Life is the forest

~ Toni O’KEEFFE

As I strolled through the forest and along Englishman River today, it struck me how much life is like a forest.

Depending what storms have blown through our lives, where the light is shining, where we’re planted, who’s planted beside us, how solid our foundation is, how deeply our roots grow or what nutrients are in the soil, we will either flourish and grow strong or struggle to survive.

Like the forest, life is filled with twists and turns and unfamiliar pathways or paths that are blocked.

When we meet another soul, we don’t know what foundation they’re built upon, how sturdy their root and support system is, what storms they’ve walked through, what change has blown through their lives, what twists and turns they’ve had to endure or, what might be blocking their light or blocking their path.

Imagine if we were all be bit more understanding, patient, kind and gentle with each other, how much stronger we all could grow.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️

Stick your toes where they belong

~ Toni O’KEEFFE

Why are we drawn to the peaceful, unencumbered wilds of nature?
~ the awe of forest paths that magically transform when rays of light stream in between the branches of towering old growth trees or,
~ feel inspired when we set our eyes on majestic mountain peaks draped with snow, or,
~ melt into a state of relaxation gazing at an expansive indigo sky dressed in twinkling stars, or
~ fall into a state of peaceful reverence when we sink our toes into the sand and watch the rising and setting of the sun?

Why do these and the other sights, sounds and smells of nature call to us, arouse our senses, bring us comfort and cause us to pause and exhale?

I think this call into the wild is our deepest self calling us home.

Our DNA evolved in nature. Our ancestors spent most of their time in the natural world. We’re hard wired to live amongst the trees, near the water and under the sky.

It’s only been in the last couple of centuries that we’ve strayed away from where we belong and moved into loud overcrowded, concrete jungles and on to busy asphalt highways.

Numerous studies have shown spending time in nature is a natural remedy for stress, can lower blood pressure, boast immune system functioning, reduce anxiety, and improve mood. That’s a pretty good “pill”.

Yet, humanity spends trillion of dollars annually purchasing and consuming self help products and services to make us feel well, less anxious and less stressed; things we’d feel if we spent more time in the great outdoors.

Spending time in nature is like pushing the reset button and going back to our original factory😊settings.

Going into nature is peaceful, comfortable and reminds us of home because, it is home, it is where we’re meant to be.

When you feel the stress of our modern world impacting your well being, go home, stick your toes, your heart and your soul where they belong and BE well.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️

The “L” word

I use the “L” word a lot. I tell my family, friends, even my dog, “I LOVE them.”

I love my home, my community, my morning coffee, cinnamon buns, Prosecco, chocolate, harp music, a good “who-done-it”, walks in the forest, starry nights, the sound of the ocean, crazy wild storms, songs that make me cry and spontaneous adventures ( lol- sounds like an online dating profile😁).
My point is, each of us use this one small word; “LOVE”, to define the emotion, passion and affection we have for so many things.

So why then are so many afraid to say it? Maybe it’s because we’ve made saying “I LOVE you” weird. Our socialized definition of the word is based on romantic love, when actually, LOVE goes further and so much deeper than that.

If you’re a part of my tribe and I tell you “I LOVE you.” it means; I’m grateful for the bond and history we share, the memories we’ve made and the time we’ve spent together. I appreciate the energy and wisdom you bring into my life. I’m drawn to your creativity, your soulfulness, your wit, the way you lift me up and make me feel. When I say “I LOVE you” I’m saying I’m glad you were born and I’m happy you’re a part of my life.

Now, what’s so scary about that?

Just saying the words “I LOVE you” is uplifting to the one speaking them.
Being told we’re loved is not just nice, it’s necessary. We all need to know we matter.

LOVE has the power to inspire, comfort, heal, and pull us up from the darkest of places. There are more songs, books, movies and poetry written about LOVE then any other topic. We have special days to celebrate love, we’re consumed with finding love, and without love our species would, well, die off.

In a world that always seems to be in peril, sharing our love for one another is the glue that will strengthen our bonds and allow us to better navigate the challenges, conflicts and disagreements life throws at us.

So let’s stop making it weird.
Spread the “L”word. I promise the more you give, the more you’ll get.

