Into The Woods – Walking Meditation

 

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Many people say they don’t meditate because they can’t sit still. Not a problem. Walking can be a form of moving meditation. People find walking meditation easier than seated meditation because the motion of the body helps them to stay anchored in the present moment.

Both walking and meditation are good lifestyle choices and an antidote to stress. Together they offer significant health benefits.

 

Health Advantages of Walking

Walking has been proven to help in: maintaining a healthy weight, lowering blood pressure, improving coordination and strengthening bones and muscles. It also aids in regulating moods because it boosts brain chemistry and releases feel good endorphins. Walking can even prevent or control heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. ¹

 

Health Advantages of Meditation 

Meditation can give a sense of calm, peace and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health. It helps clear away the information overload that builds up every day and contributes to stress. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day increasing patience, imagination and creativity. ²

 

Where to Walk and Meditate

Find an open space away from noise and traffic. Forests and woodlands provide wonderful restorative environments where you can enjoy walking.

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There is rising evidence that forests and green spaces contribute to our physical, mental and social well-being. Exposure to natural environments, forests specifically, has stress-reducing effects due to their attractive landscapes, light conditions and air composition (including natural essential oils). In addition, they can be inexpensive to visit, enabling everyone to be included in their health benefits.

 

Turning Your Walk Into a Meditation

Begin by standing with your spine straight and your shoulders relaxed. Let your arms hang naturally by your sides. Take long, slow and deep breaths. As you exhale, let go of any unnecessary tension, smile softly, and let your attention flow deep into your hips. Relax your pelvis, to a neutral position, (neither tipped up nor down). Feel a connection to the heavens with the top of your head and to the earth with your feet.

Next, coordinate your breathing with your steps, taking several steps with your inhale, and several steps with your exhale. Keep a relaxed pace with no thought of “getting somewhere”.

Once you are comfortable coordinating breath and movement you may become aware of other body sensations, the smell of the forest or the feeling under your foot as it makes contact with the forest floor.

“Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

Kissing The Earth

Try this beautiful visualization: Each time you place one of your feet down, imagine that you are kissing the earth through the sole of your foot. Each time you pick up one of your feet, imagine that a beautiful flower is blossoming in the place that your foot just was. “In this way, our walking becomes a way of expressing our love for the earth, and of creating beauty with each step.” ³

If something beautiful or interesting catches your eye while walking and you can’t let go of it, stop walking and do a looking meditation.

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Grateful – Taking a moment of gratitude for mother nature and her forests. I see miracles of God and life everywhere.

 

Where there is gratitude, there is love, growth and healing.

Be blessed, Linda

 

Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. – Psalm 96:12

 

Footnotes:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/walking/art-20046261
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858
  3. https://www.thoughtco.com/practice-walking-meditation-p2-3182955

 

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LotusLand Adventure

Gana Walska Lotusland is a whimsical and uniquely designed collection of many different styles of botanicals and landscapes formed over decades by creator Gana Walska.

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Entrance to Lotusland

The spectacular assortment of exotic plants throughout the 37-acre property are a very personal expression of Walska’s penchant for the dramatic and the unexpected.

My daughter Lindsay treated me to this magical day in Montecito!

Japanese Gardens

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Fern Garden – Check out that giant stage horn fern, this one probably measured over 8 feet across!

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Vibrant Flowers

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A giant clam shell fountain that led to a quirky faux beach and pond.

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Water Garden – Our guide told us the best time to view the lotus and water lilies in bloom is June and July.

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Expansive Cactus Gardens

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Giant Cactus two stories high

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Desert Scape – over 300 different species of cacti!

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Interesting mosaics, pebble patterns, glass borders and even a semi-precious stone garden.

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I loved the blue glass stone paths.

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There were succulent gardens and blue gardens and great stretches of laws with topiaries.

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With the distinction of being one of the “Top 10 Gardens in the World”,  lotusland includes exotic trees and plants from different parts of the globe.

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Local wildflower and butterfly gardens were featured.

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Look at this fantastic lemon arbor. I’ve never seen anything like it!

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One of my favorites was the tropical garden.

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For a moment, I felt like I was in another world.

