Life as a dream and dreams as life

"Row row row your boat, gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream...”

A creek ran through the middle of my friends hay farm, which happened to be in the middle of residential development in our small hometown. It was our dreamland, a special place that set stage for our imaginations to grow as fast as the hay, as tall as the Cottonwood trees and to run wild with the wind.

This is where my deep connection to nature grew. The creek side was a place where we noticed the passage of the seasons. We had private swimming and fishing holes, and skating in the winter. Most importantly, we learned to respect the risky dangers of thin ice and high waters. Our special place had not changed, like the subdivisions that surrounded it.

However, I remember the conscious awareness that something in the creek was changing. Not only were there less fish to catch, but there appeared to be more water moss growing, making the creek more slippery to walk in. As young children, we analysed why this was happening, as we had learned about Pollution in school. We wondered if perhaps it was the housing development up the creek and across from our school. Sadly, one spring, I also remember the shock of seeing a large Turtle shell the size of a platter, as well as garbage in and along the creek. The emotional awareness of pollution in my environment settled into my life.

One spring we enthusiastically worked to free a pallet that was stuck along the creek side, due to the high waters from the early spring melt. We had a dream to build a raft and sail away to float down the creek, maybe even right out of town! We gathered nails, hammers and more scrap wood. All the while, we imagined the story, developed our characters, and played out the variations within the storyline. Unknowingly, the pallet was water sodden and no matter how much wood we hammered on top, we could not get the structure to float. We worked on this for possibly days, if not a few weeks. The dream was only surrendered after trial and error. That was okay, because there were always other adventures to take its place.

I took my boys back to my special place and shared with them, some stories of the place where I grew up and played. The old Victorian house was gone. All that was left of my friends’ property was the outline of the circular driveway with the hedge and Cottonwood trees still present in the middle. New houses lined up on what was once the hay field. As my boys ran ahead, my mind was swept away to visions of the past, sensing 2 young girls riding rickety saw horses at sunset, pretending we were galloping over the field far, far, away.
This weekend my Grandfather passed away independently in his home, while I was writing this story in rough draft. I found myself crying as my memories had ventured off to the stories he told about himself and my Grandma growing up along the same creek. In their childhood, the creek water level was much higher. Once he skipped out from school with his friends and went skinny-dipping in the creek. They were surprised the schoolteacher found and caught them! My Grandpa's stories told me it really was possible to float away down the creek and out of town! The fish were bigger too!
My point in sharing his passing, is to acknowledge we are all inter-connected in universal consciousness. Therefore, it does not surprise me that I was reviewing life, near the same time as he probably was this weekend. He has been waiting for this opportunity for a few years now, since Grandma passed on. I am glad he was in my thoughts, as he floated away in the stream of consciousness beyond what we know to be certain.

One of the newest parenting books to be out in the limelight is Richard Louv's,
'Last Child in the Woods -Saving Our Children from Nature -Deficit Disorder'
He states,
“ Children need nature for the healthy development of their senses, and, therefore, for learning and creativity. This need is revealed in two ways: by an examination of what happens to the senses of the young when they lose connection with nature; and by witnessing the sensory magic that occurs when young people- even those beyond childhood- are exposed to even the smallest direct experience of a natural setting.” 3. Pg 54
Refill your coffee mug and sit down to watch these brief videos.
Then get outside and play!!

No Child Left Inside Coalition 2008-11-25

Nature Deficit Disorder
The discovery of the last child in the woods-Netherlands2007

Cat Stevens singing,’Where Do The Children Play’
and scenes from , ‘The Lorax’, Dr Suess

What did you dream of doing in your childhood?

In what ways have you fulfilled or explored those ideas,
dreams or aspirations in your lifetime?
"Reality consists of the experiences we believe are real.
What is real may or may not be the same for everyone."
- Harry Palmer

The Wonder of Waterfalls- Reconnecting With Nature

Helmcken Falls, Wells Gray, BC
Listen to the waterfalls
The Wonder of Waterfalls -
Reconnecting With Nature

It was the longest and dreariest trip over the Coquillhala (Hwy 5) mountain pass that I had ever had to endure. The windshield wipers constantly had to keep up with the rain. The boys slept for some of the trip from Kamloops on our way to Vancouver (BC, Canada). My youngest son, who was around four at the time, became very restless as we descended the mountain pass probably due to ear pressure and the claustrophobic feeling of the car in dense rain.

This was beginning to affect me as I needed to focus on the road and there was nowhere to stop on the side of the road। I needed 20-30 more minutes of driving, before I could safely stop and let the boys out. My son began to cry. As a last ditch effort, I put some music by Yanni into the stereo, and turned up the volume so that the dramatic melody may distract his irritability. It did and he focused on some books on the back seat.

Further, down the road, I pointed out a small waterfall gushing over the cliff walls where usually a fine stream of water trickled. Both sons became intrigued as we passed by several little waterfalls with abundant water cascading down the valley hills and into the ditch. When Yanni’s music, ’After The Sunrise’, exploded in dramatic keys, the boys shrieked and laughed, ooooh –ing and awing as if they were on a roller coaster ride! Serendipitously, Yanni’s music was synchronized with the continual displays of waterfalls!

