Connecting with Nature

Okay so we’re in August and yes sorry that summer will soon be over. But wait! There is a whole month left before summer unofficially ends on Labor Day September 2nd, and three weeks more until the official end of summer on the autumn equinox. So it’s not like it’s the last minute. There is still plenty of time to do all those summer things that we want or need to do! Here in the Northeast, we are still waiting for tomatoes to come up so we can prepare our very own Caprese salads, soups, and sauces. Oh the endless joys of gardening!

Speaking of joyous things to do, for all of you who have ever wanted to visit a spiritual community geared to adults, I would strongly suggest Omega in Rhinebeck, New York. I just did a weekend intensive program there with Dr. Eben Alexander and Dr. Raymond Moody, my fourth time with those remarkable man. And quite a weekend it was!

While Omega is primarily a camp for adults, they do have a “teen week” and things to do for younger children. The grounds are so very beautiful and peaceful. One of the best features is that you can free yourself of electronic gadgetry (but choose to engage if you’re in the lovely café). If the cabins are a bit too rustic for you, there are plenty of bed-and-breakfasts in the area which is famous for its great gardens and sustainable farms, something New York State is becoming noted for. Truly amazing and very inspiring is Omega’s day of “Healing the Earth” with participants doing their part, even if it’s just a little bit, to correct the carbon footprints we all leave. If your dance card is filled this summer, really think about visiting Omega next year. You will make your mark and leave very happy!

Someone who has made her mark worldwide is the truly inspiring Jane Goodall, the world’s most famous primatologist. I just read an article about her which noted that fifty years ago, Jane became the first person to prove that nonhuman animals make tools. More recently, Jane has been focusing on a life form less intelligent than the chimpanzees she studied in Tanzania. In fact, a species that has no brain at all: plants.

Jane’s newest book, Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder From the World of Plants, co-written with Gayle Hudson, chronicles Jane’s lifelong love of all things leafy. In the book, Jane writes that “There would be no chimpanzees without plants – nor human beings either,” and confesses that she might never have started studying apes had she not, as a child, been obsessed with Africa’s forests. Now 79 years young, Jane runs the Jane Goodall Institute to protect chimpanzees’ habitat, and Roots and Shoots to encourage children to become conservationists. Jane has inspired me my whole life. She is a big part of why I became an avid gardener and lover of Nature which is the closest tangible thing to “God.”

I would suggest that if you are of mind to present yourself with just one gift during this rest of summer, make that gift being active in Nature. And while you are there, listen. You never know when a loved one is going to “call your name” from the Other Side.

The “Little Things” are the Most Significant

Happy July! We are now officially in summer, the summer solstice having occurred on June 20, with a full moon to boot!

Somebody I know who is from the Northeast but now living in Florida was visiting up north and one evening came across some fireflies, also called lightning bugs where I grew up. She had totally forgotten about those magical little beings from her childhood and became reawakened to this wonder of Nature. I told her I get to see them every June and July from my porch, and each year still feel blessed by their presence.

The fireflies remind me that it’s the little things in life that often are most significant, and that we should cherish in our lives those precious moments, for life can change in an instant. Yes all the electronic gadgetry we have nowadays is great, but please do remember to take some time to enjoy the sunrise and sunset, a walk along the shore, a mountain hike, etc. All the better if you can share the experience with someone you care about, and discuss the magnificence that is Nature over good food and wine.

Of course, each season has its own beauty to experience, but being in the moment now means to recognize that it is July – a good time to play hooky from work, with the kids perhaps. Or just go outside and become a kid yourself.

This is also the month to sit outside, gaze upon the stars, and listen to the crickets. So relaxing! This is what a July day can hold for us.

Even New York City is much calmer than usual this time of year, although there are plenty of activities like concerts in Central Park, dancing on the piers along the Hudson, baseball and softball games galore, people flying kites, riding bikes, skating, or what have you. When the sun is shining in July, doing just about anything outdoors is great fun.

Before signing off, I wanted to give a personal “Thanks” for Terri Daniel once again out-doing herself for my third year at the Afterlife Awareness Conference. To be sure not my last. Terri asked me to return again next year! I met so many wonderful people at the conference I thank them all for letting me into their hearts! It was great meeting Eben Alexander and seeing Raymond Moody who will both be in Montreal for the 38th annual IIIHS (International Institute of Integral Human Sciences) conference. I will then be in Toronto, and will again be with Eben and Raymond at Omega. Gotta wonder: who is following whom? A fun-filled July for sure. I’m looking forward to meeting so many of you on my journey and your beloved ones in spirit!

By now we should all be over the winter time blues! So kids, get out there and smell the roses!

