Posts tagged trees
Tap Into Your Natural Energy

When do you feel most alive?

It seems crazy to me that we have to think so hard about what makes us vibrate with positive energy, and yet until I took the time to focus inward and become aware, I didn’t have an answer to this.

I know from experience it is possible not to know. In my case I was always looking ahead and had lost my ability to connect to the present moment, and with it, my ability to discern when my mind, body + spirit needed rejuvenating.

Along the way my answer to the question has changed as I have grown. I used to think that helping others energized me, and it still does get me fired up at times, but I also recognize it can drain me if the person I am helping isn't ready to make real changes. If someone isn't ready, no amount of “helping” in the world can create forward motion. And when a person relies on a outside situation like helping someone else move forward to energize them, they are giving away their power to that outward focus. That is what I was doing. And it meant I was on a roller coaster. The kind of alive I am asking about in my original question needs to come from inside you, not conditional to a person or a situation outside of you.

So, when do I feel optimum, whole, balanced, and buzzing with intention?

I feel most alive when I have spent time in nature. Walking or sitting in the forest is my favorite, with my beloved trees.

How did I forget how important time outside was for me? I knew this as a kid. I spent endless hours of alone time in the woods daydreaming in the shade, searching for rocks in the tree-lined river, netting turtles out of the tree rimmed pond, walking the tree filled paths around our family cabin, or cross country skiing through the snow covered woods. I let my grown up life and responsibilities push aside my need for connection with the earth.

Yet a few years back even as I began to recognize my need to spend more time outside, I began walking with someone else, or I wore headphones and listened to music. Not exactly the best way for me to be present to the experience of being outside. Headphones silenced the sounds of the "now", giving me way too much time in my little bubble to overthink and talking with someone while walking isn’t very mindful either. 

What I needed was to tune into the sounds of the world around me, not to continue to tune them out. Noticing things like the breeze rustling through the top of the trees, hearing the birds chattering to each other from nearby branches or the scurrying of little feet in the forest, are what bring me back to the present moment. The sun on my face, wind in my hair, and quiet time with the trees grounds me, balances me and rejuvenates me.

I encourage you to find your own personal fountain of youth by tuning into what makes you feel more alive. Maybe next time your energy is low or leaking,  you should try taking a walk in nature and see if my solution works for you? If not, figure out what your own personal recipe to rejuvenation is. Once you uncover what fuels you make it a priority to do more of it!

Through the Lens

Traverse City, Michigan | Photo Credit: Terri Spaulding

I've been avoiding writing lately. I still think in words but they seem to be stuck just under the surface, not quite ready to spill out.

And yet I am still being creative, just not with my words. I am appreciating the magnificence of fall through the lens of my camera, maybe in a bigger way than I ever have before. It is as if I cannot stop the flow of gratitude for the beauty in front of me. Every day. Even when the sky is gray.

Although I have always deemed myself a "summer girl", fall seems to bring out the awe and wonder in me.

As the trees stand in their full glory, their grand finale before they are stripped bare for the long cold winter, I see their pride. Their strength. Their unique beauty. I begin to understand the many life lessons that trees have to share with us.

The ones about standing strong against the elements and about finding your steady inner center while still being able to remain flexible. The lessons about being able to provide shelter for those less strong, to hold space for them while they rest & lean against you, and not allow them to knock you over. The importance of finding power and passion in your own uniqueness, and being okay with the scars that make you interesting and different. And the confidence it takes to be stripped of all your outward beauty and still stand proud in the naked truth of who you are.

It takes my breath away the many things the trees teach me.

While my words may escape me at this time of year, the beauty of the world around me does not. I thought I would share a few pictures of the way I see the world.Through my lens. In hopes you will soon begin to see it differently, too.

