What Happens When a 90-Year Old Remembers Something

Today I want to tell you a story about a 90-year old woman who remembered something.
And a nine-year old boy’s curious encounter.
Both stories happened during Postcards to the Earth workshops I led in the past month. In these workshops, we spend time outside following practices to behold nature, connect to our bodies, and communicate with Earth. Here’s more.
Jeanne, age 90, has had 5 concussions. Her mind doesn’t function quite right, and she rarely remembers anything from her past.

During the workshop, a beloved memory returned: she remembered playing in the mud as a young child while her father was fly-fishing. She spoke of the memory with such passion!

She had believed that her memories were gone.

“These memories are everything. This experience will live in my heart. Thank you.”
And then there was Jake, age 9, who encountered a single purple flower amidst a bush of pink ones. He tried to follow its long stem to find its source. When asked to write a message to the Earth, he wrote:
These stories remind us of how powerful memory can be as it enlivens the past, and the spark of curiosity that teases us forward.
Memories of favorite nature spots... wonder with what’s in front of us - especially in relationship to nature - connect us across generations. No matter our age, this interplay between past and future weave us into our place in the universe.
In this next month, ESPECIALLY if you are in a place where it’s getting colder and darker, here’s your challenge:
Once a week, set aside 15 min to be outside alone. No texting, facebooking, voice commanding, list making, note taking, phone talking, etc. Dress appropriately for the weather so you don’t lose stamina.
Ask your heart, what are you drawn to in this environment? Focus on choosing something in the natural world. Behold it. Be held by it. Observe it. Touch it.
Notice your breath. Notice your skin. What part of your body does it remind you of?
Stay with it past your first impulse to move on. What do you notice? Then move onto to another element.
If you accept this challenge, you will try this 4 times before I write again.
Rather than think of it as another thing to DO, know this practice as a place of respite. As a time to NOT DO. It will ENERGIZE you. It will HEAL you. It will OPEN you.
Are you in? These experiences are private, yet our human connection with nature is universal.

Would you be willing to share about your experiences? You can email me about your 4 practices here, or you can post directly to the Postcards to the Earth Community on Facebook.
Do you want to be in but are nervous about your ability to commit to this practice? Find a buddy and hold each other accountable. Sometimes this is the only way I can follow the changes my heart is pulling me towards.

If your buddy is from a different generation than you, you get bonus points :)
Have a BEAUTIFUL, soul-nourishing month!
PS – Know anyone who would enjoy this letter and practice challenge? Have a buddy in mind to whom you could be accountable? Please pass this along!




What I'm Learning from Hummingbirds

This summer I’ve seen more hummingbirds than I remember ever seeing in one season. I also learned to recognize some of their sounds – the strong buzzing of their wings and the high-pitched whir of a male's song.
This week, I read in a Barbara Kingsolver essay about how a hummingbird builds her nest. She describes this stunningly detailed process including laying down spider webbing, weaving in shreds of bark, and meticulously licking her nest into perfect shape.
Reading this reminded me of the power of details.
I had a dance teacher in Israel who said, “God is in the details.”
She was urging us to study the details in our dancing.
To create artistry, dancers train to observe the breath between the take off and landing in a leap, the involuntary gestures an elder makes while speaking, the focus of our eyes, the precise force in a push.
We learn to notice what so many miss.
When I’m in the dance classroom, I frequently focus on the details of the fingertips. Do they curl in? Do they extend? Do they face forward or back? Are they inviting or reprimanding?
How do your fingertips connect you to what’s beyond your body? Do they reach? Or pull?
These are the edges of your body. How do they facilitate connection? Or protect your privacy?
This week, notice how your fingertips move. As you reach and stretch, pay attention – can those fingertips open a little more? As you find yourself angry or withdrawn, how do those fingertips behave?
I also invite you, over the next few weeks, especially as the seasons begin to change, to notice new details in nature. I guarantee there are surprises for you in every inch of your daily travel.
I’d love to hear about your discoveries. Send me an email!
It brings me joy to write to you. Thank you for being with me on this journey into dance, the wild world, and our bodies, in service to life’s wholeness.
If you think of anyone who would love to read this, please send it along.
With heart,



The Power of an Eco Joke

I’ve been thinking about “tree hugging.”
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear that?
Is it, as a quick Wikipedia search revealed, “A slang, sometimes derogatory, term for environmentalists”?
Could it be the literal act of hugging a tree?
If you did actually hug a tree, how do you imagine you would feel?
It might not surprise you that I have hugged a tree.

