Into the Sun – Day 5

Life Balance, Outdoor Adventure

Adorned in light

Adorned in light

Well, the sun has set on our 5-day Into the Sun blog series. Thank you,  thank you.

It has actually been more than 5 days; I have skipped some days and the reasons vary – rain, laziness, too much work at work. But, when I did write, I found this little exercise very refreshing. It has helped me use a different part of my brain (or use the brain differently) – that is, the act of writing creatively. And, it has definitely helped me to notice and celebrate the sun during this season of change. However, no matter how mindful we try to be; it is inevitable that we get swept away by a wave of confusion, anxiety, and haste. Maybe this wave is a byproduct of the society that we’ve created, I don’t know. But, if we can bring ourselves back to noticing things and get out of the funk every now and then – bravo!

Lastly, I leave you with some fun facts about the sun (from https://space-facts.com/the-sun/). Cheers!

  • The sun is not a perfect sphere. It is imperfect by just 10km between the poles and the equator.
  • The sun is a yellow dwarf star (main-sequence G2V star).
  • The sun is 4.6 billion years young.
  • The sun is 70% Hydrogen, 28% Helium, and 2% other stuff.
  • Our planet can fit inside the sun a million times.

Hopefully, you are inspired to learn more about the sun or just to look up once in a while.

Into the Sun – Day 4

Life Balance, Office Humor

 

Sunny Greenwood Lake

Bellvale (Bearfort when in NJ) Mountain is where the sun likes to hide at the end of the day.

Hello, again. If you recall, in the initial “Into the Sun” post I pledged to be more aware of the sun (for 5 days, anyway). And, so far I have done nothing, but shower that big shining ball with praise – the star of aesthetics, the giver of life, yada yada…

I think it is time to be mindful of how irritating the sun can be, especially, when you’re driving home from work at 5:45pm. At this time, the sun (purposely of course) positions itself at precisely the perfect angle along the horizon, where it pierces your eyeballs and you struggle to correct your vehicle away from incoming traffic (protective eye wear is futile). Then, the police car on the side of the road starts to move, but hesitates and then remains in place. The eager law enforcer must have realized that I was not intoxicated yet, sensing that what made me swerve was the same thing that kept him concealed in plain blinding light. So, as the teaching goes: we aren’t always comfortable when we are aware, we are just there for whatever is.

 

5 Days into the Sun

Life Balance, Outdoor Adventure

The sun is the heart of our solar system; it is a driving force behind much of the activity (seasons, climate, currents) and life on earth. Throughout history the sun has been worshiped and debated; ancient civilizations built stone structures (calendars) to mark the sun’s path through the seasons. During the days of Ptolemy, most believed that the sun revolved around the earth. Then, much later, we learned it was the other way around. Today, many people are still excited about the sun, especially during phenomenons like the solar eclipse, but most of the time it sort of goes unnoticed.

This is an exciting time of year to notice the changes! During the next 5 days, I’ll make an attempt to be a bit more mindful of the sun by noticing its intensity and position in the sky. I may try to compare to the sun’s presence a month ago. Each day, I will post a photo taken “into the sun” as a way to reflect on the sun during this time of seasonal transition, when the sun becomes a bit dimmer and more pleasant, like turning down the lamp light in the house for a more relaxing mood. I hope this little 5-day activity inspires us to notice our natural surroundings more often.

Into the Sun - Day 1

Photo taken near “green pond” at Harriman State Park, NY

Connecting with Nature?

Life Balance, Outdoor Adventure

A friend recently gave me a book called “How to Connect With Nature”, written by Tristan Gooley. At first, I thought, “are you saying I need help connecting with nature”? How dare you; after all, I attended “Nature College” and earned a “Nature Degree”. Of course, I dare not actually say any of that stuff and I thanked him profusely for his kind act. But, hang on a minute; my friend is actually spot on! Reading scientific papers about deciduous forests is not the same as experiencing a deciduous forest, fully with the senses. Better yet, hiking through a deciduous forest and identifying plants with a wild, scattered mind is not the same as experiencing a deciduous forest, fully with the senses.

I’m only a few pages in, but so far I like it. It seems the purpose of this book is to give people practical tools to make a profound connection with Nature. Sounds very cliché; we hear it on television, musicians sing about it – take it all in, commune with nature, they say. But, to consciously want to connect with our natural surroundings, in my opinion, is not a common desire. I had a friend tentatively make the following request a few times per year – “take me hiking, dude, so I can be one with nature and shit”. I assume this request came out of the idea that going to some scenic setting with birds and a nice overlook would seem cool. But, perhaps there is also a good chance that folks who want to take a hike for commercially inspired purposes might develop a deeper interest in nature through that experience.

It seems that to be present and “feel connected” is no easy task, even for people who really want to experience nature in a primal sense. For me, there is often an in and out signal – sometimes I feel more aware of my surroundings and sometimes I feel foggy-headed and distracted by thoughts of what has occurred in the past or what might occur in the future. This dilemma seems to circle back to ancient teachings about the practice of awareness and staying in the present moment. I believe this is the fundamental step for people who want to “connect with nature” in a truthful way. There are many wonderful sources out there for folks who want to learn more about mindfulness (and I don’t mean to use the term “mindfulness” as the marketing buzz word that it has become). Below are my top 3 favorite sources that I follow on this topic, and I hope you can benefit from them too. Happy trails!

3 Great Websites About Awareness / Simplicity

Audio Dharma – an archive of Dharma talks given by various speakers.

Zen Habits – a blog about finding simplicity and mindfulness, by Leo Babauta.

Raptitude – a blog about getting better at being human, by David Cain.

 

Find Your Flow

…Nature-inspired watercolor paintings available on our Etsy Shop!