Discover the Magic of Nature: Just in Time for the Holidays!

LookUp-cc

Offered as an antidote to the fast pace of our lives and the toll it takes on our minds and spirits, the book LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness is a clarion call to get up and get out — to look up from our work, our distractions, our routines — and to find our way back to the simple pleasure of being in Nature.

– – – – – – – – – – 

“LOOK UP! asks us to pause for a time, look around us and breathe in all the magic in our world. This is a book to keep close by and re-read again and again.”

– Margaret Iacobellis, Poet/Writer

– – – – – – – – – – 

Written by Connecticut writer Jen Payne, LOOK UP! includes 75 essays and poems, 100 original, color photos of the woods and shoreline of New England, and quotations of philosophers, poets, naturalists, and treasured writers. CLICK HERE to learn more about LOOK UP! or order from our Etsy shop now!

A perfect gift for friends, family,
and those who love to be outdoors!

BUY NOW!

For local orders, please contact us directly to save on shipping costs.


accommodations

accommodate

how do we change?
accommodate?
make room?
or rooms?
is there even room?

is this space infinite
or finite?

can we build additions
into which we pour new foundations?

or rest on settlements
of stone and suffering?

beings of air and light
are never fixed, love

even the ground shifts
beneath our feet


Open Heart

heartopen

Surgeons call it scar tissue – the telltale sign of damage and repair. It is what remains when we have been hurt and healed. It is the something left behind.

My journey began there, about a year ago, with scar tissue that had been carefully woven over time and was sitting heavily across my heart. If I closed my eyes, I could feel the stitches. It was as if I was sitting under that blanket. Everything seemed a little shadowed, a little muffled.

In a moment of serendipity, I had received a red reminderband with the words “Hearts Open No Matter What!” It is the rallying cry of a local yoga instructor, and it was suddenly singing out from my wrist. Heart open. No matter what.

But how does one open a heart? Since this was the mantra of a yoga teacher, I started with a Google search for “yoga poses to open the heart“ and found a number of suggestions I could easily add to my regular yoga practice.

The beauty of these types of internet searches — and these types of journeys — is how one thing leads to another. Like this playlist of heart opening music by yoga instructor Martine Marie Holston.

Say, John Mayer
Don’t Be Shy, Cat Stevens
Love and Happiness, Al Green
Stubborn Love, The Lumineers
California Sunrise, Dirty Gold
Go Outside, Cults
Give Love, MC Yogi
Say Hey (I Love You), All Rebel Rockers
Heartbeats, The Knife
Beauty in the World, Macy Gray
You’ve Got The Love, Florence + The Machine
Happy Pills, Norah Jones
Young Blood, Birdy

This playlist became my soundtrack for months — like chanting almost, rhythmic and repetitive through spring and into the summer of 2014.

“A practice like chanting gradually bestows on us the ability to let go of pain in our hearts.” — Krishna Das

Gradually, there was letting go. Movement. Small things, like the appearance of heart shaped rocks, and the multiple messages from the Universe that spoke of new love and increased joy.

But the watershed moment came in late July with a crescendo of rapid-fire closure: a health scare resolved, the return of lost items, a reconciliation, an apology long overdue. If a window does indeed open for each door closed, that one week saw every window in the house thrown open and every molecule of air replaced.

What came in through those windows was pure abundance: a beautiful reception for my book; a deeper level of connection with loved ones; a freer, easier sense of being in this world; more honest and heart-felt writing; and a new relationship in which I am fully present and fully loved.

I am not sure what one thing set me on this journey a year ago, but I am most grateful for every moment of it. It has been life altering, and heart healing.

Thank you for being its witness.

With Love, jensig-left


IMAGE: Heart mixed-media collage, ©Jen Payne.


Discover the Magic of Nature: Just in Time for the Holidays!

lookup-cc

Offered as an antidote to the fast pace of our lives and the toll it takes on our minds and spirits, LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness is a clarion call to get up and get out — to look up from our work, our distractions, our routines — and to find our way back to the simple pleasure of being in Nature.

– – – – –

“LOOK UP! asks us to pause for a time, look around us
and breathe 
in all the magic in our world. This is a book
to keep close by and re-read again and again.”

– Margaret Iacobellis, Poet/Writer

– – – – –

Written by writer and poet Jen Payne, LOOK UP! includes 75 essays and poems, 100 original, color photos of the woods and shoreline of Connecticut, and quotations by philosophers, poets, naturalists, and treasured writers.

