Dancing With Trees

1600 year old ancient Oak, South Carolina

A very young voice filtered out from the trees at the local Nature Park where I walk every morning, only 2 blocks from my home. 4-year-old Liam and his father were out in nature for some father and son time this cloudy Sunday morning.

When I engaged with Liam, back pack on and a map in his hand, he told me that they were looking for acorns to plant in the park so more trees could grow. The map with a highlighted strip across it apparently guided Liam and his father along the path, and his backpack held a small container of gathered acorns, which he was very proud of.

We talked about squirrels and how they gather acorns for the Winter, and Liam was most insistent that they couldn’t bury them in the ground because the dirt would go right through their claws. With a little more conversation Liam understood how squirrels could store the nuts away, and then he was off on the path looking for a place to plant the acorns. A little later on I came across them again and Liam was planting his acorns in a place where the potential oak trees could grow and thrive.

Dancing with trees? Most certainly within a young boys context and with his father’s guidance. This young child is learning within nature that we as humans are a part, not separate, and that our conscious actions can make a difference. He is learning to dance with life!

My hope is that LIam goes on in his life connecting as deeply as he did today – with his father, with the trees, with the squirrels, with the dirt – and understands how everything is woven together in a community of life. May he be able to say to himself,

I AM HERE

I BELONG HERE

I HAVE A ROLE IN THE WHOLE .

“Be wild every now and then. By regularly doing that, you will be reminded of how much nature means to us, how much solace it can bring, how much joy and peace and hope.  You will be reminded of how deeply we are connected to all living things.”

Dance with life!

Gratitude to Green Renaissance for this beautiful video! Filmed in Hermanus, South Africa. Featuring Sue Swain.

BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Church of the Wild, How Nature Invites Us Into the Sacred, by Victoria Loorz

Gaye Abbott, Natural Passages Consulting, 10/2/21. Please feel free to share this post and link to Breathing Spaces


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For Presence

Awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.

Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.

Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.

Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you from all falsity.

May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.

May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.

Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.

May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.

~John O’Donohue, For Presence, from “To Bless This Space Between Us”

Sometimes I forget what it is to be fully human. With all the consciousness, potential, diversity of emotions playing within, embodied physicality changing and shifting constantly, vulnerability that we sometimes push aside into a dark closet lest fear take the upper hand…..and the innate interconnected presence with everyone and everything.

It is in those moments of forgetfulness that wonder, courage, presence and joy may recede into the background.

is it possible to dive into the rich and vibrant colors of the dahlias in the image above, to remember the light of our own being within the candle flame in a time of life that presents challenges never navigated before, to breathe with the River Birch outside the window celebrating birdsong, squirrel antics and a myriad of smaller creatures that cannot be seen yet still hold an important part in the evolution and diversity of life unfolding.

The mantra of one woman here in the Asheville N. Carolina area who contributed greatly to the local community was “Don’t Postpone Joy”. The story that was told to me was of a woman who was intimately and generously involved in, and contributed to, many projects and causes in the local Asheville community. She was passionate and devoted to making a difference with her presence and within that found joy.

Joy of simply living fully within our own presence. Of making choices that align with heart and soul. Her vulnerability and challenge? Cancer – which eventually took her life.

Each line of John O”Donohue’s blessing “On Presence” asks us to receive fully all it is to be human until the last breath we take. I like to believe that is how he lived his too short life, taken suddenly from this physical embodiment without permission.

Perhaps in the remembering of what it is to live passionately, even within the challenges we all face and the wounding we have all incurred, we shall recapture the potential and possibility – the juiciness of being – to celebrate together in collaboration of what it is to be human.


Elemental Musings” offers postings by a nature lover and elder in transition in the Blue Ridge Mountain area of North Western N. Carolina, in addition to postings by the Wildly Free Elder community.

Re-Posted by Gaye Abbott, 9/16/21, Natural Passages Consulting.from WildlyFreeElder

We ask that you reference Wildly Free Elder if you wish to pass this on…and thank you for doing so!

Love Much, Think Less

Re-posted from Wildly Free Elder, 8/14/21

“The important thing is not to think much, but to love much; and so do that which best stirs you to love.”

