Nature Awareness Update 13th September & Mental Discipline Weeks 19 – 21

13 09 2013
English: Horse chestnut leaves turning brown

English: Horse chestnut leaves turning brown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been very bad and not visited my nature spot since the end of August because I have been very busy. Today I went out at 3pm but it was raining a little. There was some wind and light grey clouds covered the sky. The last few days I have had a sense of things changing in nature. The weather has turned, it has become cold enough that I’ve now had to shut the windows in my flat and the number of leaves covering the ground is now noticeable. The leaves on many trees are changing colour and the blackberries are beginning to go over. Many flowers have died off and the plants are turning brown. The horse chestnuts have few green leaves left and the white poplar leaves are beginning to turn yellow. I saw a few bees, a red dragon fly and some large spider webs but there were very few insects around. There were lots of seagulls and I saw a Dunnock but couldn’t see any others (although I heard a few in the trees). It’s really beginning to feel like the earth is dying off again now.

Mental Discipline

24th – 30th August

25th August – I did the two powers meditation for 10 mins in front of my altar. It went well today and i only slouched once. i found visualisation a little easier too and towards the end (when the currents were mixing) I felt warm and could sense extra light (might have been from the sun though). I lit a candle beforehand and prayed the druids prayer as well as a prayer to Brighid, I also lit some incense as an offering.

26th August – I meditated for 20 minutes in the nature spot outside. My legs wouldn’t get comfortable so I had to try different positions but none felt relaxed. It seemed a lot easier to focus but my mind did wander a few times and I got interrupted by someone too. I also had trouble with my back again. Overall it seemed a good session but I need to deal with the comfort issues when I’m sat outside.

31st August – 6th September

1st September – I did two powers meditation for 10 minutes in front of my altar. It went well and visualisation was slightly easier. I also slouched less. I did feel tense as I was imagining the water coming up into me and could sense brighter light as I imagined sky power going into me.

7th September – 13th September

13th September – I did 20 minutes meditation outside in the nature spot. I felt very calm afterwards. The meditation went ok but I had a lot of tension in my feet and my mind kept wandering after about 10 minutes. I had no issues with my back which was good.

Nature Awareness Update & Mental Discipline Week 18

27 08 2013

I went out to the nature conservation area on Monday evening. It was a lovely sunny hot day, with no wind and not a cloud in the sky. There were sounds of crickets, seagulls and a few small birds singing. I saw many insects including butterflies, a pond skater, a red dragon fly and a blue one. There were also many bees and wasps still collecting nectar. The plants are now taller than I am, most of the blackberries are ripe but there are still many not yet ripe. The horse chestnut seeds are very big now and the leaves on those trees are turning brown.

There weren’t many birds around this week. I saw a robin, a wood pigeon and a large raven. There were no moorhens in the ponds today either.

I picked up a piece of rubbish and took it home as an offering because i’m not allowed to leave anything there for the nature spirits.

Mental Discipline

17th August – 23rd August

The good news this time is that I have managed to meditate a lot this week.

17th August – I did a four minute meditation. It was difficult to focus at the beginning and I was interrupted a few times. Otherwise it went well. My hearing senses felt a lot clearer.

18th August – I did a 20 minute meditation outside in the nature spot. The time seemed to drag and I kept slouching. I lost focus quite often but not as much as a few weeks ago.

20th August – I have decided to go back to doing the Two Powers meditations. I did a meditation for 10 minutes in front of the altar. The visualisations are still very difficult but I found it easier to stay focused. It was a good session. I felt calm after and like I had “filled up on power.”

21st August – I did the Two Powers meditation. I felt very hot and tense so I wasn’t breathing properly during the session and I had some chest pain. The visualisations were difficult but I did feel calm afterwards.

22nd August – I did the Two Powers meditation for 10 minutes. I also prayed to Brighid first. I put an extra cushion on my chair after having asked a meditation expert for advice about slouching and he said a strong foundation is key. It did seem to help with slouching a bit. I’m still struggling with visualisation though.

