Missing it

Lush September garden

Lush September garden

Sometimes I truly miss my year-long outdoor blog commitment.  Some of you may remember Opening the door, Walking Outside.  From Solstice in December, 2008 through December 20, 2009, I spent time outside every day and blogged about it.

It proved both wonderful and challenging, as you can imagine.  By mid-January I felt exhausted by the entire endeavor and totally irritated by the *stupid* commitment.  Yet, one soldiers on.

As the year progressed–and a reading audience grew–feelings of delight and appreciation for nature expanded.  An adoration of blogging blossomed.

As he croons in the song–It was a very good year.  Thanks, Frank Sinatra.

Worth more than gold

Worth more than gold

By the end of the year I was so ready to break out of the mold of writing and photographing only outdoor material.  Phew, it was now possible to talk about everything under the sun!  You know, one might carry on about Facebook, or the art of blogging, or friendship, or deep spiritual topics.

Lake Superior Spirit birthed from the shores of this commitment and I felt on fire while starting this new blog.  Plus it was possible to take a break here, to breathe in between posts, to feel new freedom.

The little pile is all that's left to split for this year

The little pile is all that’s left to split for this year

Every once in a while, though, I would like to do it again.

Open the door, go outside; blog like crazy every day.

No matter rain, shine or 20 below zero.

On the mandala walk around the yard

On the mandala walk around the yard

On the other hand, I don’t think another commitment like that would be possible at this time in my life.  I prefer a feeling of freedom, to be able to come and go without expectation or obligation.

Yet, the idea still surfaces.  One of my favorite walks is a slow mandala-circle around our yard.  One starts, say, behind the house, and consciously stays present with one’s step. With one’s breathing.

The eyes slowly scan the land, looking with awareness at what arises.

When thoughts threaten to hijack the walk (you know–you’re suddenly thinking about your kids and what they’re doing or what you’ll fix for lunch) you gently return to the feet, the earth, the unexpected gifts of nature.

Your practice becomes returning to the present moment.

Close-up of lichen growing on log

Close-up of lichen growing on log

Every walk produces a new fascinating gift.  While the mind often thinks:  boring, boring, boring–it is never so.  Slowly walking a small circle produces infinite variety, endless beauty, new revelations.

Sweet-smelling spearmint

Sweet-smelling spearmint

I don’t usually walk with a camera because the mind tends to chatter about what to share with others, and it can become challenging.

Yet today I took you along.

Thought:  wouldn’t it be fun to do this every day?  Just think of what one might see, share, enjoy!  Wouldn’t a daily mandala walk blog be cool?

Impatiens blossom falls on front porch

Impatiens blossom falls on front porch

Never mind–it’s just part of me remembering and dreaming of different possibilities.

Even though there probably won’t be a new blogging commitment, perhaps we’ll take a mandala walk together again sometime.  Would you like that?

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in September 2014 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

68 Responses to Missing it

  1. Brenda says:

    Kathy—I would love to join you on your walks around the mandala. To see your world in a new light. ❤

  2. Bonnie says:

    I would like a mandala walk with you any time you wanted to share it, in fact I might try one around the back yard edge, here. (I could do that, especially stopping every once in a while. I’m a believer in not tying yourself down to a challenge…..it leads to stress if you just can’t keep it up.

    • Kathy says:

      I hope you enjoy your back yard edge mandala walk, Bonnie. I know what you mean how challenges can lead to stress if you don’t complete them. Have experienced that–and also the wonder of completing one or two.

  3. Robin says:

    I would love it, but I bet you knew that. 😀 I sometimes miss my year-long commitment, too. There was something about it that stretched me in ways I wouldn’t have thought to stretch. I will be forever grateful to you for inspiring me to do it. ♥

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, of all the readers here, you would understand about the magic of completing a commitment like that. And the stretching challenges. Perhaps it’s partially because the energy kept building and encompassing wider than ourselves.

  4. dorannrule says:

    Yes, let’s go! I love to see the outside world through your eyes. 🙂

  5. Lori D says:

    When the feeling to take that walk in nature whilst clicking away at the beauty arises, just do it, and we’ll come along. When it doesn’t arise, do something else. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      That’s probably the way to go, Lori. Wait and see what arises~~and go for it. All day yesterday I felt passionately the desire to do this again. And then, suddenly, last night it all fell away. It’s interesting to witness what comes through us, isn’t it?

