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Welcome! This is a place to share how we celebrate & deepen our relationship to Nature. Here you will find stories, images, & ideas about wilderness, human nature, & soulfulness. Drawing from the experiences of everyday living, the topics on this blog include: forays into the natural world, the writing life, community service, meditation, creativity, grief & loss, inspiration, & whatever else emerges from these. I invite you on this exploration of the wild within & outside of us: the inner/outer landscape.



09 December 2016

The How of Afterward

Shortly after my very first hospice assignment, I remember being struck by the “issue” of bereavement: how would this family receive support as they grieved the death of their loved one?

Before I ever walked out alone into the desert on my first four-day wilderness fast, I remember being struck by the “issue” of incorporation: how would a soul who had undergone such a powerful experience cope with their life in the “developed world”?

During my intensive training in graduate school, I remember being “struck” by the issue of professional pressures after graduation: how would someone apply the scholarly insights and depth of knowledge in a change-agent sort of way?

In the years I was waking up to environmentalism, I remember being “struck” by the issue of genuine eco-friendly lifestyles: how could a person use as few resources as possible while still being engaged in modern society?

As a youth very involved in spiritual retreats in the mountains, I remember being “struck” by the issue of “bearing witness”: how would I ever be able to be a living example of my deep inner convictions in the midst of the vagaries of daily life at home?

When I volunteered on the city’s crisis hotline in my twenties, I remember being “struck” by the issue of post-tragedy resolution: how would the suicidal, homicidal, abused, homeless, starving, jobless, or imprisoned find sustaining well-being?

At the conclusion of mediation sessions I’ve done with youth and families, I remember being “struck” by the issue of peace: how would they navigate relationship with one another once the dust settled?

Whenever I hear sirens, news of wars, famines, natural disasters, disease outbreaks, I remember how “struck” I continue to be by the issue of survival: how will the communities recover and rebuild, how will they find equilibrium, how will they commemorate lost lives, how will they release the fear of recurrence, how will they ever learn to celebrate again in the face of their potent experience of the thin thread that holds our vulnerable lives together?

(There are countless more examples…)

It was only this morning, in my private contemplations that I was able to see that this is a compelling theme in my life. I have given myself over, and over again, to this query and to the world: journeying this question of how. And then figuring out how to serve that need.

How? And so yesterday, I found myself sitting with people who are struggling with current circumstances all over the planet. I’ve announced several times recently on this blog that I would be offering a free opportunity for callers to learn about and engage some very simple practices for coping…possible only through the generous hospitality of the Charter for Compassion; that video conference occurred yesterday. There were people from all over the globe in attendance. And I was just delighted to be of service in my very small way…the only way I know how to be – which is – simply – to be present with them. It takes guts to show up to strangers: all those callers to me, and introverted me to all of them. And yet, our common experience of being humans in difficult times, our honest vulnerability and intrepid willingness to look in the face of one another and ourselves, our shared desire to find peaceable and loving paths forward led us to convene in the geography-free, timeless, bias-neutral space of the online call.

For this one small step deeper into the knowing of how to I am so deeply grateful. For I don’t see any breaking of the pattern above: my apparently-lifelong pursuit of how we cope with and live through the “afterward” of our powerful life experiences. And not just how we cope and live. But also how we thrive in the immediacy of difficult circumstances, how we move in balance, how we empathetically breathe in the pain of “the other” and breathe out the blessing of compassion. How we reach within, and how we reach out.




All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2016 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."

07 December 2016

Image of the Week

"Frost"     Washington     2016


All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2016 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."

05 December 2016

Monday Musings WRITING PRACTICE: “Peace on Earth”

TEALarbor stories’ Monday Musings are quotes, poems, & practices offering simple ways to explore the ecotone of the inner/outer landscape. 




Be a creator of peace on earth…as you journey through the holiday season. Write a list of twelve things that calm you and are easy to do anytime, anyplace. Keep the list nearby and commit yourself to peace by practicing something on your list each time you begin to feel stressed. Sway with the changing winds, but remain rooted in serenity.  





TEALarbor stories - in collaboration with and through the generous support of  the Charter for Compassion - is offering to the international community a free video conference call on Dec 8th, 2016 from 9 – 10:30 AM Pacific Time. To learn more and to register, go to: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/f313ea655b832a97c5b9141539e44ee6



All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2016 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."

02 December 2016

Each Day

The sea makes itself at home in my office…the skin of maroon and pink seaweed, kelp with rectangular puckers into which my finger reflexively probes, a tangle of sea plant with a thick stem remind me of their origin by the thick scent they release as they dry out on a rag atop my journals.

Sunset on my birthday calls me outside three times…first, lines of light striate the high western sky; a while after returning home, the striations morph into color and I’m out in the front yard gazing toward the Sound; a searing orange blaze then wakens me from my inside reverie and I rush toward the window made by trees across the street and raise my hands in gratitude for the sunset’s final gift of the day.

The tree boughs curl into vertical waves through the dripping window pane of my office in the still-darkness of this nearly winter sodden dawn...it reminds me of the blocky black cow at the edge of the road who caught my attention as I slowed toward the red light, grateful that I had a minute to pause and watch him.

On a fast road, I suddenly slowed down as my mind said, “Orange!” to the spread tail feathers of a flicker landing on a fence post…as my eyes and heart eventually captured the image, I realized that the color was more like robust peach, deep apricot, a tangerine creamsicle – fruity colors at the base of a sitting woodpecker.

I quietly walked the high tideline as a gift to myself…stooping to find pebbles as round and smooth as marbles, I also found my hands achingly cold with the sheets of sea vegetation flat across my palm, bed for the delicate crab shell I also brought home.

*     *     *

It is just so easy to find a gift, small but enduring, each day in the more-than-human world. The small examples above are only a sampling of the dozens in the past thirty-six hours that made themselves available to anyone who would notice...I was the one who happened to pay attention; who noted in my journal; who passes these along to you now. When fear, despair, or grief for the world threaten to drown us with their claws, we are given that next new breath of peace, soul-nourishment, in the form of Nature. Each one of these Earth-given presents is a call to presence. Though they are good markers of time, and opportunities to reflect and move forward anew, birthdays and new years and holidays are not the only chances we get to begin again…we need only look, step out into, and touch our breathing sister soil.  


TEALarbor stories - in collaboration with and through the generous support of  the Charter for Compassion - is offering to the international community a free video conference call on Dec 8th, 2016 from 9 – 10:30 AM Pacific Time. To learn more and to register, go to: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/f313ea655b832a97c5b9141539e44ee6

Birthday Altar
(collected at the tideline and assembled atop a bed of moss in the backyard)




All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2016 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."

30 November 2016

Image of the Week

"Full Moon Aglow"     Washington     2016



All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2016 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."

28 November 2016

Monday Musings QUOTE: “Gratitude Is”

TEALarbor stories’ Monday Musings are quotes, poems, & practices offering simple ways to explore the ecotone of the inner/outer landscape. 




Gratitude is the most passionate transformative force in the cosmos.


Sarah Ban Breathnach






All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2016 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."