Category Archives: Trees

When our hearts are breaking, for a million different reasons…

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In these wild times, how do we stay peaceful. . . and faith-filled? 🕊 

There are many scary things and loud people out there grabbing for our attention, and many inner fears and beliefs derailing our positive in-tentions. It’s easy to be left feeling fractured, frizzled and frantic.  

If we let our mind spin in it’s worry-state, though, we’re trusting only our small scared self to figure it all out. Alone. No wonder it’s overwhelming! We’re stuck circling our issues, in a very limited space. 

“Worry is prayer that we pray to ourselves instead of to God.” ~Chris Smith

Do we more often dabble in doubt or the divine?✨ 

There’s an area of our brain called the reticular activating system – RAS. It’s job is to edit out endless daily data that bombards us. The RAS allows into our conscious mind what we’re interested in, what we believe in etc. It edits out what doesn’t confirm our belief systems (BS,) or contradicts the labels and identities we may have carried since childhood. Our “stories” may be so dang convincing to us that we think of them as reality. 🌠

Ever bought a car you’d rarely seen, in a color you thought was different? Then you get out on the road and that exact car is everywhere. The car had always been around, but your RAS never picked up on it until you put it on your radar. 

This isn’t woo-woo-ery. It’s science.

If we stay focused on the problem, on what’s “wrong,” the RAS is blind to the good stuff. 

What we believe about our life is what we keep seeing, and then we keep believing, and thus, we keep recreating. “Reality” is the outer representation of our inner beliefs.

Our RAS isn’t programed for right or wrong, it’s wired according to our focus. It’s a tool – a neutral search engine – scanning for evidence of our expectations. So if I reaffirm, “I didn’t do enough today,” “I’m overwhelmed,” “The world is broken,” “money corrupts,” etc… I’ll see the “proof.” Our RAS acts like a prayer to the universe and keeps regurgitating evidence of our beliefs. They have been “real” for us, but that doesn’t mean they have to stay that way.

As soon as I shift my attention to the ‘simple’ things that are going smoothly, I’ll notice more of those. It helps me stay connected, grateful, hopeful, productive. And in that place, my heart and soul have more influence and power in my life, and beyond.  

Sometimes we stick to being “right” about the things that actually feel “wrong” – like “I’m too old,” “Murphy’s Law,” “the cup is half empty,” “I don’t have enough _______.” Being ‘right’ about negative beliefs is a familiar prison. The suffering is what we’ve known, and staying in it might seem safer than change. Humans want to feel loved, accepted and ‘right’ in the eyes of our herd. Being “wrong” means feeling bad, unacceptable and rejected by the herd.  

I saw this angel cloud on Wayne Dyer’s birthday. A self-portrait, no doubt 🏞

Step away from the dysfunctional pasture. 

If we point a helpless finger outward at the cow pies, political parties, president, culture, corporations, violence, losses, health, gender, appearances, past, parents, or partner, for letting us down, we’ll endlessly spin outside ourselves. Our mind will feel crazed and ungrounded because our leverage doesn’t exist out there.

But going within, to harness our light, might also means facing our shadowy stuff, and that can be a scary deterrent. 

Inside is where our vulnerability and fears are waiting to be witnessed – they’re our little lost kids – they’re hurting, wounded, raging, distrusting, defiant, powerless and pitching a hissy fit. They haven’t felt heard. Life knocked the wind out of their sails, and laughed in their face. Getting their hopes up means they could be dashed, again. Disappointment is terrifying. They’ll stop us from trying again, for our own protection.

So when we give our RAS more hope-filled focus, like imagining a peaceful world, a united government, a happier career, better health, relationships, finances, or a new adventure, guess what happens? 

Old beliefs surface, dragging their miserable movie reels from our past. 

Emotions boil up. It can be embarrassing to our “adult” self. But just let the little kid FEEL, and let the resistance and grief surface. It diffuses the voltage. It gives us a chance to feel compassion for our younger selves, and to question the manure we keep stepping in. 

Notice the old lies. Wipe the overdue tears. And smile. It’s been a long poopy path.

It takes courage to FEEL – it also births more courage.

Take a deep and satisfying breath in, right now. Ground yourself and allow Source, God and the angels, to flood your senses. Fill the emptiness. Empty the worry. Let Mother Nature envelope and breathe with you. Let your soul light pour in. Expand your rays, like the mini-sun that you are. 

When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’m giving my attention to what’s “wrong” and judging it, them or me. As I remember to shift my focus inward, breathe my energy back home to my heart and body, I can relax (or cry, if needed.) Then I have room to hold the larger light of Spirit.

