Inner Wisdom


Yes that’s me, meditating out on the Granite Park Chalet trail, about two and half miles in (or should I say, up).

This trail kicked my butt last year (twice) and I didn’t do any better with it this year.  Admittedly, I expected it to be easier this year since I feel like I’m in better hiking shape.  But alas, no.  This is NOT an easy hike.  It is an uphill grind for almost four miles and then four steepish miles back down.  Before I sat down to commune with myself and the universe I was winded and miserable, and I still couldn’t decide if I wanted to continue.  David, undoubtedly sensing that my ego was running amok (but I SHOULD be able to finish…!) suggested I sit on this log, enjoy the scenery (we are in one of the most gorgeous places on earth after all) and meditate a bit.

So I sat (Ahhhhh!), and looked around me and saw this:

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Then I closed my eyes, and started to meditate.  As a familiar feeling of peace descended on me, all the “shoulds” and “buts” fell away.  I had a knowing that my ego had indeed run amok.  I had stopped being present, and instead of enjoying the spectacular views and my spectacular husband I was fretting about why I wasn’t able to handle a decidedly strenuous climb.

Like many of us, I can struggle with tuning into what I really want.  I can be hijacked by feelings of inadequacy or competitive tendencies that drown out my inner voice, the one that is aligned with the me that knows I am good enough no matter what I “accomplish”.  And in that hijacked place I lose perspective and make decisions that seldom serve me well. Plus I’m not all that wonderful to be around.  In the quiet and stillness of meditation I gain access to my inner voice and my inner wisdom.  In this case I quickly knew that while I felt some disappointment that I didn’t have as much stamina as I would have liked, I was ready to turn around and enjoy, rather than dread, the rest of the hike and our day. And that’s just what I did.

As we made our way home, we were treated to some gorgeous scenery, and I was present for all of it.  Here are some of the highlights in pictures (for you Shannon!):


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And all is well.

But Wait, There’s More!

In case you were as bored by the Oscars as I was last night (really dreadful), I offer you another really great show from the beautiful birds in my yard.  My awards to go…

Goldfinch, for the best feeder dancing:


Taking a well-deserved bow:


Hummingbird for most dainty drinking.  Down…


And up!


And down…


And up!


Oh, and the hummingbird also gets a nod for best-dressed (those are REAL feathers!)

And finally the award for best “park and bark” offering…


Keep singing, my friend.

Happy Monday all!







Fun With Beads (Part 1)

And I Haven’t Even Made Anything Yet!

Today I picked up materials for making a beaded Kumihimo (my new addiction) necklace.  In the store there is one entire wall full of small tubes of seed beads.  I was particularly drawn to a variety called picasso seed beads.  They have a creamy finish with some color variation and no two beads in a tube are exactly alike.  I picked up about six different colors, and in preparation for making the necklace I dumped them into my bead spinner:


I was so entranced by this beautiful mix of color, and I kept running my fingers through the bowl just enjoying the feel of the beads.  Before I knew it, the necklace was forgotten as I grabbed my camera and got busy snapping pictures.   The sun was streaming in my dining room  creating all kinds of beautiful effects.  At first, all I wanted to do was get closer in order to see all the lovely color variation:


So pretty.  Then I moved into artistic mode, zoomed in further, did some cropping and voila:

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This way you can really appreciate the depth of color.  (The turquoise beads are not actually picassos but I needed little bits of zippier color for the necklace project). Next I zoomed out some and created a bunch of random designs like this:


I love the juxtaposition between the sharp focus and soft focus.  And for more optical illusion fun check this out:


These look like they are falling or floating, don’t they?  In reality they are sitting on their sides on a white countertop. Eventually I did make a small strand of beads and took a bunch of different shots.  Here’s my favorite:

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Oh my goodness.

Coming up–Part 2, The Necklace!

A Beautiful Morning Ritual



As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday show where Oprah interviews all kinds of successful people about spirituality, consciousness and the point of it all.  At the end of each show she presents an “original short” or five minute segment that focuses on ordinary people (as opposed to her famous guests) and their various spiritual and artistic journeys.

This week I caught an episode of the show, and Oprah’s guest was Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.  His inspiring commitment to running a company where respect and values are central has much to do with the great vibe we all get when we walk into a Starbucks.  In keeping with the “coffee” theme, the original short focused on the importance of morning rituals, and it got me thinking about mine and David’s.

Our morning ritual starts early and is something that we, as individuals and as a couple, fiercely protect. Our routine begins with coffee in our comfy chairs in the kitchen (the same chairs from the crossword puzzle post).  In fact, this ritual is so central that we don’t even have a kitchen table in our kitchen!  Good sweet coffee is something we both enjoy (our favorite is Seattle’s Best Dark Roast) and we’ve been known to take it with us even when we travel.

Cups in hand, we sip, we look over e-mail, we puzzle and we chat.  From my chair in the kitchen I can see the sun come up and I’m often treated to some pretty stunning views.  This morning, before we headed out for our daily walk I took some photos of a particularly wonderful sunrise.  In the photo above, the sliver of moon and one solo star is so lovely.  But the real drama was all to the east:


Wow. So breathtaking.  By the time we headed out the door for our walk this was gone.

I’ve written already about the great energy in Sabino Canyon, and David and I feel our best with daily exercise, but the most important part of our morning walk is that we are doing it together.  At different times of the year we aren’t able to get out together (too dark) and we miss starting the day connected in that way.  We seldom miss an opportunity to express gratitude for each other and all the beauty that surrounds us.  Once we get home David usually whips up a refreshing smoothie which we enjoy  before we start our respective days.

For us, the morning ritual creates feelings of connection and peace which stay with us for the rest of the day.  It’s a good thing.

A Mini Milestone

On another note, this is my fiftieth (!) blog post.  I can’t believe it, but WordPress tells me it’s so.  I’ve loved putting these posts together and continue to be intrigued by where this blogging journey will take me.  Thanks to those of you out there who read, comment and give me feedback.  I appreciate it very very much.