Monday, January 30, 2023

Listening to the wisdom of beings in all forms


Temps were below zero and wind chills approaching minus 30 so I opted not to take any of the pups with me for a walk this morning. I decided to go to Normandale Lake this morning ... for some reason ... I don't walk here too often but something called me there. As I turned right onto the road between the lake and the parking lot, on my left I saw what my first thought was a wolf. As I reflect back on the moment it wasn't even me seeing this beautiful being ... I FELT wolf energy. And I saw this large beautiful gray being walk across the frozen lake with head up high, confident and a stroll and a slow even pace that I can still feel in my body. I have often seen coyotes in the area .. they have a different energy and feel. Then that part of me kicked in that wanted to capture a photo or a video ... all the while this inner voice in me kept whispering to me to simply feel his presence. Feel his presence and soak in the magnificence of this amazing being walking across a frozen lake with a backdrop of the sun rising. I listened to that inner voice ... with no cars behind me I slowed down and just watched as he crossed the lake. And when I got back to my car after my walk, a red-tail hawk flew above me. I chose not to pull my phone out to capture a photo. I chose to simply BE in the presence and the energy.

This morning in my meditation practice my dream from last night came forward into my consciousness. I had a lucid dream of leaving a gathering and following someone into the open water. I jumped in with snorkels. The entry was in this large house that had beautiful beige steps that led to the water. In some ways it felt like a swimming pool. It also felt like open water. I jumped in to follow this human being (I don't know who he was ... just someone I trusted). It was night time. Once in the water I realized I was in the open water .. in the ocean ... off to my right we saw this massive whale and we began following her. I could keep up with her. I wasn't afraid. Then dolphins and sharks appeared and I was swimming with them. I found myself sinking and i had to paddle to stay not too far from the surface. At one point I remember thinking I better go up for air and yet and the same time I felt like I could hold my breath indefinitely. The paradox of holding both. There wasn't the either/or dichotomy ... it was holding both. I can still feel the water against my skin ... I can see these magnificent beings all around me ... I can feel the awe, the peace and also how small I was and how that didn't matter. And later in that dream I was in this school bus with one of my dogs. I don't know exactly which dog but she was younger black dog and this dog had the energy of Ahnung, Ishkode and Migizi all at the same time. And then in my dream we leave the school bus and there are 7-10 puppies we are supposed to lead somewhere ... this black dog .... 'my' dog leads them. They follow her. We cross streets. We cross and step into puddles of water. When she stops they all stop. We pass this one woman who has her own dog and she gets nervous as she holds her dog tight ... fearful that the puppies will antagonize her dog. The puppies ignore her and her dog and she looks at us with surprise. Ahnung/Ishkode/Migizi ... leading a pack of puppies. I wonder where am I being guided. Am I one with these combined being of Ahnung/Ishkode/Migizi? Am I to guide? to lead?

And yesterday on my drive to Woody's Pet Food Deli, along Normandale Blvd, something again had me look to the left. I have come to trust and listen to that voice inside me of that simply nudges me to turn my attention in a certain direction. Perched on a tree was a huge eagle. I have seen eagles fairly often perched way up high on trees along Normandale blvd ... but never so low and so close that I can feel their magnificent size and presence in my body. Honestly, if the speed limit wasn't 45 mph and I could easily have stopped I would have but the eagle energy had infused my being .. my cells. So much so that on my way home from Woody's I hoped to see the eagle again. I would be on the same side of the road this time. Unfortunately I did not see the eagle and yet I felt his energy so I turned around to head north again on Normandale. And yes, I saw him but he had moved and was perched much higher and at the top of a massive evergreen. There is a message there as well. I listened to the nudge and the whisper and I saw the eagle close up. When I returned and I could not see the eagle with my eyes, my gut told me otherwise. I listened. I turned around and there he was ... but much further up. There are many ways of knowing and of seeing. I must continue to trust this Way of knowing and being.

After seeing what appeared to be a wolf (although rationally I know it is unlikely ... others would probably say it was a large coyote ... maybe it was ... the energy was very much wolf energy. Maybe he was half coyote and half wolf) .... driving home from my morning walk my gut was saying animal spirit was trying to get my attention. What was Papa trying to tell me? What was Ahnung trying to tell me. I asked them if they would be willing to send the cardinals today ... and that way I would know for sure they were speaking to me. And shortly after I arrived home, a female cardinal showed up at the bird feeder (she hasn't been around for a while). I didn't have my phone to capture her ... shortly after the male cardinal appeared and he hung around a little longer for me to grab my phone and catch him on video. 

