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Coming in from the fields

Coming in from the fields

In agrarian societies such as rural Ireland, the harvest time was and is a time of bringing in from the fields all that’s been growing there. You truly reap what you sow.

Some prefer the word Autumn to describe this season. I like to call it Autumn. For some reason, I love saying autumnal. Saying the word aloud sounds as it is…full and rich. Another term in even more common parlance for this season (Fall) refers to the falling of the leaves from the trees. And, you may have heard the phrase “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

On a recent road trip to go apple picking, I visited a small (9-acre) farm and walked their orchard. An abundance of apples were scattered on the ground beneath each tree. Nature naturally (pun intended) knows when to release the fruit once the stems gradually loosen their grip, and the fruit becomes too heavy for the stem to bear. Gently, the tree releases its ripened fruit. So, somewhat to my surprise, I found the apple picking excursion to be more of an apple collecting venture. I did reach up and nudge a few apples from some of the trees into my basket. What stood out for me most, however, was the subtle, refreshing fragrance of the apples wafting in the air as I walked the paths between and among the trees. I felt a certain kinship with the apples and the trees, and thanked them for their gifts.

Whilst in a poetic mood, I leave you with a poem by John Keats that so lovingly captures the splendor of the season:

To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
    Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
    With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
    And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
        To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
    With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
        For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
    Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
    Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
    Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
        Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
    Steady thy laden head across a brook;
    Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
        Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
    Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
    And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
    Among the river sallows, borne aloft
        Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
    Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
    The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
        And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

For your consideration:

As is often a theme here on Soul Notes, I ask you to take a moment to consider the lessons that nature teaches us, with each passing season. This Autumn, what are you releasing this season from your proverbial tree?  What are you collecting in your basket?  Any surprises?

Okay, your turn:

Share what are you harvesting. What are you bringing in from the fields? What is your bounty?

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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Today is your life

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

This phrase, popularized during the 1960s and ’70s has a nice ring to it, indeed. A catchy phrase, so to say. It’s a way of reminding us that we can start fresh, start over, each day brings a new dawn. It’s the latter part of the phrase, though, that can be confounding. The “rest” of your life, as in the remainder of your life, what is that, exactly? It’s unknown. It’s the grand mystery. The remainder could be years, months, or an instant.

Today IS your life, yes?

Sure, there’s the unfolding. There’s the becoming. There’s the planting, the cultivating, the growing, the expanding, followed by the harvesting and the fruits of our labor. There can be beauty, grace, lessons, and meaning in all of these. Heck, many a Soul Notes article has been devoted to these topics. In my own life, and in others’ lives, I advocate for the process of envisioning, and easing into the flow, and merging with the natural cycles.

There’s wisdom in setting sail and course-correcting with awareness and intention. It’s not an either, or. It’s an all-in. All-in this moment. All-in with all senses engaged. All-in awareness. Now. And again. And again.

For your consideration:

Here’s another popular phrase: “We have time to kill.” If we’re simply treading water waiting for the ‘real’ event to happen, then what happens in the meantime? It’s ALL in the meantime!

As the signs say along the tracks of the London Underground: Mind the Gap.

Living with awareness brings the present moment into focus. Living without awareness is a life, erm, not really lived — a life suspended, like a tolling of a statute of limitations. Don’t be that person. Be you. All of you. All the time.

Okay, your turn:

Rephrasing the ‘the first day of the rest of your life’ into: Today IS your life — When you read this, what comes up for you?

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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I think, therefore…I am…not present

Thinking is not being present

I think therefore I am. — Descartes (1637)

Latin: “Cogito, ergo sum”

What may be lesser known is this: Soon thereafter, Descartes revised his own saying, to: “I am, I exist.” (1641) Now, THAT’s the spirit!

When you’re thinking, you’re ‘mulling.’ You’re ‘somewhere else.’ Thinking takes you away from, or out of, the present moment. For more on this, refer back to this recent edition of Soul Notes, here.

Take the Olympics, for example. The athletes have prepared years if not even decades, yes. They’re in the best physical condition of their lives, also yes. They’ve ‘put in the work.’ Indeed. And yet, are they thinking much while they’re setting world records? Maybe. I suppose there is still some cognitive strategy at play. Are we thinking as we watch? Maybe, a little.

What draws us in as witnesses to these events, however, is the series of ever present moments. It’s the single points in time and space where everything converges. That’s where the magic is. That is when we are most inspired. That’s when we are in awe. That’s when we are all one.

For Your Consideration

If you’re not thinking, does that mean you no longer exist? This is not a rhetorical question. Of course you (we, I) exist! It is not our thinking which makes it so.

Okay, your turn:

As a carryover from last moon’s edition of Soul Notes, I ask you: Is thinking overrated? 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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Making second nature first

Second things first

“It’s become so automatic, I don’t even think about it when I’m doing it.”