As the rain subsided in the valley, even the sun briefly peeked out, giving us hope that we could stop at Bridal Veil Falls west of Hope, BC. Sure enough, I was able to let the boys out to stretch and walk the rainforest path up to the Falls. The boys were full of enthusiasm with a renewed interest in waterfalls.

That car trip was never forgotten. Every time we descended the Coqillhalla (Hwy 5), the boys anticipated the waterfalls and requested the Yanni’s Waterfall music be played. They experienced pure Joy watching the wonders of Mother Earth. Frequently from then on, instrumental music became a car activity, as we searched for background music to match the environments that we travelled. However, Yanni always maintained the strongest emotional connection to the environment

Sadly, this reminds me that some newer vehicles now have video screens on the back of passenger seats, so that kids in the backseat can watch movies. How sad that this activity can deprive children from discovering the wonders of the world outside from their car windows. Most importantly, it reduces their connection to their environment

(Synaesthesia is profound sensory awareness. Good memories come from a sharpened awareness in the present moment.)


In 1999, I discovered the awe inspiring website, 'Project NatureConnect'. It captured my full attention with its’ beautiful nature photography. It was the very first time I had heard of Ecopsychology. The website seemed to go on for eternity as it was difficult to grasp where it began and where it ended.

Excitedly, I joined the Online Ecopsychology training course. I struggled to do the activities in front of the computer, as in those days computers were quite noisy. I printed out the assignment and went out to the backyard to sit on the grass. To be quite honest, its content somewhat frustrated me, and my thinking demanded a linear format.

However, outside it finally dawned on me what Michael Cohen of ‘Project Nature Connect’ was trying to convey! I remembered that Nature is interconnected and we are part of nature. Michael Cohen’s teachings about the ‘Natural Systems Thinking’, reconnects people to nature! From applying the assignment and choosing to focus on a blade of grass in my backyard, to then remembering my son’s experience of waterfalls during a past car trip, I understood the profound relationship. Everything began to appear more vivid and alive, as I sat there on the grass.
I continued to use this focusing activity during my early morning routine of delivering newspapers. It drew me out of a sleepy, self absorbed, dreamlike state that one experiences upon waking up. I also learned that some people unknowingly are in a self-absorbed state for most of their lives! Cohen’s ‘Natural Systems Thinking Process’ awakened the curiosity and wonder that is natural in childhood. (Synaesthesia ~ profound sensory awareness! )

'Natural Systems Thinking' occurs in many different forms, in all cultures, in all religions, or spiritual practises. Modern societies often become disconnected from its’ simplicity.

"Project NatureConnect provides alternative, holistic, sensory tools that help our psyche genuinely connect with nature. Our personal and environmental well-being improves through sustainable education and counselling techniques that enable us to thoughtfully tap into nature's balance, grace, and restorative powers."
-Michael J. Cohen

“Moment by moment, natural systems and their grace, balance and restorative powers flow through all of life. This includes flowing through our mind and spirit, through the life of our thoughts feelings and perceptions.

–Michael Cohen

His book:

RECONNECTING WITH NATURE 2 : Counteracts the amazing lie and disconnection that underlies our great troubles. Readily access a critical but missing natural systems component of psychology, therapy and education. Powerfully increase well being in yourself, others and the environment. Learn to use and share new tools for hope.

Michael Cohen -From Project Nature Connect

Satish Kumar on Elegant Simplicity

As a child, was there a special place outdoors

that you liked to visit?

What made it special for you?

Are there places in nature that you connect to now,

because of those early experiences?

Seeing With Your Senses

Seeing With Your Senses

This past September, I experienced my first bout of ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’. As both sons had moved on from home and I was alone. For the past few years, I had yearned to arrive at this place in my life. Now it was here. The house felt huge and empty with just me and the cat, Lila. What am I going to do?

Well, here had arrived the time to do interesting activities that I wanted to do! So, I downloaded Janet Whitehead’s free Tiddley Bits’ -Self Coaching Booklet (From Musings and Mud Coaching Studio). The workbook is fun and helps people explore, dream, and discover your unique ways of being empowered as you move forward to where you want to be. The workbooks are really...Playbooks!

So I drove out to Shuswap Lake, to sit on the beach during one of the last hottest days of the summer. I enjoyed the fact that the holiday crowds had disappeared. I nestled against a huge log and gazed over the beach and the lake. I had peace and quiet with no motorized watercrafts! The Workbook was fun and my imagination had gone wild. I was prompted to write a story related to an issue that I might like coaching on. I chose ‘How to Earn A Living’, as I am in midlife transition. Kinda sounds boring, but not from the viewpoint of a little girl !

Halfway through my story, I got the urge to go in the lake. As I entered the water, it took my breath away. I worried my muscles may defy me and cramp up as my heart beat wildly. I restrained any screams that wanted freedom, as I merged forward up to my neck. I stayed focused with deep breaths. Because, it would be really weird or silly to see a woman whooping and shrieking all by herself in the lake. Soon enough I fluttered in the water enjoying the hot sun casting sparkles over the water, as it rhythmically rocked me back and forth. It was cool to be at eye level with the lake. This reminded me of a poem I wrote during a camping trip a few years ago. The poem ended,

“...When thoughts are still, where does earth or sky separate, and water begin?”