Happy Father’s Day

On June 21st we will officially enter summer! Hooray! Time to watch the flowers bloom, take a walk on the beach in the sun, or just hang out in the hammock reading a good book on the new Kindle or the old fashioned way. It’s all good!

As always, the children will be delighted that school is out. And of course there will be those anxious teenagers looking for summer jobs.

As for the adults, well . . . I do have some advice for those who say, “Summer for me is not what it used to be when I was a kid.” Yeah, OK, that’s true. You’ve got to work and be responsible and all. BUT, that’s no reason why you can’t do some playing yourself. I have a friend who’s in his mid-sixties and still plays in a softball league! Now, that’s the spirit!

Let us not forget that June is also time for graduations and weddings. Yes, all very important to celebrate, but the one June event I want to focus on for a moment is Fathers Day.

It was during my Mothers Day yearly special on WXLO radio in Worcester Massachusetts that one of the guys at the station remarked that mothers get all the acknowledgement. And it got me thinking about sharing what my years of connections with people have taught me about fathers…things that often don’t get mentioned.

There are numerous times when a man comes into the family, and while not being the “biological” father, still takes on the fatherly role most willingly. He assumes not only the financial responsibilities, but also actively loves his wife’s kids, not caring whether or not they are actually his in a biological sense. I wish I could tell you how many times during my sessions this truism is expressed by a daughter or son, who say without question, “He was my father.”

There are also many times when, during a divorcing situation, the father wants nothing more than to continue to be “a good dad.” Sadly, many wives do everything in their power to isolate him from his children. Still, the fathers hang in there and do the best they can under the most trying of circumstances.

Of course there are some men who don’t take responsibility-the so-called “deadbeat dads”-but for every one of them there are so many more who go above and beyond the call of family duty, in the name of love and what is right. So here’s a tribute to all those men who take on that extra duty, and work two or three jobs if they have to, just to care for their their family. And more often than not, they still will still find time to play catch, teach their kids how to fish, and hug them like there’s no tomorrow.

As Bob Dylan sang in the early Sixties, and which is still so very true today, “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” Just one example: I was in a restaurant for my birthday on Memorial Day, watching two sets of parents. It was the men who were caring for the babies, talking cheerily about their kids. I thought, “How cool is that?” A real symbol of what fathers are about in 2012!

So fathers, enjoy your Fathers day!

And fathers and everyone, please also take time to enjoy summer, starting now! You want to do a weekend workshop to boost your spirits? Keep this in mind…I’ll be at Omega again in July for my intensive weekend workshop, always fun and enlightening. For my summer travel, I’m hitting Portland for an all- day event-very excited to return there-and of course I will be visiting many places on the East Coast. Take a look at my schedule to see when I’ll be coming your way.

Daddy’s Little Girl

So here we are at the end of August where everyone is still celebrating weddings and end of summer parties. Many a hotel is booked for events, and many a hotel is quite happy about it!  Of course I guess with all this the most major event is that labor day is around the corner.  We will however keep enjoying this wonderful time of summer.

As I always say, one of the most special and privileged things I get to have and enjoy is the importance and significance to connect with many people’s loved ones and father’s or daddy’s girl. Being able to affect and make a huge difference in many lives.

I was reminded recently in a session where a young mother had just lost her father. Having a newly born little girl just added to her missing her father and feeling that he wouldn’t be around to see his granddaughter.

Of course we know he’ll be around just not the way she would naturally want him to be. I remember one of her words in describing her father and it stuck with me and I found it in some way very profound and in another, the perfect description of what many a father should mean to all of us.

She said, “he was the salt of the earth”!  I breathe in those words and feelings. How wonderful this young woman’s childhood was with her dad, and how that will be in her heart and soul throughout her life.

Yes, her sadness is that he has passed over to the other side of life but she had the experience and love to have such a beautiful man to grow up with and yes, have her be daddy’s girl.

I talk about interconnected relationships in my book Everything Happens for a Reason and it is so true, those first experiences do stay with us our whole life and do effect all our relationships.

One thing I know for sure is, she will certainly be instrumental to make sure her daughter grows up knowing what it’s like to be daddy’s girl.

I have no doubt she would choose a father, husband and friend/partner who will give the same to their daughter.

We learn by what we see and are taught.  So if your father is here alive, celebrate whatever your relationship is, of course if you can and if not send out thoughts from afar. If your dad’s in spirit know you will be heard and felt and if you feel the need to forgive him then know you can do that as well.

Summer is generally a time when we can pass down those wonderful memories to our nieces, nephews, sons and daughters of spending time just playing. Yes, just playing because those are by far the memories most children and young people will remember.

Remember always, memories are forever.