St Teresa of Avila

For the past 4 months I have been loving Saturday mornings for the local Farmers Market taking place in my new home in the Blue Ridge Mountains of N. Carolina. Today I was moved by a woman standing next to me at my favorite organic farm stall at the University of N. Carolina tailgate market. She had a bunch of sunflowers in her hand and several bunches of dahlias in her carry basket. I exclaimed “those flowers always make me smile!”

Her response back also made me smile as she said “Life is too precious not to have flowers in it . I consider it my therapy and have fresh flowers in my house all the time.” I loved her spontaneous response to me, a stranger whom she shared her love of beauty with. Our connection was one of sharing our love for not only flowers and the sensual pleasure they bring, but also to enjoy the moment of contact and to open that energetic space of love.

Imagining the unseen energies – presence – that surround each flower bringing it from seed to germination to leaf to bloom. Rather like our lives.

At times we are faced with challenges where the energies of love and gratitude seem a million miles away. Thinking takes over contracting us within a cage of our own creation. Yet, I am aware more and more that love is always right here surrounding every living being and every conscious action – even the act of breathing in and out which is intricately interwoven with all life.

What if we saw within each and every challenge, or simply each moment of everyday life, an opportunity to release contracted thinking energy and be present to take actions that “best stir us to love”.

Since relocating across country away from friends, family, sons and grandkids there have been multiple opportunities to shift challenges and release contracted thinking. One of the most powerful ones wiithin the first 4 months being here happened when I “failed” the vision test to obtain a N. Carolina drivers license.

Having scheduled my appointment right before my California drivers license expired on my birthday my thinking mind made it not only mandatory to obtain my new license, but actually had me paralyzed with fear that I might lose my freedom of independence if not able to obtain a drivers license.

I was immersed in this “worry cage” for a few days, but at the same time took conscious actions to shift this thinking that had taken such a strangle hold upon me. First of all putting everything into perspective, knowing that this was not about survival or control but about releasing into “loving much”.

Within 4 days I had an appointment with an ophthalmologist, was corrected to 20/20 vision and heard my cataracts were not at all ready for surgery; obtained corrective glasses the same day from a wonderful caring optician team of people a short distance away; rescheduled my DMV appointment for N. Carolina drivers license for 3 weeks away; learned that having an expired drivers license is not the big deal I thought it was; studied for the written test which I was certain I was going to have to take; drove to a small little town one and a half hours away for the completion of the DMV process; was in and out in 15 minutes without having to take the written test (better N. Carolina driver because of the intense study!) and walked away with license, new ID card and was registered to vote.

All of this to say that for most of us we always have choice as to how we meet each moment of our lives whether in patterns of assumptions/contracted thinking/fear or with the openness of possibility, living in the spaciousness of love and gratitude.

Like an artist trusting the creative energy that emerges from within we dip our brush in the colors of life and do that which best stirs us to love.

Elemental Musings” offers postings by a nature lover and elder in transition in the Blue Ridge Mountain area of North Western N. Carolina, in addition to postings by the Wildly Free Elder community.

Post by Gaye Abbott, 8/14/21, Natural Passages Consulting.

We ask that you reference Wildly Free Elder if you wish to pass this on…and thank you for doing so!

Finding “Home”

French Broad River at Stackhouse Bend, N. Carolina

“I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.”

~ John O’Donohue

Have you ever found yourself wondering what “home” means to you personally? The mystics say it resides inside and I agree with this. Yet, there is much more to this journey to reflect upon, let go into and be present to. Perhaps this is a quest we are on our entire lives.

I love the term “wild divinity” in the excerpt below – “resting in the house of our own heart”. As we age this somehow becomes easier to do as the striving and outward focused actions fall away and the inner “home guidance system” takes precedence.

Each one of us is alone in the world. It takes great courage to meet the full force of your aloneness. Most of the activity in society is subconsciously designed to quell the voice crying in the wilderness within you.

The mystic Thomas a Kempis said that when you go out into the world, you return having lost some of yourself. Until you learn to inhabit your aloneness, the lonely distraction and noise of society will seduce you into false belonging, with which you will only become empty and weary.

When you face your aloneness, something begins to happen. Gradually, the sense of bleakness changes into a sense of true belonging. This is a slow and open-ended transition but it is utterly vital in order to come into rhythm with your own individuality.