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Cycad Garden – Lotusland botanical gardens holds rare and endangered species of cycads, including some that are extinct in the wild.

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Koi pond in the cycad garden

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I learned a lot about cycads from our knowledgeable guide.

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Male and female sago

After two plus hours of absorbing such beauty we ended our tour back where we started, at the Japanese gardens.

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Lindsay in the Japanese gardens

So grateful to be the beneficiary of Gana Walska’s eccentric love of gardens and all things beautiful.

Dancing in the Theatre Garden

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Santa Barbara is only a few minutes from these botanical gardens in Monticeto, CA. After our tour, we had a fabulous lunch at Carlitos in SB.

I loved LotusLand! Reservations usually need to be made months in advance.

http://www.lotusland.org

Be blessed, Linda

 

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” – Revelation 4:11

 

© I own all photos contained within this blog. They may not be used for any purpose without expressed written permission.

 

The Love of Trees

I couldn’t see it at first. From the trail it just looked like a gnarly old oak tree but something beckoned me to take a closer look. I thought I should beware of rattlesnakes in the grass but my curiosity got the best of me. I walked off the trail through the thick wild grass and stood before the tree’s massive form. And there it was, staring at me with a gaping mouth, like it was trying to speak!

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“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues,” – Dr. Seuss

 

TREES ARE VITAL TO OUR HEALTH AND THE HEALTH OF OUR PLANET.

As stewards of the Earth, Earth Day is a good time to renew our commitments to the Earth and give thanks for its constant support, beauty and inspiration. This year I honor the trees.

Trees are beautiful and make people feel good.

Exposure to trees and nature has a positive effect on our health and mental attitude. Recent research has shown that trees not only filter pollutants from the air so we breathe easier, but they help make us feel better emotionally as well. ¹

Research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology shows that trees help people to feel more alive. And another study, in the Journal Landscape and Urban Planning, shows evidence that being around trees could actually decrease levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.

Acacia-yellow-flower_I planted a variety of drought tolerant trees around my home including this attractive flowering Acacia tree. I enjoy its beauty. It’s the first tree to bloom in late winter. With a burst of color it offers the hope of Springs eminent arrival.

Laboratory research shows visual exposure to settings with trees, produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes, as indicated by changes in blood pressure and muscle tension. – Dr. Roger Ulrich Texas A&M University ²

Trees conserve energy.

Three trees placed strategically around a single-family home can lower summer air conditioning needs by up to 50 percent. By reducing the energy demand for cooling our houses, we reduce carbon dioxide and other pollution emissions from power plants. If you plant a tree today on the west side of your home, in 5 years your energy bills should be 3% less. In 15 years the savings will be nearly 12%. – Dr. E. Greg McPherson, Center for Urban Forest Research ²

Trees increase property value.

The majority of realtors believe that having well cared for trees in your yard, will have a significant impact on the value and salability of your home. Healthy, mature trees add an average of 10 percent to a property’s value. – USDA Forest Service.

Trees cool our cities.

Average temperatures in Los Angeles have risen 6°F in the last 50 years as tree coverage has declined and the number of heat-absorbing roads and buildings has increased. ³ The net cooling effect of a healthy tree is equivalent to ten room-size air conditioners operating 20 hours a day. – U.S. Department of Agriculture

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Trees combat climate change.

Excess carbon dioxide contributes to climate change. In one year, an acre of mature trees absorbs, six tons of carbon dioxide, the amount of carbon dioxide produced when you drive your car 26,000 miles. ³

Trees provide oxygen and clean the air.

One acre of forest puts out four tons of oxygen. According to the U.S.D.A., this is enough to meet the annual needs of 18 people. Trees absorb odors and pollutant gases (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, sulfur dioxide and ozone) and filter particulates out of the air by trapping them on their leaves and bark.

“In a study published in 2014, U.S. Forest Service scientists and collaborators calculated that trees are saving more than 850 human lives a year and preventing 670,000 incidents of acute respiratory symptoms. The researchers valued the human health effects of the reduced air pollution at nearly $7 billion every year.” ¹

I love trees. Trees are an amazing creation. Let us show our gratitude with action by protecting our trees and rainforests, for they are the lungs of the earth. Together we live or together we die. – Linda Eichberg

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Love our earth and be blessed, Happy Earth Day!