BUY the BOOK!
LOOK UP! Musings on the Nature of Mindfulness
288 pages, 5×7, 100 Color Photos
Index, Bibliography
ISBN: 978-0-9905651-0-9
$24.95

*** CLICK HERE ***


Filtering

filtering

My Dad was a chemical engineer and a big proponent of education. So, when my seventh grade science class was studying the chemical elements, he thought it would be a great idea to do a show-and-tell like experiment for class. (And we wonder why I ended up a little geeky?)

The experiment involved a filter, two beakers, charcoal, cotton and cranberry juice. Inside the filter, I layered the charcoal and cotton, then sat it on top of one of the beakers. I poured the second beaker — full of cranberry juice — into the filter, and out came water! Clear water!

I remembered this as I was walking in the woods this morning. It was not a very quiet walk—there were thoughts and ideas cartwheeling and somersaulting all over the place!

I am coming off of four pretty fun, jam-packed days of celebrations. I saw lots of loved ones and connected with even more online, took a road trip, went shopping, had a few excellent meals, enjoyed some cocktails, did some writing, watched a couple movies. That’s a lot of people, places and things to process!

So I just kept walking—up the hill, around the bend to the meadow filled with morning sun, into the woods where the mushrooms show up, over the footbridge to the rocky path where I sometimes spy snakes, then down through the cool stand of pines, over the bridge by the bench to the field grown tall with wildflowers, and back alongside the pond where the egret hangs out with turtles, to the parking lot.

Chattering all the way. In my head. With barely a moment’s rest.

But as I neared the trailhead carrying the thought of my Dad and that science experiment, I realized—sometimes these walks are for quiet, and sometimes they are for filtering. And either way, I leave much clearer than when I arrived.


IMAGE found on Seesaw Designs


Note to Self: Smell Roses

smellroses1013

It was nearly 9 o’clock before I realized I had not spent one mindful moment since I pulled myself out of bed at 4. From the second my feet touched the cold, wood floor, I’d been “on.”

On autopilot, I suppose: brush teeth, pull on sweatshirt (and socks for cold feet), turn on computer, make coffee, feed Lola, work.

Work. Work. Work. Work. Work…8:30?

That’s pretty much how the morning went.

My mind was so full of other things, I neglected the morning meditation that has been part of the routine since July.

I skipped right over the pause at my vision board to collect my thoughts, to remind myself of my intentions, and to breath life into the day.

I forgot the candle lighting, the prayer, the stillness, the incense, the affirmations.

And I forgot that all of that makes all of the other stuff more balanced…and less likely to stick itself in the knot that tangles in my shoulders.

A friend commented yesterday that we need to at least LOOK at the roses as we pass by them.

But smelling…so much better…is breathing, and back to where I should have been at 4.

• • •

©2013, Jen Payne

Line

Monday Morning Realignment

mondaymorning913

Last night was movie night. Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons was on AMC, and I couldn’t resist an evening with Tom Hanks and a bowl of caramel popcorn. But it wasn’t quite as good as I hoped — the caramel popcorn was so sweet, I could feel the sugar coursing through my veins all night. The movie was fun, but I could not stop readjusting myself on the couch — my neck hurt, my back was achy, my hips were sore.

The thing is, caramel corn wasn’t my first indiscretion of the weekend/week/month. And my body always twists itself into knots when I spend more time sitting than I do moving. I was thinking about all of this as I popped an ibuprofen — something I rarely do — and headed to bed.

It’s time to re-align myself. Get back on track. You know…do those things I know I need to do to keep myself healthy and feeling good.

For me, that means reining in my sugar fetish and paying attention to the types of food I put into my body. It also means moving that body, stepping away from the computer and moving it on a path in the woods or a yoga mat.

There are other things, too — more water, less coffee, more reading, less TV, more dreams, less worries.

But you know what I’m talking about, right? Being mindful of that higher self we strive to be. Taking care of our selves—our bodies, our minds, our well-being.

So this morning I decided I would try a little realignment—a resetting of my intentions, if you will. And I thought I’d invite you to join me…because, well, who doesn’t need a little realignment?

Ready?

Sit back in your chair and relax.
Take your glasses off. Let your shoulders drop.

Take a couple of nice, deep breaths.
(Let’s do three.)

Now, rub the palms of your hands together until you feel them get warm, and cup your face with them for a few moments.

Keep breathing and think about your healthy self.
Think about how good you feel when you’re taking care.
Remind yourself it’s not a “have to” but a “want to.”
Say a prayer or ask for help.

And when you’re ready…look up, smile, and have a great (refocused) day!

With love, Jen

• • •

©2013, Jen Payne

IMAGE: Morning by Nicholas Roerich, 1931.