Nature’s Lake of Youth

Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet ~Thich Nhat Hanh

yosemite young lake sunset ~d nelson

Yosemite young lake sunset ~d nelson

Still feeling happiness & healing
from weeks in nature’s embrace,
a song is coming into form.

But, as it’s still ripening
I’ll share a glimpse
of last week’s Yosemite images
& a nature inspired song
written back in the 70’s
when I was a little younger, about 20.
I believe it was a proclamation
at the time
about not wishing to
live in a little box
on a hillside
made of ticky-tacky.

yosemite young lake

Yosemite young lake

My Insanity

The banging of the pans (against the backpack)
let me know I was alive
climbing up the mountain
searching for the sky.

Battered by endless concerns
when all they really care
is getting where they’re going
when it isn’t even there.

Shaking in the snow
stretching by the fire
wondering how far I’ve advanced
each night as I retire.
And you know
the good that I’m doing might not be seen
we’re all learning what we mean.
By getting away
I regain my insanity.

Melting snow to get a drink
by a crackling open fire.
Searching out surrounding hills
distant echo is heard
of wild birds who
call this mountain home.

A pack can get old and dusty
when it’s challenged by a trail.
But when I depart for society
my soul is still at full sail,
our soul’s are at full sail.

Shaking in the snow
stretching by the fire
wondering how far I’ve advanced
each night as I retire.
And you know
the good that I’m doing might not be seen
we’re all learning what we mean.
By getting away
I regain my insanity.

What’s your purpose?

The quality of our life depends on the quality of the seeds that lie deep in our consciousness. ~Thich Nhat Hanh from Understanding Our Mind

what's your purpose? ~d nelson

what’s your purpose? ~d nelson

In this most rare & wonderful life
what shall be our aspiration, dear ones?
This is food for thought
to be contemplated slowly.
Perhaps after an hour or two
of slowly ripening
please let me know.

Are you a do-er,
a be-ing,
a dream-er,
flower-fresh,
a musician,
an instrument,
awaiting a bath,
or rejoicing being
part of something much bigger?

Aside from enjoying
the wonders of life,
what is your purpose, dear one?

Future Freedom

Freedom is not given to us by anyone; we have to cultivate it ourselves. It is a daily practice… No one can prevent you from being aware of each step you take or each breath in and breath out. ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Every school child should know
that freedom is possible
only with responsibility.

teachers listening to each other

teachers listening to each other ~d nelson

Experiencing empathic, skilled teachers
offering methods of mindfulness to their students,
supporting their emotional & intellectual growth
makes me happy.
These skilled, happy teachers
are changing the world
helping make a future possible.

calligraphy by Thich Nhat Hanh

calligraphy by Thich Nhat Hanh

May these children grow
with calm, compassion in their hearts
and clear, insightful minds
with resilience for the world
that will have changed considerably
since I was their age.

It will soon be possible to view the full presentations given
during last week’s Mindfulness In Education Network’s Annual Conference
the MIEN’s website, www.mindfuled.org .
Until then, I hope you will enjoy the above three minute trailer,
Mindfulness In Education 2015 Conference Spotlight

Breakable Beauty

Paradoxically, we achieve true wholeness only by embracing our fragility and sometimes, our brokenness ~Jalaja Bonheim

d chihuly 8 ~d nelson

boats towards the other shore, d chihuly 8 ~d nelson

Dreamed of a way to offer
protection to you, my dear ones.
In this dream I ask,
“what if you were not affected
by a lack of, or excess amounts
of water?”
This prolonged drought
out west could not harm you.
Nor could high waters
from floods or risings seas.
Resulting social & economic distress
would not worry your breakable heart.

d chihuly ~d nelson

d chihuly ~d nelson

Upon awakening I realized
that manifesting most colorful,
earth & fire sculptured
water-independent beings,
devoid of life-giving breath
who would still be quite fragile,
created as much,
if not more, sadness
for us both,
despite such vibrant beauty.

d chihuly 2

d chihuly 2

Perhaps a rather silly
glassy-eyed dream.
I own it, it’s my dream.
And what dream of yours
offers visions of a happy, resilient
continuation for future generations?

Faced with possible disappearance
of 75 percent of animal species
within just three human lifetimes
during, what’s now called
a sixth mass extinction
presently set in motion,
dreams, even abstract-glassy ones
offer me hopeful energy.

Breathing in
I know you are there
alive,
a miracle
at the same time
I am here
& this makes me
very happy.
Offering nothing less than
my hand-blown
fragile heart of love
that all beings be from harm
now, & long into the future.