Ok, ok - I must admit I'm not monogomous when it comes to trees. I've hugged many ;)
To be honest, as many times I’ve done it, I still can feel that when I hug a tree, it immediately turns me into the kind of person that our society shuns, outcasts, and labels as crazy.
All I’m actually doing is leaning in to something stronger, allowing myself to be supported, and wrapping my arms around something that is round and fits just the right way in my arms.
I’m pausing, yielding my body weight, resting, breathing, taking a break, giving in….
Sometimes the bark is rough; sometimes I stain my clothes with sap; sometimes I scratch my face.
Other times I notice just how GOOD the bark smells; I notice the critter crawling up an enormous tower of a trunk; I notice the soft, smooth white bark of the incredible western Aspen.
Two weeks ago, during the Boulder Creek CityDance - a sunrise to sunset event of dancing at different sites along the Boulder Creek – I led an activity where I invited people to do a “Yield and Push Dance” with trees. Here’s how the activity went:

  1. Find a tree (we were in a park, but this can be anywhere you feel comfortable to explore).
  2. Allow your body to completely yield and be supported by the tree. Try leaning in different ways, with different body parts, releasing the weight of your body into the tree. Sense how gravity impacts your body, the tree, and your relationship with the tree.
  3. Any time you want to move, do so only by pushing. Push with your hands, your head, your thighs, your feet. Push into the ground, the tree, a branch, another body part. Move however you like, at any speed, but only by pushing.
  4. Notice what kinds of movement happen. Notice emotions and images. Pushing can get tiring. Allow yourself to move back and forth between yielding and pushing as your energy allows.
  5. Allow yourself at least 10 minutes with this tree. Then try it with a tree of a different age and size.
  6. If you have someone who wants to explore this practice with you, try the “Yield & Push” dance with each other after dancing with the trees. Try out movements that you found with your trees. Use extra care and consciousness as you work with another human.

During the Creek Dance activity, people were scattered around the park, each person doing a slow dance with a tree. It was striking.

A couple of tourists biked by; remarking out loud in what I perceived to be a mixed sense of surprise and awe, “They are actually hugging trees.”
Last week, I was inspired by an elder who wrote this postcard to the earth:

"Seeking to make
an Eco Joke
I hugged you,
By the longing
My hug released,
By the insight:
You've longed for my hug
for years"

Why not give it a try?
Try the full Yield and Push dance above. Or keep it simple and hug a tree.

Notice what you notice.

Let me know how it goes by responding below.

If there’s anyone in your life, near or far, who could use a hug – please send this along.




How Our Inner Attention Pays Off

I missed you this month! I have to admit that two weeks ago, when I was scheduled to write to you, my deadline slid by unnoticed. My schedule is full this spring with teaching dance (click here if you want to read more about that), and I simply lost track of time.
I’m glad to be back!
Last time I wrote to you about winter wonder.
Well, it hit me again – this time from the warmth of my home during the big snow we had in Boulder this week. I marveled at how these tiny flakes of snow, falling slowly and simply, one by one, barely noticeable in the air, accumulated into piles and piles….and piles of snow.
Accumulation happens inside our bodies, too. You probably already know this when you think about cholesterol, or fat, or emotions. We know things build up inside.
Our practices – of gratitude, presence, wonder, observation, time in nature, breathing – also accumulate in our system.
They feed the parts of us that are programmed for connection, for rest, for being and belonging.
I have to admit that I haven’t been outside this month as much as I’d like. It’s cold. I’m busy. I’ve been prioritizing other things.
However, because I’ve cultivated some practices over time, I notice now how just a few breaths of fresh air, or a pause and glance at those naked trees, taken in with full presence, can bring me an inner re-set.
I wrote to you about accumulation last July, too, when my cottonwood tree seeds were falling on my deck turning into piles of pods. I likened it to the power of the messages accumulating in the postcard collection.

