Perspective Changes Everything

As I noticed the swallowtail caterpillars devouring my parsley over three days, it reminded me how perspective changes everything. In my early gardening days, I always picked off caterpillars. After all, they were another pest in my garden. The connection between a caterpillar and the beautiful butterfly wasn’t solid in my mind until I studied biology in junior high school.

Who Doesn’t Love Butterflies

My first reaction at seeing the yellow and green striped caterpillars was, “Yes, finally!!” I was overjoyed to have caterpillars on my parsley. Although I planted it for my consumption, I also expected the eastern black swallowtail butterflies visiting nearby Pentas, to lay a few eggs on one of their favorite larval plants, parsley. I consciously invited these little caterpillars to my herb table.

Nature works in concert to keep the natural order in check. Birds eat insects when they are plentiful, lady beetles eat aphids when they explode and I pick off caterpillars when there are more than my parsley can survive.

I call this being a steward of my garden. With the help of my dog, Sugar, we removed most of the caterpillars from my parsley, leaving seven of the largest ones to mature into adults.

From One Animal to the Next

When I visited the parsley this morning in hopes of finding a pupae, I was horrified to find a multitude of snails instead. Snails and slugs can decimate a garden of tender plants like parsley. I set about picking them off the bare stems and breaking their shells against the terra cotta pot. Yes, I can be brutal in my garden.

Soon I realized there were too many of them to exterminate by hand. Quickly I headed to the storage building where I have a corner for all my friendlier pest deterrents. I rummaged around until I found the well hidden Garden Safe Slug and Snail Bait. After reading the instructions, I decided to apply right then.

Conclusion

My interest in my garden is diverse.
I love the plants.

  • seeing the shapes, contrast, or colors
  • inhaling the aroma of my white flowers
  • eating their fruit
  • feeling the softness or hardness of their leaves
  • admiring individual plants and carefully arranged groups

I love the birds and butterflies.

  • hawks announcing their territory at the top of a tree
  • red cardinals chirping and hummingbirds finding nectar
  • sandhill cranes flying over with their clear rattle calls
  • Gulf fritillary butterflies emerging on the maypop
  • the first zebra longwing attracted to the native firebush

I admire the circle of life in nature.

  • swallowtail caterpillars devouring my parsley
  • Vermin eating fallen fruit, corn snakes eating the vermin
  • bald eagles diving for fish in the lake
  • alligators capturing fish or turtles in its jaws
  • man hunting the alligator, eating the tail meat, tanning the hide

All my life, judgement is with me, keeping me safe by warning me the stove was hot, sometimes reducing my happiness when I judged or felt the sting of judgement from others. My pain from judgement brings tears as I write this, tears for me and for all those I judged. What is left after letting go is forgiveness, love, and caring.

My hope for you is appreciation, understanding how perspective changes everything, letting go, and love for all, especially yourself.

Warmly,
Dawn

Gratitude is the Answer to Your Question

How do I stay positive during trying times? Gratitude is the answer. This small watercolor painting of the swan always fills my heart with gratitude. It reminds me of the time with my family when I was twelve at Busch Gardens in Tampa, where I took the photo of a swan with my Polaroid Swinger. I chose that moment for my reference at age thirty-seven as I experimented with a gesso and watercolor technique. Every time I look at this painting, my heart fills with gratitude that spans over decades.

You can feel the same with practice.

Give Me Examples

Being home with my children is driving me crazy.

  • First, ensure your children are safe
  • Then go to a quiet place
  • Close your eyes
  • Take 3 deep cleansing breaths
  • Imagine you are at away at work, wondering how your child is feeling away from you
  • Feel the sadness, the longing to be together
  • Now shift back to now
  • I’m so grateful they are right here with me
  • Come out and give your child a comforting hug
  • Repeat as needed
  • Gratitude is the answer

I miss being with my best friend.