~ Linda

 

Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. – Psalm 33: 8-9

 

Footnotes:

  1. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-being-around-trees-help-people-feel-good/
  2. https://www.arborday.org/trees/benefits.cfm
  3. https://www.treepeople.org/resources/tree-benefits

It’s All In How You View It

“People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them.” – Epictetus

Consider what your life might be like if you changed your perspective. Getting a different point of view can make life tolerable, even interesting, like the colorful shades of a sunset.

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My friends and I visited Newport Beach beach last week. While we were watching and photographing the sunset, a young lady rushed up to the beach with her camera just after the sun disappeared into the ocean. “Oh, darn I missed it,” she moaned, as she walked away disappointed.

The woman’s point of view was that the sunset was all about seeing the orb of the sun disappear behind the horizon. My friends and I knew to wait and see what magic awaits after sundown.  

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

More often than not, I have found the best part of sundown is the afterglow. The hues become deeper and more vibrant as the hidden sun reflects upward. I was not disappointed on Crystal Cove Beach that evening – same sunset but different views, same beach but a distinctive new horizon.

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Crystal Cove Dining and Watersport’s

Crystal Cove in Newport has magnificent sunsets and a wonderful restaurant on the beach called Beachcomber Cafe. A little further down the road, I tried two good restaurants at the Crystal Cove Shopping Center. Javier’s, an upscale Mexican restaurant, has fabulous food and gorgeous decor but forget about going on the weekend. It’s very popular. Babette’s specializes in local organic produce and meats. They offer an eclectic array of dishes including delicious vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. Their cocktail menu features a variety of unique handcrafted cocktails.

My travel companions and I worked off part of our delicious dinner by enjoying kayaking in the Newport channels the next day. Southwind Kayak Center is a great place to rent kayaks, stand up paddle boards and more. It’s in a superb location off Newport Harbor.

Making Memories and Getting Another Perspective In Relationships

I love seeing familiar things through new eyes but also making brand new memories with people. I can build successful relationships and become a better travel companion by blending my point of view with an other person’s. We never really know someone until we consider things from both their perspective and our own.

I like to look at all the angles of a person or situation. I’m learning not to make assumptions about people. It’s a challenge to view things based on the mind set of who I’m with while still being true to aspects of myself.

“Each person is like a multifaceted  gem that is to be viewed and appreciated from many different angles.” – Linda Eichberg

Getting a New Perspective On the World Around You

Take a trip – Travel, especially international travel, is a good way to broaden your world view and change the way you look at things. It has always taught me something.

Volunteer – Volunteering to help others in need is also a great way to break out of your mold, widen your perspective and grow compassion. When I give hope to others, it gives me a reason to hope.

Practice Gratitude – Reflecting on God’s perspective and character will adjust your attitude. I see life differently when I am gratefully counting my blessings.

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Look for the daily miracles God pours into your life and your perspective will change. When your perspective changes, your life changes. ~ Linda Eichberg

What will you see? Keep your eyes full of the light of God’s goodness.

Blessings ~ Linda

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.” – Luke 11: 34-36 (NLT)

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Capturing the Aloha Spirit

Aloha is indeed a way of life, an attitude. The kahuna David Bray interprets this code of as “Come forward, be in unity and harmony with your real self, God, and mankind.” Be honest, truthful, patient, kind and humble to all life forms.

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North Kaanapali Beach

Aloha in the Hawaiian language means affection, peace, compassion, and mercy. It is also used for hello, good bye or love. But aloha stands for much more than that; its deeper meaning is “the joyful (oha) sharing (alo) of life energy (ha) in the present (alo).”

To Hawaiians, the joyful sharing of this life energy is the secret for attaining true health, happiness, prosperity and success as long as it is shared and used with love.

I endeavored to captured the essence of Hawaii aloha in photography. My experience in Maui last month was one of tranquility, beauty and friendliness with an awe of creation.

Maui-Kaanapali-North

 

Sunsets – God’s Artistry!

