With Love, From Nature: Junipers

cropped-cropped-urban-dandyIt was in volunteering at a community garden that something like a thick wall inside of me was knocked down – never to be resurrected again. Not even if I tried. 

It was five years ago about this time. 

I had dropped everything that I had known, packed up everything that I had owned, and headed west without really knowing what I was headed for. I knew I was meant to go as something much stronger was driving me. 

It was more than a coincidence that I had ended up driving a U-Haul with my life in tow on the ol’ Oregon Trail. 

When you can encourage fear to sit in the back and allow your soul to drive with courage as your copilot, I promise you will experience an adventure (or many!) that will bring a glow to your heart that cannot be touched nor forgotten. 

Life-changing for sure.

When I arrived in Oregon, I knew that I wanted to be submerged in a lifestyle of healthy food, happy people, and to explore a whole new depth of being.

Most of my life money has been scarce, but the will to thrive, my super power of creative  resourcefulness, and the wisdom of knowing there is always a way has always been abundant!

First things first, I needed to figure out how to obtain healthy, originally farmed food that ironically is quite expensive and exotic for a shoestring budget. Somehow I discovered that one could volunteer and garden at said farm in exchange for food full of wellness and sunshine!

My first day there came with a lot of surprises. In the garden is where my journey into discovering, embracing, and nurturing my true self began. The flooding of experiences I needed to heal came through for the first time. I was served my first meal in decades straight from the garden. To this day, I keep trying  to re-create those flavors and feelings of that meal and absolutely nothing compares. It was truly magical.

And then there was the epic weeding of the inch-high cilantro patch. I either had sinned a lot (guilty…) and this was my punishment, or, my soul and the Divine (God) connected through nature and the beginning of seeing my own life and self mirrored with the love within nature had just been revealed to me.

Fast forward to the present, this is why I do what I do. I can best describe myself as a SoulGLOW Nature + Mindfulness Guide. I hold space for this reconnection of soul and soil, nature and self to be remembered and embraced. From this place, you begin to awaken. Your stories change and with that, so does your life. 

This summer I have been blessed with the opportunity to lead forest mindfulness immersions with the Door County Land Trust. For our summer series, there is one session remaining-Tuesday, August 14th at 9 a.m. Details on how to register are on my website at www.thedandelionculture.org. What I am going to share below is a beautiful reflection that nature provided me on our last hike at the very first land trust in Door County, Kangaroo Lake.

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Before you continue reading, I encourage you to first reflect with the picture above for a couple of minutes and see what comes up for you…

At the end of our immersions, we get a delicious chunk of time to just simply be with the part of nature that really stands out to us in that very moment. Some people begin to sketch, some take pictures, and some simply lie down and close their eyes to absorb nature’s message that way. Once everyone is settled, I look to see what is there for me to learn in that moment. In front of me was the largest juniper bush I have ever seen, holding safe within it a young pine on its way back to the earth. The juniper itself was on its way back to the earth as well, yet had a little bit of green life still growing on its finger tips. 

The juniper was so far reaching that it was overlapping the path, but it was so high that it no longer blocked the path. On the opposite edge of the path stood a pine tree with soft needles and some small juniper bushes acting as guides providing protective boundaries for a well-defined path.

Juniper bushes aren’t always warmly welcomed due to their unfriendly touch and ability to create distance. Their purpose for existence is essential though. You’ll notice behind their green armor are young trees and plants that other wildlife – especially deer – consider delicacies. 

They are one of the protectors of new, vulnerable life.

The message gifted to me in that moment was that a very large, strong, and solid boundary that was needed at a time when I was younger had met its chapter of expiration. Not only was this barrier of protection no longer needed, but the part of me it was protecting for such a long time was no longer a living and growing part of me. Simultaneously, new guides and healthy boundaries have planted themselves along my path to help grow and glow me forward. The old still there, a part of the journey and who I am, but no longer the driving force in my life. 

Then I found a wild strawberry – sweet, sweet joy! Nature always rewards the heart-centered journey.

We all have an inner child that needed protective walls in order to survive. Sometimes those walls become pretty damn thick and  prickly. 🙂 Dive into that space, that pool of messy feelings and emotions, and heal those walls down! Soften and allow yourself to be vulnerable – your radiant and resilient self lives within there. 

I know exactly why my heart guided me to that spot in nature that day. 

It’s time for us to soulfully reconnect with nature. 

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Step outside. 

Close your eyes.

Take a deep breath in.

Find grace in the pause.

Let the breath go with compassion.

Rest in the potential of the pause.

Now, gently open your eyes, along with your heart, and let nature show you a different perspective.

*These beautiful photos taken by a forest immersion participant, Diane Gafney. Thank you Diane!*

With Love, From Nature, 

The Dandelion Culture 

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