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
Looking to attend this. My soul is so filled by the cultural events and powwows of Native American celebrations. So blessed to have this site close by.
It has taken me a week to be able to sit down and write this post, not completely sure that I am comfortable sharing such a raw moment in my life. However, to anyone who chooses to read this, I hope that you will draw some inspiration and comfort from my experience.
Last week I hit a spiritual low. Snake’s belly low. Crisis of faith low. Pitch dark, sobbing, not able to catch my breath low. Clutching a pillow to my chest as if it were a life vest low.
A few words from a text, that in my heart I knew were false, sent me in a downward spiral to a place so dark. A place I’ve only ever been once before, about a year ago.
For hours I sat on the floor, death grip on the pillow, paralyzed by fear and doubt, desperately counting my gratitude amidst audible sobs and pleas for help. Questioning what I’m missing, what I’m not seeing. Am I a fool? Who do I think I am? Doubts, doubts, doubts and more doubts. Fear at its ugliest. Asking… no, pleading really… for awareness and clarity. Just hit me over the head if you must! What the #*@& am I missing?
Sitting with such pain and fear is necessary, according to Buddhist practice, for pain and fear are our teachers. And so I sat….and sat….and sat, clinging to what minute ember of faith I could feel, until I was at least able to begin to breathe normally again.
While clarity and strength took days to resurface, I managed to pull myself together to run a necessary errand. If I could have put it off a day, believe me I would have. But it was meant for me to do that day, and at that specific moment, no matter the emotional wreck I was at the time.
Still red-eyed from crying, and disheveled, I drove down the road toward my destination, and in the perfect timing that is Universe, I looked up into the trees along the side of the road and saw my spirit animal. A Red-Tailed Hawk.
- Digression – These hawks are very prevalent in my area, however, I never noticed them with any level of awareness until after my mother died, nearly 11 years now. Since then, I am aware of their presence and see them when I am in most need of reassurance and comfort. Just the day before I had seen three! The first was on my way to a meeting and two more on the way home from the meeting! Needless to say, it was a great meeting. Sometimes their presence is a surprise beacon, like just yesterday, and then I know that I am on the correct path.
Once home, I spent the remainder of the day perilously reaffirming my blessings, meditating, and focusing on my breathing, struggling to remain only in the present moment, mantras running through my mind, as if on auto-pilot.
Feeling completely shattered, fiercely wanting to retreat into hermit mode, I was mulling over canceling my training for the week. However, when morning dawned, I decided it might be beneficial to go and throw some heavy weight around. I did and it was exactly what I needed, add in some poignant therapy from the best trainer in the world!
More clarity came from sharing my breakdown with her, perilously keeping the tears at bay as best I could. At the end of our session, she summed up part of the crisis by revealing that I have not yet received any fruit from my arduous toil along this journey. That, and my spiritual fruit was less than fresh!
Aha, yes, I need a piece of fruit! Any piece of fruit. Even if it’s just a blueberry! A cherry! A raspberry! Could you please just throw me a piece of fruit! While I am waiting on the watermelon (I know to expect miracles) 😉 I am starving for any piece of fruit to sustain me until the harvest.
And now a week later, I am stronger in faith, yet still expecting a watermelon but asking for a blueberry, cherry, or raspberry while enlightened enough to know that another crisis is inevitable. For each crisis is necessary to break down the ego a little more in order to strengthen our spiritual connection.
This I must do alone. I retreat into the darkness. I sit with the pain and the fear. I beg, plead, scream, and cry until exhausted, when finally silence then speaks its truth. Expect the watermelon, but here’s a blueberry for now.
A friend with whom I shared this experience asked why I hadn’t called her, or anyone. My answer is simply that I must sit with this alone. It is my journey. My path. My growth. My test. My awakening.
We all will experience times like this in our lives, but we must not expect, nor allow, someone to rescue us from it. They are incapable and it isn’t their responsibility. Some may benefit from comfort from a friend, and that is fine. But we all must push through the darkness and emerge on our own efforts, spiritually stronger than before.
Expect the watermelon but be grateful for the blueberry, cherry, or raspberry to sustain you until harvest.
My chosen road is usually paved by dirt, sand, leaves, or sticks and meant for travel on foot. If paved with macadam and meant for travel with a vehicle, my road travels through the wooded wonderlands of nature.
These are some photos that have crossed my path from various media outlets. Others I have taken with my phone while trekking through the woods. Many have appeared in other posts on my site. Some are brand new. Each one has whispered a unique message to my soul. Enjoy!!!
Once again a young life leaves this Earth too soon.
Talents and gifts uniquely bestowed, now forever gone.
Love and admiration poured out on ears now deaf.
Do we share this love when ears still hear, when hearts are beating and open to receiving?
If no, then we must surely begin!
If yes, why isn’t it enough?
If yes, why are ears still deaf? The heart still closed? The soul still famished?
If yes, why do they their precious life extinguish? They their flame snuff out?
What are we missing?
What do we not see? Not hear?
What are we ignoring?
What are we afraid to ask? Afraid to hear?
Are we unprepared to answer?
Where do we begin?
What changes must we make?
Do we even care of the stranger’s life, now lost?
Vanished potential. Vanished passion. Vanished Solutions. Vanished gifts and talents.
Do we feel a deep remorse for the loss of a stranger, especially young, now forever gone?
Deep compassion must begin in us each!
For we are each a rare thread in the beautiful tapestry. A unique character in the awe-inspiring play. A particular instrument in the magnificent symphony.
Remove a thread, the tapestry is weakened
Remove a character, the play is incomplete
Remove an instrument, the symphony is off key
The masterpiece suffers, noticed only by the most attuned, yet all infinitely impacted.
Compassion, Connectedness, Vibrations of Love, may not be enough
Nonetheless, we must engage, for to not is surely death
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.