Your invitation these next two weeks is to notice what positive practices have accumulated in your system. What have you come to know and integrate so well that you hardly remember there was a time when you didn’t do/have/feel that thing?
This week celebrate your self-care successes, no matter how small, and share about them with one other person. If that person is me (or is also me), I’d love it! Send me an email.
It’s been a while since I shared a postcard. I spent some time with them this month - every time I sit down to read them, emotion swells. Here’s a couple that got me this morning, written by CU students in workshops over the past couple years:

"I feel like we don't talk anymore - I'm not sure if we ever did. Only in those still moments I'd be at the sea's shore and imagine I was (a part?) or realized how small I was at the crashing waves and grey water. We don't talk because I can't listen - I'm used to my ears picking up more demanding sounds, and I think part of that is in not allowing myself that time. I wonder how I do that when everything becomes black white grey - fast paced again --?  ...did you send a raven?"

"Dear Mama Earth,
I want to take some time to thank you for everything you do. The gifts you give are wonderful and beyond words. This world that you have created is something to be respected and cared for just in the way a mother cares for her child. Thank you for these gifts, in return I will do what I can to share what I know with others, to help them see and come to respect this beautiful, this world we share."




The Only Way to Truly Love Winter (if you don't already)

Happy NEW year! Indeed, it is another opportunity to look anew at the world.
It’s been quite cold here in Boulder, with snow on the ground and early mornings below freezing.
Even though it’s cold, earlier this week I took myself on a late afternoon walk. I bundled up, put on my boots, and started out for my favorite 30-minute loop.
The walk takes me down a bike path (we are lucky in Boulder), under a main road, then on to a small neighborhood park. The park is speckled with mid-life trees, casually arranged around the perimeter of the park, leaving open space in the center. A handful of willows and cottonwoods line a tiny stream neatly crossing diagonally through the park.
I was struck by how NAKED the trees are. Standing there, full structure exposed. How profoundly, unabashedly vulnerable.

I noticed how easy it is to see the branches and their pattern.

We know this “branching pattern” well. It is the pattern of our blood vessels and bronchioles; it is the pattern of rivers and streams across land; it is the pattern mimicked beneath the ground in root systems.
Here I am…    in the middle of winter…
taking in the sheer     *nakedness*   of the trees.
I realize          I’m      in         wonder.
Winter wonder.
Which reminds me of something one of my dear friends said to me years ago: “The only way to truly enjoy winter is to get outside, and be IN it!”
What are your winter wonder stories? How are ways you've come to love winter, especially if it isn’t your first inclination?
If you truly DON’T love winter, that’s ok, too.
I offer you a window to wonder today – watch for the naked branch patterns, the subtle colors of the bark, and notice what echoes in your physical structure.
Perhaps the subtle colors of your skin, the blue branching of the veins on your inner arm just beneath the surface, perhaps….?
If you notice something new, if something shifts inside you – even for a moment – I’d love to hear about it. Send me an email ( or post it below.
Wishing you winter wonder and a fresh, sparkling new year.




Digesting Life

Today I want to talk about digestion.  And tell you a personal story. (Be sure to read all the way through because I have an exciting earth-dance opportunity for you at the end!)
Every few months for the past decade or so, I’ve been experiencing on and off pain in my abdomen. I’ve always had issues with digestion, but these attacks would come on strong and the only way to shift the pain was a night of sleep. After multiple tests and a variety of professional opinions, there is still no clear or certain diagnosis.
I have made some dietary changes that have helped, and what I really want to share about is PAUSING.
In September, I started pausing after each meal.
My habit, I realize, is to a) not leave enough time to eat; and b) jump up while still chewing my last bite – on to the next thing.
This practice of pausing after I eat has really helped.
I close my eyes and focus my attention on my food falling into my system. Sometimes I can actually feel my food settling into my stomach. I often get a nice BIG BURP (haha!) It feels good :).
Lest you think I’m perfect and this comes easily, know that many times I still jump half way up with food in my mouth and have to force myself to sit back down to pause.
In this pausing, I have a moment to acknowledge my full belly, and all the fullness in my life. I focus on letting in the good. I can recognize that I have the privilege to have a belly full of nourishment. For that, I offer gratitude.
Why am I writing about digestion in the context of Postcards to the Earth?
Because this work is ultimately about slowing down, awakening to sensation, and making space in life to notice beauty.
Our lives are full as is; if we let in the news of the world, the fullness and devastation can feel unbearable and overwhelming.
The daily practices we cultivate with our bodies, and with our natural world, are healing balm for these times.
Pausing stimulates your nervous system to digest – yes, your food, and also your emotions, your energy, your life.
This week I challenge you choose one specific time in your day for a PAUSE. Go ahead, put it in your planner if that’s what you need to do to make it happen.
Pausing can be after a meal, a few breaths outside in the middle of the work day, a slow walk, lying down on the floor (I just wrote about this in my other blog – you can read about it here), etc.  It must be a true PAUSE – nothing to DO.
Are there ways you already pause in your day?
Once you’ve chosen your pause, tell someone you trust so you can stay accountable. You can tell me, too! Do share your experiment with our online community.
SPEAKING OF PAUSING…. My next email to you is scheduled for Dec 25. I’m taking some time off at the end of the year, so you’ll receive your next email letter on Jan 8. Enjoy the time to be with loved ones, and remember the natural world is always available for connection (even when other humans are not).
SUNDAY DECEMBER 20, 1:45-3pm: Flocking for Peace
Flocking for peace is an embodied movement for peace. We are gathering 50+ people on Sunday, Dec 20, in North Boulder Park to move together like a flock of birds with the intention of creating a unified field of possibility for peace on earth. I’m part of the leadership team which includes some incredible seasoned spiritual leaders, choreographers, activists, musicians, and other artists. Read more and Join the Movement on our Facebook Page. Open to all! No dance or movement experience needed.
Practice Session Sunday, Dec 13, 1-2pm in North Boulder Park at Dellwood & 9th. Meet in the southern most baseball diamond.  If you want to join this weekend and have questions, CALL me: 607-227-7422 (I likely won’t be on email before then).
Wahoo! Thanks for reading all the way through!  