If we broaden our awareness each day, by imagining the radiant bubble of light within and around us, expanding – we create a bigger playground. In that vastness, our heart opens. Or maybe our heart opens us to the vastness. Either way, our worries become smaller, after a few deep breaths, and one envisioning, several times a day.

We can invite in the Divine, even while we’re driving, walking in a parking lot, or waiting in line. Our attention, imagination, feelings and thoughts direct the Light energy that we are (which inspires our actions.) Our daily focus is a priceless power tool – the more we practice, the deeper the habit grows.

Tell new good-feeling stories about your life. Turn the past crap into fertilizer for the future. Let the fresh air of truth blow in.

Point your prayers in uplifting directions.  

Go for that walk, admire the sky, relax in the sun, cuddle with a pet, climb that mountain, do something new, read a good book, love your body, send healing to the globe, doodle, celebrate the signs, meditate, make a smoothie, do some spring cleaning, sit in the boundlessness. Marvel at it all.

The simple stuff … saves us.

May our hearts be broken open, in appreciation, for all that’s been given. 🎉 

Keep looking in, with awareness, keep looking out, in awe, and life will keep looking up. 💕

with lotsa love,

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When you sign up free, you’ll get four special lesson previews including Louise Hay’s full “You Can Heal Your Life” MOVIE, chronicling her journey from lifelong trauma and illness to healing, self-love and abundance. It’s very inspiring! 🎉

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Mother Nature’s Armagarden☘️of Weeds

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Hiya Hearty Tree Hugging Souls🌳 

Abundance is Mother Nature’s middle name. Her mantra. Her loving law. She blows my mind with the ongoing giving. And whether we mindlessly mow her down, pave her paradise and put up a parking lot, she sends her troops up from the depths. To shelter and shade us, feed us and breathe with us. What a gal. Cut, crush or whack her weeds, she keeps growing.

She’s made for-giving. 

Her Armagarden. To save us all🍃🌸

The weeds that our culture wages war against? I’m eating them, because they’re generously growing like, well, weeds! Can’t stop them! No work required. They’re totally tenacious and extremely nutritious. They aren’t put off by concrete, tarmac, mortar or brick. They grow right past pesticides, pollution and planetary changes. Gaia’s graciousness reminds me there’s hope, despite our copious misdeeds against Her and each other. Thank goddess she rocks the green arena.

A few years ago hubby noticed (read: complained) that I was joyfully gobbling our garden goodies, but I wasn’t helping with the maintenance. Busted. Frankly, it’s hard for me to weed. It’s challenging to bend my joints, but more than that, I feel guilty yanking out any growing thing. Who am I to decide who stays and who goes? (I sidestep this rule for poison ivy, however. Read my post here if you’ve ever tangled with that bioch.)

My weeding aversion brought on daydreams of a miraculous maintenance free garden. No tilling. No trouble. Just our Gentle Blue Giant offering a cornucopia of food – where all grows in harmony and I don’t have to argue with Eden🌎

It’s happening. 

Yellow wood sorrel – leaves, flowers, pods & stems all edible!

When I finally began Googling those indestructible “weeds” I found that a low-maintenance garden was already nipping at my heels. Dandelion, plantain, purslane, violet, lambsquarters and yellow wood sorrel (in the photo – the bright green ‘clover’ that tastes like sour apple – delish!) 

I started by adding 2 big leaves of dandelion to my morning smoothie. I braced for the bitter. But it happily blended with the banana. Next day I put in 5 big leaves. Still fine! I added a small bunch of sour wood sorrel. Awesome! I read about plantain and easily identified it (it’s EVERYWHERE.) I tentatively tasted it. Very fibrous with a slightly mushroomy flavor. I threw that in too!

Plantain leaves & tall seed shoots, all edible!

And all the while, hubby and I were still enjoying the smoothie.

I soon found a succulent weed called purslane, which I’d cursed over the years because it joyfully crawls along open dirt beds, minutes after you till the garden. I’d like to be THAT unstoppable. Purslane is another nutritional power-plant, with more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable. It can be added to salad, stir-fry, soup or smoothie.  

I kept adding more weeds each morning, getting increasingly excited by my low-maintenance, organic, FREE FOOD grown by the goddess. My daydream was manifesting. 

It didn’t take long before my anti-lawn-mowing campaign began.🌿

Bill was not on board. The increasingly overgrown look was worrisome. 

We compromised. The wondrous weeds got the witness-protection-program within the three garden beds PLUS the two hidden corners of the house (which had a prosperous overgrowth) PLUS I got dibs on a long patch of “lawn” alongside the house, which was making way for weeds. Everything eventually gives way to Pachamama’s powerhouses. And there is still plenty of lawn. 

