Tag Archives: seasons

8 Quotes to Ignite Your Passion

Do you have a case of the winter blues? It’s spring but the weather around most of the country isn’t acting like that. That makes it a little bit difficult to get into the warmer spirit of Spring – we get it. But the grey coldness is ending and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. To help you reach it, we want you to get warm. Not just temperature wise, but indulge in your favorite activities. Reach out to your favorite people. It’s time to get close to the things that make you feel the warm fire in your heart.

That also means getting in touch with your passions. What makes you vibrate with energy? What gets you out of bed in the morning? What makes you feel like your best self? If you aren’t sure here are a few quotes to inspire you to find what you’re passionate about and ignite it in time to stave off the last of winter and propel you into Spring.

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To connect with others following their passions, check out these intents on Intent.com

A Lesson in Resilience

cherry tree resilienceOne of my brothers still lives on Cape Cod, the place where my 5 siblings and I grew up. This is noteworthy for two reasons – first, he is a scenic photographer – he captures amazing shots of nature; second, Cape Cod and New England has had snowstorm after snowstorm this winter. This has created one of his latest works – the amazing flowering cherry tree in his front yard in each of the four seasons. Amazing flowers in spring, great dense green leaves in summer, amazing fiery reds and orange foliage in fall and the bare brown trunk blanketed under epic snow in winter. This bold tree is resilient; it shows up powerfully in each season. It inspires my intention to be more resilient.

The lesson from the cherry tree is that we too are capable of shining no matter what happens. We are resilient to handle the seasons – and by seasons I mean the constant changes in our lives. We meet sunny days where things are going our way – we flower, we shine. We meet stormy days that seem unfair, unrelenting and scary. When we are intentional and determined about connecting to our inner greatness and strength – to the power deep in us – we find we have access to amazing resilience. This helps us show up strong and committed to life, regardless what comes our way.

It still amazes me that this tree can survive in temperatures from minus 10 to nearly 100 degrees. It stands there and faces what comes, doing what it does best – living its truest self. It doesn’t lament the rains or wind. It doesn’t give up when it snows. It doesn’t wish that its leaves would remain all year – it allows them to change color and sends them off to make room for new ones. It partners with life; it allows life.

We however, like to plan and control everything in life. And when things don’t go according to plan, we find fault. We get angry. We blame. We quit. We feel at the affect of our world – at odds with it.

Or, we could learn from this cherry tree. We could see that we have the strength and resilience to see the blessing in every event, and not to fight with life but live it as it is delivered. “Anyone can be cooperative, patient and understanding when things are going well and life is good. But it is the noble man or woman who can behave with grace and compassion, and even kindness, when times are bad,” shares Garr Reynolds, blogger of Presentation Zen. My intention is to be noble and act with grace, compassion and kindness regardless of what happens in life.

Resilience, or grit, is what enables us to show up committed to life when life sends snowstorm after snowstorm. Resilience is what enables us to show up big to life when our idea didn’t work, the relationship failed, or the job was lost. As the great Japanese proverb says, “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” We can choose to bounce back – we can choose to see what was, understand it, learn from it and get back into life’s driver’s seat. We, like the flowering cherry in my brother’s front yard, can just keep on keepin’ on. Resilient. Strong. Committed. Determined. Intentional. Living our greatness and ready for the next moment of life – whatever that might look like.

Find your resilience role model – nature, a pet or even a person. Mine is this amazing cherry tree. Let it share its wisdom with you; learn from it and let it inspire you to be intentional and purposeful about living powerfully, positively and resiliently no matter what comes your way.

5 Ways to Celebrate the Fall Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon

Early this morning, if you were awake during the pre-sunrise hours, you may have noticed a brilliant full moon lighting up the sky. It’s called the Harvest Moon, and it signifies that autumn is just around the corner.

The autumnal equinox is officially this Sunday, September 22. This is when the sun shines straight on the equator, and the lengths of day and night are roughly equal. The days will begin to grow shorter after that, as we are all so familiar with. We are moving into the fall and winter seasons, now, gearing up for shorter, darker days, cooler weather, and many months of holidays and festivities to come.