Maui Sunset by Linda Eichberg

 

I have visited Maui many times but there are always new surprises and new life. I had never seen a hibiscus with this unusual combination of colors.

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Hibiscus with extraordinary coloring!

 

We stayed in sunny Kaanapali but only a short 15 minute drive away to Kapalua, toward the rain belt, the landscape changes significantly.

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Kapalua

 

Hawaiian Blessing

The spirit of aloha is about giving blessings. 

Bless everyone and everything that represents what you want by giving recognition or emphasis to a positive quality, characteristic or condition, with the intent that what is recognized or emphasized will increase, endure or come into being.

 

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Gathering of the sailboats to honor the sunset

 

Focusing on the blessing, acts to increase the same good in your life.

The positive occupation of your mind stirs up the positive, creative force and allows that same energy to come through you.

 

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Nothing can compare to the fragrance of Plumeria.

 

When you bless for the benefit of others instead of directly for yourself, you tend to bypass any subconscious fears about what you want for yourself.

What is so wonderful about this process is that the blessing you do for others helps them as well as you.

 

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As you bless, imagine the person or thing you’re blessing is surrounded with some of the same peace, grace and positive energy that surrounds you.

To the Hawaiians of old, Aloha meant “God in us.”

 

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I cherished my morning meditations and beach walks.

 

The Aloha Spirit is a well known reference to the attitude of friendly acceptance for which the Hawaiian Islands are so famous.

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Our traveling companions, Jack and Chris!

Experiencing the aloha spirit is best shared with friends. One of the highlights of our trip was our canoe excursion to a fantastic snorkeling spot where we swam with friendly sea turtles and tropical fish.

Chris and I enjoyed the freedom of not having to style our hair. We just let it air dry. She came up with the mantra, “beach hair and I don’t care.”

Maui friends

We ran into some other good friends, John and Madi, who just happened to be on the island the same time were, an unexpected treat!

Together we experienced the spirit of aloha, fantastic food, hospitality and breathtaking scenery.

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A magical moment-a double rainbow!

I hope you captured some of the aloha spirit too. Give a double portion of blessings and you will also be blessed.

With gratitude, Linda

~~~~~

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs – 11:25

 

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The Power of Flowers

This has been a season of helping others carry their burdens. I have a few family members going through some very stressful and hurtful situations. Some difficulties cannot be avoided or ignored. When you love someone you feel for them and you hurt with them.

Finding Beauty in Unexpected Places

One of the ways I like to restore my spirit is by walking or hiking in nature. The hills above my home in Westlake Village are a close retreat. When I started out on my hike my heart was heavy, unaware of the beautiful treasures I would soon find hidden in the chaparral.

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Within minutes, I was dazzled by a burst of color. I had never seen this particular collection of wild flowers. They were much larger than any I had ever come across before, so vibrant and delightful!

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Yellow California Wildflowers – Sticky Monkey Flower

“Earth laughs in flowers.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wellness Through Flowers 

Nature provides us with a simple way to improve emotional health. Flowers trigger happy emotions, heighten feelings of life satisfaction and increase positive social behavior, according to a study at Rutgers University.” What’s most exciting about this study is that it challenges established scientific beliefs about how people can manage their day-to-day moods in a healthy and natural way,” said Jeannette Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Rutgers and lead researcher on the study.

The study also found particular benefits for seniors. There was a marked decrease in depression for older adults who received flowers. “Seniors performed higher on everyday memory tasks and experienced enriched personal memories in the presence of flowers.”¹

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Another group of wildflowers I saw that day was such a lovely orchid purple color, I could hardly believe my eyes. Southern California is in a drought and these beauties sprang up without any man-made cultivation. Incredible! They were perfection.

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Purple California Wildflowers – Chinese Houses

 

Consider How the Wild Flowers Grow

Does God speak through flowers? I think so.  As I moved in closer to more fully experience their fragrance, Jesus’ words came to my mind.

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” ~­ Luke 12: 27-31

These verses spoke to my heart, refreshed my soul and renewed my mind.

A Sweet Blessing

“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into.” ~ Henry Beecher, Life Thoughts

Mothers are the sweetest beings God ever made and put a soul into.

I was blessed with a visit from my mom from Pennsylvania,. I am very grateful for those rare and precious moments shared with my mom.

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May the garden of your heart be filled with flowers.

Many Blessing, Linda

~~~~~~~

© All rights reserved

Footnote:

  1. http://aboutflowers.com/health-benefits-a-research/flowers-a-seniors-study.html

Earth Day – Gratitude In Action

Earth Day is the perfect time to honor our common home for the bounty, beauty and sustenance God and Mother Nature gives us for free. It’s also the perfect day to esteem people who are making  a difference in preserving the beauty of our planet.