  6. Susan D says:

    What a nice memory of that wonderful, challenging commitment. You did soldier on through that, and we all reaped the rewards. I’ll walk with you anywhere 🙂

  7. sybil says:

    Yep. I need you to keep reminding me to be more mindful. To take time. Lately I’ve been walking without my camera and found it pretty frustrating. I see things in a different way when I have my camera. Especially on MACRO setting. 😉

    I first “found” you when you were doing your “Going outside” blog … I think you were over half way through the year by the time I got there …

    BTW do you print your blogs ? How do you preserve them ? or do you not worry about that ?

    • Kathy says:

      Yep, Sybil, there are so many different ways of “seeing”. I remember seeing you on Amy-Lynn’s blog and wondering who the heck you were. Do I print my blogs? No. My son gave me a CD of all the Opening the door, walking outside blogs in 2008-09. Other than that, only the photos are preserved. the words are…sniff, sniff, unpreserved and possibly disappearing into the ethers! What about you?

  8. Fountainpen says:

    Yes, I remember finding you there, within each day’s thoughts….
    it was a graced find!!!!!!
    Thank you for all that it took to do that year of getting outside!!!!!

  9. Elisa says:

    It doesn’t matter if I like it or not! (stamps foot! smiles! hugs!)
    I continue, with all of my current real or imagined or anxious current moments, to yap at me how doing this or that will ‘fix’ it, or recalling how good that noticing energy felt. I continue then to tell me how that won’t work because I am thinking about what next step must be taken in a crisis or to avert a crisis. I have resorted to walking outside in a forced counted circle of 4. Around the fenced in back yard in housing. I tell me it is pathetic. I tell me it is a cop out. (and I keep stubbornly walking, noting that I noted raindrops pooled on a leaf, a grasshopper that hops up against me and then off) And I walk another round. I recall talking with you about when I get ill or whatever that I can just make a wee square to observe. I had stopped doing that. Somehow I decided that was too pollyanna. (rolls eyes at self here)
    I am glad for this post. I visited that blog daily and utilized it to think. I used it on days when I could not physically go out. I wove it into my daily practice. It was a joy to me. I tripped over some of those ‘rules’. I fretted that you would feel obligation and so on, you know this. What you do not know is that I stopped because I couldn’t overcome the feeling. I hope that is not too much honesty. Sometimes, Opening the Door, and Walking Outside seems impossible. I am glad that you share about this and your circle walk. I am waiting for another dirvet-a-crisis call, however I am going to stand up now, grab the phone and go look at the revived Canna blooming right outside of the front door.

    • Kathy says:

      Hi, Elisa~~I always liked so much how you loved the Outdoor blog and wove it into your daily practice–what a wonderful thing to say. Just that simple knowing might be enough for me to want to do it again (although probably not.) Yes, tripping over “rules” is part of the challenge of a year-long commitment. And sometimes we can get past those rules, and sometimes not. But it’s important not to allow the mind to beat us up, either way. Thanks for the honesty. It’s good.

  10. lisaspiral says:

    I like the mandala walk. I don’t know how you manage to focus on your breath and your steps and still keep such a good camera eye. 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

    • Kathy says:

      Lisa, it was much more challenging to focus on the present moment AND take photos. (That’s probably why I don’t share this too much). The camera kind of begins to take center stage and the breath/steps are more forgotten. I am glad you liked the sharing.

  11. Carol says:

    When you wish to do the mandala walk, I will join you. When you wish to do something else, I will join you. No pressure – follow your heart and I will follow you. All of us lined up behind your heart.

  12. Yes please. Another mandala walk ANY day or time of the week.

    P.S. My new learning for the day is what peppermint looks like. I never knew, and now I do! 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Barry says I have made a grave error, Laurie. It is not peppermint. It is spearmint! I shall correct it right now. But will you be able to correct it in your mind? I do hope so. (They look very similar.)

  13. john k says:

    Walk on!

    Hey have you ever thought about walking the corners of your property?

    • Kathy says:

      John K, it’s been years since I walked the corners of our 23 acres. That would certainly be a LONG mandala walk, but perhaps one worth taking… Good idea.

  14. Karma says:

    Thanks for taking us along on your walk. I like seeing it through the eyes of your camera.