And last weekend as I was reflecting on how to hold and create space for a circle I am offering out into the universe I came upon two deer crossing the Minnesota River, not far from the bdote (where the Mississippi River and Minnesota River meet) ... I carried the worry of the lake not being frozen as there were pockets of open water not far from them .. would they cross safely? I worried and yet they did not seem worried. And yes, they crossed safely. Deer medicine. The lessons and miracles of water in all its various forms.

Every morning after meditation and qigong, I say out loud in six directions, "I am a commitment to listening to the wisdom of beings in all forms, for the sake of creating space for wholeness, healing and equity."

I am listening.

Eagle. Wolf. Coyote. Red-tailed hawk. Whale. Dolphin. Shark. Cardinal. Deer. Dog. Ahnung. Ishkode. Migizi.

The themes of water in all its various forms and states; being in a vehicle (in my conscious state and my dream state);  the line between conscious and unconscious is like a thin veil ...  I am grateful for all my teachers that guide me and show me a different Way (four-legged, feathered, marine, 2-legged and nature in all her magnificence).

I am listening. I am trusting. I am grateful.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

When Grief comes to visit again


I have been noticing over the past couple weeks how this feeling I can't describe comes over me .... it is different and yet familiar all at once. I walk every morning to the water; i meditate and practice qigong every morning; i offer gratitude at the water and during morning practices, for the gift of another day, another sunrise, another sunset and for all the beautiful beings in my life - 4-legged, 2-legged, feathered .....

I find myself being in the moment as I notice Migizi, Ishkode and Legacy ... how they are walking; how they are breathing; how their chest rises and falls with every breath, how their legs, lips or body twitches when they are dreaming; i notice their unique markings - Legacy's bushy tail and how he burrows his nose under his tail while snuggled on the couch; this one special patch on Migizi's body ... on her neck where her coat is a slightly lightly color compared to her velvet black color ... and how her fur moves in the opposite direction; the unique lightning patterned white patch on Ishkode's back by her shoulders. I want to memorize their every move and the feeling of their body against mine; of how they walk in the mornings; the way they run in the snow in the backyard; how the sun lands on their body when we are out walking in the woods. I want to memorize everything about them. I am in the present moment in fullness with them and then in the next fleeting second I have this feeling come over ... a cloud carrying the words "some day I will no longer have them with me in physical form. They will be a memory, like Ahnung, Mister, Missy, Splat, Shen, Shadow."

And Grief makes her presence known. A return visitor.

Grief: I am here.

Why are you here?

Grief: I am never far. I am always watching over you.

I ask her but why now. Why knock on my door again? None of the pups are sick.

I invite her into my home. I offer her a seat by the fire. And together we share a cup of loose leaf jasmine tea. I remember her previous visits. I remember the pain in my cells ... how I felt the air in my lungs had been sucked out; how I couldn't breathe; how my heart felt a heaviness so deep; how the earth under my feet trembled and shook and I felt I would be swallowed; how I wanted to run from this pain.

Grief: Breathe.

I don't know why Grief is here to visit. I know I must invite her in. Part of me wants to slam the door in her face. I pause and resist that temptation. She doesn't stay long. She pops in, and then she leaves. 

I realize when she visits she comes with the gift of Ahnung ... and of all those who have moved on to the spirit world. I hear Ahnung telling me not to fear Grief. She is a friend. She is a friend as much as Love and Joy and Happiness. She is not the price of loving deeply. She is Love in the purest form. She is unbounded Love. She is Love in all her fullness. Make friends with Grief when the earth isn't trembling below your feet. Keep loving deeply. Keep loving fully. She comes with the gift of those who have moved to a form and a way of being where they are always with you.

And so I listen to my beloved Ahnung, my north star ... I welcome Grief and I trust her visiting me now is a Gift, and as she pops in and out of our home we will get to know each other and we will deepen our relationship.

I practice letting go ... when holding on is in my bones.

I practice loving ... when the little girl in me screams, protect your heart!

I practice staying ... when running is what I did in order to survive.

