How To Find Your Spirit Tree

Have you ever wondered how certain people connect with trees?  I had heard folks talk of spirits of trees, how they felt love for trees, and identified them by gender, and although I had always been fond of trees, I never felt a strong connection with them until I noticed something one day.

In my mid-fifties I thought it was high-time for some real peace and joy in my every day life, and started doing things like attending a yoga class regularly, eating more greens and natural food, and regularly walking in parks.  The more I immersed myself in activities that fed my body and soul, the more peaceful I was, and the better I was at handling life’s ups and downs.

I decided to try a walk in a secluded area of a park near me one day, when I was feeling a bit low, thinking that the more immersed I was in nature, the more benefits I could reap.  As I entered the area, I felt scared.  I was completely alone, no cell phone or way to protect myself against an attack by someone in the woods or an animal.  As I tried to focus on the trees, I realized my fear was keeping me from fully experiencing what was around me, and I wanted the blockage to be gone.  So I thought about it, and realized that the worst thing that could happen is that I would be attacked somehow, and die.  I realized that if I died, I would simply become part of nature, so there was really nothing to fear.  I also decided I would walk this secluded part of the trail only one time during my walk at the park, so if someone spotted me and had bad intentions, they wouldn’t have the chance to approach me.

As my fear left me, I began to notice every tree, wild flower, brush, grass, you name it.  The trees were mainly enormous Sycamore trees, and as I rounded the back corner, and worked my way toward the entrance, I felt an enormous feeling of love for myself, somber and strong, yet so deep, that I could feel my heart lifting as my mood changed, and I walked out of the area feeling sure of myself in the universe like I had never felt before.

What was that, I wondered!!  My spirit was healed simply by walking alone in a wooded area that day, and the sadness I had left earlier was gone.

As the weeks and months passed, I continued to walk in this area of the park when time allowed.  I walked there during all weather conditions and seasons, and each time I approached the bend in the path, I felt the same enormous love for myself, walking out with a renewed sense of purpose in the world, and profound respect for my soul.  I wondered exactly how this was happening, slowed down, noticing everything along that trail, and realized the feeling came when I looked at one particular huge Sycamore tree.  I had found my spirit tree!

To summarize the steps to finding your spirit tree:

  1.  Find a secluded place you can walk alone in a wooded area.
  2. Take a minute to feel any fear or other feelings blocking you from opening fully and experiencing what is around you at that moment, and imagine a way to free yourself from the feeling.
  3. Connect with nature around you by using five senses.  Touch the bark of a tree or a flower, smell the air, taste your lips, listen to the sounds of bird or leaves rustling in the wind, and look at everything, noticing colors, any water or moisture, textures, shapes, everything.
  4. Open your soul to feel whatever is there, and let your emotions surface until you feel love for yourself.
  5. After finding a place that makes you feel loved, return to that place periodically until you can identify exactly the source from which the love is radiating.
  6. Touch that tree, say thank you, and acknowledge it each time you walk there.

Finding your spirit tree, or a place in nature where you feel love, is a great way to get perspective on your life, dissolving negative emotions, and creating happiness.  My connection with trees has evolved to the point where I feel all trees are aware of me, as I acknowledge them, aware of their connection to each other and all of life.  It is easy to get caught up in the stress and worries of modern life, forgetting where we come from, and the purpose of our lives in the big picture of life.  Finding a quiet place to feel the peace of nature, a place that you can go to anytime can be the best form of therapy.  Pure and real, peace and love just for you from the universe and beyond, transmitted to you by a magical tree.

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Gadgets & Magic That Make Air Travel Less Stressful

While flying from Cincinnati to Dublin, Ireland, recently, I found myself somewhat unprepared for the discomforts of air travel. The universe spoke to me, however, and solutions popped up in unexpected places, I made note, implemented them on the journey home, and am here to tell you what I found.

I was already prepared for leg cramps by wearing compression socks and taking potassium tablets before take off, and that worked. No cramps this time.  I took an allergy pill to help with ear pain or clogged ears, and had a travel pillow and blanket. The allergy pill wasn’t enough, however, as we experienced intense ear pain during the final descent, and had clogged ears for a few hours after landing. I used the pillow, and was very glad I had it since the airline pillows are small and flat.

As chance would have it, soon after landing, I saw an ad about special earplugs to use while flying that helped with the ear pain, and are sold in airport stores. So on our way out of Dublin, we stopped in the airport store and bought two pairs of EarPlanes.  We followed the instructions, and they actually worked. We just had minor ear pain on descent this time, and our ears unplugged sooner.

Another problem that may arrive while traveling is waiting in hot lines or getting over-heated waiting for take-off, which can cause stress, and even panic in some. I found a great way to feel cool, comfy, and in control is to wear a portable fan around my neck. I have the O2 Cool model, which can be ordered, is 5″ x 2.5″ x 1″, lightweight, battery operated, and sends s cool breeze upward toward your face when wearing it. There’s something about having a breeze on your face that is calming, so I used it often to stay cool and relaxed.