In a sense this is the endless task of finding your true home within your life. It is not narcissistic, for as soon as you rest in the house of your own heart, doors and windows begin to open outwards to the world. No longer on the run from your aloneness, your connections with others become real and creative. You no longer need to covertly scrape affirmation from others or from projects outside yourself.

This is slow work; it takes years to bring your mind home.

John O’Donohue, Irish poet and philosopher

Excerpt from ETERNAL ECHOES
http://johnodonohue.com

Your vision is your home and your home should have many mansions to shelter your wild divinity.”

~John O’Donohue

Crossing the threshold into this wild divinity of our own heart brings a “belonging” that never goes away. This is foundation – the bricks, mortar and rooted earth – that brings with it the freedom to surrender into the next relationship, artistry, move, endeavor, location….life moment.

Having just completed a 7th relocation two weeks ago to Asheville, N. Carolina area I am forced to re-calibrate and go deeper into unknown territory, using challenges as stepping stones for this next chapter of life, while at the same time trusting inner guidance even as ever present uncertainty attempts to take an upper hand. The ever constant details of it all – the “right” and “wrong” – threaten to take away inner knowing and trust and often serve as immense distractions.

On the outside it may look like I have been searching for a home and never quite getting there. This last time leaping from wildfires, air pollution, rolling blackouts and high daily living expense in California to a more elemental earth and water home sanctuary aligns with the “home” inside. Yet the loss of being close in distance to sons, grandchildren and friends is part of the letting go journey as well.

I find the wild beauty and grounding of the natural world always there, serving as guidance whispered into heart and soul as a reminder of building inner resilience, acceptance and trust. When “home” resides in the wild divinity of the heart each place you find yourself – whether staying in a community where you were born and have established community or exploring other cultures and landscapes – will serve as an awakening to life……

Great Smoky Mountains, N. Carolina

Conscious Embodied Relocation: I was not consciously aware of the principles involved in this type of embodied leave taking when I took that first leap over 30 years ago now, but over the last three decades the fine tuning became more apparent.

If you are thinking of finding a “home landscape” that supports your aliveness during this transformational elder time of life here are some keys for doing these leaps that I found integral to trusting the unfolding possibilities:

  • Explicitly trusting the unfolding of life – get out of your own way
  • Taking effective action on the possibilities that show up from that depth of surrender
  • Willingness to reinvent yourself (which is actually a great deal of creative fun!)
  • A sense of adventure (being willing to get out of your “comfort zones”)
  • Listening deeply to intuition and Source messages
  • Connecting transparently with others along the way.
  • Willingness to change your inner & outer conversations

Conscious Embodied Relocation


It’s not realistic to expect to always be thriving.  Life can be messy and we can’t separate the highs and lows or have one without the other.  But we can learn to accept the process, to understand that it’s part of the journey, and to build our own inner resilience.  It’s about  bouncing forward and using adversity as a catalyst to get better and become stronger.  

And we also need to remember that we are part of a community – that when we are vulnerable, we can lean on each other and lift each other up.  And together, we are so much more resilient than we know. ” ~ Green Renaissance 

“This work is not for yourselves – kill that spirit of ‘self’. If you can rise, bring someone with you” – Charlotte Maxeke.  

Filmed in Cape Town, South Africa.  

Featuring Mpumelelo Ncwadi.


Copyright by Gaye Abbott, Natural Passages Consulting, 4/2021 and Re-Posted from WildlyFreeElder

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Wildly Free Elder

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Aging with vitality, grace, self love and compassion, along with a huge dose of humor, is our greatest accomplishment.  After all, getting older is something many will never experience.

The Japanese say – Shi Bui – which translates as the beauty of aging.

Rather than being a fall away from beauty in all of it’s meanings, aging can be the revelation of beauty, the time when the inner radiance becomes visible for all genders.

Shining from the inside out our natural presence is honored by finding dignity, reverence, belonging, resilience, humor and wholeness – from within.

Not domesticated nor……READ MORE ON OUR NEW WEBSITE:  WildlyFreeElder.com

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Created by Gaye Abbott, Natural Passages Consulting, August 7, 2020