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Falling into Fall

Falling into Fall

Relaxing into the flow of it

The know of it

Even if parts of it

remain unknown.

Unknowable

Indefatigable

Unreasonable

Unseasonably

able

capable

allowable

receivable

welcomed within

with

thankfulness

and

peace.

Subliminal

in the liminal

Folding into the inner,

inter lands

Okay, your turn:

What is it about Autumn (also known as Fall) that you welcome into your experience with heart and arms wide open? What is it about this season (besides an overabundance of pumpkin spice, ha!), that you could do without? What does it mean to allow truly the leaves to change their color without resistance? Is there something you’re trying to ‘hold on to’ beyond its natural time?

I invite you to share your observations, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2022 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

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The trees provide

The trees provide

without prompting

without expectation

for one

for all

of us

to prosper.

The rocks endure

the passage of time

and wayward travelers

lost inside.

The rocks ask no questions

The rocks tell no lies

The peaks await your arrival

your ascent

your stay for awhile

to admire the view

and take in the breeze

that swells around you

holding you in place

if only but for a moment or two

in time and space

and then descend

you must

along the way

the very way you came up

with a different view this time

and an awe-filled heart

all the same

all the way

down the mountain.

The trees wave

as you step by step

walk by

all the way down.

At the base, the ground says

hello

welcome back

how’d it go?

Okay, your turn:

Having spent the weekend in the Sierras with a supportive, wonderfully playful, and wildly creative group of co-adventurers who like to hike, I couldn’t help but share with you a poem that I was inspired to write as part of that experience. What in nature speaks to you?

I invite you to share your observations, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2022 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

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A moment of repose

A moment of repose

As we approach another changing of the seasons

and a close to the year

I pose

this question

to you and for you

to consider

In a moment of reflection and repose

I suppose

It’s not too much to ask

Not too much to request

and suggest to myself

and to all who will receive it

That we take a breather

and embrace the stillness

the isness

and

the ever-available forgiveness

of the moment.

For your consideration:

Among the hustle of the holiday season, may you set aside a quiet moment of reflection and repose? Heck, set a timer for 22 minutes, if you must.  Yeah, okay, that may not sound particularly spiritual, but it works!

For me, this holiday season so far has been one of deep study and stillness amongst the storm of society, external influences, and seemingly endless unrest.  I go within, where all is well. I invite you to do the same. Let your soul be your guide.

Okay, your turn:

Would you rather plow through the holidays, making lists, and checking things off the list, going back to the list, checking the list again, and on and on? Or, would you rather smile at the joys of the season, the light, the shimmer and the glimmers of hope? What you see is what you get. The light is what you are.

I invite you to share your observations, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2021 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

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Wash away

Wash away

Wash away

With the tides

all that no longer holds us

in our victimhood

 

All that is too salty

too painful

in what was once upon a time

an open wound

 

No longer open

But now healed

and firmly held

in abundant love

and full forgiveness

 

No longer open for business

Closed for the winter

not to be reopened

not to be left gaping

or oozing

for attention

 

Smoothly soothed over

Encased in the promise

of an oh perhaps not always familiar 

sheath of protection

translucent and glorious

in the natural light.

For your consideration:

During these times of global as well as for many of us local, uncertainty — in both the physical and political realms — it begs the question for each of us to consider:

What does this mean for me emotionally and spiritually? Where in my own life have I been met with uncertainty and challenges that may trigger previous wounds?  Have those wounds been healed through my physical and spiritual growth?  Am I willing to accept that healing and embrace the current (and future, because there will always be more) uncertainties and challenges from a place of healing and not open wounds?  For me, the answer is yes.

Okay, your turn:

What does it mean to you to read words like these? What, if any, emotions arise for you?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2021 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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The new normal and the value of patience

The new normal and the value of patience

 

The new normal

The old normal

What is normal, anyway?