Memories drifted me back to a time when I could manage the cadence of canoeing along to the trance of,

“Reach, dip, pull- Reach, dip, pull- Reach, dip, pull...”

I was curious as to why a lady had to sit right next to my blanket, when the whole beach was available? I left the lake with the weight of gravity grounding me on the beach. We chatted as I dried off in the sun and of course she had to ask,”What kind of work do you do?” As it happened, we were both ‘in the same boat’ in our lives. We acknowleged each other’s challenges and agreed how certain services could be more helpful than stressful, to support rather than hinder rehabilitation.

She carried on her journey and I thought back to my workbook story, wondering how to give it a, ‘Happily Ever After’ ending. Gazing back at the lake, the sparkles had me wonder, where was the sparkle in my life... right here..right now?

The experience of Synaesthesia is profound sensory awareness. Good memories come from a sharpened awareness in the present moment.

As Laura Sewall says in her book,

“We remember the moments when our attention is fully drawn to a particular color, form, or whisper, to the sounds we hear and the scent of a place entering into us –
the moments when our focus sharpens.” 1. Pg 60

Sewall continues on to say,

“The revelation born of seeing and feeling in one seamless synaesthetic moment is that nothing in this world is unrelated, not a single thing. The boundaries blend as if a heightened awareness has begun to reveal permeable membranes between the things of the world, and between ourselves and the world. Distinctions blur and relationships emerge, shimmering and shining like light on the water. Where does water end and light begin, anyway? We see the glitter, the relationship itself. Each thing of the world becomes more than it once appeared to be. And all of it quivers, dense with possibility.” 1. Pg61

Where is the sparkle or glitter in your life today?

Where have you felt most connected to the environment?

Seeing Beyond The Color Brown

Seeing Beyond The Color Brown

I sat on the porch step waiting for my eyes to adjust to the light of the late afternoon sun. I scouted out distant plants in my flower garden. My quick judgement was , “ Awwh, everything is just brown, this is boring.” “Or is it?” I wondered.
I continued to peer out into the backyard with my new camera using a 70-300 mm lens . Soon I noticed the color purple in the Aster flowers. Most of the blossoms were curled up due frost damage, yet one or two was still in good form. Then the hardy Marigolds in yellow and orange caught my eye. This simple attraction caused me to get up and walk closer. Experimenting with various camera settings, I was absorbed into the world of rich textures and colors in the frost-damaged garden.

However, Lila’s constant meowing insisted I detach from my camera and turn to look at her. How is it that my cat knows, when she is not the center of my attention? Lila continued to meow at me and look up into the Peach tree. Perhaps she remembered this summer when I focused my camera on her, as she proudly perched on the branches. Such as a parent would do, I realised that I would have to include her in my activity. I gestured for her to jump up into the tree. If she feels like it, she will follow my invitation. However, it appeared more that she just wanted me to watch her. Her meowing stopped and off she wandered, checking back to ensure I was paying attention to what she was exploring.

Lila wandered over to the Strawberry patch. I was attracted to the brilliant red hues of the strawberry leaves. Seeing Lila attracted to a blade of grass, reminded me of my new Blog. Like a child, she toyed with the grass, smelled it, looked at me and then chewed it.

I crouched down and witnessed her connection to the nature of grass.

Perhaps you have read a book that has stayed with you for a long time. I have a few books that I like to reread. One such book is, Sight and Sensibility – the ecopsychology of perception, by Laura Sewall Ph.D. 1999.

David Abram describes in the Forward to Sewall’s book ,

“Sewall sets out to provide in these pages: an
nvitation to genuinely see in new ways.” 1. pgxiv

Further into the Forward, David Abram states,

"The eyes are not autonomous organs and the way we see things is profoundly influenced by what we hear or even taste of those things, by the way we imagine their textures would feel to our fingers or against our skin. Indeed vision may well be the most synaesthetic of the senses – the sense most thoroughly infiltrated and altered by the participation of the other senses.” 1. pgxvii

Abram ends by stating,

“In order to think deeply about vision, then, we must learn

to think not only with our eyes but our entire body.” 1. pgxvii

Perhaps you have had an experience of,

'Seeing with your Senses'.

Ta Ta For Now !


I will be developing my blog over the next few weeks. So please stay to read and participate or suggest interesting material to read or view.

In the meantime, I encourage you to go outside, become quiet and just notice what attracts your attention in the natural world. It can be as simple as a blade of grass or as overwhelming as a waterfall. Or perhaps you are indoors and you can gaze at a plant.

The point is to just notice....There is no need to label or describe or analyse. Just notice what happens. Perhaps your breathing slows or the colors appear brighter, or you smell an aroma. Just be at peace with whatever you are noticing for a few seconds or a few minutes.

Then look away and notice if there is a difference in how your surroundings appear to you. Enjoy these subtle experiences with a sense of curiosity!

Feel free to share your experiences within this blog !

Ta Ta For Now