Gratitude | dedication to the small things

In December of 2015, my perception of life forever changed. The serious and simultaneous illnesses of both my mother and father uprooted my sense of security and challenged nearly everything I believed in. It caused me to ask questions I had not yet asked and to open my mind to things I had not ever considered. Things that I had never noticed before suddenly appeared clear as day and ideas that I had not ever thought of began to occupy my mind. That year was life changing, to say the least.

During the intensity of it all I found myself retreating into nature. I believe in God, yet have never found sanctuary in a church. But as God resides in all things, I felt nature was a good place for me to find God, when I needed him/her so much.

Through those winter months, when I felt so much stress, worry and anxiety about so many intense and unbelievable situations I could not control, I found relief in nature. Nearly every day, I lay among the trees on the cold snowy ground no matter the temperature, and didn't leave until I felt better. And to my immense relief and amazement it worked every single time. I would start out feeling like a tight ball of unnameable awful feelings, and before I was frozen I would leave peaceful, restored, centered and grounded. And all these years later I finally know why... because through Nature we can reconnect to ourselves. I became very familiar with those trees and I swear they offered me healing each time I was there. And I took it, gratefully. And that is what I needed to get through that experience - to reconnect to myself and to God. Same thing.

By summer, things had settled down a bit in my family's health, but they has not settled in me. So many unacknowledged feelings and fears that had been set aside for later surfaced, wanting to be dealt with. I really felt off, overwhelmed, totally out of sorts, all while trying to raise two young and busy boys and actually enjoy my time with them. I wasn't though.

One day in June, we went for a quad ride on the trails near our home. I walked with my camera for a while not sure what I was looking for, but letting my heart lead me (though I recognize that it at the time). I knew what I was looking for when I found it.

Wildflowers. Wildflowers everywhere. I had just never noticed them. My eyes opened to their existence and beauty and I couldn't get enough of them. They taught me to notice the small things. To take gratitude in the small, easily overlooked, seemingly mundane things in life. The more I noticed and appreciated them the more beautiful they became. I photographed every single one big enough for my 50mm 1.4 lens to focus on decently.

I turned them into 5x7 note cards because I wanted to share their beauty with as many people as I could. To bring their small overlooked amazingness to others to enjoy as much as I did. These flowers got me out of my head and into Joy that summer, which is exactly what I needed. I found so much joy in photographing them wherever I traveled, searching for the plant in a wildflower book and learning it's common and Latin name. It became a summer long project that repeatedly brought me back to the feeling of Joy, exactly where I needed to be, and I slowly processed my emotions.

Since then, nature is the place I return to again and again, with any problem or trouble I have. I walk and/or photograph my way to insight and reconnection to myself - to God, to clear out what I don't need anymore and discover new wisdom I do need. 3 years later, looking back, it seems clear now.

Nature is one of the greatest healers there is.

There is wisdom in everything in nature, and this wisdom is just waiting to be discovered. It's personal, intuitive, gentle, loving, and supportive. And I want to help as many people as I can to access this for themselves. The greatest pain I see on earth is disconnection from the self - nearly all, if not all, negativity stems from this. If we were all truly in tuned with ourselves, felt worthy, knew what we needed and gave that to ourselves guilt free, made choices that honored ourselves, each other and the earth, we would overfill with so much love and enoughness and all that would spill out onto everything we do and choose - this world would be an entirely different place.

Big dream? Yes. And it won't ever happen if we don't take the first step. And that step is being willing to reconnect to yourself. Being willing to see that you might just be worth it (yes, you are:). That you matter enough to be seen by yourself.

Many of us felt unseen and our needs unmet as children, and that continues into adulthood as the unwillingness to see and meet our own needs. But you can change that. By seeing yourself, even if it feels like no one else ever has.

What do you need? If you are used to living disconnected from yourself that is a hard question to answer. You've suppressed your needs for a long time, tossed them aside for later, or disregarded them as unnecessary or irrelevant. Because that's what someone else told you once (because that's what someone else told them once), and we all took it for truth. That's all a lie. Thank God.

Nature always offers us the space to reconnect. There is currently so much scientific evidence for the validity of nature's healing power, but all you have to do is spend time there and you know it's true. You don't need "proof" - your "knowing" is more than enough. Coming from a very evidence-based profession that was a big shift for me to make. But it's true.

There is not enough regard for the validity of intuitive knowing presently, but truthfully it's one of the greatest gifts you have and your birthright to use it. It's simply, but sadly, become a muscle we've unused for so long we've forgotten we even have it. Thankfully, it is so easy to reactivate and reconnect with this sense in nature. Being in touch with your intuition is essential for being reconnected to yourself. It's your internal GSP and can and will guide you through life when you begin to hear it and trust it again. Trusting in it builds more trust in it.

Nature is a potent mirror for us and full of intuitive insight. I am constantly amazed at how much can be seen if we pay attention. If we open our eyes to what we may have previously overlooked. My first experience with the wildflowers taught me to pay attention to the small tings. To find joy in the small moments I've overlooked, and from that shift in perspective I created more joy in my life - which lead to me feeling more joy and sharing more joy with others, and letting go of s few things that didn't bring me joy. In a time in my life that was filled with sadness and uncertainty, nature was there - I found God and myself in her.

Here are a few wildflowers from that special June afternoon. I dedicate this blog to Nature and I will share the insights I intuit from my continuing journey with her, and my camera as my mirror. <3

Thank you for joining me! <3


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