    • Kathy says:

      Karma, well at least you get a more visual sense of what our Little House in the Big Woods is looking like these days and how much wood we’ve split! Thank you.

  15. Cathryn says:

    Kathy, I stumbled onto your beautiful blog via a Google image search for a pile of wood to split. 🙂 I have a favor to ask you – I’m working on a series of image macros (like those pictures that float around online with words over an image) with some favorite quotations that mean something to me. Would it be alright with you if I used this photo? https://centria.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/dsc03913.jpg?w=490 The project is personal, just for my own benefit, so it wouldn’t ever even make it back online for anyone else to see. I just wanted to check with the owner before I grabbed your work and used it in mine.

    Thanks and God bless!


    • Kathy says:

      Hello,Cathryn–we have the same name, except yours is spelled with a “c”! Thank you for your kind compliment and, yes, you may use the photo. How kind of you to ask. Much enjoyment for you in your project…

  16. Reggie says:

    Oh Kathy, I remember your daily blog very well. It was how I first got to know you, and to love your gentle playful spirit, and your woods and the animals and people you encountered and wrote about, often with such tenderness and delight. At the time, I didn’t fully appreciate just how *hard* it is to make such a 365-day commitment. When I started my photo-a-day blog on ‘Finding Frohsinn’ on 1 January this year, I had such high hopes that I would be able to do exactly what you did: go out with my camera every day, and take even just one photo, which I wanted to post on my blog, sometimes with a long story, or with a few words, or sometimes just the photo. All too soon, life and busyness and deadlines and responsibilities and illness and all kinds of challenges got in the way of that commitment. I realised I had to take myself off the hook, rather than getting into a tizz about *not* being able to honor my daily commitment. (A post still appears every day, but now, I tend to schedule a couple in advance, whenever I can devote the time to sitting quietly and going through my photos and remembering those days.) The whole experience has made me realise that your achievement was even more special and remarkable! I love your idea of the mandala walk – slowly, mindfully, walking step, by step, by step… today’s walk was wonderful. I would walk along with you any day, Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      Reggie, you and Robin are two of the people I know understand the challenges of such a commitment. I so relate to what you’ve said here. Life just gets so busy and crazy at times it can be almost too much. On the other hand, there are such benefits. I am thinking right now about what failure is. Our minds may say we’ve not succeeded if we’ve missed a few days. Yet if we succeeded in posting for 345 days, isn’t that a huge success? Just pondering. And thank you for enjoying the mandala walk. It was much harder to bring the camera into the equation while meditating, so I probably won’t do it. But these daily rituals (and sharing them on-line) can feel so appealing, can’t they?

  17. Mandala walk or not- it mattes not what you write about. All that matters to me is that you write. You are always inspiring, interesting and, informative.

  18. bearyweather says:

    Kathy you knew I would enjoy … thanks. Especially now with school interfering with my own nature walks. Fall is the best time to get out and wander in nature .. the smells, sounds and colors wake up your thoughts. I hope you have the opportunities to get out and enjoy it a lot in the next month or so.

    • Kathy says:

      Glad you enjoyed the walk, bearyweather. Fall IS the best time! I love this time of year. (We barely escaped with no frost on the garden the last two nights.) I do hope you get time off your school grading and prep and get to spend some time outdoors.

  19. tbocklund says:

    My dog has worn a race track around the yard – wait, no, maybe he was just laying down the mandala for the walking my own soul needs.

  20. Would definitely like to take another mandala walk together sometime… This post reminds me of the walks I used to take in the woods and around the swamp by my father’s house. Always a variety of treasures to notice and marvel at, and often Bernie the cat would lead the way and “show” me things that he found interesting. I miss those days…

    • Kathy says:

      Barbara, how very cool that Bernie shared his own perspectives, which may have been different than the ones your awareness perceived. So many treasures in nature, aren’t there, when we take time to walk slowly and see them.

  21. Yes, I remember your year long commitment! It changed us both!

    • Kathy says:

      Jessica, how very interesting that you would say that. That it changed you, too. It is so true–when we accompany another on a journey–we too are changed. Gosh, that could almost be another blog post. It is always so lovely to see you!

