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.

13 March 2020

Small Acts, Big Gratitude

We know that we should wash our hands often, stay home when sick, cover our coughs and sneezes, clean and disinfect surfaces (universal precautions); stock our pantries with a two-week supply of food, help loved ones and neighbors to stay safe, avoid crowds and heed official regulations (emergency preparedness). 

We can do our part in crises by considering others. 

But we can do more. 

Now is the time for:

a commitment to avoid hardness,
seeking opportunity in what is different, 
welcoming in dear community - even if the means for doing so are necessarily a bit different right now,
calm and reasonableness,
trusting intuition, seeking spiritual renewal, caring well for our bodies, discerning wisdom,
creating beauty…and creative thinking,
holding one another in non-judgment – knowing that everyone’s personal sense of wellbeing ought to be honored, 
remembering what is lasting and sustaining,
loving well, 
listening deeply,
respecting difference,
letting go and hunkering in.

This week I have received so many gifts: 

a friend’s bright smile,
a kind word,
the soft light on a moss-covered tree,
a slender near-opening of a lilac,
the life-nourishing vegetables in my dinner bowl,
safety in my cozy home and nature’s beauty outside of it,
others’ flexibility,
restraint from crassness,
Benedictine monks chanting in my ear,
last year’s aromatic lavender on my desk,
a client’s tender tears, 
diligent work on a major project,
the light bubble gum sky at dusk,
drizzle: misty, cool, welcome,
the gift of a story about my friend’s tender bedside goodbye to a friend who is passing,
pear tree buds in abundance…food for coyotes two seasons ago,
my newly-unearthed photograph of sunset over a Guatemalan volcano,
the Earth’s frigid wetness soaking my bare feet as I stand in the rain admiring the birds’ 
tenacious argument over nesting spots,
the oversized orb-of-a-full-moon painting the low horizon with gilded shiny brilliance –
backdrop to shadowy fir trees,
a friend’s jokes, laughter, and silliness as we romped around outside. 

May you find an abundance of small but powerful ways to continue loving and serving during these transitional times. Consider:

sending greeting cards (via US post or online),
handmaking small, simple gifts to give away (capitalize on the skills you already have: knitting, 
painting, writing, photography…),
sharing humor with someone,
smiling at people in other cars at the stoplight,
greeting dogs (they do respond to “hello, puppy!” – especially delivered in an enthusiastic voice),
planting seeds or flowers or saplings,
inviting a friend to take a walk,
calling someone you haven’t spoken with for a while,
reaching out to those who are ill (cards, emails, calls, notes, errands…),
saying “thank you” to someone serving you, or to the beauty around you in nature, or to your 
refraining from harsh words, even if you are sure that your anger is justified,
singing, writing poetry, walking, appreciating nature, noticing the season, pausing at sunrise or 
sunset, praying, meditating, reading…and then telling the story of that moment to 
someone else.

These are small acts we can do always, not just during a pandemic. 

The best and perhaps surprising thing about doing these small acts is that they grow gratitude. 
Gratitude for the recipient of the kindness.
Gratitude for the giver of the kindness.
Gratitude for the moment, life, health, wellbeing, our families and friends. 

How will you join me in offering more beauty and compassion, now and abidingly?

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."