“It is so ‘second nature,’ I could do it in my sleep.”

What if we put our second nature first? What if our second nature became our first nature?

When we say something becomes second nature, we mean that it’s not something we’re consciously aware of when we’re doing it. For example, once you learn how to drive a car, you’re not consciously aware of all the movements you’re making to drive the car, and to navigate from point A to point B.

It could also be something that we say we do by instinct — again, without really thinking about it.

“I don’t know how I reached out and kept that child from falling over the railing, it was just a knee-jerk reflex.”

In other words, it’s living from your subconscious. I wouldn’t say it is unconscious — it’s anything but that. Rather, it’s consciously living from what is there all along. Instead of relying on thinking to make it happen — we let the thinking take a back seat, and elevate the subconscious up to the surface.

We can invite it up and out to play all the time! Radical idea? Maybe. Worth it? Absolutely.

Is thinking overrated?

“I never gave it another thought.”

“I just did it without thinking.”

We say things like the above statements as if thinking is the central benchmark, the kingpin, the main yardstick by which to gauge our actions and experiences. Why have we given thinking such an elevated status?

Of course, in any given moment your brain never truly shuts off. It doesn’t completely disengage from your bodily functions any more than your lungs keep from expanding and contracting, or your heart stops beating.

It’s merely a part of you, and yet it’s not all of you. When your second nature kicks in — during any emergency for example — you bring your awareness into keen focus. You are bringing a blending in of all of you into and to that moment. You are one with the situation, each person in that moment, and truly one with all of creation. There are no boundaries real or perceived. I know this may seem trippy, and I assure you this is not a drug-induced blog post, if that’s what you’re thinking. What you’re thinking, see what I mean? We are a thinking-obsessed so called modern society.

For your consideration:

What if we allowed our thinking to fade into the mix of our lived experiences, almost as if we swirled our thinking into a can of paint, using a wooden dowel, and letting the thinking disappear into the whole of the paint? Would we miss it ? Or, would we simply allow it to swirl into the mixture that becomes the fully blended vibrant paint color? Did the prior paint in the can cease to exist, or did the new paint that was added in — did that no longer exist, once we mixed it all in together? Nope. It stayed. It melded. It only seemed to disappear.

We can step out of our thinking brain and experience all of creation in a 360-degree (up down, all-around) way. We can live life in a way that I would deem to be spherical.

I contend that our lives would take on a, pardon the pun, whole new dimension. I’ve been living this way the past few weeks, and it’s been wild as heck and soooo nice to give my brain a rest. I’ve been putting my brain on an ongoing moment-by-moment ‘time out,’ and it’s been wondrous. And, in living this way you’re never alone, because you are living from a place of being one with everyone and everything.

Okay, your turn:

Does this idea of living from what I am calling a place of spherical awareness — living wholly and completely from outside the thinking mind — does that appeal to you? Are you willing to give it a go?

I invite you to share your 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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April showers

April Showers

Showering me with

 

Raindrops on noses

and young sisters with kittens

 

Freshly washed sheets

and soft white flowing linens

 

Hung on the clothes line

out in the Spring air

 

With hopes that warm breezes

soon will be there

 

These are a few of life’s

wondrous blessings

 

so simple

so basic

and

yet

so

satisfying

 

For your consideration:

During the pandemic, do you find yourself all the more appreciating the simple pleasures?  I do. I have. I will continue, I hope.  I love hearing the birdsongs each morning, gently awakening me from my slumber.  The city din of rush hour traffic that is no longer rushing has given way to a clarity of chirping, instead.

Okay, your turn:

What about for you?  What are some of the simple pleasures you find along the way, during your day-to-day? I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences by leaving a Reply in the Comments section, below. Soul-to-soul!

 P.S. Poetry inspired ‘with a wordsmith’s twist’ by My Favorite Things and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

 © 2021 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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Time change awaits

Time change

 

Time marches on

 

And waits

for no one

 

Or, does it?

 

Daylight Saving Time

 

Are we saving daylight

or saving time

 

Both

Neither

 

What difference does it make

if at all

 

Who does the changing

 

We change our time pieces

 

Do we change ourselves

or our environment

 

Or simply do we “wind” ahead

or “back” an hour

depending on our geographic location

 

and the prescribed moment twice a year

on a Sunday

at 2 am

 

Has anyone told our bodies about this?

 

Why do the dog and the cat and the hamster and the guinea pig and the goldfish

not seem to notice?

 

Is it because they don’t wear watches

or look at the clock

 Ever?

 

For your consideration:

What if the entire world took a collective, heartfelt, time out during these time changes? For one hour, twice a year?  Let’s take time changes into our own control, and allow ourselves 6o minutes to hear the messages of our soul.  I mean this as a deliberate practice, and not as an esoteric concept.