Earth Day Prayer

“The greatest gratitude is gratitude for existence, the greatest reverence is reverence for life and Mother Earth makes it all possible. With gratitude, reverence, and humility in our hearts we honor her today. Let us work to keep her sustainable so we may in turn be nourished and sustained.” – Deepak Chopra, MD

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My sister, Maria, and I sharing Earth Day gratitude!

We bend our bodies toward the earth and the beauty of all creation.

We open our hearts in thanksgiving for the mighty, deep, blue oceans.

We unite our breaths with life, inhaling the fresh and fragrant breezes.  

We turn our minds to gratitude for the sun’s radiant energy. 

~ Linda Eichberg

 

Earth Day Action

My husband and I love our solar panels, they are producing big savings on our energy bills. If you can afford the initial investment, I highly recommend buying solar energy.

My sister, Alane Degli Esposti, and her son, Marco, grow and distribute organic sprouts and wheatgrass from their Campi Verde Foods greenhouse. I must say, they offer the freshest, most delicious sprouts I’ve ever tasted!

The nutrient content of wheatgrass and sprouts are powerful and readily absorbed. Plus, they’re unprocessed, straight from Mother Nature. Buying from local  growers and farmer’s markets are some of the most effective ways to eat nutrient-rich food and reduce the carbon emissions of transportation and food processing.

 

THE FACTS 

Carbon Emissions

“In damaging our climate we become the architects of our own destruction. While the planet can survive the scorching of the earth and the rising of the waters, the human race cannot. The absurd thing is that we know exactly what needs to be done; we know we cannot adapt sufficiently to go on as we are, nor can we build ourselves a new atmosphere. To avoid catastrophe we must restrict climate change to less than two degrees, which requires a dramatic reduction in carbon emissions.” – The Prince of Wales, from his speech to the 2015 Paris Climate Conference

Ocean Health

If the current rate of ocean pollution continues, in less than 9 years there will be one ton of plastic for every three tons of ocean fish, according to a report by the 5 Gyres Institute.

“Currently, up to 95% of plastic packaging (valued at $120 billion) is lost after one use. The irony is, recycling plastic can take 90 percent less energy than making plastics from raw materials and, if managed correctly, plastic is virtually infinitely recyclable.” – Jose Minski, CEO of Wellnext

My family is invested in saving our precious oceans and I am an avid recycler but I know I can do more.

We are only here on this magnificent earth for a short time. We must stay mindful of making a positive impact on our environment and how we are respecting the world we are leaving for our children.

In Gratitude, Linda

 

“Let the trees of the forest sing, let them sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.” – 1 Chronicles 16:33

 

© All rights reserved

 

The Rock Eternal

Image

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I blend my body with the strength of the mountains.

I blend my mind with the expanse of the open skies.

I blend my spirit with the majesty of God’s creation.

– Linda Eichberg

“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord himself, is the rock eternal.” – Isaiah 26:4

Wonders Wait Just Around the Corner – March Miracles

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Going With the Flow

As I stepped outside my Westlake Village home, planning to rush off to the gym. The hills caught my eye. They were rich with spring color and they seemed to be inviting me to come and play.

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March is usually the greenest month in Southern California and with the abundance of local trails available to explore, it would be a shame not to sample one or two. I decided to skip the gym and headed to the Westlake Vista Trail in the hope of seeing some seasonal wild flowers.

The trail starts at Triunfo Canyon, just off Lindero Canyon Road at the Pentachaeta Trail. You will stay to the right for Westlake Vista. Just around the bend of the trail head is a grove of natural Oak trees, a meadow and then a fork in the path. Both paths lead to the reservoir but I took the left trail which quickly rises to view rocky cliffs.