May you enjoy a spirit-ful, joy-ful, pause-ful, peace-ful holiday season.




My Go-To Gratitude Practice

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m pleased for the occasion to write to you during this holiday week focused on giving thanks.
It gives me an opportunity to share with you one of my steady, go-to gratitude boosts.
Over the past year, I’ve been earnestly developing a dedicated gratitude practice.
That means…
…watching my mind, multiple times a day, to notice where it is focused.
…lovingly monitoring my mood and keeping guard against those little internal gremlins who want to keep me grumpy.
… actively cultivating habits that give me energy and hold me in more connection (because that’s when I feel more joy).
Here’s a practice that works almost every time to guide me back to a state of being genuinely thankful (which in turn softens & relaxes me while opening me to possibility):
Focus on what is already here that is good, positive, supportive, prosperous, & loving.
During this holiday season when nature slows down, turning inwards to conserve energy, your challenge is to:

TAKE TIME TO SLOW DOWN AND REFLECT ON WHAT IS ALREADY HERE THAT IS GOOD AND WORKING IN YOUR LIFE.  Breathe it in. Let it sink into your bones, blood, and brain.
Choose 5 of these things, write them down, and post them on your mirror. Then share this practice with someone you love. (Of course I’d love to hear how it goes! You can tell me about it here.)
If you’re having trouble accessing true gratitude, go outside for some fresh air. Try re-visiting that tree you talked to a few weeks ago :)
Here's a message from our postcard collection that overflows with sincere, heart-centered gratitude:
"Thank you Mother Earth; for I am grateful.
Thank you for the trees to climb when
     I need a new perspective.
Thank you for the peaks to summit
     when I need a challenge.
Thank you for the soil to till and plants
     to eat when I am hungry.
Thank you for the streams to fish
     when I need solitude.
Thank you for the rapids to ride
     when I want a rush.
Thank you for the forest when I
     need shelter from the elements.
Thank you for the diversity of life to ponder
     when my ego gets too large.

May your holiday season be peppered with many moments of meaningful, genuine gratitude.


PS - Know anyone who would like to read this today? Please share it and grow the gratitude network. Thank you!



Grief for the World is Normal

Earlier this week I received an email from an activist elder who expressed anxiety around the upcoming climate talks in Paris* and her fears that our world leaders will not do enough. She wrote that she can’t focus on inner balance when action is needed, then apologized for sharing her sadness.
Her experience touches a core struggle for many: How to be in peace when awareness and concern are in the forefront, dealing with big pain, then recoiling around an expression of sadness.
It makes me think of something I heard recently that immediately put me at ease:
“Free yourself of needing to be angelic!”
This proclamation came from Joanna Macy, one of my guides in this work of cultivating connection, during a workshop I took with her a couple weeks ago**.
What did she mean?
She meant: it’s OK, and actually COMPLETELY NORMAL to feel angry, sad, unsatisfied, worried, and helpless when you allow yourself to face the reality of the tumultuous issues of our time. Injustice, inequality, disrespect, abuse, and deception are rampant in all realms - human relationships with self, other, the environment; business; government, etc etc.
These feelings arise because we as human beings are, by default, connected to our world.
If we are truly connected, our connection feeds love; where we love, we are vulnerable to pain.