With Ahnung in every cell of my body, I practice living in love, in fullness, and in uncertainty.

with Ahnung

with Missy

with Mister

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Lessons from a cardinal family

For the second time this year I have been blessed to have a cardinal mama choose to nest once again in the nest she built last summer … in a tree right outside my kitchen window. For whatever reason I have watched this miracle from a distance … appreciating and admiring but somehow not getting so pulled in. This second go around this year, it was very different. A week ago today on Father’s Day I saw the baby mouths wide open as mama cardinal fed them. She had been sitting on the eggs for almost 2 weeks … diligently watching over her eggs and keeping them warm. A week ago today, I also had a lot of emotions emerge in me as I opened up Papa’s briefcase that had been sitting in the corner of one of my closets for I don’t even know how many years. I am not sure what made me decide to go through his brief case this year. Needless to say, a lot emerged especially around my mother, Mama. I got a deeper glimpse into what mattered to her; how much I mattered to her and also despite all the challenges we had and the conflict (both of us struggling silently in our own pain and grief) that she loved me so deeply.

And so I have been watching Mama cardinal caring for her babies so fiercely and through her actions I found I felt the energy and presence of both Mama and Papa and my younger self in the journey of this cardinal family … gifted with the opportunity to witness close up the unfolding of the first 7 days of the 2 baby cardinals. And then last Tuesday we experienced extreme heat in Minnesota and there was a period where I was not sure if the baby cardinals were going to make it, and I experienced a tender and conflicted cross road in my mind and my heart … to intervene or to not intervene. Mama and Papa were still periodically returning so I chose to trust they knew best and did what I could to support Mama and Papa with supplying fresh water nearby, and strategically placing hand towels in the tree to block the sun that was pounding down on the baby cardinals. For the past week I have been so emotionally invested in this beautiful family and watching closeup their actions … and the feathers of these babies beginning to fill up …. 

Yesterday was day 7. When I woke up yesterday morning one of the fledglings had already left the nest. Only one was left. I witnessed up close as he was nudged and encouraged by Papa and Mama to begin flying … flapping his tiny wings and moving up branches in the tree. When he got tired and stopped Papa flew up to him as to encourage him, and then he flew off as if to show, this is how you do it ….. 

The nest is now empty and yesterday afternoon and evening I felt an emptiness … sadness and grief as I have had their presence for a week and have been so emotionally invested in them. I also felt joy that they survived and they are now venturing off into the world, being taught by their Papa and Mama to fly, and soon will be able to forage and feed themselves. 

The witnessing of this cardinal family has reached me in a deep way for some reason …. There are ties to emotions around my Papa and Mama … grief … survival …. And what cardinals have symbolized for me as a male cardinal appeared to me after Ahnung’s passing on August 25, 2013. Cardinals have continued to visit after Ahnung’s passing … I see them when I am journaling in my writing room that looks out to the backyard. Most of the times I have either a male cardinal visiting or a female cardinal .. sometimes they appear as a pair. There has been a male cardinal that visits very often and often perches on the wooden fence outside the window of my writing room. He just sits there and we look at each other. I feel Ahnung and my Papa’s energy so strongly in those moments. 

This morning I saw Papa and Mama flying in and out of a mulberry tree at the far end of my yard. I am grateful to know they have found refuge in the tree not too far from my home … I can’t see them up close anymore but simply knowing they are there .. that the fledglings are learning to fly in a tree that is also nourishing them from the fruit their parents bring to them … that they will soon to be taking longer flights and foraging for themselves. Today, I am grateful to feel their energy, their curiosity, their playfulness ….

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Papa has been teaching me every since he left this world

 As a 4 year old witnessing the death of her Papa ... December 20, 1968 at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis as the rush of doctors and machines came flying into Papa's room ... Mama's hysterical screams ... Little Drummer Boy playing over the hospital intercom ... a kind nurse grabbing my hand and guiding me out of the room.

The 4 year old didn't understand what was going on. That day when he left he created a hole so deep in my mother that also reached deep into my being. Decades later and not long before Mama was reunited with the love of her life, she said to me, "I am ready to go be with your Papa". Pain has ways of manifesting in us in many ways. And in an effort to survive we find ways to cope by numbing the pain. One way for me was with competitive sports (and that was deemed socially acceptable) ... and then when my life was uprooted and I no longer had the crutch of competitive sports to distract and numb the pain that was below the surface I reached for alcohol ... meanwhile, all this while now, I know Papa was with me, trying to reach me. The little girl looked for love anywhere she could find it. And she found it in a trusted family friend. It has been a lifelong journey for me of healing and learning to forgive that little girl, and even my abuser ... of learning secrets will destroy me; not everyone will hurt me; that yes, it is okay to trust, and to love again.