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I was drawn toward the rocks to get a better look. There was a small trail off to the left but when I saw how narrow and steep it was, I quickly return to the main trail and soon arrived at the reservoir.

It’s a fairly easy hike for a healthy person but there are some loose rocks that make the steep sections of the trail very slippery. It took about 25 – 30 minutes to get up there. I probably could have made it in faster time but I was accompanied by my two Maltese.

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To the right I could see what looked like a vast open flood plain. To the left was the crystal clear reservoir framed by rolling hills and mountains.

We met a couple of other hikers up there and one of them offered to take a photo of me and my cute furry boys.

It seemed that I was already at the top of the trail. It was lovely; but exploring further, I discovered another small trail to my left. I hadn’t seen it the first time I ventured to the reservoir. The path brought me up to a view of the water that exposed a grander aspect of it’s liquid expanse.

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Higher and higher we climbed to another stunning vantage point as the captivating sounds of water birds echoed in the distance.

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It was at this point that I felt like I was in another world, instead of the city of Westlake Village. It was as if I was at a destination vacation in the mountains but I only went around the corner to experience this magnificent view.

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At the top, viewing the wide stretch of the regal hills, my ambitions were abandoned. There was only that moment, the clean air and the warm sun. The plans from this morning now belonged to the past. The present is filled with God’s love for me and the gift of His glorious creation.

“The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.” – Song of Solomon 2:12 (NLT)

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The Westlake Reservoir is an oasis hidden high in the hills. Taking it all in was like water for my soul. It remains natural and untainted.  It’s not accessible by car and can only be enjoyed after climbing the mountain. But it’s here, so close to my home, waiting for it’s majesty and beauty to be discovered and enjoyed.

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The view on the way down was also out of this world. And there they were, the wildflowers I was hoping for, my reward.

Wildflowers-Westlake-Vista-Trail

Their colors graced the gentle slopes calling me to dance and sing before their Maker. So beautiful, but only here for such a short time.

westlake-vista-wildflowers-by-Linda-Eichberg

“Where flowers bloom so does hope!”

– Lady Bird Johnson

Our Time On Earth

My message is simple. There is always gratitude and beauty in every season of life, even in the trials and tribulations. My husband Steven and I are focused on caring for his dad and his wife, who are quickly declining from dementia. It’s difficult to experience this with them.

When we come to these hard moments in life, we find hidden strength in ourselves. We nourish our souls and receive refreshment in friends and in nature. We will all have to give an account of our lives, what we have been, and done. To give our parents companionship and joy in their advance senior years, is an enormous thing to them right now. Every lucid moment they have is a small miracle for which we are very grateful.

“The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.” – Isaiah 40:8 (NLT)

Everything is a miracle. Have a blessed day! ~ Linda

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Earth Day Gratitude

Spring is here and my attention naturally turns to the outdoors. I like to enjoy the wonder and beauty of our earth, fresh air and pure food.

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Stopping for a yoga stretch on spectacular Zuma Beach.

I am very thankful to God for this world. In honor of our miraculous planet, and Earth Day, I would like to share some thoughts that are on my heart.

“I willingly join in spirit all who are grateful to the Lord for the fruits of the earth and the work of human hands, renewing the pressing invitation to respect the natural environment, a precious resource entrusted to our stewardship”. – Pope Benedict XVI

To show our gratitude, along these lines, my friends and I enjoy planting trees and raising vegetables. Some of us have recently installed solar panels on our property. The panels are producing well for us. In addition to saving the environment, my family is saving money on electric bills. I know, ‘a drop in the bucket’ compared to what needs to be done but it’s my ‘bucket’. “Scientific research demonstrates that the impact of human actions in any one place or region can have worldwide effects.” [1]

In Praise of Human Activities that Build Up and Sustain the Earth

Earth-GandhiVandana Shiva, is an insightful woman who had the vision over 25 years ago to save seeds. She had “an ethical urge to defend life’s evolution, life diversity and the freedom of life…”. She created seed banks when she realized big corporations were going to make seeds their intellectual property by “marrying seeds to chemicals”… and they have. [2] I do not agree with all her philosophies but in this, she did have some good foresight.