The postcard collection contains many messages expressing this pairing of pain and love. Take a look at our online collection.
The path to experiencing joy is not a pure ride of happiness. It involves acceptance and digestion of pain & grief.
My hope is that the re-connecting work we do via breathing, time outside, workshops, and other practices I offer through Postcards to the Earth, boosts us with love, support, and refuge to balance our fears, insecurities, and pain.
For these next 2 weeks, notice if there is someone (or something :) in your life who needs you to listen and be with them. And if you need this yourself…peek inside and see if you can find a way to ask.
In service of the true path to pure joy,

*Paris Climate Talks: learn more here and here
** More about Joanna Macy
PS – Do you know anyone who might be comforted or supported by this letter? Please share it in the spirit of this web of interconnection!
PPS – Looking for a speaker? I’d love to speak about environmental stewardship through connection, embodiment, and the themes you’ve been reading about in these letters. Thank you for sharing this work!



Inspiration = Breathing In

Last week it struck me that we, in the English language, use the same word for the thing that gives us creative energy and motivation as that which gives us life.
To INSPIRE is to BREATHE IN. The inspiration is the breathing-in part of our breath cycle.
This means (in the world as I experience)…. as each of us breathes in, we literally inspire life – our life, lives of other people, and life of the natural world.
In fact, as our inspiration gives us our own lives, our expiration gives life to plants.
I know we know this, but have we really felt it?

Sometimes it feels calming to me to experience life as just that simple.
Integrating the influence of many teachers (thank you, teachers), I put together this visualization practice for you on the idea of human/plant breath exchange.
This practice requires a beautiful intersection of our intellectual, scientific understanding to guide our experience (how oxygen and carbon dioxide flow), with space for allowing our experience to impress our minds.
May it bring you a glimmer of inner peace you're searching for, a taste of connection for which you are longing, or simply a moment of pause and pleasure in a busy life.
Mutual Life Support Breathing (3-30 minutes):

  1. Set up: Turn away from your computer, turn off your phone ringer. If possible, face a window or a live plant. Best is to go outside.
  2. Ground: Focus on the parts of your body touching the ground. If you’re sitting in a chair or on a bench, place both feet down (no crossed legs) and feel the contact with the floor/earth. If you’re lying down, focus on the contact between your back and the surface beneath you. Recognize that without the ground, you would just keep falling. Allow yourself to notice, then feel, the support.
  3. See: Make visual contact with a plant, tree, blade of grass – something green that is alive and breathing (green things sprouting up between concrete in the city count). If you cannot actually see one where you are, visualize something specific – a favorite tree from childhood, a house plant, a vine, etc.
  4. Feel: Close your eyes and feel your own breath. No need to change anything. Focus on feeling the way your body moves as you do nothing except observe your breathing. Begin to notice how the chest, belly, and ribs can expand and condense; how the skin stretches as you breathe.
  5. Image Inspiration: Visualize a stream of oxygen flowing into your lungs as you breathe in. Allow the stream to percolate your entire body, as the oxygen moves through your circulatory system reaching every single cell.
  6. Image Expiration: Your cells exhale; the stream of carbon dioxide returns to your lungs. As your exhale moves out of your body, visualize your stream of breath flowing to your plant. Allow the stream to enter the plant, percolating through its life support system to every single cell.
  7. Mutual Support: As the plant processes your waste to give it life, it releases a stream of oxygen that flows into you.
  8. Merge: Continue to visualize the breathing circuit between you and your plant. Allow the imagery to feed sensation; relax into the sensation. Open yourself to receive images, sensations; let your body lead the experience.
  9. Shift: As you are ready to shift out of the practice, come back to the solid sensation of your feet on the ground, of your body’s contact with its supporting surface.
  10.  See again: Open your eyes. Take in the light. Pause for a few moments before re-engaging with the next thing.

Suggestions for practice: Read the guiding points above all the way through, set yourself a timer if you have a short amount of time, then engage in the experience. You could also record yourself reading the guiding points slowly, then play them back while practicing.

Can you try this at least 5 times before the next post (2 weeks)?
As always, I’d love to hear about your experiences. Write about them below. If you try this with a loved one or in a classroom, how did it go?