Nature Awareness Update 18th August

18 08 2013
Red Dragon Fly

Red Dragon Fly (Photo credit: philip1120)

I went out at 1pm on Sunday. It was warm, windy and sunny although there were lots of clouds in the sky, some white and others grey.

There were lots of butterflies out this week, they appear to increase in number each week. I also saw a blue one which is new as previously there had only been white or brown ones. There were quite a few bees collecting nectar. On the pond were two pond skaters, a water boatman and a blue dragon fly. Amazingly, there were also three massive red dragon flies, two of which were mating.

There were very few birds around today. I saw one medium size moorhen chick but not the rest of its family. The swans were in the lake with their seven cygnets and there were many sea gulls overhead. I heard what might have been a woodpecker but I couldn’t see it in the trees.

The horse chestnuts have massive fruits on them now and one has dropped a lot of its leaves, with the other leaves have changed over half their colour to red-brown. Earlier in the week I walked past an Oak tree and there were lots of acorns on it which was lovely to see.

Nature Awareness Update 11th August & Mental Discipline Week 14-16

11 08 2013
English: Blackberries

English: Blackberries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I haven’t managed to get out to the nature reserve for a few weeks but did manage it this week. I went out on Thursday at 5pm. It was sunny but also windy and quite a few clouds were in the sky. I saw five little ducklings as well as the swans and all seven cygnets which are almost as big as their parents now. I also saw what I think were black headed gulls but they had white heads at the moment.

There were many insects out including lots of bees and wasps, some butterflies and three dragonflies which surprised me because I thought they only lived a few weeks out of water…although it may have been new ones. I could also hear crickets.

There were lots of new plants I didn’t recognise, and almost every plant in the area is now over 5 ft tall. Blackberries and raspberries have been ripe for the last few weeks.

Seagulls were flying over head and I saw a moorhen with two of her chicks. I don’t think the others have survived :(. The chicks are twice their original size now so I’m feeling optimistic about their survival. A female blackbird came close to the moorhen nest and the adult moorhen chased it away.

I was surprised when I got there to see that one of the benches was broken. A man came during the time I was sat there and mended it. I helped him.

Mental Discipline

Week 14, 15 & 16

This is going to be a long bit to cover the last three weeks.

The good news is that having an app on my phone is working and reminding me to meditate, not every day but more than usual.

28th July – I did a meditation inside. I began by saying the Druids Prayer and then meditated for 20 minutes in front of my altar. I have changed it slightly to make the Buddha statue a more central part. My mind kept wandering and was a little fidgety. I was an ok session and I felt peaceful afterwards.

29th July – I have started using a “learn meditation” app on my phone and it begins with three minutes. I did three minutes of meditation today and it went well.

30th July – I did a three minute meditation this afternoon and it went well. I slouched a little but managed to focus for most of the time.

31st July – I did a three minute meditation as part of my lughnasadh ritual. It went well.

4th August – I did a three minute meditation. I found it very hard to focus for more than a few seconds. I think its because I hadn’t done it for a few days.

7th August – I did a four minute meditation. It was hard to focus but I felt calm afterwards,

8th August – I did a 20 minute meditation outside although I was interrupted after the first 10 minutes so it became two 10 minute meditations. It seemed easier that normal but towards the end I kept losing focus. I did feel some changes in consciousness towards the end of the first 10 minutes though. Overall I felt it was a good session.

Nature Awareness Update 19th July & Mental Discipline Week 13

19 07 2013
English: Raspberries (Rubus Idaeus). Français ...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went out at 4.15 on Friday. It was very hot as we are enjoying a long heatwave in Britain this year. There were a few cirrus clouds high in the sky but little wind. When I first got there, I noticed that there were raspberries already ripe. I tried one and it was lovely and sweet. There was a mixture of ripe and unripe ones which is a huge contrast to last year when nothing was ripening at this point.

There were lots of insects around including quite a few white, brown and even blue butterflies, there were also bees, two dragonflies, pondskaters, water boatmen and a spider. The brown bits of the horse chestnut leaves have got bigger and its clear that they are starting to change colour.