Today, on Father's Day I took my morning walk with Legacy. My morning reflections centered around Papa. I realize Papa has been with me since the day he left this world. Do I wish I could have had him with me in this life time, guiding me, teaching me, protecting me, holding me, carrying me ... absolutely ... yet I now know and appreciate he has taught me the art of listening in such a deep way, first to myself, and to realize the veil between this world and other worlds is very thin and that we do not exist in just one form ... his energy and his spirit is with me and he has sent me guides and angels .... almost 34 years ago, I attempted to take my own life - it was a planned attempt that doctors told me I am "lucky" to have survived. I can't explain and I can't remember in my conscious mind, how I got out of the water. Who lifted me out of the water? Some say it was my sub-conscious will to live. I know in my heart, it was Papa. I have this vivid memory and image of one of the darkest moments in my life where I didn't see any other way to escape the pain other than to take my own life, so do I understand what a pain so deep feels like when I hear of teenagers attempting and committing suicide? Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I do.

I listened to the On Being episode where Krista Tippett replays a conversation with writer and poet, Ocean Vuong and at the end of the episode she shares an essay Ocean wrote, "the weight of our living: our hope, fire escapes and visible desperation" - a piece he wrote shortly after his uncle, just 3 years older than himself, committed suicide ... a piece that came about as he walking New York City and noticing the fire escapes .... "all that richness and drama sealed away in a fortress whose walls echoed with communication of elemental and exquisite language ... and yet only the fire escape, a clinging extremity, inanimate and often rusting, spoke - in its hardened exiled silence with the most visible human honesty: we are capable of disaster. And we are scared" And Ocean goes on talk about how many aren't able to communicate we are hurt. I think about the time I was hurting so deeply. I tried to communicate ... but not in direct and explicit words as I didn't have the words ... and so I ask, what if we all learned to listen more deeply to the many ways others communicate a desperate pain, and what if we were then able to extend our hand, knowing that the apartment is in flames on the inside and invite the person to simply step outside into the fire escape and to offer them refuge until the raging fires passes?

This morning, I find myself reflecting on the gift Papa gave me ... a deep connection to spirit and learning to listen to beings in all forms and from all dimensions ... he has picked me up and carried me to safety; he has brought my first dog Splat to me which is what I needed to get myself sober; he led me to Red Lake nation and to Ahnung to continue the work of healing around the sexual abuse and to release myself from a secret I had kept for decades ... and to all the work I have been doing with animals and people in indigenous communities ...

And these past few days he sends clear messages to me of his presence through a magical encounter Ishka and I had with a doe who followed us along our morning hike ... gazing very intently into our eyes and as much as I would say to the doe, go back into the woods, she followed us and came all the way up to us and even brushed up against Ishka in playful, 'come on. chase me'! And this morning the 2nd cardinals nest I have been watching outside my kitchen window .... the baby cardinals hatched this morning and papa cardinal has been around a lot feeding the hatchlings. Shortly after Ahnung transitioned a male cardinal appeared outside my writing room and stayed for quite some time. I could feel Ahnung. Cardinals have since been my connection to Ahnung .... and Ahnung is my connection to Papa. So today, full circle .... clear messages Papa is with me and so are all the beings he has sent my way to watch over me. I am writing in my room that looks out to the back yard I hadn't changed the months for my Ricardo Levin Morales calendar since March ... not sure why ... this morning decided to change the month to June and the art on the calendar for June is a piece title 'Our Calling -A joyous, fabulous figure resembling a tree with deep roots throws their arms into the sky.  Leaves fly all around in the form of doves and glittery stars.' Seeing the art, I once again felt Ahnung and Papa's energy.

Papa ... thank you for teaching me to speak your language; for giving me the gift of learning to listen to the wisdom of beings in all forms, and from all dimensions and times; for sending me the most amazing and beautiful guides and teachers and beings ... for showing me the beauty of shadows and light and how to embrace both fully 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Sacred Mornings and ramblings

I have been morning hikes are as essential to me as air ... they ground me, they invite me to explore, get curious, listen, notice, Be ... i soak in the sunrise into my body and I breathe in the universal energy and life force. The past few mornings I have been noticing the shadows and I have been reflecting on shadows and light.

