Welcome!

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.



Monday, November 30, 2020

Monday Musings GRATITUDE PRACTICE

TEALarbor stories’ Monday Musings are simple practices for exploring the inner/outer landscape. 



Despite the challenges of 2020, make a list of one great blessing per month that you’ve received this year. 







All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Friday, November 27, 2020

Gratitude Offerings

I’ve been writing about gratitude for a number of years now. 

 

Writing. 

Ruminating.

Practicing daily. 

Guiding others through.

 

Here is a sampling of what I have written as blog posts:

https://gratefulness.org/blog/where-gratefulness-resides/

https://gratefulness.org/grateful-living/hearty-gratitude-practices/

https://tealarborstories.blogspot.com/2014/11/gratitude-revisited.html

 

https://tealarborstories.blogspot.com/2015/11/gratitude-as-bridge.html

 

https://tealarborstories.blogspot.com/2013/11/all-about-gratitude.html

 

https://tealarborstories.blogspot.com/2013/11/enacting-gratitude-practice.html

 

https://tealarborstories.blogspot.com/2013/11/so-much-about-gratitude-now.html

 

https://tealarborstories.blogspot.com/2012/05/gratitude-again.html

 

In books, articles, workshops and trainings, and in my everyday engagements with others, this “gratefulness thing” just keeps showing up. 

 

“Gratitude. Thanks. Gratefulness. Appreciative acknowledgment. How wholly holy is the sacred practice of noticing right now, with our lips in the shape of a grin, and saying, ‘I am grateful!’” 

 

(Orig. posted in Nov 2019)














































All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Image of the Week

"Well-Rooted"















































All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Monday, November 23, 2020

Monday Musings GRATITUDE PRACTICE

TEALarbor stories’ Monday Musings are simple practices for exploring the inner/outer landscape. 



Share something sweet or beautiful with a loved one; say “thank you” to them as you offer it. 






All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Friday, November 20, 2020

Gratitude 2020

Eight months into the pandemic I am finding ever more “reasons” to be grateful. 

 

It is, after all, Gratitude Season. (I first declared this last year around Thanksgiving time…)

 

The tradition has been to gather around tables over delectable feasts with beloveds of all sorts filling the chairs in our homes. We have hugged and shared forkfuls of pre-dinner tastings; we have nestled near each other by the fire and told stories. All of this indoors, with the closer-the-better proximity to other bodies. Huddled for warmth, for love, for affection. This year it won’t be this way for some of us. 

 

Nonetheless, there are so many reasons (as if we needed a reason) to be grateful…even during a pandemic. Especially during this pandemic. 

 

Some reasons:

the very life-sustaining breath that you intake and release.

relationships you care enough to miss when you can’t be near them.

the shelter that protects you as you read these words.

the love of those who nurtured and raised you.

great memories of other feasts and other holy days and other gatherings – and the expectation of those memories-to-make in the future.

the comfort of your home place. 

and so many more …

 

And of course there is the natural world, wild and wily and inspiring – offering more reasons for gratitude:

two coyotes who dance through the yard, return and linger and pretend all morning that this patch of grass is home.

the five yellow apple leaves, several dozen fig pods, one last fiery-leaved blueberry branch, and half of the alders’ foliage that still cling as if autumn is everlasting.

the now bare-limbed grace of the maples, vine and big-leaf.

clouds, milky and sooty, that roll across the periwinkle sky.

rain that pours and drenches and puddles in nooks.

the perfect paw print in mud.

breezes that animate the strings of my bamboo chimes: a vocal marionette bringing blessing and good wishes.

and so many more …

 

May you journey your own path to inner gratefulness this season, regardless of the difficult and particular circumstances that might inhabit the world right around you. And if it is any consolation at all, please know that I am thinking of you: 

 

holding you close.

sending blessings for peace or joy.

eagerly awaiting a day I can be with you in person …














































All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Image of the Week

"Journey to the Center"
















































All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Monday, November 16, 2020

Monday Musings NATURE PRACTICE

TEALarbor stories’ Monday Musings are simple practices for exploring the inner/outer landscape. 