But for now, we’re still experiencing the glow of the full moon, and it is a great time to honor the season we are moving into and celebrate the harvest!

I know, it might sound strange to celebrate harvest in this modern era when very few of us actually plant, grow and harvest food. Our separation from this agricultural process may be a critical factor in the environmental problems our world faces today – not to mention our growing obesity, eating disorders, and other food-related ailments.

We still, of course, benefit from the energies of the earth to produce sustenance for our bodies, but how often do we offer our gratitude? How often do we approach our food with the reverence it deserves? I promise you, if we were intimately involved in all stages of its production we’d feel much more awed by the miracle that food is.

Here are 5 ways to honor the earth and celebrate the Harvest Moon:

1. Break bread with friends and loved ones. Harvest is all about the bounty of the earth and stocking up for the more barren months ahead. Cover your table with rich, sustaining goodies, and invite your friends to bring dishes to share! Give thanks for your food in any way that seems appropriate, and enjoy watching your loved ones nourish their bodies with the food from your table.

2. Make a promise to yourself to end food shaming. Food is a gift from the earth. Vegetables, fruits, seeds, grains – meats and dairy, too, if you’re not vegan/vegetarian! Food is not poison. Food is not the enemy. We would not survive without sustenance, and there’s nothing wrong or unnatural about that. So enjoy the food you eat, and stop feeling guilty about it.

3. Plant some seeds! I know, harvest is about the reaping, not the sowing. But there are lots of delicious fall and winter foods you can plant now and enjoy in several months. Go for kale, beets, squash, and cauliflower! If you don’t have a garden, then get yourself a small pot for your porch or window sill. The joy of watching a seed sprout and eventually grow into full brilliance will only be beaten by the joy of eating food you grow!

4. Use this full moon as a great starting point to begin following the moon cycles. The Gregorian calendar certainly has it’s place, but it’s fun to also follow the “calendar” laid out by the moon’s cycles. Once attuned to its rhythm, you’ll start noticing the subtle difference between a waxing and waning moon; you’ll enjoy the dark night of a just-new moon; and a month from now, you’ll welcome the full moon once again!

5. Practice active gratitude. The bounty of harvest is a blessing, and abundance in all categories is a gift. Even if you don’t feel particularly blessed at the moment – if you feel poor or lacking in some regard – don’t start with the wishing. Start with the thanking. That is, instead of asking the Universe (or god/dess, or spirit) for what you desire, give thanks for what you already have. Express your gratitude wholeheartedly, and don’t leave anything out! You can write it out, say it in your head, or vocalize it to a friend. The practice is so gratifying and cleansing that by the end you will undoubtedly feel rich beyond measure. That is true abundance. That is the harvest.

And enjoy this song “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young! One of my favorites…

Am I Becoming An East Coast Snob?

I’m in the Bay Area for the week.  After an afternoon on sterile Sand Hill I treated myself to a drive through gorgeous Half Moon Bay.  I had no idea this is Pumpkin Central.  What made me do a double take is that I kept driving by places with big signs advertising “Pumpkin Farm” and “Pumpkin Patch,” but all I saw were huge dirt fields with rows and rows of pumpkins to buy.    One such “farm” was actively being constructed by six guys with a white panel truck.  They were rapid-fire throwing pumpkins out the back and neatly lining them up, fashioning them much as they might be spaced on a native patch.

In New England you generally either buy your pumpkin at the grocery store or farm stand, no pretenses at a “pumpkin patch”.  Or you go to a real one and cut a pumpkin off the vine yourself.  This California hybrid version was a new one on me.

I’m in the Bay Area for the week.  After an afternoon on sterile Sand Hill I

I took a photo of the Half Moon Bay version that did the best job faking it out.  But this proprietor did not actually call the place a “farm” or a “patch,” so they got style points for their humble “Pumpkins” sign.