Light rays travel in a straight line at nearly 300,000 kilometers per second, and sunlight travels toward the earth in just over 8 minutes. It boggles my mind when I think about how massive our universe is ... beyond my comprehension ... the closest the earth gets to the sun is 91 million miles. It amazes me that light only takes a little over 8 minutes to travel around 91 million miles to reach earth. 

The magnificence of our universe. I am in awe simply thinking about our earth ... so many places in this world I have not been .. then there are mountains, canyons, oceans ... and all the places we have not even seen. A large part of me hopes that humankind doesn't find ways to reach places in our world and in our universe so they are left untouched. 

And in the mornings as I see my shadow, or my pups Migizi's shadow as the sun is rising I have been reflecting on shadows. We see shadows when light can't get through opaque objects. Shadows only happen when there is a light source. 

Shadows are the both the absence and presence of light. For every shadow or darkness in my life I remind myself that there is a light source. In order for me to embrace the light source I must also embrace the shadows. 


Sunday, July 4, 2021

Feeling the presence and spirit of Mama

 I have been feeling the spirit and the presence of my mother (Mama) a lot lately. About a month ago I began experiencing severe symptoms of neuropathy in my left arm/hand. An event (a interaction with a dear friend of mine) triggered an intense emotional response and my body began experiencing a pain so intense I was unable to sleep. My forearm and hands felt like they were on fire. My hand and fingers were tingly and pretty numb; there was a shooting pain like a lighting volt that would shoot through my arm. Nothing I did; no adjustment of position; no movement or walking; no stillness  ... nothing eased the pain and all I could do was take deep breaths and pray. As a recovering alcoholic I have no pain meds of any kind in my home. I have believed when my body is in pain she is trying to tell me something; to communicate with me, and by taking drugs or pain killers I am shutting down what my body is trying to tell me. But that night, and the next few nights, I was in so much pain I found myself saying what I remember Mama saying when the drugs (gabapentin) she was on did not ease the

numbness, tingling and pain. She would say, why don't they just chop my arms and legs off! I used to think she was being a little dramatic and I realized I never truly understood the pain she was experiencing. That first night I found myself saying and wishing to just have my left arm chopped off to stop the pain. I took some over the counter pain meds and instead of it easing any pain it made my stomach also feel like it was on fire. I began researching and exploring options .. yup, Dr. Google. I had experienced the years ...decades ... of Mama experiencing the pain of neuropathy and seeing so many doctors, being prescribed meds and being told there was really nothing they could do ... i witnessed quite frankly how western medicine and doctors did not see my mother as whole person and wanted to just treat the symptoms. I also understand how when there is such intense pain you want the pain to just stop, or even ease. I have also come to learn and to believe in the amazing healing power and wisdom of our own bodies. 

So the first few days of intense pain was an LOUD sign to me that something was way off balance. I had slipped in my nutrition and eating chocolate, lots of carbs, gluten .. even processed foods. I knew this already, however. reading again the importance of nutrition in the healing of our bodies and lowering inflammation so I made a decision to remove the following from my diet: processed sugar, gluten, chocolate, dairy .... i used to treat myself to a matcha green tea coconut milk latte every morning and as delicious as it was I knew I had to give it up; i also gave up chocolate. I only drink water now (green or jasmine tea in the morning, plain), eat only fresh foods (lots of spinach, broccoli, shitake mushrooms, ginger, garlic, cumin, turmeric, salmon, chicken). I started taking a supplement i learned about called Nerve Renew about 3 weeks ago and 2 weeks ago began adding to my daily practices qigong with a renewed commitment and determination and belief in the ability of my body to heal itself and that healing of my being is made up of my body, my heart, my spirit/soul, and my mind. And all are connected. This Friday i see an acupuncturist to add to my surrounding support of holistic care and my commitment to well-being of mind, body, spirit, heart and community with intentionality.