  • First, move to a quiet place, where you are alone
  • Take 3 deep cleansing breaths
  • Call  your friend
  • Close your eyes and imagine they are right there with you
  • Enjoy your conversation
  • Tell them how grateful you are they are in your life
  • Repeat as needed
  • Gratitude is the answer

The Mind Shift

Dealing with fear, sadness, disgust or anger is possible. All these emotions are choices we make. Instead, using breathing techniques and being in the moment, choose joy, peace, trust and love.

How Do I Shift My Emotions?

  • First, go to a quiet place, where you are alone
  • Close your eyes
  • Take 3 deep cleansing breaths into your heart space
  • Imagine your favorite place
  • Listen to the sounds
  • Breathe in the fragrance
  • Continue to bask in this beautiful space
  • Slowly open your eyes
  • Repeat as needed
  • You have experienced gratitude in this exercise

How Can I Find Gratitude ____?

Fill in the blanks with your current situation. After you have performed at least one of the exercises above, go through this list. And always look for the positive.

  • I have time to enjoy _____
  • Explore the world virtually
  • See the small delights in your surroundings, right now
  • Be gentle with yourself
  • Be gentle with others
  • Smile
  • Gratitude is the answer

This Seems Too Simple

That’s the beauty of it. We become accustomed to rushing, stress and overwhelm. By the simple act of mindful breathing, we reset our minds and emotions. It’s very simple and how wonderful to have found the space to do that now. I’m taking advantage of this more quiet time at home to reconnect with the love and peace within.

Won’t you join me?

With Love and Caring,
Dawn

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Looking Back to December 2019

Looking back to December 2019, what did you think would happen for you in 2020? I’ll bet it was something pretty monumental, after all not only were we on the cusp of a new year, it was a new decade.

What Do I Know Now?

I realize a lot of the transformations I experienced in 2019 were setting the stage for this incredible opportunity of a pandemic, a worldwide virus that would change everything. Although many people have become ill, even died due to this pandemic. It could be so much worse. I’m so grateful it is not the typical Hollywood end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it catastrophe movie or as devastating as Stephen King’s epic novel, The Stand. Rather, in my life, it is like a stern parent, irritated with our behavior, who has placed us in the corner for a time-out.

What to do With Our Time-Out

The stay-at-home order has stripped away all non-essential activity outside our home base. However, we still have access to our digital world; smart phones, tablets, computers, smart tv, social media. We also can talk to friends and family even while seeing their faces in applications like FaceTime, Facebook Video or Zoom. Perhaps we even visit more now than before.

All these options feed two of our senses, vision and hearing. In contrast, we are feeling deprived of touch, taste, and smell. Do you know how we are feeding these senses? Yes, we are cooking our little hearts out; baking, roasting, sautéing, broiling, and grilling. Sometimes we feed our desire for creativity by pulling items out of the pantry and freezer to pull together a meal. I’m doing these things too, grateful we finally replaced our old gas range the first week in March.

Onto the Next Challenge

This flurry of cooking leads to the next challenge – exercise. Remember earlier when I mentioned my transformations in 2019? Hiring a personal trainer who comes to my home is one of those transformations. Little has changed on that front, except the use of Lysol on equipment and the six-foot distancing rule. I am so grateful for my trainer and our efforts to keep healthy and safe.

My new found yoga practice on Thursday mornings ended almost a month ago. Thankfully, a fellow Dream Creator Mastermind participant is helping me by sharing online gentle yoga like this video from Shelley Nicole. I still have to adjust some positions for my arthritic knees, but it feels so good to participate in yoga again. I’m so grateful for my online social community.

Do You Notice a Theme?

All the changes and challenges of the last months have upped the energy of gratitude in my life. I feel more free, centered, alive, and focused than ever before. Looking back to December 2019, I realize that everything good I expected in my life has come to pass or is in progress. I am grateful for everything and every person in my wonderful life!

If you want to know more about anything I mentioned in this blog, contact me, or better yet, signup for my newsletter, where you will not only receive my blogs, you’ll also know about other opportunities to connect.

Still smiling,

Dawn