Let's Take Bold Action

I don't usually dedicate an entire post to promoting something, but today I REALLY want to tell you about Bioneers.

Bioneers is a nonprofit organization that holds a national conference, attended by thousands, featuring visionary artists, scientists, activists, indigenous voices, educators, and entrepreneurs across all disciplines who are dedicated to innovative solutions for restoring our planet and our human culture.

This weekend, in California, brilliant people are gathering to problem solve, sing, discuss, and Do The Work. (It's happening at this very moment I'm writing to you! How awesome!!!)

Next weekend, Oct 23-25, Bioneers happens in Boulder, CO. It's one of over 20 satellite conferences around the country. The Boulder conference features re-broadcasts of national speakers and workshops with local experts and innovators.

Bioneers is one of my absolute favorite events. When I'm there, I feel stimulated, inspired, in complete awe, humbled, and most profoundly - like I belong.

This year, I'm sharing my Postcards to the Earth workshop on Friday morning, Oct 23, 9am-12pm. If you're here in Colorado, won't you join us? Details below.

Wherever you are, you can listen to the Bioneers radio series online or as a podcast. It is an incredible resource for information, ideas, positive examples of change, and community. Prepare to have your eyes and hearts opened wide!

Here are Bioneers presentations from two of my favorite humans: Joanna Macy and Paul Hawken.

Once you engage, I'd love to know your thoughts. What inspired you? What shocked you? Anything you found outrageous? confusing? challenging? What touched you?

These are CRUCIAL conversations. Post your responses below. OR email me. OR call me. OR talk to a friend. OR talk to a tree (if you missed my last post about that, you can read it on the next post below).

It doesn't matter as long as you engage, challenge yourself, reflect, and ultimately - ACT.

Join me in Boulder for POSTCARDS TO THE EARTH Workshop
Friday, Oct 23, 9am-12pm
Community United Church of Christ, 2650 Table Mesa Dr, Boulder, CO 80305
(the workshop is non-denominational)

Registration is Affordable: Register through Bioneers.
$20/day, $12/day for students, seniors, activists and educators. Free for CU-Boulder and Naropa University students. Multi-day discounts, student and senior discounts, youth scholarships, activist scholarships, and volunteer opportunities available.

Advance registration runs through October 20th. Onsite registration available.

Workshop is included in one-day pass for Friday or the three-day pass.

Workshop Details: Postcards to the Earth Workshop is a 3-hour, place-centered experience that cultivates interpersonal and community relationships. The experience is designed to develop and enrich relationships with self, earth and other through time in nature and artistic expression. During the workshop, participants will be guided in simple, accessible movement games to invigorate their bodies while fostering a sense of play and safety within the group. Participants then spend time alone outside in the natural world, followed by the artistic activity of crafting and writing a personal message to the earth in the form of a postcard. After we create our postcards, participants have the opportunity to share their messages through voice and movement in a nurturing milieu. Participants will leave with enough information, experience and guidance to facilitate a simplified version of the workshop with their students, colleagues or community. All materials are provided; open to all ages and ability.



How to Keep Your Sanity

Have you ever talked to a tree? I mean for real – out loud, with your own precious voice?

As an adult?
I was at a workshop this summer where a man in his 60’s, who is a devoted steward of the planet, talked out loud to nature for the first time. He had been scared, embarrassed, and afraid that he would be "crazy" if he actually did it.
I understand that fear of being “crazy”. I’ve felt it many times.
Yet for me, talking to nature is the absolute way I will NOT go crazy. And I’m not alone.

I recently attended a literary panel on nature where award-winning authors discussed philosophies, strategies, and examples for enhancing the connection between humans and the natural world.

One note of advice from Marc Bekoff, author, scholar, and animal behavior expert, was, “Say hello to the trees!”

So, in case you are shy, introverted, socially awkward, nervous, or afraid of rejection, here are some conversation starters that I've used (I haven't been rejected yet ;) :

  1. Hello.
  2. How are you today?
  3. What do you see?
  4. What are you thinking about?
  5. I could use some guidance. How do I handle...(name any problem here)?
  6. You look so beautiful/ugly/tired/alive/dead/lonely/strong...
  7. What can I learn from you today?
  8. I see you’ve lived a looooong time. What’s your secret to old age?
  9. How can I help you?
  10. Thank you.

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART: After you speak….
Let me know how it goes.