The pain has reduced significantly. I still feel tingly and numbness but at a much lower level. I rarely feel the burning and the lightning bolts. I believe Mama is with me in my healing, guiding me, letting me know I am ready to heal some hurt parts of my childhood; letting me know and connect with her in a way we weren't able to when Mama was still around in physical form. I feel Mama's love; i feel her heart; i feel the joy now in her heart as she is with Papa; the little girl feels Mama (and Papa). I felt Mama's energy in my morning qigong practice .. and it was as her energy and the light entered my heart and filled up my being .. and then in my morning practice I am guided to direct the energy to places in my body that need extra care so I guided Mama's energy to my left arm and hand and then together visualized any blockages and excess energy turning to smoke, and then I felt Mama take the smoke and push the blockages and excess energy to the edges of the universe. Mama wants me to know she is with me. That I don't have to hold onto any emotional pain as she did; that I am ready to face into them and release all that no longer serves me from my body; that I am not alone ... that I have Mama, Papa, Ahnung, and so many more spirits ... she says I have quite the community of spirit guides and helpers in all forms. 

Thank you Mama (and Papa .. and Ahnung) for continuing to watch over me ... for guiding me ... for teaching me .. and for sending so many amazing spirits and guides for the time I am here on earth ... 

And to my dear friend who opened up the portal to another level of healing for me ... it was hard, it was painful and wow, am i ever so grateful now for the experience that led me to realize there is pathway for me to heal some old wounds on a much deeper level if I am able to muster up enough boldness and support ... and you my dear friend, I believe, have been sent to me by my Mama and Papa, and I am truly, truly grateful for you 💗

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Early morning hikes and why they matter

 It's been a while now - i actually don't remember how many years ago I made a commitment to walk every morning, no matter what the weather. And living here in Minnesota there are many months where temps are quite chilly, to put it mildly ... but my morning hikes aren't just walks; they aren't just about exercise. They return me to center; they ground me; they connect me with the spirit world, the natural world, and my inner world; they essentially reboot me ... and no matter what has transpired the day before or the night prior, I know that the sun sets every 24 hours, and the sun rises .. and when the sun rises I will be there to welcome her as she emerges above the horizon. I offer asema (tobacco) at the water every morning and i offer prayers of gratitude ... ever since my diagnosis of left ventricular non compaction in 2011 I have not taken my life for granted. I am grateful now for a diagnosis that made me face my immortality in an abrupt and jolting manner - and as a result, taught me how to live. Every day is a gift. I offer thanks for the gift of another day before i fall asleep at night ... and i offer thanks for the gift of another day each morning on my hikes. Amazingly, the last visit i had with my cardiologist earlier this year, he said to me, keep doing what you are doing ... I don't want to see you back for another 2 years, at which point, I asked, can we make it 3 years? He smiled and said, 'yes'. I truly believe our bodies (mind, body, heart) and the energy within and around us have the wisdom to heal ourselves. We simply need to activate the wisdom with us, individually and collectively ... and we need to listen .... truly listen ... not in ways we are accustomed to .... there are messages all around us ... we need to expand the view of where messages may arrive to us. When our gut and intuition is trying to speak to us ... we need to listen.

My morning hikes allow me to drop into my body - to notice the sensations in my body; to feel my body and where there is tension, softening, restriction. In addition to dropping into my body, I sense and feel the energy around me. I am in awe every morning with the beautiful patterns of the clouds and I often turn my body in a full 360 to soak in the unique and shifting patterns of the clouds and how the skies can look so different and yet connected. The sky and the clouds are a 3D panoramic and ever evolving canvas. And then I notice the wildflowers and the weeds ... the color, how they sway with the wind, and how they reach towards the sun. In nature I feel the aliveness in me and I acknowledge we are all connected - we are all related. Some mornings I am gifted with the presence of coyote, other mornings ... eagle, owls, turtles, hawks ... and each morning deer and so many birds .. and their songs, and their joy. Every morning my body and my being, that sometimes gets depleted from the worries, stress and busyness of life from the previous day, .... my being is filled up again with joy, awe, aliveness, energy, gratitude.

My morning hikes ... they matter for my heart, my body, my soul, my spirit, my mind. They are as essential to me now as the air I breathe. They remind me of my humanness; they remind me of my connection to all; they remind me of the minuscule role I play in this universe ... 

So yes, I am deeply committed to my early morning hikes and they are a part of my daily practices to care for my whole being so I can, in turn, be of service to the beings, communities and causes that matter to me in this life time.

A question for your reflection and consideration .... are your practices and habits in alignment with what matters to you?