Tag Archives: gratitude

The Queen of Autumn: Leaf Piles and Present Moment Magic

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How beautifully leaves grow old(Originally posted at my Huffington Post Blog in 2011!)

As my neighbors grumble about the leaves covering their lawn, my boys wait wide-eyed, with mighty rakes in their hands. The time is here; our delicate Japanese maple has finally shed enough of her red robe for a ginormous leaf pile.

Our maple stands on duty, everyday, a quiet nanny to a neighborhood of fast friends. She stoops down low for even the smallest of sneakers to scale and reaches high enough for the bigger kids to walk on air.

As the seasons move past, dependable and reassuring, she’s alive in our photos: summer kids dangling like earrings from her limbs, green leaf stew at her feet. There are winter snowmen around her waist and a count down to Christmas in her ears.

But her infamous time of year is Now, when ruby-red leaves dance and drop from her skies. The dogwood nearby offers a generous contribution and the old oak by the street throws in her golden leaves. But no one is fooled. We all know who is really Queen of Autumn.

autumn maple n snow

Our autumn maple in an early snowfall, 2011

“We can rake now, right Mom?” my ten-year-old asks as he watches a squirrel tight rope through our bare maple. “Yup we definitely have enough leaves,” I answer, as he breaks for the garage. “C’mon Ky, let’s get the rakes!” My six-year-old scurries behind him, a bagel in hand, no shoes on his feet.

I grab my camera and step out front. Long rake handles appear first, bobbing above our front bushes, taller than both boys combined. As the work begins, our maple occasionally catches their hair in her branches or snags the wooden handles. Nothing inconveniences the boys, though, as they move with purpose and enthusiasm. Spencer tugs at the glorious crimson carpet, sweat beading on his forehead, as our maple exhales oxygen and inhales CO2 in a beautiful exchange.

From across the street, our twin nine-year-old neighbors, Manuela and Thomas, spot the fun and rush to join the leaf brigade. Thomas refuels the effort where Ky has petered out. “We can make a pile as high as the house!” he yells with glee. Spencer’s tired rake is reluctantly passed off to Manuela, who moves with invigorating new purpose. A monstrous pile is built.

autumn 1

Can you find all three faces…

My maple and I smile with motherly pride. Appreciating the present moment, I remember where peace and joy resides. “I jump first!” Spence yells. “Second!” Ky pipes in. “Third!” “Fourth!” Thomas and Manuela add. Our eight-year-old neighbor Danny suddenly runs into the yard yelling, “Fifth!”

I balance my smiling camera as Bill comes to enjoy the spectacle. Like our maple, the kids stand ready for the joy ahead, for snuggling in next year’s shade, for the long upward climb into adulthood.

We watch as Spence backs way up to begin his debut run. He takes off with a bang and then, with an enormous leap and a giggly shout, he dives head first into the autumn womb.

“Laughing is jogging on the inside

With laughter spilling around like sunshine, I feel reconnected with it all. The smell, the crunch, the gratitude for a world breathing in and out. I have the boys to thank. They won’t let their childhood pass us by too quickly. At least not today.

Soon our maple will be hailing the holidays, branches lined with elegant white snow. Although I may get distracted by the busyness, scurrying to get it all done,  I can count on our maple to etch our lives in peace.

In the years ahead, as our sons find new joy and work in this world, Bill and I want to be there with them, celebrating each new season of their lives. All the while we’ll remember the days of autumn leaf piles when friends and family (and an elegant Japanese maple) were there to steady our souls.

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

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

Let it go,

let it be,

for love,

XO

Julie

Can You Drink in Your Dreams? Are You Creating Fungus or Fabulous?

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What the heck can rice prove when it comes to the unimagined power of our thoughts, feelings and words?

I wanted to see it with my own eye balls. So my boys and I started an experiment in positivity, inspired by Dr. Masaru Emoto. Although our attitudes obviously affect our personal decisions and lives, here’s a wild illustration of how they ‘mold’ the world around us, as well. It blew me out the back door.

We took three small containers and put 1/2 cup of cooked white rice in each. I labeled one, Love Joy Peace. I labeled another, Fear Hate Stress, and the third was the control rice so it had no label.

The three containers sat on the same shelf separated by six inches or so. Each day we quietly sent the “Love rice” good vibes, thoughts and prayers. We sent the “Hate rice” anger, stress and fear (rather awkward to do.) The control rice was ignored.

I was surprised to find that suddenly I had doubts.

What if all the containers mold at the same rate? My boys will just stare at me sideways and think, that’s just Mom and her spiritual stuff. But after about six days (check out the youtube video progression) a small hunk of blue fungus appeared on the Hate rice. wOOt-wOOt! Holy mold. I’ve never been so psyched about decay. A few days later, a bit of blue-green graced the control rice too.

The Love rice was still rawkin’ white. Cool.

Another week past and the Hate rice was even moldier. The control rice had some mold but less than the Hate, and the Love rice was still holding strong with nada. Go love!

The Hate rice was soon host to an ominous tsunami – condensation on all sides and a doomsday grey fur on top. Whoa. It was a primeval forest of fungus and fear. It was amazeballs.

The control rice mushroomed some more pink mold and some blue, but nowhere near the ferocious growth on the Hate rice. It wasn’t until the 4th week that the Love rice surrendered to some pink ick on top and a brownish breakdown on the bottom.

What an incredible experiment!

My 13-year-old said to me, “mom, even though I’m a believer, I wasn’t sure this would work.” Aw, a believer. I told him I’d had my concerns, too. Doubt seems to be built-in to the forgetful human suit.

Yesterday I grabbed three sugar soaked donut holes and, one by one, mindlessly popped them into my mouth. Then I spotted the small sign I’d posted where the experiment used to be, “Remember the Rice.” Oops. So I took a deep breath and blessed my belly and it’s bounty. It made me smile.

Gratitude boosts our immune system, metabolism and well-being. It’s never too late to prevent an inner tsunami by chowing down on thank you, thank you, thank you. What’s the hurry, bless it all!

We need consistent inspiration and reminders of what we already know; the power is within us. When we’re numb, negative or uncaring we’re feeding ourselves rot, but when we’re mindful, hopeful and loving, we’re wielding the power of light.

For most of us, it isn’t whether we believe in the power of positivity or prayer (we do.) It’s whether we’ll remember to stop, take a deep breathe and implement. Slow it way down. Snap out of the race. Go against the ‘grain.’ Bless our grub. Pause and send love bombs. Smack some affirmations on our frig, mirror, wall or forehead.

I like to make co-creative-coasters ~ I take a sticky note & write a word like, “LOVE” or “JOY” or a phrase, “RADIANT HEALTH” or “FINANCIAL ABUNDANCE.” I take fat clear tape and cover the whole note to ‘water proof’ it (sort of.) It sits under my water glass daily. It sinks into my heart. Dr. Emoto has researched how “water listens.” Our words and intentions imprint on our world. So bottoms up. Drink in the dreams. Expect miracles . . .

According to the rice, what we’re being, believing and blessing is spreading the mold or the marvelous. What beliefs and feelings are you feeding your friends and fam? Your neighbors? What silent thoughts are you dining on daily?

Don’t succumb to fungus. You can choose fabulous!

 

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Seeing a forest of grace and greatness within you,

& always LOVE!

Julie