If we allow despair to take over, we have no strength left to do anything at all. That is why we should do anything that can prevent despair, including meditation… Because people know what is happening but allow it to happen and cannot do anything – there are so many of them – because they have despair in them, and they try only to survive. You can help them to sort out [what is] inside, you can help them to have hope, to have peace in themselves, and suddenly they have strength to come back to themselves… and that person will be an instrument for protection of the environment. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Fear Overcome by Love

friends supportively walking ~d nelson

Gasping to breathe,
to take that first breath.
Our original fear
overcome by being blessed
with a healthy, functioning body
& heart’s pure will to live.

retreat friends ~d nelson

Feeling my heart now
immersed in love.
Held by my friend’s love.
Grateful for the capacity
to love & recognize love
of myself & other relations
of the people, animal, plant & mineral world.
Offering my gratitude by sending out
loving-kindness, compassion & love
to my loved ones &
to all in the ten directions.

thank you for the food, the cooks, and all the conditions ~d nelson

It’s wonderful what being with friends
can do to one’s heart/mind
to help remind us of our capacity
of love to overcome the energy
of fear, anger & despair.
Using an opposite reaction,
go towards fear, rather than away
when recognizing unnecessary fear.
Overcoming ancient programming
with present moment skillfulness.
With the support of friends on the path
and a vast, loving heart,
fearlessness is possible
with each mindful breath.

mindful hugging

I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet around me
like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places where I left them
asleep like cattle.
Then what is afraid of me comes
and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings and I hear its song.
Than what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it
and the fear of it leaves me.
It sings and I hear its song.
By: Wendell Berry

When You’re Gone, Where Will We Bee?

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering.
Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

nature's sweet gifts

nature’s sweet gifts

If only my words could fully express the luscious taste, smell, texture, experience of fresh, pure honey. Used as an medicine by ancient Egyptians. Used as a fragrant sweetener and immunizer to me and countless others. Breathing in, watching the honey drizzle slowly down upon a piece of bread. Breathing out, tasting an intense blossoming of joy in my mouth. Feeling a rapid rush of energy throughout my body. How can I express gratitude for having enjoyed honey all throughout my life, while sharing to those of you in the future who may not ever have this experience. Honey is a miraculous gift of bees, and sadly, now the bees are disappearing. It’s being called, “colony collapse syndrome.” Mindfulness is always of being aware of something, and this is something that is happening in the here and now.

Since 2007, when beekeeper David Hackenberg first reported the disappearance of his bee colonies, the decline of bees has become more widespread. Often colonies of millions of bees gone overnight, with few dead bees found. Disappearing without even a trace. I am greatly concerned, as I’m sure you are, also. One in 3 bites of food we take comes from fruits and vegetables pollinated by bees. They are now importing bees from Australia and elsewhere to pollinate crops in California, as well as other agricultural states. This is not at all sustainable.

sunflower bees 3

sunflower bees 3

We can learn a lot from bees. They work in harmony and unity. Selfishly they perform their roles diligently, whether they are a worker or a queen. Being a female, matriarchal society helps explain their cooperation and nurturing.

Similar colony collapse was experienced in France. Research suggested that pesticides and other man-made chemicals were at the root cause. After certain pesticides were banned in France and Germany, bee populations began to thrive, again, within a year. In the US many pesticides are sprayed. But use of systemic pesticides is widespread. These chemicals slowly release their toxins throughout the life-cycle of the plants. As bees gentle dance and pollinate they are exposed. A probable theory of colony collapse disorder is the synergy of chemicals used in agriculture. Big agriculture seems to control power over leaders, and thus wise laws and regulations are not implemented. Yet, when our friends, the bees, are exposed to toxins, they die. It is also well known that farm workers have extremely high rates of morbidity and mortality. I hope I am doing enough myself, by not using toxins on plants. Not destroying the delicate balance of nature, intentionally or unintentionally. This is a prayer to those of you in the future.

sunflower bees 2

sunflower bees 2

Caring for the bees is caring for ourselves. I’m encouraged that many young bee keepers and farmers have adopted an ethic to work in harmony with the environment. We are now paying the real price of cheap food. This karma/cost is making the mother of us all sick. Mother Earth is resilient and many are able to hear her calls. In the sounds of birds, bees and climate’s new order of winds and storms.

Dear children, dear friends in the future, have you heard or seen a buzzing honey bee? How can I describe the taste of honey to you?

sunflower bees 1

sunflower bees 1

Go Fly A Kite!

Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

watch out 4 the barn ~e macdougall

watch out 4 the barn ~e macdougall

Voice on phone’s other end sounding weak & shaken;
she’d be unable to attend our planned rendezvous.
Efforts at consoling & reassuring
met with pained silence.
Even after decades I recall a feeling
of being told where to go.

When the 10, or so, year old boy
cycled toward me where my bike
was locked at the market, I smiled
until he got off & tossed his bike
right up against mine.
As politely as possible, I ask,
“what’s up with that?”
He unabashedly
told me where to go.

yes strings attached

yes strings attached

Walking to pay the water bill
at the downtown city building
a young woman timidly circles
flowing fountain’s waters, then sits
with her feet in dancing coolness.
Looking embarrassingly shaken
seeing me witness her picking out
meager shiny coinage tossed along its bottom.
I pull out all the change in my backpack
handing it to her, wishing her safety,
misperceiving she’s telling me where to go.

A good tired from my day out
with its realization
that with forgiveness
in my heart for those who
hurt me during this lifetime
& forgiveness for myself
for hurting others,
I became light as a cloud.

I’m now able to hear
where others have been
telling me to go all these years,
wanting me to find freedom
wherever I was.
May they, too,
& may we all
soar!

For a little music from Mary Poppins for your flight
click here