Peace in the Maze

The maze begins just to the left!!!

Hubs and I took the kids to Williamsburg for spring break this year. We love the Burg and I am always slightly shocked at how much this town feels like home, as soon as we arrive. The air smells like home. Was it the tulips? Maybe the hyacinth? Maybe it’s The Cheese Shop. (I may have been dreaming of a roast beef sandwich with house dressing prior to our arrival.)

This year we paced ourselves differently.

What a gift!

What a blessing!

To create a general idea of what we’d like to do and then allow the needs of the kids to breathe life into each day was incredible. While I wanted to make time for Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg, I truly let the kids decide what they’d like to explore. The fluidity of this plan was LIBERATING.

By week’s end, the children’s favorite feature was the Hedge Maze behind the Governor’s Palace. They ran and ran and worked to memorize it. The hedges are tall and the kids could not see anything but the path in front of them. They could shout to one another, asking for clues about which way to turn.

How blissful. How peaceful. How present we needed to be to focus on the maze!

I could have followed them into the maze, but realized quickly I would lose them. Their speed and dexterity were just incredible to watch. And I had an easier time seeing everyone from the eagle’s eye view just above the maze.

It’s that just the greatest metaphor for life? It can be easier to guide others when you sit back and watch from a better vantage point. How many times have I dove headfirst into my kids’ problems? Only to get upset right along with them and lose my focus?

The kids invented games in the maze. They established new rules for each journey through. Then they added in a game of tag! It was a-maze-ing. In every sense. I got a little rest on a bench in the shade and I listened to their big plans. I laughed to myself and reminisced about the triathlon we alumni completed before graduation (if we were lucky).

Joy. Joy. Joy.

I’ve never felt more relaxed and grateful during my time on a vacation. I was thankful to have my family around, to experience new things, and to watch the kids love the experience so much. You can bet your bottom we returned to the hedge maze a day later, and more joy ensued.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace in Budding Azaleas

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This morning, LM3 and I practiced our yoga in the living room. We don’t usually practice here, but Hubs had a call and needed a room with a door, so our yoga got moved. LM3 loves to use “Mommy’s yoga mat” and I use the spare. She tunes in to Cosmic Kids Yoga with Jamie, and I follow my own practice, listening to my body and moving through sun salutations at a pace that feels comfortable.

This morning, thanks to our change of locale, I noticed that my azalea bushes out front are beginning to bud. And I couldn’t help but meditate on the magic of gardens and plants, and what they teach me– which is something new every day.

Today I thought about the bushes and how the same growth process begins every single spring, around the same time. Like muscle memory, the plant knows how and when and what to do every year. How human it is, right? The plantie has a checklist and knows what needs to happen to open up and thrive.

Only, the plant does all this without thinking, while human beings sometimes have a harder time with just “being.” If you’re anything like me, you think through your processes. All of your processes. You think through your changes and your growth. Everything can come with a long, arduous, and quite cumbersome thought pattern.

Plants grow each year: annuals grow the same time of year, in the same place, but in some ways, nothing is the same. The soil has changed. The neighboring plants have grown or been moved. This year, we ripped the railing off the front porch, so this year the azaleas will have more space to grow. Everything is the same and everything is different, too.

How human.

How remarkable.

How peaceful.

Today, I meditated on the slow but steady growth of those plants while I moved through my sun salutations. I tried to let my body loosen and find peace in the connection we have to nature and to other living things. We are so much more similar than I thought. And maybe, just maybe, I am going to bloom this spring, too. And there is peace in that.

What brought you peace today? Share the peace!

Peace in Releasing the Past

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This week I found myself snuggled up reading in what my kids call “living room number 2.” I was reading The Valkyries by Paulo Coelho and came across a passage that felt like a real show stopper. He writes,

“…once an animal trainer had told him how he was able to keep his elephants under control. The animals, as infants, were bound by chains to a log. They would try to escape, but could not. They tried throughout their entire infancy, but the log was stronger than they were.

So they became accustomed to captivity. And when they were finally huge and strong, all the trainer had to do was place the chain around one of their legs and anchor it anywhere– even to a twig– and they would not attempt to escape. They were prisoners of their past (p 172).”

This was just insane to read. Of course, Coelho offers this imagery as a metaphor for human beings. But more on that in a moment.

Firstly, I did not know this about elephants. Secondly, adaptation to or acceptance of captivity seemed just crazy. I read a little more about elephants living in captivity and learned that (1) nearly 1/3 of African elephants live their entire lives in captivity and (2) they remain relatively undomesticated, despite their captivity.

I wasn’t planning to learn about elephants. I was reading to learn about humanity and healing and forgiving the past. But this made me think: if something as grant and wild and wonderful as an elephant can accept a non-reality like captivity, just think what human beings might do.

But humans aren’t elephants. We can recognize patterns and realities and make change.

Today, I meditated on releasing the past. On letting go. On forgiving and forgetting things that have upset me, or those I have upset. I can release myself from whatever mental “captivity” I’ve embraced over the years.

Letting go brings me peace.

You know what else might bring me peace? Saving an elephant. I’m looking into it.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Peace at Gardners

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

Y’all know there’s not much that I love more than finding peaceful, awesome local businesses. Today, in my search for peace, I had to pop over to Gardners Landscape and Nursery in Chester Springs, PA. This spot is conveniently located just off Route 113, real near another fan favorite, The Chester Springs Creamery at Milky Way Farms.

The nursery has so much to offer, and the best part is that they don’t back down during the holidays.

“You know it’s like, winter, right?” Hubs told me when he heard my plans to venture out for plants.

I laughed. He laughed. I’m well aware of the changing seasons. But today it was 55 degrees in PA! That means I had enough warmth in my bones to move around outside and dig my fingers in the dirt (yaaasssss, I know I should wear gloves more often. I’m gross and it’s totally fine. I even touched a worm today, no big deal).

Today I wanted evergreen arrangements for the front porch and Gardners is where it’s at!

The shop features a huge greenhouse, which houses an impressive collection of indoor plants. This time of year, walking through the space feels just like being at Longwood, only each item at Gardners is available for purchase.

Their wreaths are gorgeous, offering a mix of sizes, colors and textures. Who knew there was so much pine to play with?

They also have a ton of crafty items if you want to build your own arrangements. It’s like Build-A-Bear in there, except you’re making grown-up treats for everyone to enjoy. Their inventory is so well curated, I can’t help but feel impressed each year.

This shop is a happy place for me. It’s a space that offers peace. I can wander around, allow my mind to settle and get creative. When I need extra inspiration, there are busy hands working to create new items each day. I recommend you pop in and see what they have. I can’t say I’ve ever made a trip there without feeling wildly impressed and incredibly peaceful.

I left with some evergreen arrangements that I absolutely love. And when I look at our front door, I feel ready for the holidays.

What brought you peace this week? Share the peace!

Thanks to the sites below for their added inspiration! Maybe something will spark your interest, too.