And I hope I’m not becoming an East Coast snob…I love seeing regional differences like this.

Finding Balance Using Natural Investing

Every morning, I have the habit of getting up early and heading to the local Starbucks for that first cup of coffee.  Regardless of the weather, it is fun, at least for me, to start the day in that quiet moment before the sun rises and all the commuters hit the road.  Starting the day in the peace and quiet of morning gives me balance, which is important mentally, spiritually, and physically.  Many of the different alternative approaches to traditional medicine have the goal of acheiving balance.  This is true not only for our being, but also for our activies, work, play, and our investments.

This morning was cool and windy and a crowd of Canadian geese flew over heading south for the winter.  It made me think about the things we see everyday around us and how they might apply to investing.

There are several characteristics of the natural world that are very relevant to investors.  The markets operate on the same planet as everything else, so it is logical that the natural laws that govern Earth apply to investing.  Natural investing is simply applying the rules of nature to learning from nature and applying it to how we invest our money.  Like alternative medicine, the goal is to find the balance between our desire for growth and our need for safety.

In nature, there are four major seasons; Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.  These four seasons all occur at different times, and for differing lengths of time across the planet.  The Fall Equinox marks the transition from Summer to Fall and it occurred in the United States on September 22 at 5:18pm.  As you may know, for all of those places below the equator, fall actually began six months earlier on March 20, 2009.  There are different markets, as well, and their cycles also begin and end at different times.  Some of these changes are predictable, others completely unpredictabe!  As the seasons change, plants and animals make adjustments to prepare for the new season.

As fall begins, the birds begin their migration to the warmer climates of the south.  Bears begin to eat heavier meals and build the fat that they will need to survive when they hibernate during the Winter season.  Squirrels continue building their supply of acorns and nuts.  Nature is full of examples of the instinctive behaviors that allow life to flourish and survive regardless of the dramatic changes of our seasons.

Unlike the markets, the seasons of nature are regular and predictable.  Whether it is the stock market, bond market, commodities or futures markets, investors do not have the regular changes of seasons that our friends in the animal kingdom enjoy.  The market has no equivalent to lunar cycles or regularly occuring seasons so maintaining a balance is the only way to be prepared for any season.  We may know the season we are in currently, but we do not necessarily know what season will follow and we certainly don’t know the exact time that it will arrive.

When you periodically review the investments in your portfolio, think about the four seasons.  Do you have investments that will survive the cold of Winter and others that will explode with growth when Spring arrives.  Do you also have investments that will survive the heat of Summer and provide a bounteous harvest in the Fall?

Seasons of all, as fall turns colour pure*

Seasons of all, as fall turns colour pure*

Frost dew keeps the green asleep
The cold weather coming as winter plays on it deep
The leaves are falling off the trees
All of nature letting go as one can see
The spillgate is pushing forward the last water drop
But it awaits more as it knows not when to stop
The geese feel the kinks of cold in their wings
As it is Now time to push on to better things
The floor is now littered with red, brown and yellow maple leaves
As the season of fall is almost over as the forest patchwork has become unweaved
Say goodbye to spring, summer, and fall
And hello to the white that will cover it all

                                                                 Dominic Colucci 2009*

Shifting with Nature

In today’s world, office jobs and supermarkets have made it possible to work and provide for ourselves and our families regardless of nature’s cycles. While most of us no longer depend directly on nature’s seasons for our livelihood, our bodies’ clocks still know deep down that a change of season means a change in us too. If we don’t acknowledge this, we may feel out of sync, as though we have lost our natural rhythm. These days, autumn is more likely to bring thoughts of going back to school than harvesting, but in both cases, the chill in the air tells us it’s time to move inside and prepare for the future.

We can consciously celebrate the change of season and shift our own energy by setting some time aside to make the same changes we see in nature. We can change colors like the falling leaves and wilting blooms by putting away our bright summer colors and filling our wardrobes and living areas with warm golds, reds, and browns.