Spines, Birthday Parties, & Care

Last weekend, at a Postcards to the Earth workshop, we were exploring the movement of our spines: "Move your spine side to side like a fish," I said. "Now, move it like a diving dolphin."

We happened to be doing this at a very VERY busy park.

Less than a stone's throw away, children's music played and families played games at a little girl's birthday party. Kid's soccer games were scattered throughout the park. Parents and children chased each other every which way around the grass, playground, and party shelters.

And there we were, practicing slowing our bodies down, sitting quietly with trees and stones and grass. And writing postcards.

It was challenging.

The experience highlighted potent questions for all of us:
How do we turn our attention inward amidst the busy-ness of daily life?
How do we commit to our intentions (projects, goals, life qualities) when it seems that everyone else is doing something different?
How do we dedicate time to slow down and connect, when our culture is driving us onward?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on these questions below!
(PS - don't get me wrong - I love to run around and play in the park, too!)

Here's the message on one of the postcards from the workshop, from a woman deeply engaged in earth-centered work:

"Dear Earth and all of the lands, waterways, air, food that have sustained me, my living~I want you to know that you are always on my mind. I see your beauty, texture, sparkles, colors, shapes. I see how we have carved into you, taken from and depleted places you have made. I love you and will always work to protect you! I want to help people Remember and CARE for you."

Visit our events page for information on upcoming events and workshops.

To engage more with our projects: 




Margaret's Porch Swing

I am inspired.
Recently I received an email from Margaret, a woman I used to work with when I lived in upstate NY.
Margaret told me about a new experience she is having in relationship to nature.
She recently installed a wrought iron porch swing in an unusual and under utilized place on her property – tucked underneath her deck. From there, she can witness the woods behind her house.

She describes this new location as a sanctuary for her. She writes about a change in her sense of time, a surprising awareness of the sounds of the forest, and a potent inner peace.

 Margaret happens to be an exquisite writer, so here she is in her own words:
“It is hard for me to sit still in a chair for very long, but somehow when I sit in the swing gazing at the woods, I lose all sense of time. The stressful focus on time that directs each day...simply melts away. Lulled into mental stillness by the motion of the swing, I become tuned in to the early evening and nighttime sounds of nature--the birds, the crickets, the chipmunks--that go unnoticed when I am busily attending to "life." In my swing, I am no longer oblivious to the symphony of natural sounds; they become a fascinating conversation on which I am eavesdropping. How is it that I never noticed how noisy the woods are?!"
I’m inspired because this story exemplifies:

  • bold action
  • shift in priorities
  • change in awareness

With rapid results of:

  • slowing down the perceived pace of life
  • sense of peace
  • mental stillness
  • wonder
  • appreciation

Which one of these would you like more of in your life this week?

What simple step towards the natural world could you take that might gift your desire? Tell me about it below!



Failure...and 4 Antidotes

Do you ever have days, weeks, or even months when you feel like a failure? Where you failed to meet a goal, made a tangible mistake, or just feel overall inadequate?

I’ve been having a week like that.

Failure #1: I set a goal that I would spend a minimum of 1 hour a week outside before I wrote this letter. The same thing I challenged you to. I did not do it.

Failure #2: My Postcards to the Earth email stopped working out of nowhere 2 weeks ago (if you wrote to me and I did not respond – that is why!). I still haven’t fixed it.

Failure #3: I bought a gift for my sister weeks ago that is still sitting on my desk. My other sister sent me a gift that I have barely opened and I neglected to tell her I received it. My mother sent me 2 boxes of my things, which I had asked her to do, and for 2 weeks they have been sitting in my basement, unopened, and also without an adequate expression of gratitude.

Failure #4: I woke up late every morning this week even though I have TONS to do. My body hurts so I feel like I must not be doing enough to take care of it.

Below I will share with you some antidotes for failure that I practiced this week.

But first, why am I writing about failure in the context of Postcards to the Earth?

Acknowledging, recognizing, and experiencing failure is a painful and real experience of those who shift their lives to act on behalf of the earth. As we become more aware, we are able to perceive places we have failed as a species. We may feel our own failure to act responsibly, such as choosing to drive 3 minutes when it’s a beautiful day and we could have biked or walked (yes, another thing I did this week). Or ordering our favorite take-out even though it still comes in Styrofoam containers wrapped in plastic. Or flying frequently when we know the enormous fossil fuel footprint of an airplane.