How has our society gotten it backward? We plant grass, which we cannot eat, and we water, preen, pay and spray to keep that lawn luxurious. Meanwhile we battle the generous weeds which actually feed a vital hunger. 

Recently, I was just about to pull (cringing) a tall and lanky number out of the garden. But I stopped my unconscious rampage and consulted Google. 

Lambsquarters – young leaves are slightly silvery and soft. Bigger leaves pictured here.

No. Way. It’s edible. It’s lambsquarters and can be eaten like spinach! I have a garden of it. We’ve been unable to grown spinach nearly as successfully… and that was when we were TRYING. These sweet shoots are doing it pro bono. No problemo. I swear I hear them applauding me for throwing in the trowel.

“These humble edibles are packed with adaptogens—that is, they’re crucial to helping our bodies adapt to what life throws at us. Wild foods not only retain the vitamin and mineral levels that nature intended, they also carry critical survival information in their cells. When we ingest them, the wisdom that’s allowed them to thrive out in the elements becomes a part of us.” ~Anthony William, author & medical medium

Years ago, when I studied macrobiotics, I loved the idea that we not only get the nutrition of the plants we eat, but we also receive their radiant, invisible, indestructible life-force. Awesome. These wild delights have seen many, many seasons and navigated through drought, flood, freezing, scorching & mowing, but they still thrive. The plant DNA gets stronger and it passes its immunity & resilience on to us. To us! L’Chiam. 

What did we do to deserve this Motherly care and cooperation? Just by being born into a bod, we are worthy of Her love. We do not have to toil to earn it. Creation knew we’d need sustenance and support. Even though *weed shake Her off and refuse Her gifts – She’d still offer and celebrate the miracle of our life, like any loving mom. The miracle of animals. Insects. Weeds. And for all of us sweet heathens, we have a Mega-mama overflowing with love. And groceries for ingrates. 

This is purslane – leaves & stems are edible :)

Here’s the toxic look-a-like. Step away from the *spurge*

Before you leave – a note of caution – purslane has a look-alike called “spurge,” which is toxic (it causes vomiting etc – luckily it tastes so bad that people don’t tend to swallow it!) If you look at pictures on the web, you’ll be able to see the difference between the two. Both have reddish stems, but purslane has thicker leaves, like a jade plant. Spurge leaves are thin, lay flat and grow neatly across from one another on the stem. Some have central red spots. Double check and go slow. And, of course, before you start eating any weeds out of your garden or lawn, be sure you’ve positively identified them.

And then enjoy Earth’s lavish abundance!

My friend Kathy Kane sent me this tidbit – the word vegetable comes from the Latin vegetare: to invigorate. I can dig it!

We are surrounded by energetic abundance, and although some days it may feel like the cash flow is low, we’re actually rolling in the green 😀

Yours in tree-hugging,
garden-loving gladness,
☀️XOXOXO
Weenie Greenie Julie

Weeping Trees: The Healing Power of Nature

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The amazing Green Diva Meg at GreenDivas.com, has created a quick sketch video (one minute!) of me making one of my watercolor/calligraphy cards, so exciting for me! It gave me a whole new and fun perspective on my work :) I hope you’ll watch it!

Also check out a be-you-tiful online course for Mothers and Daughters at the bottom of this post. There’s a generous discount code for all Nothing Short of Joy subscribers :)

Now for our regularly scheduled program… ;) my blog post: 

%22The Tree Couple.%22One of our trees, a Weeping Grandma Cherry, is losing limbs, losing life. I’m embarrassed by the flood of emotion… and I find myself hiding the tears. As I catch my breath, though, there is so much more to the story. There always is.

My hubby, Bill, has been warning me about her demise for years now, but I refused to believe him. He’d first declared it without much compassion, as if her death was a bother. It would cost money. It might fall on the garage. It might hit one of the kids.

Grandma Cherry Tree

See her sweet face?

Year after year, I’ve sat and recharged in her quiet shade, gathering my heart, breathing out the overwhelm, breathing in the peace. I’ve smiled into her gnarly face wondering how to practice her stillness. Under her calming pink parasol, I’ve written out my hopes and dreams. I’ve wept out my fears, anger, and despair.

Today, I wept for her. For the mysteries. For the violence. For the journey. For my Dad.

So many sad goodbyes in life – to those who move where I cannot go. These deep rules of heaven and earth, hidden in the rough bark of life. They leave their love, clues, and gifts in our own backyard.