 

Different styles

A unifying approach

To the pandemic guideline

To wear a face covering

When out in public

For essential life preserving tasks

Such as grocery shopping

 

On the sidewalk

Along the length of the parking lot

We stand dutifully

Six feet apart from one another

Prompted by orange plastic traffic cones

Marking our spots

As the sparsely populated parking lot

Is unusually quiet

And shopping carts are handed off from one person to another without

Touching each other

The shopping cart exchange looks like

A passing of a baton in a 400 relay race that we

Won’t be seeing in the 2020 Olympics

Until 2021

 

I watch this going on

As I step forward when prompted by the attentive

And helpful grocery store clerk who keeps order

Along the line of shoppers

Waiting their turn

 

Oddly scenes juxtapose for me

As they appear in my awareness

 

For example, as I step together, pause

Step together, pause

I remember the times entering a church

In a wedding procession

Or the times I waited my turn

In a congregant line to receive communion

 

I feel a deep sense of poignancy

And notice an even deeper sense

Of patience

Which is not normally a strongsuit

 

Normally…

Huh

 

What is normal

What is new about this new normal

I have time to consider this

As I stand in line

For my turn

To enter the grocery store

 

Mask on face

Heart on sleeve

 

Quiet

Reverent

 

In no rush

to enter

the store

 

And yet

happy

to

receive.

Okay, your turn:

What does the new normal mean to you?   What are you noticing?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2020 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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Forced oneness

Forced Oneness

COVID-19 doesn’t care where you’re from

It doesn’t check for your passport

Or your citizenship

Or your next of kin

 

It doesn’t ask whether you have the new state-issued “Real ID”

With the special star symbol on it

 

COVID-19 doesn’t care how great you were

Or claim to be

Or whether you will be great again

 

From everything we know so far

It doesn’t attack plants

Or rocks

Or dogs

Or cats

 

It doesn’t go after

The winged ones

Or the finned ones

Or the creepy crawlers

 

COVID-19 attacks us as a species

It seeps into us as a human

It takes over our respiration

(Maybe it’s time for a re-SPIR-ration).

 

It forces each of us to come to terms with the fact

that

we are truly all in this one together.

 

So, to whom do you turn as your trusted news source?

Yourself

Your mind

Your discernment

Your wise judgment

Your body

Your heart

Your spirit

Your inner knowing

 

If it sounds like a duck

Walks like a duck

It is well, you know,

A duck

 

And so it is.

We’re all in this together.

Don’t lose heart

Or common sense

Which seemingly is not so common

Right now

After all

 

For your consideration:

Despite the challenges, and even because of them, this pandemic provides an opportunity for each of us to take a humility break.  Let us be sensitive to what unites us rather than divides us. It’s what first responders do. Take heed. Let’s all be first responders. As humans. Let’s reSPIRate.

During this time of the stay-at-home directive in California, I’ve found myself giving the flowers and plants in my garden a little extra attention and tender loving care. And, the rainbow this morning appearing as a semicircle of rays of light above the roofline during the early mist reminds me that not all things beyond our control are unwelcomed.  Even in the most trying of situations, there can be much beauty to behold.

Okay, your turn:

What does the phrase “forced oneness” mean to you? Is it an opportunity, or a curse?  Or, is it something else altogether?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2020 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Wholly holy night and day, into the light

All that is holy

With this season of holy nights and holy lights illuminating the darkness and lighting our path, we await each new dawn. We emerge into the day’s light, having risen from our moments of respite and retreat.  I write this symbolically and yet from the physical realm, too.  The deeper the well, the deeper the water; the deeper the reach down fully into the source.

At this, the final new moon of 2019 and among the few remaining nights and days of the 2010s, we are each about to step across a threshold from one decade into the next.  It’s a time of high energy and high holiness.

All are sacred

All are holy

Are we wholly holy?

Yes

Does our wholly holiness show up wholly?

Not always

 

We focus on the season

We can focus on a lifetime

Well spent

Well enjoyed

Well served

Well shared

Deep from within

our own well

 

Our whole selves…

 

Sacred

Sacral

Sacrificial

Sacrum

Consecrated

Chamber

Heart

Night

Day

and

Light

again

For your consideration:

As we leave behind 2019 and cross into 2020, I wonder this: What’s on the horizon?

What is it that you hold most high? Most holy? Will you express it? Wholly?

I invite you to set a timer for 11 minutes, take three long deep breaths, close your eyes and allow an image, a word, a phrase, a feeling of what the next decade will represent for you and how you will move through this new decade as we approach that door, our front foot resting serenely and confidently upon the threshold.