 

Observe the natural landscape around you and choose one rooted being to which you will give kind attention this week. 








All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Friday, November 13, 2020

Stories of Thanks

That hemlock (who I mistook for a redcedar) has heard a thing or two over the past eight months:

 

prayers and blessings for family and friends, 

panting breath from trail-running, 

questions about who he (the tree) is, and inquiries into next steps for good, compassionate living,

words of reflection about his grove, his forest, 

whispered memories of beloveds who have passed,

shouted glee for the beauty of those still present, 

and stories of deep thanks for the gifts galore granted freely by Nature in all of her many forms.

 

That hemlock, my friend, has seen a thing or two over the past year and a half:

 

a bark collage in honor of my mom,

trees fallen at his base in the small wood in which he stands,

an altar to honor the sick, the dead, the hurting,

a multihued thousand-paper-cranes spiraled and fanned into the shape of a bird, 

the circular tribute made of rocks, leaves, cones, fronds, and fallen boughs, 

a woman doing yoga in the clearing while her two young sons play a game with twigs, 

the barred owl who flew through, the pileated woodpecker pair hammering in turn on two sides of a neighboring tree, the flitting of small songbirds way back in the springtime, 

downpours of rain, of hail, of snow, and blazing sun (only on Hemlock’s uppermost needles),

winds that dance everyone living in the grove … (and a few humans, too)

 

That particular tree, Hemlock, has sung a thing or two to me recently:

 

be brave, little one,

sit still beside me if you want to learn,

strength is in community

your heart matters, love matters, kindness matters

gratefulness is inside you not outside of you

seek beauty

hug me like you mean it, tightly, unabashedly

give thanks repeatedly, specifically, heartfully…in fact, constantly

i’m breathing you in, you’re breathing me in

we’re kin – you and i 

 

And so much more. 

 

These are tree stories for which I give thanks.














































All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Image of the Week


"Orange Blue Moon"


















































All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Monday, November 9, 2020

Monday Musings CREATIVE PRACTICE

TEALarbor stories’ Monday Musings are simple practices for exploring the inner/outer landscape. 



Using vivid colors, create a collage expressing your feelings. 






All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Friday, November 6, 2020

“pieces of love”

let’s go, let’s go, let’s go 

pick up the pieces

the pieces of love that we find

 

this chorus by the brothers frantzich resounded earlier this week as i drove up the highway - 

the car battery’s small workout in these covid times of nowhere-going 

 

i must’ve heard this song long ago when i first purchased the CD

but it has been ages, and the lyrics embolden me now when i need them most

 

tears visit me too, cascade down my cheeks


let’s go, let’s go, let’s go 

pick up the pieces

the pieces of love that we find

 

and suddenly i am going somewhere:

 

i see brightly colored fragments

shiny, glistening, confetti-like 

strewn across the asphalt

 

with each piece that’s gathered

the goodness multiplies

 

the more i look the more i see 

a sea of swelling compassion

gratitude

service

kindness

 

joy, even

 

the chorus comes again, and my whole being reverberates

 

let’s go, let’s go, let’s go 

pick up the pieces

the pieces of love that we find

 

and the vivid bits are everywhere now

exquisite gifts, pearly gems, golden ribbons

a multi-hued palette, wet brush, paper ready to receive

forest trees dancing, mosses brightening, birds and coyotes and rabbits and deer arriving

 

i hear nothing but pick up the pieces of love as my windshield becomes the movie screen

where beautiful humans -

in harmony and undivided - 

dance toward, swim with, rally around 

being to being to being

and all the other living ones

as nature joins in too

a kaleidoscope of awe-inspiring actions

 

and it is a many-textured, multicolored

gleaming mass of Earth inhabitants flowing in service to

the other 

 

they are the pieces of love

picking up one another

 

let’s go, let’s go, let’s go 

pick up the pieces

the pieces of love that we find

 

come on, let’s gather the pieces

reweave the threads

of unconditional love 

and share it one to the other






























































All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Image of the Week

"Entwined in Love"
















































All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2020 Jennifer J. Wilhoit/TEALarbor stories. All Rights Reserved."