“Everything I let go of has claw marks on it.Anne Lamott

One morning last year, as I was letting our dog, Merlin, outside, I was crushed by the sight – our restless neighbor had chopped down the colossal lilac between our yards. I reeled back in disbelief. In sobs. Every spring I’d reveled in this lilac’s scented curls. I’d gleefully waited like a kid, for her bountiful blossoms. I’d placed gushing vases in the kitchen and the bedroom just so I could bury my grin into her glorious purple perfume. The blissful smell of God-ness.

I couldn’t look at my neighbor for days.

amber sapAnd now our treasured Cherry is getting ready to fly away. Poison Ivy is creeping up her trunk, as if she has already been reclaimed by a greater night. Her amber blood oozes out from craggily warrior skin. As I run my hand across her Braille bark, some part of my soul understands the big Book of hers. Her silence craves a home in me.

For seventeen years we’ve been held safe in this home, this yard. My boys used to touch the cherry’s soft sap, in wide-eyed amazement. And after it hardened in the sun, they’d run their fingers over it’s glossy smile. They’d tug on her leggy branches to make it snow petals on their heads.

“Vulnerability is a portal to a deeper power.” Chameli ArdaghOne Spring, back when my sixteen-year-old was four, the wind was kicking up a perfect petal blizzard. My boy took one look and scampered toward the back door. As he burst outside, the sun simultaneously came out from behind the clouds. I called to him, “the sun came out just as you did!” He yelled back, “yeah, that’s because it didn’t see me before!” Then he ran through Grandma’s pink waterfall, with arms and heart open wide.

He believed, quite naturally, that the Sun cared. For him. That the Sun saw. Who he was. That God placed the sun and the stars and old cherry trees, for us. And these things, pulsing with life, somehow love us, because Life loves us. My boy didn’t question the synchronicity that day. Why do I question my grief when I’m feeling adrift? When the world isn’t what I want it to be?

I realize I’m trying to hold on to what was never mine to keep.

%22Be like a tree, let the dead leaves drop. .....~Rumi

When I hold on tight, it hurts more. That includes feelings. When I ignore ‘em, they’ll spew forth at the most inappropriate people and places. They’ll create dis-ease. They’ll separate me from me, and me from you.

Rejected emotions, like abandoned
inner kids, need to be accepted,
heard and honored. No matter how
old or annoying. Tears calm the
inner tantrum and clear the mind.
They set the pain free so we can let go. So we can trust the circle of life, again.

Until the next season.

“You have to feel it to heal it.”Our culture teaches us, and especially burdens our menfolk, with the notion that vulnerability makes us weak. I realize that this is hogwash… but… I still find myself ashamed of my deepest feelings, even though I feel stronger after I’ve acknowledged them. Even though they make me the most real. They deepen my compassion. Our common humanity. They open us up and pull us together, where we belong. As one.

 Cherry Tree Spence

My oldest sitting in our Cherry tree

I’m such a sapling.

Fortunately, I’ve had a loving Mom who knew the truth about feelings. But even with her gentle encouragement over the years to “have a good cry,” I still resist. And then a few days ago, Grandma Cherry dropped a limb right near my youngest son and his friend. And the dam broke.

“It’s time,” Grandma seemed to say, “to let go. Of the sadness you’ve been stuffing. Let it be.”

%22Everything happens for you, not to you.Byron Katie

 

I walk toward our three towering Mama Maples, who solemnly bear witness with me, bowing to Grandma. We watch her from afar, as if we might catch a glimpse of some holy spirit leaving us. As if the quiet would give up her secrets.

I remember the mourning dove pair that perches together on her high curves, and the crow clan that loves to gab and laugh up there. I return to these natural joys, often, when the world seems off it’s nut.

I wipe away the last of my tears. I hope my neighbors aren’t watching :)

Then I picture, said neighbors, joining me, without judgment or shame, to circle around Grandma, around the confounding mysteries, around the people and the things we love so fiercely. Around the life that can no longer be. Around the Greater Love that will always be.

I imagine the earth’s light coming up through our feet. Lifting us. The world. Higher – above the pain and the losses, to the joy beyond them all.

I thank the lilacs that once loved us, trees that breathe us alive, kids that teach us, a world that needs us, and Dad’s and weeping Cherry’s that leave us… better than we were before.

WHEN I AM AMONG TREES

by Mary Oliver

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust, equally the beech, the oaks, and the pines, they give off such hints of gladness.

I would almost say that they save me, and daily. I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment, and never hurry through the world but walk slowly, and bow often. Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches. And they call again, “It’s simple,”
they say, “and you, too, have come into the world to do this, to go easy,
to be filled with light, and to shine.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wishing you
green, green meadows,
cooling shade,
summer fun,
and wide open sky…
~Julie
 

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MAIDEN
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