Henry Doubleday also saw the need to preserve heirloom seeds. He set up the Heritage Seed Library decades ago to preserve seeds of as many of the older cultivars as possible to prevent their catastrophic loss.

The Dangers of GMO

Preserving the purity of their product, growing crops free from contamination by genetically modified crops and the pesticides used on biotech versions is a concern and getting more difficult and more costly for U.S. farmers.

NON-GMO“Food & Water Watch is calling for USDA to start tracking and analyzing incidences of contamination and associated economic losses at all levels of the supply chain”. And the group also is also asking for USDA to “hold biotech seed companies financially accountable for losses associated with GMO contamination”. [3]

“If they control seed, they control food. They know it. It’s strategic. It’s more powerful than bombs, it’s more powerful than guns. This is the best way to control the populations of the world.” ~ Vandana Shiva

Genetically modified organisms have been banned in many countries around the world. [4] I look for the NON GMO and USDA Organic label when I shop.

marco-degli-esposti-campi-verdi-foods- (2)For the most part, my family and I live a plant-based lifestyle. My Nephew, Marco Degli Esposti, recently started a business cultivating fresh sprouts and wheat grass juice for natural food markets and home delivery. It’s a labor of love for him; he is enthusiastic about their proven health and healing benefits. A survivor of a near-death experience, Marco has an amazing and courageous comeback story. You can read about it on his Campi Verdi Foods website. It will inspire you!

A World Without Bees?

Since 2006, more than 10 million bee hives have been lost, losses far exceeding the historical rate. Honey bees are responsible for pollinating a good portion of our crops and their dwindling population will have adverse effects on our food supply. As a new report from the US Department of Agriculture details, “scientists are still struggling to pinpoint the cause of so-called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and time is running out. “ “Currently, the survivorship of honey bee colonies is too low for us to be confident in our ability to meet the pollination demands of U.S. agricultural crops,” the report states. It is a “threat to both beekeepers and to those agricultural crops that rely upon pollination as a production input”. [5]

Suspects causing bee death have included pesticides, fungicides, disease-bearing parasites, and poor nutrition. In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture have identified a brew of pesticides and fungicides contaminating pollen that bees collect to feed their hives. The findings break new ground on a reason why large numbers of bees are dying though they do not identify the specific cause of CCD, where an entire beehive dies at once. [6]

My respect for the important part honey bees play in circle of life on this planet makes me wonder if the collapse of their colonies will cause a ripple effect through all of nature.

Home is Where Your Heart is

I am blessed to live in an area with open space and many maintained hiking trails. Walking in nature, restores my spirit and provides me the opportunity to lift my heart to God in appreciation and prayer for His creation.

Westlake-reservoir-photo-Linda-Eichberg

Three Springs trail overlooking the Westlake reservoir

westlake-village-trails-the-gratitude-life.wordpress

My daughter, Lindsay and her friends don’t want to imagine a world devoid of the magnificent natural wonders I enjoy regularly. We are all responsible for sustaining the earth for the next generation and should be involved in doing that one way or another.

Blessings, Linda Eichberg

“The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good”. Genesis 1:12

“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth!” Psalm 57:11

Refrences:

1) The Environment by Pope Benedict XVI – http://www.amazon.com/The-Environment-Pope-Benedict-XVI/dp/1612786286/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1334934661&sr=8-4

2) http://youtu.be/dsK3V04LAvw

3) http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/03/usa-gmo-contamination-report-idUSL1N0LX1OU20140303

4) http://www.realnatural.org/many-countries-ban-gmo-crops-require-ge-food-labels/

5) http://www.usda.gov/documents/ReportHoneyBeeHealth.pdf?_ga=1.158011065.280595142.1398097528

6) http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0070182?_ga=1.145360823.280595142.1398097528#authcontrib
http://qz.com/107970/scientists-discover-whats-killing-the-bees-and-its-worse-than-you-thought/

Copyright, Linda Eichberg, all materials contained within this blog may not be used without expressed written permission.