  22. Count me in to the mandala walk!

  23. What is a mandala walk? This was my first time to even hear the word. I guess it is a smaller version of labyrinth walking? Just guessing.
    Commitments without purpose is hard to keep. I have to have an end goal in mind to keep up the challenge. I did the year long challenge and learned I did not like the commitment, however I made it by cramming in all my Christmas ornaments and decorations. I think that mint be called cheating.
    I always wanted to blog because I felt I had something to say; now not do much; it has all Ben said. Even though each life is different, in many ways they are all the same; just degrees of happiness and sorrow.

    • Kathy says:

      A mandala walk is–maybe–a term I made up! You know how there are mandalas, circular paintings or pictures? Well, a mandala walk feels like a walk in a big circle around the property. When you look at a mandala, it is supposed to be meditative. So a walk would be looking at the natural world as a big mandala and meditating.

      You know, it’s interesting how we have something to say and then we don’t. I totally get that. Sometimes the Universe wants to speak through us and sometimes the Universe wants to listen through us. Sometimes it feels all’s been said, and then–the next thing you know–you may be blogging again with lots of stories suddenly wanting to be shared. Honoring you where you are right now.

  24. NO! I didn’t know you back then when you began your blog. My blog is only 2 years young. But what an inspiring commitment to make. You’re helping me try to look forward to my move from ‘beautiful amazing bay area’ weather to rather more ‘challenging’ weather in NE. Maybe I need to inspire/commit myself to making sure I get outside every day (as I do here, but it’s no challenge) in my new back yard.

    • Kathy says:

      You have such a baby blog–only two years old! *grin* You know, Pam, I discovered that so much of my resistance to getting outside in the cold weather was in the mind. On the other hand, I do like to spend days cuddling inside under a blanket on the couch, feeding the wood stove our precious logs and reading books. Can’t wait to discover more about your “New England” move. New England doesn’t start with “M”.

  25. Connie T says:

    It is different to see what you take a picture of. It is so different from my area. I see a lot of wild horses. I should put up more pictures of them. You have lots of trees, we have desert and pine trees.

    • Kathy says:

      Connie, you are right, it’s fascinating to look at pictures of different areas around the world. Sometimes it feels so “old hat” here I think that there’s nothing new to see. It’s always fun to prove the mind wrong.

  26. I Wilkerson says:

    Yes, I often consider how much carrying a camera can interfere with being present, so leave it behind. But then there are the things you sometimes wouldn’t see without it. Sigh.

  27. sonali says:

    Commitment! How do you fulfill those, I must learn from you. I truly must. Perhaps, you should take up one.. with me joining you in it! 😉 (just a thought)
    Have a good day!!!

    • Kathy says:

      Sonali, so good to see you! I might have been able to take one up (inviting you along) but it feels like those days are past. Except for certain commitments (like marriage and jobs, lol) these days I prefer to let my feet lead where they want to go–and they’re always changing direction!

  28. dawnkinster says:

    I remember that blog. That’s where I first met you! I loved seeing the big woods and the big lake, and reminiscing about times I used to live there. But I can see that an every day commitment would be tough. Nice that we hear from you when you feel like sharing…that’s good enough!

    • Kathy says:

      I just feel so nostalgic for that blog every once in a while, Dawn. It was a special year. Glad you were able to vicariously remember the UP that you loved.

  29. Heather says:

    Sounds like your walk is a perfect form of active meditation. I think obliging yourself to it would ruin it to some extent. I think you should follow your feet with your blogging 😉
    Happy to walk along with you any time!

    • Kathy says:

      Heather, I so agree with you about following my feet with my blogging these days. But I also wanted to honor the heart here that momentarily felt so teared-up and nostalgic with a precious memory of an amazing year in my life. These desires to do commitments come and go–but the intention of following the feet wherever they may lead seems the strongest one these days. Glad you came for a walk around the property with me.

  30. Yes! Yes, Kathy I would like that!

  31. Stacy says:

    I would say, when the mood strikes to be outside, be outside! (If not, don’t.) xo

  32. Karen says:

    It is a peaceful way to clear your mind of other thoughts. Now about that woodpile, you are right about it being worth more than gold. People here in our area are having a hard time getting firewood this year.

    • Kathy says:

      I am glad you understand, Karen! We got our firewood delivered mid-winter, thank goodness. Unfortunately, many others are having difficulty. We’re going to share our bounty with a friend if he needs it. He’s still looking for an available load to buy.

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