Gates of Hope

Photography by Terri Pouliot

“Our mission is to plant ourselves at the gates of hope — not the prudent gates of Optimism, which are somewhat narrower; nor the stalwart, boring gates of Common Sense; nor the strident gates of self-righteousness … nor the cheerful, flimsy garden gate of ‘Everything is gonna be all right,’ but a very different, sometimes very lonely place, the place of truth-telling, about your own soul first of all and its condition, the place of resistance and defiance, the piece of ground from which you see the world both as it is and as it could be, as it might be, as it will be; the place from which you glimpse not only struggle, but joy in the struggle — and we stand there, beckoning and calling, telling people what we are seeing, asking people what they see.”

–Victoria Safford

In the Moment

“The trick is to enjoy life. Don’t wish away your days, waiting for better ones ahead.”

― Marjorie Pay Hinckley

This is a tough one!

 

Photography by Tracy Sheppard

It’s easy to enjoy life when the weather is sunny and warm. Being ‘in the moment’ is no hard task when our walks take us on sunny paths and golden trails.

I adore hiking during the most beautiful part of the year, which is Autumn, in my opinion. All five senses become fully engaged and energized. The air even feels magical.

Hiking in the Winter? Not so much. As much as I try; I just don’t enjoy putting on layers upon layers of clothing, heavy coats, boots and gloves just to get fresh air and movement. Now, once I’m out there, of course, the beauty of the season is everywhere.

Depending on where you live; it can be a real challenge to ‘be mindful’ and in ‘the moment’ when our walk involves slushy, icy, and frozen obstacles. It’s difficult not to feel ourselves wishing it were Spring!

I’m working on this. How about you? I’m not perfect! Maybe you’ve nailed this part. Not me. It’s my challenge.

How often do we ‘wish away’ other areas of life? Parts of our lives that are as natural as the Seasons?

Hormonal shifts, aches and pains, struggles with weight, emotions gone wild, fading eyesight, and all the things that can come naturally with aging. Everyone ages in their unique way due to diet, lifestyle and their genetics. We can slow down the clock, which is great news. There are still those days life seems to ‘catch up’.  Those days require a bit more intention to become mindful over wishful.

How many days do we ‘wish away’? Do we run wildly through our week, wishing for the weekend? Do we stop and take time to breathe? Take a moment to ‘smell the roses’? Are we always wishing for something other than the present moment?   When we wish for ‘different’, we rob ourselves of happiness.

Let’s stop playing the ‘wishing game’.   We have no guarantee of tomorrow.

Let’s work on this …..together!

Being Still

photography by Tracy Sheppard
photography by Tracy Sheppard

“Finding a moment to sit and just do nothing can be very healing, transforming, and nourishing.”
–Thich Nhat Hanh

Perhaps one of the most difficult things to do, for many of us, is to sit quietly…doing absolutely nothing, but being STILL.

Yet, it can be so transforming. Empowering. Nourishing. Is it that we are so hardwired to be in constant motion? Do we feel guilty for taking this time all to ourselves? Please, don’t!

I’m not speaking of hours upon hours, here. Take 10 minutes. No distractions. No phones, emails, TV, or external noise. Alone with only our thoughts.

This is doable! We spend how many minutes watching mundane and utterly ridiculous TV ads over and over! So, don’t say you can’t afford the time.

You will be amazed at the healing power that mindful meditative moments can have.

There is no set time of day. Whatever works for you is ideal. Wherever you can find that quiet space is perfect.

Refresh and Renew.