So we’ve covered some gadgets, now how about the magic? I have found having a positive attitude, and expecting things to go smoothly sets the tone for an enjoyable travel experience.  The imagination can work for you or against you, and why not be kind to yourself and use it to imagine the best. If you have a fear of flying, imagine you are flying with Luke Skywalker as he easily navigates the galaxy. Experts say to stay hydrated while flying because cabin pressure causes a fast lose of moisture in the air, so it’s best to pass on the cocktails, and drink plenty of water in order to feel your best. No alcohol it ease your nerves?  Again, kick in those imagination and relaxation techniques.

Keep calming techniques in mind and handy during all parts of your travels. For example, if you find yourself sitting on a tour bus and having to use the restroom, try doing some yoga breathing to calm yourself until they stop for a restroom break. Yoga breathing is taking a breath in through your nose, and then out through your mouth for a while. Another way to calm oneself is simply to hum a pleasant tune, read anything available, or do some story-telling with your companion, or just tell yourself that everything will be OK instead imagining the worst things that could happen, and worrying if you find yourself in uncomfortable situations.

On my trip to Dublin, I found myself trying all of the comfort techniques above, and they worked. I even had my little fan going one night in bed when the temperature of the room was warm, and the hotel did not have air conditioning. Traveling to new places, seeing new things, talking to new people enriches your life and feeds your soul. A trip can be a delicious, intense, amazing little slice of life, and having a handle on the stresses of travel can be just the ticket to living your dreams.

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Fiber Art & The Quilt Barn Trail

The United States has a long history of quilt making, in fact, the history of America, itself, can be reflected in its quilts.  From early settlers who patched together blankets from scraps of material out of necessity, to the elaborate quilts of the 1800’s that became family heirlooms, to quilts designed to celebrate national pride in recent years, quilts, indeed, are part of the fabric of America.

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that quilting has continued to evolve and progress.  In 2002, for example, the quilts of Gee’s Bend were discovered and made famous through exhibitions in museums, TV and radio programs, and several books.  What made these quilts so popular was their bold geometric simplistic, albeit, modern style.  Because Americans now have access to new ways of sharing, designing, and working with material and fiber, it is clear that the popularity of the Gee’s Bend quilts was just a sample of what was yet to come.

What is Fiber Art?

Fiber art includes quilting, weaving, embroidery, rug hooking, doll making, wearable art, knitting, beading and crochet.  Although these crafts are nothing new, the methods of engaging the materials and ease of accessibility have advanced and launched a surge of interest and creativity.

The Chicago School of Fusing is one example of how fiber arts have changed in recent years.  It was founded in 1997 as a way to teach “the fine art of fusing to a few forward thinking art quilters.”  They now host extensive classes throughout the world.  Fusing a quilt is done without a sewing machine.  The artists normally use hand-dyed fabrics that they fuse together with an iron, then embroider by hand, and add beads or other materials to build texture and dimension into their designs.

Robbie Porter of Batavia, Ohio, began working with fiber art after she retired from teaching art.  She creates bead embellished art quilts, cloth art dolls and more using such methods as fusing and sewing with an embroidery/quilting sewing machine.  Robbie is a member of the Contemporary Quilt and Fiber Artists Guild, and her dolls were published in doll and quilting magazines from 2003 to 2007.  She describes herself as, “…an artist who is fascinated by texture and color.  The integration of beads into my art quilts has become my passion.”

In recent years Robbie has combined her passion for quilting with her teaching skills, and teaches classes in fusing and quilt art at a community art school.  Kathy Leone, owner of the Village Art House in Batavia, Ohio, soon found that not only were members of the community interested in Robbie’s quilts, there was tremendous interest in quilt barns and the quilt barn trail.

What is the Quilt Barn Trail?

The quilt barn trail began in 2001 when Donna Sue Groves decided to honor her mother, a quilter, by painting square quilt designs on 20 barns in rural Adams County, Ohio.  Most of the quilt squares in the country are painted by hand on plywood, measuring 8-feet by 8-feet, although some are painted directly onto the wallboards or other materials such as steel or aluminum.

At the beginning of  2011, the quilt barn trails consisted of more than 3000 quilt squares displayed in 27 states, making it possible to drive a trail through rural America and spot the quilt designs on barns along the way.  The barns have increased tourism and enhanced community pride as the trails now give historic barns new life and showcase local history and culture.

How to Become Part of the Quilt Barn Trail

To get a map of the quilt barn trail near you or information on how to purchase a quilt barn board for your property, contact americanquiltbarns.com or a community operation, such as Kathy Leone’s Village Art House, in Clermont County, Ohio.  Each state has its own theme and choice of designs and sizes of boards.  Once a decision is made, the board is ordered and, in the case of Clermont County, the juvenile court system supplies the labor to paint the boards.

Don’t have a barn? Don’t worry. You can still decorate your property with quilt designs. Ms. Leone put a quilt board on the side of her historic home, enhancing its beauty and charm while bringing interest to the community. Because of the easy availability of the quilt board in Batavia, other village residents have hung the boards on garages and old buildings and barns, often secluded on their property, for their personal enjoyment, creating a patchwork of beauty on the landscape of America.

Sources:

Quilting In America.com.  History of Quilts, An American Folkart

Cincinnati Nature Center.org. Contemporary Quilt & Fabric Artist Quilt Show 2011

Quilt Art.com.  Gallery:  Robbie Porter

American Quilt Barns.com.  Quilt Barn FAQs

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