Category: EcoSpirituality

What is Your Beauty?

What is Your Beauty?

White trilliums covered the side of the trail and the slope of the mountain. Wild phlox, their purple-blue blossoms bursting with color, mixed with the trilliums and created a mosaic of color. Occasionally white and purple butterflies lifted off flowers, appearing to be trilliums and phlox taking flight. 

Pink petals, the later stage of white trilliums, golden ragwort, yellow trout lilies, yellow and purple violets, liverworts, bloodroots, heartleaf foamflowers, mountain bellworts, dutchman’s breeches, louseworts, seersucker sedges, blue asters, thyme leaf bluets, twoleaf miterworts, Miami mists, showy orchis, dwarf crested iris…too many to name, much less count….covered areas of the remote trail and surrounding open woodland. 

At one point, I stopped and spoke to a flower: Your beauty is amazing! I stood admiring her and heard a question in return: What is your beauty? I thought just a moment and replied: My beauty is sharing your beauty.

I pondered the answer I felt and walked with it as a mantra, repeating and allowing clarity to come.

As I allow ‘doors’ within me to open, I become a clearer channel for love, for light…for beauty to move through me and out into the world. For a long time, I thought the doors had to open in the outer world for me to walk through; however, the flower taught me that it is the inner door that must open to allow in more light, more beauty. Then…the outer doors open.

My beauty is sharing your beauty–lovely flower, clear-water creek, moss-covered rock, wild elk, magnificent mountain, humpback whale…. The more I can open myself to allow your beauty to fill me, the more I can share with the world. 

Learning about Oneness from a flower….I highly recommend it.

Divine Madness

Divine Madness

Filled with beauty, I didn’t think I could receive any more. Yet a short distance up the trail, more cascading pools of crystal-clear, cold water greeted me. I stopped to gaze into the bubbling, churning whitewater as it leaped over moss-covered boulders. WOW, I exclaimed out loud. WOW!

A few weeks ago, the same area created the need to open myself more—to expand—to be able to take in the outrageous beauty. Like then, I stood there today laughing hysterically, tears forming in my eyes, and felt drunk on beauty, inebriated on the pure energy of this sacred place. I felt my body staggering as if under the influence of some potent cocktail; instead, my body, mind and spirit—my entire being—was in flow and balance with Nature, with all life. Completely at One.

The first part of the trail does not affect me like this. It is beautiful and wonderful there, but energetically it’s not as pure. It’s two miles up the trail when the real shift occurs. Fewer humans venture past that place so Nature is less tinkered with, abused or interfered with the farther up the trail one goes. 

There are places that I call Fairy Lands after about three miles. Tiny, white flowers carpeted the forest floor today as random boulders sat stoically among massive trees. The wind tossed the tops of trees and further up the ridge, a sort of roaring, rushing sound of wind through tree limbs created a stereo effect with the music of the creek.

The rare humans one meets up there are different than those that venture only a mile or so in and then turn back, having seen enough of Nature. Those that go further and commit to experiencing Nature are changed by visiting this special place.

I was surprised today when I had such a strong reaction. I expected the awe was used up when I visited it the first time. I thought it would be pleasant and beautiful; however, I did not guess that I would go through the same feelings I did before—discomfort that I couldn’t open big enough to take it in. Yet, as I listened carefully to inner guidance, I heard: Open your heart, breathe in what you see. When I practiced that guidance, a huge shift happened within and I experienced the inebriation of Oneness, of beauty, of the pristine energies of Nature that pushed me into a state of Divine Madness.

Taking It In

Taking It In

The beauty was absolute. I found myself struggling to take it in: gray boulders; clear, cold, rushing water; soft, green moss; trees standing naked in their late-winter/early spring anticipation; intense, crystal-clear, blue sky. 

I breathed and opened my heart. It was it challenging to create a space large enough, within myself, to receive such profound and amazing beauty.

I sat and allowed my mind to still. As I scanned my body, I discovered something akin to pain as I attempted to take in such bountiful beauty. In stretching on the inside, and releasing whatever blocks kept me from receiving, I moved deeper into communion, into Oneness.

So many times we expect our growth must arise from dark, difficult times. But what if inner growth can happen just as powerfully from experiencing good things, beautiful things. 

For many years I’ve asked Spirit, What can I do to make a difference?, I received the same two words: GO OUTSIDE. I challenged the answer, doubting the significance of how that could make a difference, yet it hasn’t wavered. I follow that direction more often as I have discovered that Nature draws me into deep communion with all life and helps me be grounded and present. If distractions keep me from the friendship with Nature, I get out of balance quickly.

Today, as I melted into Oneness, I felt intense grief arise for every moment I’m not in deep communion with Nature. I was in my natural state of being…in wonder and awareness of Oneness. I wasn’t separate from the water, rocks, trees, sky…until my mind took me out of that harmony and I felt that deep longing for home.

It reminded me of a story a teacher once told. He said he walked along the sea and saw millions of fish swimming, crying out in desperate need,  Water, water, water, water!!! Sometimes we mourn separateness while the only thing separating us are our thoughts. It’s here, in front of us, within us, all the time. Can we recognize it? Can we feel it? Can we take it in?


To dive deeper into Nature and the path it offers to wholeness, I invite you to pre-order my new book, Book of Nature. I opened myself for Nature to speak through my photographs and words as It guides us into deeper relationship with Spirit, ourselves, and all life. If you pre-order you’ll get free shipping and a matted 5 x 7 photograph from the book. Send money to a friend ($18 each) to my PayPal email:

My two editors….
Rock in the River

Rock in the River

One of the reasons I enjoy fly fishing is experiencing the deep connection I have to water. In particular, wading the mountain streams creates an opportunity to be totally present and viscerally connected to the clear, cold water.

With moving water and slippery rocks, it’s imperative to pay attention. A wading staff helps as does regular yoga practice, but it’s still very easy to succumb to gravity and the constant force of moving water to become more viscerally connected than I want. Wading with intention.

It’s not just intending to stay upright. It’s also purposefully noticing each rock, gravel bed, root, overhanging branch, movement under the water, insects hatching, and rising fish kissing the surface. Every part of who I am becomes engaged in the process known as fly fishing.

But to be honest, the time spent in the creek never feels complete unless I sit on a rock in the creek just to observe and breathe. Those are the sweet moments when I can let go and be present—meld into the elements and recognize the Oneness of all life.

This past Christmas day I delighted in several hours of visiting my favorite little mountain creek. At one point, my back began to complain and I felt compelled to sit on a rock. After securing the fly line and hook, I found a nice rock and commenced to enjoy true stillness of body and mind. As if often the case, a teaching began to emerge.

I noticed the rushing water swirling around the boulder, around my booted feet. How long have you withstood the force of rushing water? Look how connected to Earth you are. You let everything just go around you without being moved. You are an amazing rock!

My mind needed that lesson. Too often I allow the calmness and stillness I practice cultivating within my mind to be interrupted by thoughts that come and go. Ever since then, when I find my mind distracted or going down some ridiculous rabbit hole, I ask myself, where is the rock? I laugh and report, way back up the river. It’s a way to monitor the mental chatter and multitude of times that old habitual thoughts and worries take me far away from being grounded and centered; take me far away from myself.

The rock in the river has become a touchstone, pun intended, to see if I am present with myself or if my mind has wandered downriver to some swirling eddy filled with debris.