While plants concentrate their energy deep in their roots and seeds, we can retreat to quieter, indoor pursuits, nurturing the seeds of new endeavors, which need quiet concentration to grow. We can stoke our inner fires with our favorite coffee, tea, cider, or cocoa while savoring the rich, hot comfort foods that the season brings in an array of fall colors: potatoes, apple pies, pumpkin, squash, and corn. As animals begin growing their winter coats and preparing their dens for hibernation, we can dust off our favorite sweaters and jackets and bring blankets out of storage, creating coziness with throw rugs and heavier drapes. We can also light candles or fireplaces to bring a remnant of summer’s fiery glow indoors.

By making a conscious celebration of the change, we usher in the new season in a way that allows us to go with the flow, not fight against it. We sync ourselves up with the rhythm of nature and the universe and let it carry us forward, nurturing us as we prepare for our future.

The Four Seasons of Tough Times

 To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun… Ecclesiastes 3:1

 The belief that every challenge has four distinct stages has occupied a ridiculous amount of my attention over the past dozen years. This is because I am convinced it is one of the most helpful truths for navigating difficult circumstances. Yet, when I seek to explain (stage 1) how tough times begin, (stage 2) what the middle of the journey looks like, (stage 3) how to adapt and (step 4) how to get to the end…I feel like I get too many blank stares. I want to exclaim, “Trust me! This is important, it will save you,” but instead I wonder if I’m making as much impact as the ill-kempt man wearing the sandwich board on the street corner pronouncing the end of the world. Both passionate and neither of us getting our message across.

 So, to not lose you, my fair readers, as I try to pass along this jewel, I’d like to propose the following analogy to describe the four-phased journey concept and its importance: 

 Just in the northern climes of North America, tough times can be seen as moving through four distinct seasons. During difficult circumstances, we start in the autumn. Things begin to “fall” apart — leaves break away from the trees, plants freeze and die and what we had counted on to feed us all summer ends. In tough times terms, the trees we had been going to for fruit could be a marriage, a friendship or good health — we watch them crumble and hope that we can find a way to make it last — but if it’s time is up, no amount of vigilance will stave off the end.

 So, then comes winter, or the messy middle of tough times. It seems impossible that something will grow again during this season. It’s dark, inhospitable and can be really depressing.

 If can wait out winter, spring comes again with a promise of new beginnings. There is more light and optimism. Time to till the soil, decide what to plant and ready for the growing season. And, if we are courageous enough, we will plant seeds and do the work to create a new garden (i.e. work to create a new relationship, job, or home). We must care for the new seedlings, get rid of the weeds to get back to a stable place once more.

 Earlier this month, after presenting a keynote lecture on thriving through tough times, a soft-spoken grandmother approached me. "When you talked about approaching tough times like an old Montana rancher, I got it," she said. After raising children and crops in New Mexico and northern Canada, she told me that recognizing the stages of each difficulty had saved her. "When the kids were young I copied and pasted a passage from Ecclesiastes on my cupboard to keep me sane through the years," she added and began to recite, To everything there is a season, time for every purpose under the sun. A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted…”

 During bad circumstances, it really helps to remember that there is a time for sowing and a time for reaping. For each set of tough times there is a minimum suffering period. With a death of a grandparent, it might be a year for example. But, not acting appropriately during each tough times “season,” you can maximize your imprisonment in difficult circumstances.

 In the winter, or the messy, chaotic middle phase, trying to plant new seeds wastes your resources. Ask any rancher. Winter is when you rest. You sharpen your tools and nurture your stock. You want to slow down, take care of yourself and your home. You can’t plow the fields and trying would be silly. Rushing around is a foolish, and in the depths of January, can be a dangerous activity.

 The advice for the winter of difficult conditions is the same. When something has ended, be it a job or a relationship, trying to quickly create something new is counterproductive. We need to recover. We need to take stock in where we stand. Rushing around and using up our resources is foolish and can be dangerous as we exhaust what collateral or energy we have in a harsh, dark climate.