Okay, your turn:

When you hear, read, or contemplate the word “holy,” what comes up for you? Is it tied to a particular holy-day, or a certain season?  It is something to which you aspire? Do you bring it into your interactions at work or other communities, with your family, with your friends?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2019 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Thankful for the bounty

Thankful for the bounty and all the riches

Stemming from the Latin bonitas, meaning “good,” bounty refers to all the goodness that one harvests. This week is an ideal time to consider the bountiful riches in our lives.  Take a moment to reflect on the abundance all around. There’s richness in all the planet provides, naturally.  There’s richness in personal connections, and love. There’s richness in faith, spirit, and confidence in the greater good, and in everlasting beauty. Even in those moments when we may feel less than bountiful, consider the pearl that emerges honed, smooth, and polished by enduring the repeated friction against it.

Let us give thanks for all that mother gaia provides us, and all that sustains us.  Let us give thanks for our daily practices AND our daily bread. Let us give thanks for each other, and our resolve to see the light shine against every darkness.

And, let us trust that more is yet to come. That’s faith: Faith in the unseen. Faith in the seeds planted below ground that they will reach the surface. Faith in the sun and the moon rising and setting and rising again. Faith in yourself rising, experiencing setbacks, and rising again.

For your consideration:

In what ways have you incorporated thankfulness in your life?

I still send in the mail handwritten Thank You cards, in business and personally. I suppose they stand out even more in this digital age. I hope so. I like envisioning that, even if but for a brief moment, the recipient stops to read the handwritten message and knows that I send along kindness and my gratefulness to them.

So whether it’s this Thursday, or at some other time during the next few weeks, I invite you to:

Say grace

Offer grace

Receive grace

Be grace.

Be heartfelt

Be genuine

Be sincere

Be thankful

Be true.

Count your blessings.

Make them count.

 

Okay, your turn:

What traditions, if any, resonate most with you during this time of year?  Is giving thanks a regular part of your daily life, or do you tend to focus on it only on certain occasions?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2019 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.
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Leaving something better than you found it

Restoring a place to its original habitat

On a recent Saturday morning, I joined a group of about 50 volunteers to help restore the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve in Playa del Rey, California.  Our mission was to clear an area about the size of a football field of overgrown foliage and remove the nonnative plants.  This in turn, as our group leaders advised us, would serve to restore the area to its original ecological balance and to retain ecosystemic harmony in the region.

During the introductory talk, the representatives from the Reserve explained to us that the thousands of bird species who migrate from North to South each year have lost many of their natural water and food sources, due to humankind’s disruption of the native plants and the injection of nonnative plants from lands far and wide.  This has also adversely affected the living patterns of butterflies, caterpillars, snails, lizards, and a range of insects who would otherwise be contributing their ecological benefits in a more thriving way to this area.

Making an impact: visible and lasting results

By thinning out the overcrowding of plants, and removing stem by stem the nonnative ones, we created breathing room for the native plants to catch some air. Throughout the course of a few short hours, it became more and more readily apparent that we were truly making an impact. I could see as well as feel the difference we were making, moment by moment. As I looked out across the patch of wetlands we were assigned to help restore to its natural beauty, the plants seemed to look happier and it was if I could hear them saying: Thank You.

I was also struck by how much the same could be said about us as humans, too. We seem to be a species rarely content to enjoy the breathing room, with the ever increasing “crowding” of our days filled with back to back scheduling and activities.  We don’t seem to have a switch that tells us automatically to “leave well enough alone.”  If humans over the centuries hadn’t disrupted the natural ecosystem, there would be nothing to restore in the first place.  Yes, we volunteers that day were leaving this area “better than we found it,” but that was only because the humans years before us had left it worse than they found it, whether intentionally or unintentionally. It takes a certain level of conscious awareness to be good stewards of our land and surroundings.

For your consideration:

Each of us, individually and in groups, can make a positive impact by volunteering even a few hours of our time to improving the land and space near and around us.  Take a few moments to write down a list of volunteer organizations or events in your area – select something between now and Solstice.  Maybe you will visit someone in a hospital or other care facility?  How about volunteering at an animal rescue organization?  One time I felt the urge to clean up a local public park, and called up a friend to come with me – it was rather impromptu – all we needed to bring were a few garbage bags and away we went!