The thing is, environmental failure is impossible to escape. Bill McKibbin, activist, writer, and founder of environmental organization, writes, “Since all of us are in some way the beneficiaries of cheap fossil fuel, tackling climate change has been like trying to build a movement against yourself.” **

We may even feel a sense of failure just reading about wounded places on the planet. Joanna Macy, world renown ecologist, Buddhist, and scholar, writes, “As part of this world, you contain the whole of it.”** In other words, we truly are all of the same fabric.

Bottom line: failure is inevitable. It is woven into our psyche as humans. It is a harsh truth of our times.

That is why we MUST cultivate antidotes for our failures, starting inside ourselves.

4 Antidotes for Failure that I practiced this week, as related to my actual and perceived failures mentioned above:

Antidote #1: Mind Shift: Focus on what I DID do.
I went for an amazing 2-hour hike, alone, early in the morning. I challenged my stamina, rested and connected for a while, and set some powerful intentions.

Antidote #2: Just Do It: Take Ownership & Face What I Don’t Understand.
By the time you are reading this, I will have called the web people for support and (hopefully!) fixed my email! I want to communicate with you!

Antidote #3: Self-Compassion & Patience.
My family knows I love them. I am doing the best that I can. They will be happy to receive the gifts and gratitude whenever they come.

Antidote #4: Focus on Beauty.
I put on a nice dress, jewelry, and did my hair even though I will be home all day by myself. I’m sitting outside under my gorgeous cottonwood tree. I have the postcards next to me. I am breathing.

What is a failure you experienced recently, and what are your antidotes?

Especially amidst the complexity of these times, in honor of effort, intentions, failures, and successes, let’s keep falling more and more in love with ourselves, each other, and the earth.

Bill McKibbin, "Global Warming's Terrifying New Math", Rolling Stones Magazine, July 19, 2012.
Joanna Macy, World as Lover, World as Self. 2007. Parallax Press, Berkeley CA. Pg 28.

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People in Melbourne are Emailing Trees

Along the theme of connection, today I want to share with you a link to a project related to the theme of Postcards to the Earth.

In Melbourne, Austrialia, people are writing emails to individual trees.

The article begins with this example:
"My dearest Ulmus," the message began. “As I was leaving St. Mary’s College today I was struck, not by a branch, but by your radiant beauty. You must get these messages all the time. You’re such an attractive tree.”

(PS - I just looked up what an Ulmus tree is. If you see one nearby, post a photo of it below!)

The natural world is alive! Let's keep talking to it in whatever way brings meaning to you.

Postcards to the Earth will be at the ARISE Festival this weekend as part of Sustainability Village!  If you go, I'd love to hear about your experience and/or see pictures! You can share them below.

If you haven't been to our website in a while, check it out! Our Events & Workshop pages have been updated, and more photos will be coming in over the next couple weeks.

Enjoy the glories of summer! I have a goal of spending at least one hour of uninterrupted time outside - hiking, sitting by the creek, laying under a tree - each week before our next newsletter. Who wants to join me in that goal?



5 Simple Practices for Connection

As I develop my relationship with the natural world, I find myself feeling more connected overall. So today I put together this short list of simple practices for cultivating a more vibrant sense of self - via earth connection.

  1. Breath: As you breathe, imagine, feel, and recognize the reality that every breath is an exchange with the plant world. On the inhale, breathe in the oxygen that is here because of the trees; let the natural world - the "outside" - come in. As you exhale, breathe out the carbon dioxide that feeds the trees; let your body - the "inside" - move out. Every breath is an exchange.
  2. Observe: While you are waiting, perhaps for a bus, in line at the post office, or at the Doctor's office, shift your eyes to the natural world (even if through a window). Take a moment and watch the way the leaves move, or how the clouds are shifting in the sky. You can even look at the grass, or the way a "weed" has pushed its way through the concrete. Let yourself pause and marvel!
  3. Yield: Your body is being supported by the earth in every moment. Notice that when you stand, it is the EARTH that is holding you up! Even if you're sitting at a desk on the 12th floor in a mega-city, it is ultimately the earth, full of worms and stones and lava, that is supporting the structure you are sitting in and on! Isn't that amazing?!?!
  4. Step: Please DO walk on the grass! Even when there's a concrete sidewalk, sometimes I intentionally walk on the grass, rocks, pile of leaves, etc. Try it - it's fun!
  5. Stop & Smell the Flowers: Literally.

I'm curious...what simple practices do you have? In what ways do you find time to pause and connect - nature related or not?