter what is going on outside of me. I began to wonder if and how I could be happy regardless of have’s or have not’s. I began to reflect and understand happiness through my own life experiences and have observed that the happiest moments in my life have been at times when it would appear on the outside that I had the least to be happy about.

In the book A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson wrote “The key to happiness is the decision to be happy.” This would mean that happiness is not about having the perfect things or the perfect care-free life, but that by deciding to be happy I would be fostering within myself a sense of peacefulness no matter what is going on on the outside.

I picture my happiness as a garden filled with various stages of seed growth with everything inside my garden fence having been selected and/or nurtured by me. I can choose to pull the weeds of sadness or guilt right out as soon as they appear. Pulling them doesn’t mean sadness and guilt do not exist at all in the world, as I can see that they are still growing in wild abundance just outside my garden fence.

Pulling them means that I acknowledge that they do not contribute to my happiness. Clearing the weeds on the inside means that no matter how wild, insistent and overgrown the weeds become on the outside, inside the borders of my fence, my happiness garden remains a peaceful sanctuary where I can go any time I want, to relax and luxuriate in what makes me feel good … right now.

Sometimes I let new weeds that I am unfamiliar with grow for a little while so that I can know what they are before choosing to either let them grow or yank them out. In doing this I have found that some things that I thought at first were weeds, later revealed themselves later as elements of happiness that I had not been aware of.

What do you feel is the key to happiness? Are you planting seeds in your own happiness garden? Do you find it easier to let weeds grow or do you pull them out as soon as they appear?

Stewardship and The Five I’s

Fern GulleyMost of our land is designated as a Stewardship Forest which means that any actions we take to conserve and manage are done in a way that improves the quality and productivity of our woodlands for future generations.

Curious about what being in stewardship to a forest means, I began researching forestry and farming and discovered there is a name for what we have in mind to do – agroforestry.

Forest farming is an agroforestry practice characterized by the four “I’s”- Intentional, Integrated, Intensive and Interactive management of an existing forested ecosystem wherein forest health is of paramount concern.

What I found most interesting and what sparked a huge aha moment for me was the characterization using the four “I’s” – Intentional, Integrated, Intensive and Interactive. These were the same principles I was already using within the practices of my own personal growth. For my personal practice however, there is a fifth I – Inspiration.

These four characterizations alone each have their own essence of power, however when combined with inspiration it all began to click together. To me this felt like an affirmation of being on the right path. I began to see how honoring my inner voice, or the voice of my spirit, sparks a feeling of inspiration which in turn sparks creativity which then moves me to begin to take action.

I discovered that taking action is only effective and done with ease when the intention of the actions are aligned with the essence of my calling. As I begin to move forward the process of integration begins.

Personally, this is the space where new beliefs principles and practices are blended, or integrated into my current ones. It is where I recognize the aspects of me that are, or have been, on automatic pilot and assess whether those things serve me to be the best me that I can be. I then choose my own programming from that point forward, integrating it into my daily practice, a process which requires both embracing and letting go.

Look to the LightIn the forest it is the space where the intention or vision for the forest requires human interaction. Some actions, such as the selective cutting of trees to allow sunlight to reach the forest floor bringing sleeping seeds to life are both intensive and interactive. This interaction is part of assisting it to be while some actions are passive and without human interaction, allowing it to be.

And so for me, the four I’s were transformed into the five I’s – Inspired, Intentional, Integrated, Intensive and Interactive.  These principles or characterizations became SEEDS that when applied not just in stewardship to a forest yet in all aspects of my life, are supporting and assisting with moving from a state of surviving into a life thriving … in harmony and oneness with mother earth – HOME.

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