There were some birds singing in the trees, a few seagulls flew over and I saw a couple of wood pigeons. I also saw at least three of the baby moorhens and a parent but i’m not sure about the fourth. The older sibling was helping to feed one of them too. The baby coots are adult size now and the baby cygnets are doing well too.

Mental Discipline

13th July to 19th July

I was outside again for my meditation today. I did a meditation focused on my breath. It didn’t go particularly well although I think I was sitting better as I didn’t feel any pain. I did keep slouching and had a lot of trouble avoiding thinking. I still can’t keep my mind clear even for 10 seconds. I also didn’t manage to do even a single day of short meditation so I have now added an app to my phone with a daily reminder to try and help. Overall, I need to improve and do meditation more often.

Nature Awareness Update 12th June & Mental Discipline Week 11 + 12

12 07 2013

Last week I was on holiday so I’m having to do two weeks worth in one. I didn’t manage to get out to my place in nature last week but I was camping and spent a lot of time outside so I reckon that counts.

On Thursday this week I went out, it was very sunny and we’ve been enjoying a lovely heatwave. The sky was blue and there were a few wispy streaks of cirrus clouds. There was a little wind but not much.

There were many seagulls, a few wood pigeons, a swift and some crows. There were also a few house sparrows and dunnocks (I can finally identify these). The brilliant news is that the two moorhens were in the pond….and they have four new baby chicks! The chicks are so small and cuts but they and able to swim and for the most part feed themselves so they are doing better than the last lot. I did ask the spirits and the earth mother to look after them this time and help them all survive. There was another bird which I couldn’t identify (I’m pretty sure it was their previous chick that survived) and it kept coming close but being chased away by the adults.

There were lots of insects around including three pondskaters, a dragon fly, bees, butterflies and lots of spiders webs. The reeds have grown noticeably large and the meadowsweet and purple loose strife are both flowering now but the yellow iris’ have almost all gone over.

As usual, I greeted the earth mother, nature spirits and spirit of the place and thanked them when I left.

Mental Discipline


29th June – 5th July

I was on holiday this week so I decided to do a meditation at camp site. I kept getting distracted but did 20 minutes. It didn’t go that well as my back was in pain a little because I wasn’t sat right.

6th July – 12th July

11th July – I did 20 minutes meditation out in the conservation area. I got distracted a few times by the birds and my mind wandered a few times. However I felt very calm afterwards, and during the meditation I felt some feelings of going within or boundaries disappearing. It was a good session and I’m enjoying doing it out in nature. I do feel I should be further ahead at this point in being able to have a clear mind so have decided to try and make the meditations a daily habit by starting off doing just 3 mins a day and building up slowly, but doing longer on the day when I’m out in nature.

Nature Awareness Update 29th June & Mental Discipline Week 10

29 06 2013

swans29thjuneI went out at 5.20pm. It was sunny and warm, with a small amount of wind. The sky started off with big white fluffy clouds but they gradually cleared leaving a beautiful blue sky. There were lots of insects around, especially bees and butterflies. I also saw three of the dragonflies in the bigger pond. There were also many birds – sea gulls, one moorhen (but no chick), some blackbirds, a pied wagtail, a wood pigeon and a swallow. The swans were on the lake with their seven cygnets who are very big now. The coots had their two chicks with them and I also saw three female mallard ducks which is the first time i’ve seen them this year. There was also a duckling :).  There was a heron again and some different ducks which were mostly black but with white chests. The plants were growing strongly still and there were a few new plants I hadn’t noticed before.

Mental Discipline

22nd June – 28th June

I decided to try something different and do some meditation outside in nature. I did 15 minutes with my eyes closed. I’ve decided to do it as part of my time in nature in future by adding some time on to the end of the normal hour I spend out there. I was sat on a flat surface again so I found my back had some pain but when I sat on the edge of the bench it seemed to get better. It was still hard to concentrate and focus though, especially when other people were nearby. The time did go fast though and I felt very calm after. It was a good first attempt.