North Lake | Baldwin, Michigan | Photo Credit: Terri Spaulding

Big Star Lake | Baldwin, Michigan | Photo Credit: Terri Spaulding

M-37 North of Whitecloud | Photo Credit: Terri Spaulding

Off M-37 Near Half Moon Lake | Photo Credit: Terri Spaulding

Farm on Fruit Ridge, Grand Rapids, Michigan | Photo Credit: Terri Spaulding

Scenic Turn Off M-37 North | Backwaters of the Muskegon River | Photo Credit: Terri Spaulding

Proof of my obsession with water droplets on fallen leaves | Photo Credit: Terri Spaulding

Even the brown leaves have their unique beauty | Photo Credit: Terri Spaulding

So many beautiful shapes, sizes and colors | Photo Credit: Terri Spaulding

There is nothing more beautiful | Photo Credit: Terri Spaulding

Perfectly unique | Photo Credit: Terri Spaulding

Does Your Schedule Have Any Unhurried Time?

Some Native American tribes call trees "The Standing People," these two sure look human to me. What do you see?

Balance is important in life.

Most days I spend time interacting with people, lots of people. Some need coaching help and ask for it, some don't. I meet new people every week who have a great sense of themselves, and I meet others who are lost. I've learned (sometimes the hard way) that a coach's job is not to "help" everyone they meet -- it is to assist those who are ready to find what is missing in their life.  

Part of being a good coach is being able to operate from a calm place; which is hard for someone like me who not only gets energized by others, but who energizes others. I can get incredibly fired up just talking to someone. Watching a growth moment unfold for someone else is like opening a present for me. Those moments of watching another person's eyes glow with self realization are among the best moments of my life. Helping others find clarity makes me feel alive, but the converse is also true. The ability to connect dots and draw conclusions quickly can be frustrating when you encounter people not quite ready to move forward --- it can be draining.

I am slowly learning that I need to keep my emotional distance and retain my personal balance in order to be fully ready to assist those who come to me for help.

One of the ways I have found  to restore my sense of balance is to get outside and be among the trees. Trees soothe and ground me, and reconnect me to my center of peace and calm. It is unhurried time for me, I need it, I know it and yet I have to work to build it in my schedule. Time with the trees has become a necessity for me.

My fascination with trees started at a young age when I would head north every weekend to our family cabin. It is surrounded by trees, sits next to a river and has virtually no human neighbors. As a first born I was often alone in the peace and quiet of the forest. The trees were my friends, and since it feels really natural to "talk" to them now as I walk amongst them, I am pretty sure I also did that as a kid. My love of trees has stayed with me all my life even though for years my control freak self took over and drowned out their effect on me.  

This summer of stepping back from that controlled life, and not working a full time job, allowed me to be among the trees again at my own cottage. It was there that I realized how much I had missed quiet walks (no mp3 player) listening to the magic sounds of the trees rustling in the breeze. It was there I rebalanced.  

Teaching yoga I almost always add tree pose to the practice. I find it personally grounding and believe we all need to learn balance. When I talk a class through tree pose I remind them of the beauty of trees, how they are solid,  and remain stationary at their roots yet flexible in their branches. Tall and strong from the ground up and yet able to bend with the flow of the wind and the elements or the weight of a squirrel in their uppermost branches.

When I mention that trees speak to me, I am not exaggerating. I chose the photo for this post because it is a beautiful representation of nurture. Look at how the big tree is cuddling the little tree (with the long legs). Reminds me of a momma and her baby. I cannot see this as just trees in the forest--it is an example to me of life. Whether I see a stand of trees or a forest of trees, or one tree standing alone, I see them as representative of the people I encounter daily and their challenges and strengths.  So many lessons to learn from them, so much clarity to glean from their wisdom. 

I will be closing my cottage this weekend and I will miss my trees. Knowing how important they are to restoring my balance, I will either find others closer to home to "talk" to and learn from this winter, or I will make the drive up to see mine. They are necessary to balance me and keep me operating as the best version of me. 

Question of the Week #43 / Where Do You Go to Restore Your Balance? 

If you haven't found a place, I encourage you to do so. We all need to create time and space to renew, rebalance, and recharge. See you in the forest?