 There is a time to rest and there will be a time to risk. During a challenge’s spring and summer, we will need to be rested and ready to act. Where after a loss, we must be brave enough to wait through the winter, we must also be bold enough when the time comes to choose to try again.

 Each season presents unique tests. Not acting seasonally appropriate circumvents the process. Rushing around and trying to plant in winter means that we won’t have any reserves to take advantage of spring. Not getting to work in the spring will also have us missing or not taking advantage of prime growing season.

 Meanwhile, we live in a culture focused only on action. It believes that when things are not going our way we need to think positive, roll up our sleeves and get to work. Yet, this is not global wisdom. For example, like Ecclesiastes, Taoism is based on discerning in which season we reside and acting accordingly. It is said that by going with the natural flow of each challenge, Taoist masters exert minimal energy and are able to live well past a hundred years old. There is a time to wait and a time to move. Knowing the difference allows us to flow effortlessly through each major change back to stability.

 So, when tough times hit, notice:

1) Are structures or relationships ending (1st stage of disruption or "autumn")

2) Are you in dark times, dealing with loss and no new solutions in sight (chaos or winter)

3) Can you see new possibilities, is it "time" to get moving again (adaptation or spring)

4) Are you called to try new things, be bold, act (stability or summer)

 Then ask, what would a wise Minnesotan or Montanan farmer do? For every thing there is a season…

From Playing Well at Work and Beyond, by Deidre Combs

Happy Easter Bunny!

Hello, Friends!

Happy easter (bunny)! To me easter stands for the gifts we are given at this time of year, of the miracle of creation and rebirth. Abundance is a keyword for this time, I think and the rabbit is a symbol of abundance. My bunny, Spike, is just such a gift to me. I was given him in the beginning of spring. I sometimes refer to him as Springgift or just Bunny.

This is Spike acting hard-to-get. He does that a lot. Like all rabbits he is a timid and quiet creature with a tendency to jump at the slightest noise. Although rabbits may be silent they have a language of their own I was fascinated (and amused) to learn when I found this page: http://language.rabbitspeak.com/rabbittalk.html  It was like a whole new world opening up! Granted a very small world but a world nevertheless. It’s always worth taking a closer look at occurences in our world. Things are never what they seem to be!

And this is Spike taking a closer look at you with his ears in Curious Bunny-position. Whats going on out there? I don’t know Spike and that makes me very happy. Happy to witness the miracles of creation and to be in the Flow of Life.

Happy Easter to you and may you be a millionfold blessed!

Seasons of Beauty: Aging Gracefully

We tend to associate youth with beauty, but the truth is that beauty transcends every age. Just as a deciduous tree is stunning in all its stages–from its full leafy green in the summer to its naked skeleton during winter and everything in between–human beings are beautiful throughout their life spans.

The early years of our lives tend to be about learning and experiencing as much as we possibly can. We move through the world like sponges, absorbing the ideas of other people and the world. Like a tree in spring, we are waking up to the world. In this youthful phase of life, our physical strength, youth, and beauty help open doors and attract attention. Gradually, we begin to use the information we have gathered to form ideas and opinions of our own. As we cultivate our philosophy about life, our beauty becomes as much about what we are saying, doing, and creating as it is about our appearance. Like a tree in summer, we become full, expressive, beautiful, and productive.

When the time comes for us to let go of the creations of our middle lives, we are like a tree in autumn dropping leaves, as we release our past attachments and preparing for a new phase of growth. The children move on, and careers shift or end. The lines on our faces, the stretch marks, and the grey hairs are beautiful testaments to the fullness of our experience. In the winter of our lives, we become stripped down to our essence like a tree. We may become more radiant than ever at this stage, because our inner light shines brighter through our eyes as time passes. Beauty at this age comes from the very core of our being–our essence. This essence is a reminder that there is nothing to fear in growing older and that there is a kind of beauty that comes only after one has spent many years on earth.

 

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