Nature Awareness Update 23rd June & Mental Discipline Week 9

23 06 2013

dragonflyI went to the nature reserve at 2.30 on Friday. It was June 21st, the summer solstice. The sky was blue but there were lots of threatening white-grey clouds. It did get hot and sunny for a short time before the clouds came over again. I didn’t see any swans today but the baby coots and the baby moorhen are all well grown and walking on their own. There were two magpies screeching a lot and some seagulls flew by but I didn’t see many other birds.

The big highlight was seeing four dragonflies/ damselflies, two of whom were mating on a leaf. It was great to see the dragonflies as they only live outside the water a few weeks. I also saw a spider, two pond skaters, a water boatman, two butterflies (including a speckled wood one) and hundreds of bees collecting nectar, especially from the iris’.

The horse chestnut trees have lost all their flowers now and red/ brown patches are appearing on their leaves. Many plants have reached 6 ft tall and the yellow iris’ include purple and white ones too now.

Mental Discipline

15th June – 21st June

21st June – I didn’t do devotions this week as I did the meditation as part of my high day solstice ritual. I did the ritual and then did the two powers meditation and the metta meditations at the time the solstice occurred. The visualisations were slightly easier but I was distracted by noises outside. My back seemed ok most of the time. It went well and I felt refreshed during the two powers meditation.

Nature Awareness Update 16th June & Mental Discipline Week 8

17 06 2013

I went out on Sunday at 5.30. I only stayed half and hour this time because I didn’t have enough time to do a full hour. It was warm but the wind picked up after a while making it feel quite chilly. It was mostly dry but the sky was cloudy with clunky white and grey clouds that blanketed most of the sky (maybe alto-stratus clouds).

There were seagulls being very noisy and there were a few birds singing. The blue tits have definitely left the nest box now and I didn’t walk to the lake to see the swans or moor hens so cant update on them. There was a duck, a wren an a wood-pigeon around.

CAM00019I saw lots of bees and insects so I’m sure there is a hive in the conservation area somewhere. The trees are looking very green and alive and many of the plants are getting very tall. There is a lot of one type of plant – its a large green plant with thin stalks and hundreds of tiny white flowers on its head. I can’t work out what it is but I’ve posted this photo in case you know.

The conservation area is a marshy area, which means its not quite land and not quite water – it is a liminal place where earth and water mix. Of course liminal places are sacred to the Celts which is interesting.

Mental Discipline

Week 8 – 8th June – 14th June

I did my normal devotions on Wednesday 12th  and then meditated using the two powers meditation and the metta meditation. Visualisations are still difficult and my back hurt again so I don’t think I was sitting properly. It went ok.

Nature Awareness Update 8th June and Mental Discipline Week 7

10 06 2013

I went out to the conservation area on Friday at 4. It was sunny, warm and there was a blue sky. There were a few cumulus clouds and alto-cumulus clouds around which means good weather (and it was beautiful all weekend).

Common Moorhen (young)

Common Moorhen (young) (Photo credit: Lukas Vermeer)

The flowers on the horse chestnuts are dying back now, the grass and nettles are 4-5ft tall and there are some beautiful flowers that look like the yellow iris’ but are purple around. I saw lots of bees, a ladybird and a white butterfly. There were house sparrows, sea gulls, wood pigeons, a robin, the swans and their seven cygnets and some coots with their two babies. The moorhens aren’t together any more but the good news is that one of their young did survive after all and is now able to walk and eat by itself. The blue tits have all gone quiet though and none were around their nest box this time. I don’t know whether that means something has happened to the chicks or that they no longer need their parents help.

Mental Discipline

1st June – 7th June

I did my normal devotions and the two powers meditation on 2nd June. I then did a loving kindness (metta) meditation which I’d been planning to do for a while since I found out that scientists have shown it can affect brain structure and make me more compassionate. The time didn’t drag this time and apart from a few itches I wasn’t fidgety at all. Unfortunately someone did phone in the middle of the metta meditation which distracted me. I felt very peaceful and calm and at one point in the metta meditation even felt quite emotional. Visualisations are still a problem but I’m getting a little better at it.