My Lavender Harvesting ZEN. An example of a Zensory Experience in Nature. ZENs – fostering spiritual development in young children and adults. Connect with me to learn more about my ZENs project and mission! Facebook: Penned by LindseyAnn, LinkedIn: LindseyAnn, Instagram @pennedbylindseyann
In recent weeks, many exciting possibilities and opportunities have been presented to me. Some I have taken hold of like a ravenous beast in hopes of satisfying my soul’s hunger for food. Not just hunger for any food, though; hunger for soul food. A craving for clean, raw, pure food that nourishes, not just satiates. A voracity for sustenance that comes from philanthropic efforts of improving the lives of others. Nourishment that springs from a life of service to others. I have been craving this cuisine for some time. Saturday I finally received a meal so replete that I felt glutted upon leaving the venue. Let me describe this absolutely divine dining experience to you.
A friend invited me to attend a Gifts That Give Hope Alternative Gift Fair. Well, I have never been to such an event, but I was familiar with alternative giving, so I was up for checking it out. There are several Gifts That Give Hope events around the United States. Check out the link above.
Upon entering the venue, I was presented with a decorative paper gift bag that contained a “menu” showcasing 30 non-profits and the 3 entrees (gifts) each was featuring for the day. Once I stepped into the “dining hall” I was immediately presented with 30 bountiful tables each lusciously displaying their entrees of soul food. Aromas of pure passion wafting in the air from 30 tables of spiritual fare (information) and I could choose any or all of them to sample.
30 non-profits displaying tables of literature with representatives so passionate to serve me a dish of quintessential nourishment in the form of pertinent information relating to their mission, their goals and priorities for the upcoming year, their successes, their needs for volunteers and funds. Each non-profit fervently showcasing two distinct entrees (alternative gifts) and one common entrée served by all (open donation gift). An array of entrees ranging from “purchasing” alpacas, llamas, goats and chickens for impoverished 3rd world citizens to providing clean water, educational supplies, and housing for those in need globally. Entrees ranging from animal therapy to music lessons to bicycles and helmets to journey bags (for foster children) to weekend food backpacks for families in need.
Gifts designed for infants through adults, underprivileged individuals to special needs individuals, and everyone in between. All entrees (gifts) categorized into 12 cuisines presented as: Basic Needs, Education, Freedom & Safety, Strengthening Families, Women & Children, Sustainability & Self-Reliance, Equality & Nondiscrimination, Justice & Peacekeeping, Spirituality, Health & Wellness, Cooperation & Empowerment, and Caring for the Environment.
After 3 ½ hours of sampling each tables’ fare, I finally settled on purchasing 3 entrees from the cuisines of Sustainability & Self-Reliance, Education, and Strengthening Families, Women & Children. I bought 1 Moringa tree, a packet of vegetable seeds, and a general donation, all to benefit the 2 Seconds Or Less organization. 2 Seconds Or Less is dedicated to ending childhood malnutrition with sustainable solutions to hunger. They plant nutrition gardens at government schools and teach the children about sustainable agriculture. For more info visit 2 Seconds Or Less.
The Moringa Tree is a fast growing tree whose leaves provide a great deal of nutrition. The Vegetable Seeds Packet supplies a variety of common vegetable seeds for an entire garden. The open donation can be used for education or other priority that 2 Seconds Or Less deems
necessary. Three entrees sure to provide many meals for the children and families in Zimbabwe, while also satisfying my starvation for an abundant dish of soul food.
If you too find yourself enduring a starvation for pure, clean, and raw food to nourish your soul, served by attentive and passionate staff yearning to dish up a beautiful bounty of nourishment for your soul, I highly recommend this dining experience or one very similar to it. Trust me, you will leave the table feeling deeply satiated, energized, and passionate to share its bounty with others.
Several weekends ago I headed into the woods on what was to be the first stop on a local excursion to snap photos for the WPC Local (WordPress Photo Challenge), but I ended up spending hours alone, exploring the trails; immersed in nature; in solitude; in quiet.
There are three marked trails in this forested area and all three cross over and co-mingle with each other in various locations. Some are well groomed while others are more rugged. Some are even unmarked!
As I travailed through the forest all up in my head, I began to contemplate why an outing as this brings me such solace. I know myself well enough to understand that nature is a very healing place for me regardless of the season or the milieu. I am just as much a zen baby in the woods as I am at the beach. I prefer the beach in the off seasons than in summer and in early morning or evening (during the summer) as opposed to during the day. It is impossible for me to truly hear the ocean’s voice when it is drowning in the cacophony of human jabbering.
In the woods, it tends to be quieter no matter what the season. On this particular trek, I barely encountered a soul despite the beautiful day in Fall. What continued to bubble up in my mind was the sense of adventure that the forest gifts us. While many paths were manicured and marked, I tended to be attracted to the more rugged and unmarked trails I discovered. Why is this? Why do I gravitate to the path less traveled? The path unknown? What is it that I am searching for?
I’m not sure I fully understand why the more difficult trail appeals to me, but it probably has something to do with my love of solitude, and maybe even a need to prove to myself that I can navigate successfully on my own. At 54 one would think I should have this ingrained, but I guess I don’t completely, and I’m ok with that. Sometimes I actually do choose an easier route, especially so when visiting the quarry where I rock climb, but I digress.
The other realization and insight I gleaned from this hours long ambling through the wooded wonderland was the multitude of occasions upon which I ended at a crossroads. Which way did I want to go? Which path did I want to take? Which one looked less traveled? But yet, I didn’t want to miss anything hidden within the paths I chose to ignore. Now in this small forest, I can easily revisit and opt to explore the other pathways, even though they wind back around on each other. Not always so in life.
What have I missed by choosing the paths I have walked? Was there a lesson I missed? I don’t have any regrets on where I am in life or of the paths I have taken thus far. I am very grateful for what I have, what I have accomplished thus far, and for where I am headed. I like to believe that if I missed a treasure on a path I chose to ignore that maybe either I didn’t need to discover it or that it will appear on a path yet to be chosen.
So I will continue to find nuggets of inspiration and insight as I traipse through the forest, through life, and dare to go deeper into the woods. For there is where the real treasures are hidden, and maybe that is why I am so drawn to the darker, more rugged path less traveled.
People were created to be loved. Things were created to be used. The reason why the world is in CHAOS is because things are being loved and people are being used – Buddha
This is my Buddha. He faithfully sits on my hearth as a reminder to seek the silence often. His words and teachings so poignant today as they were when he first spoke them.