Let me know what you select to do.  I look forward to hearing all about it and witnessing the impact you’re making.

Okay, your turn:

Where in your life or community have you left your mark in a tangible way, that has created viable improvements?  Would you like to make more of an impact?  Are you committed to doing so?

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2019 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

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Planting seeds now and for well into the future

Planting seeds and envisioning orchards

In elementary school, our teacher often told the folkloric tale of Johnny Appleseed (whom I researched recently to find out was a real person named John Chapman — an early American colonist and missionary —  who was a member of the New Church of Christianity).

While details of his life and legacy are the stuff of legend mixed in with documented history, John Chapman (“Johnny Appleseed”) was known to travel throughout New England and into the Midwest, spreading apple seeds for others to grow apple trees on their land. It has been reported that he was quite the businessman and enterprising in that he followed the then law that prescribed that a person with 50 apple trees or more could stake claim to a plot of land as part of the early homesteading rules and regulations.

And his religious beliefs, stemming largely from the New Church’s forbidding doing harm to any of God’s creation, informed many of his day-to-day activities. He is believed to have built fences around apple trees to keep out livestock and other animals. It has been reported that he even helped heal an injured wolf and a hobbled horse.

Johnny Appleseed also was someone who made it his mission to spread apple seeds in a way that allowed apple trees to grow and the fruit to propagate naturally. He disfavored the intervention through the then and now common practice of “grafting” from one tree to another. Apples intrinsically have a wide variety of genetic variability. As such, not unlike a box of chocolates (an appreciative nod to the movie Forrest Gump), you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get. Without grafting, apple seeds are allowed to sprout into an array of unpredictable varieties.  That lends to them being hardier and more able to adapt to and incorporate their ever changing surroundings.  While less ‘standardized’ and less ‘consistent’ in their outcomes, non-grafted apples allow for the element of surprise and naturally occurring complexities to emerge from the mystery and manifest into form.

So, what’s the spiritual lesson in this, you may be asking?  I’d say it’s this:

Plant the seeds and let go.  Provide them water, soil and sunshine, sure; but otherwise, let them be.  Allow specific outcomes to remain uncertain. Resist the temptation to impose person-made alterations that prevent nature from enjoying its full expression and dare I say potentially quirky “imperfections.”  So, too, may it be with regard to your own dreams and aspirations.

With your desires, envision them coming into form.  And, then let them go.  Allow them to run their natural course. Don’t allow your over-thinking and over-manipulating to “graft” onto your dreams and drain the life out of them.  Don’t try artificially to “contain” the fruit of your dreams.  Allow them to adapt and blend into the naturally shifting conditions and environment.  That, to me, is what we mean when we say “to be in the flow.”

The analogies between personal development and spiritual growth, and growth in nature, are abundant. When I started to envision the topic for this particular edition of SOUL NOTES, I didn’t anticipate that it would lead me to the tale of Johnny Appleseed.  Alas, here we are.  There’s more to his story, as I know there is more to yours as well. Tales to be told, and shaped, reshaped, and retold.

The longterm impact and leaving a legacy

Johnny Appleseed also exemplifies that planting seeds in the short term can reap dividends in the long term. As each of us continues to grow in our own spiritual development, the world stands to gain from that growth.  As each of us plants our seeds of intentions, desires, and heartfelt aspirations now for the betterment of all, we help to provide for generations to come.  In doing so, we indeed stand to leave an important and loving legacy.

For your consideration:

Feel into your dream theme for this year, and determine what seeds you’re planting now so that they may continue to grow throughout the year into a strong and vibrant orchard, for you and for others to enjoy. You are the steward of that legacy. You are the gardener.

Okay, your turn:

What are you planting now, in the ground, in your life, in your relationships, and how you show up in the world?  Are there any seeds you’ve been keeping tucked away deep in your pocket so to speak, that it’s time to plant into the ground and to allow to grow out into the light? If so, what is it exactly that you are waiting for? The season is now.

I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

© 2019 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.