For me, the past several years, it’s been a reset so to speak for my nervous system – my physical body system, and my inner knowing – my spiritual body.

Back before my more recent devotional and deep dives into the spiritual realm, I hosted in my home “clock parties,” where a large group of my friends and I would toast to the time change, eat clock-shaped frosted sugar cookies, and dance the night away the Saturday before the time change. So, there’s that option, too.  Pick your poison, erm, tradition.

Okay, your turn:

Making the switch to and from Daylight Saving Time (by the way, it’s Saving, without an “s” at the end, in case you’re wondering…as was I…the things I ponder!) – Does making the switch by one hour twice a year impact you?  If so, in what ways do you notice it?  Sleeping patterns disrupted?  Stomach growling at seemingly weird hours?  Are you happy about it?  Frustrated?  Maybe for you it’s not a big deal either way?

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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Home and a sense of place

What it means to be home

“Home is where the heart is.”

“Everywhere you go, there you are.”

Now, before you start thinking I’m about to list out several more adages you may likely find embroidered on a pillow, let me say that these two sayings often resonate because they’re true.

The past few months I’ve been traveling out of state and noticing how much I love to travel to other places, and yet how much I also cherish returning home. The common denominator of course is me. My spirit, my body, my heart. This is the same for all of us, right?

As I have visited with friends at their homes, I have felt deeply nourished not only by our human connection, but also by the beauty of receiving a deeper glimpse into who they are by and through what they bring to their environs.  There’s a deep sense of place, and of making it your own.

Celtic history abounds with lyrical devotion to the concept of place. This heritage reveals itself in modern day, too. When I traveled by bicycle for several weeks throughout County Cork (where the Noonans are from) awhile back, I was struck by how truly welcoming the Irish were to me and to all of us traveling through their towns.  Several Irish locals told me that they love helping Irish Americans find out more about their ancestry. Many took out time in earnest to help me learn that the Noonans come from the nearby town of Fermoy. Their desire to help me find my roots was loving and strong.

When we were there, each of the townships was vying for the coveted “Tidy Town Award.” We smiled big smiles whenever we’d see a local shop owner delicately sprucing up a flower box, or hand polishing a brass railing, or sweeping up with pride the sidewalk in front of their shop.

When traveling a lot on business years ago, I used to always travel with a particular candle in a small travel container. I liked the idea of making an unfamiliar place feel and be more familiar. I found the warm glow and the inviting scent wafting throughout the space to be calming and grounding. Now that I am traveling again, perhaps I will bring something new with me this next time.

For me, it’s returning to a view of sunsets along the Pacific ocean that tells me I’m home.  Although, it’s not as if I have ever truly left. Home is where my heart is. And it’s all okay. Very much okay.

For your consideration:

Meditate on the word “home.”

Make “home” your mantra for this moon cycle.

Allow all the possibilities, all the meanings, to come to the surface. Allow yourself to be surprised!

Jot down the words, the phrases, the messages. Draw or paint the incoming images.

Notice what’s around you when you open your eyes.

Be inspired and take action on what is revealed.

Okay, your turn:

What part of home do you take with you everywhere you go? What’s your favorite part about coming back home? What makes it so?

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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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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Sandpipers dot the shoreline

Sandpipers

Dozens of them

dot the shoreline

as they scamper toward the receding flow of the tide

as it heads out

and back in again

while the ocean water

flows back toward the beach.

 

Symphonically

they keep in rhythm

with each other

and with the tide.

 

Barefoot

I press my feet and toes deep into cool wet sand

on a sweaty Summer’s day

as dusk drops in

 

With each stride

my head dips toward my chest

and I drop into reflection

and then I bring my head back up again

looking out into the setting sun’s light

 

Turning toward the Pacific Ocean

I survey the water

and take in the view

toward the west and the northwest

 

I see the trail of

sailboats

that are heading back toward and around

Marina del Rey’s nearby jetty,

And

I breathe in the view of

the Santa Monica mountains

and the coastal edges of Malibu

peeking out ever so slightly

off in the distance toward the right

 

All the while

I allow all that is

all that is

weighing heavily on my heart

and all that is

swelling my heart

and filling me

with

love

sorrow

sadness

grief

awe

mystery

devotion

reverence

revelation

serenity

solemnity

peace

calm

 

I am a body

and a soul

walking

my path

 

And it

Is

poignant

challenging

heavy and

light

and

dark

and

bright

 

Tragic

and

beautiful

and

joyful

and

in the end

as in the beginning

it is

all

divine

Okay, your turn:

What comes up for you as you read this poem?

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

© 2018 Lori A. Noonan. All Rights Reserved.