Have an absolutely fabulous day.
PS – I Love You

You, that’s what’s important

Every day, the rest of the world,
will try to tell you;
~ who you should be,
~ what you should do,
~ where you should go,
and what’s important.
DON’T LISTEN.
Look in the mirror, see that face?
That’s what and who’s important.
The dreams pounding in your chest,
the adventures waiting to be had,
the roads calling you to travel,
the art-music-poetry, whatever it is,
that’s urning to be born,
~ this is your souls desperate plea to live.
Listen to that.

Toni O’KEEFFE~🌹❤️

Look for the light

Imagine you’re on a day hike in the forest, it’s getting dark and you wander off the path.

Your lost. You don’t know which way to go. You don’t have provisions to get through the night, you’re feeling stressed, hopeless, anxious and mad at yourself for not being better prepared.

Then, as you’re stumbling in the dark, exhausted and disoriented, you see a light in the darkness. A spark of hope surges within you and you make your way towards the light.

Your anxiousness turns to excitement.
Your hopelessness turns to optimism.
All because you saw a small comforting glow in the distance.

You’re overcome with joy when you come upon another hiker sitting next to a cozy fire. This person is a stranger, yet, in this moment they’re the most important person in your life.

They offer you shelter, warmth, food and water. You graciously accept. You’re relieved and you feel safe.

In the morning this stranger guides you out of the forest to safety. You hug, shed a tear and say goodbye. Your grateful, humbled and alive.
~~~~~~~
We all stumble. At times, we feel lost, alone, anxious, stressed or hopeless. Pride or self doubt might stop us from seeking help.

You sweet soul, when you’re lost, do what you’d do in the forest, look for the ones with the light and let them guide you.
Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️

Good “Bad” teachers.

We cross path with thousands of people throughout our lives. Most are good, and we’re better because we’ve known them.

Then, there are those who turn our lives upside down. They’re negative, mean spirited, they may be unsupportive, narcissistic, angry, dishonest, disrespectful or cold hearted. They may reject us, judge us, use or abused us. They challenge our resilience, patience, courage, strength and our sense of self.

But, these people are important.

They help us establish the set-point for our own moral compass and help us unearth who and “how” we want to be.

By observing the impact their actions, behaviours and attitudes have on the people and world around them, we acquire some of our greatest learning.

They’re not always bad people, they are however, really good “bad” teachers.

Despite what these discontented souls portray on the surface, their life path is often hard and heavy.

Move past these “good bad teachers” with your heart open and filled with gratitude knowing you are stronger, better and wiser because of the lessons they’ve given you.

Everyones a teacher. The ones who teach us how “not to be” Hmmm, pay attention, they sometimes provide the greatest lessons of all.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️

Life sends us helpers

Here’s a little secret. Life sends us helpers. These helpers arrive when we need them the most.

When you’re struggling, be aware of who comes into your life unexpectedly. You don’t have to know why they show up or what they’re here to do, something inside you “will know” you need them. Trust that voice.

Put your ego, pride, judgment and stubbornness aside and believe they are here to help and guide you through the storms in your life.

If you’re in pain, lost, drowning in your own grief or chaos, you might not recognize them when they show up, you might even push them away.

They may look, sound, act or be different than those you generally welcome into your tribe, all the more reason to welcome them in.

No matter how strong, brave, smart or tough we think we are, none of us can do this alone. We’re not supposed to.

There are people you haven’t met yet, who will bring magic, peace, comfort, laughter, light, joy and healing into your life. Let them.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️

Love yourself “as is“

Think about someone you care for.

Someone you accept “as is” with all their

perfect imperfections.

Someone you love, admire and respect

with your whole heart.

Now,

It’s time to love, admire and respect yourself like this,~ “as is”, with your whole heart, and all your perfect imperfections.

Loving, admiring, respecting and accepting yourself “as it” doesn’t mean you stay where you are and stop growing.

It means;

~ you stop judging and doubting yourself and your potential.

~ you stop comparing yourself and your life with others.

~ you stop putting the needs of everyone else ahead of your own.

~ you stop letting others chart your course and dictate your future, because you know we’re all on different journeys.

When you do these things, you’ll begin to nurture your needs, your hopes and your dreams, because you realize they are as important as the needs, hopes and dreams of anyone else.

AND, you’ll grow to believe that YOU ARE worthy of being loved, respected and accepted, “as is,” with all your beautiful and perfect imperfections.

Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️