Even in the heat of the day
A shady spot
Is not far away
About the poem:
Peace is always within our reach. But we do need to make the effort to reach it. To be it.
Bumped into you
Give me just a sec
To freshen up
About the poem:
In Sahaja meditation I learned about something I’d experienced a lot, but never named. That is, that when we aren’t solid, we tend to pick up negative energy from others. I think of it as having a leak in my force field.
This happens normally throughout the day. But when I’m dealing with an addict, a serious mental illness, or a confused intimate relationship, I’m even more likely to get out of balance.
There are two strategies: One is to protect myself before I meet others by balancing and protecting my own force field. The second is to acknowledge that it’s natural to get a bit unbalanced as I move through your day.
I can strengthen and restore my inner peace through quiet time, meditation, nature, music, dance, art, nutrition, play and exercise.
I like the idea of excusing myself to freshen up, because I don’t need to pick up bad juju then spread it around. When I’m not feeling peaceful, beautiful, it takes just a sec to freshen up.
p.s. Isn’t discombobulated a fabulous word!
About the author:
Joan Gregerson wrote some books for you! They’re on Amazon and Kindle. Buy them!
Hold it right there!
I want to paint you
To capture you
To memorize you
The blues and blacks
Reds and orange chunks
Yellow and white streaks
Melting across the sky
Spilling onto the water
Wait right there!
I can’t find my brush
My palette is all wrong
Dripping from the sun
Into the sea
I can’t catch up
Ah, I give up
I’ll just sit here
Dangle my legs
And kick my feet
Suck the last bit from the bottom of the cup
And drink you up
the fairy hands massage me
working out the kinks
About the poem:
Unlike running on a treadmill, walking in nature at any speed seems to do the trick. Walking slowly, going nowhere in particular feels just as healing for me, as purposefully heading to the peak.
When I learned meditation, I was surprised that the elements of nature are used in guided meditation, and meditating in nature is best. Duh! Of course, nature helps balance us. But, I didn’t really think about it before. haha. Now I know. Nature is THE natural primo balancer, healer.
About the author:
Joan Gregerson writes about how to enjoy life. tick tick tick. Time’s awasting, start enjoying! Her books are available in paperback and as ebooks on Amazon.com.
Sitting on the earth
I am grounded
Walking in the woods
I am schooled
Hearing the waves
I am released
Inhaling and exhaling
I am healed
I can help you, heal you
About the Poem:
How can we care for our planet? The truth lies in the stillness within, in nature, in love. When we are peaceful and joyful, we are not so easily swayed by the shallow and consumeristic messages that bombard us.
Earth itself is the healer we seek, the one that can guide us how to heal the earth!
About the author:
Joan Gregerson writes about inner peace, nature, nutrition and other ways to love yourself and enjoy your life more!
a poem from the book With Open Arms: Poetry for Big Love and Real Life
In town, my life is all manmade
GS-25, kimbap shops, and power lines
Waiting, rushing, looking both ways
Concrete, asphalt and flashing signs
But then there’s you
You are the backdrop of my days
Beckoning me, reminding me of something bigger
From here, at this distance you too
Look a bit grey
Like me and my town
But I know you now
I know that up close
You are a stunner
I walk past the bakeries and the HomePlus
And across the bridge, and the trash-strewn river
It’s here that I doubt myself
And want to turn back
But I know you now
You are worth it
I cross the busy street
And walk the steep road to your base
Now, from here, I see only you
Thank you for being here
My human friends aren’t around today
But you are. Chingu isseoyo!
And, you… are magnificent
Your brownery and greenery
Your paths and your scenery
Like a faithful lover
I fall in sync with you
And am still surprised by you
Though, I know you now
Ah yes, at the breast of this curve
The view opens to the pines and sky above
And here, I catch a glimpse of the sea
And from here, the town looks like what it is
The playthings of humanity
And now I’m at the yaksuteo
I don’t need to carry water, you deliver it to me
Right when I need it, mid-mountain, sparkling
I scoop a red ladleful and drink it, resting my mind
And on up, walking in peace
With every step, you heal me, soothe me,
Take away my rough edges and smooth me
At the top, I stand arms wide open
The better to feel you and thank you,
Gaksan! Chingu isseoyo!
Read more about how you can use ”Nature as Healer” in my book Tuning In to Inner Peace: The Surprisingly Fun Way to Transform Your Life
Immerse yourself in nature and feel refreshed and soothed!
When your head is filled with worries, immerse yourself in nature. Nature will embrace you and soothe you. You don’t need to know how or why! Just go!
Nature as Healer
I grew up in Colorado, which is synonymous with wide open spaces and mountains. Without realizing it, I grew up immersed in nature.
When I moved to Busan, South Korea, it was my first time ever living in a big, densely populated city.
My daily walk included walking through a bustling shopping district, past two-story tall displays of model and products. Next, I’d walk through an underground shopping mall, one of a sea of people surging through. With each step, I felt myself becoming more unbalanced. My inner peace state was fragile.
I got it in my head that if I could just sit on the grass, I’d be fine. I did find grass in our neighborhood once, but it was on a sloped median in the middle of a busy intersection!
I went on some hikes in the nearby mountain parks, and felt so much better during and after, that I made it a priority to get into nature weekly. Whether it was going to the beach, hiking in the mountains, going to a quiet place to look at the sunset, or sitting by the river, I felt better. I returned home feeling centered, grateful and peaceful.
That’s when I decided from direct experience, that: Nature is a Healer.
If you can’t get any distance from a trash-talking brain, spend time in nature. If you are crabby toward your loved one, losing patience at work, or generally dissatisfied, spend time in nature. Trust me on this one.
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.
Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you,
and the storms their energy,
while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.
- John Muir
Nature as Teacher
When you spend time in a city, surrounded by technological gadgets, listening to people’s ideas and problems, you get a very human-centered perspective. You become the target of a barrage of hectic messages, intended to motivate you to buy and act in a way that benefits someone …maybe not you, your community or the environment!
An antidote is to deposit yourself in nature. When you do so, you immerse yourself in an entirely different set of life lessons:
The breadth of wisdom presented by nature is endless. And the beautiful thing is that you don’t have to think about and process it mentally. When you deposit yourself in nature, you will feel this on a deeper, more subtle level. As truth.
After a jaunt in nature, the timeless truths will seep into your core. They’ll gently dislodge the shallower, consumeristic, frantic beliefs that were sucking your energy.
Of course, considering nature as the ever-present, helpful healer and teacher is nothing new. Most indigenous societies have a deep body of knowledge about the healing properties of nature, along with a respect for the interconnected natural system as an extension and reflection of ourselves.
You may have experienced the power of nature, without ever really accepting the fact. Acknowledging the huge potential of nature to heal us is an important step. Depositing ourselves in nature is the most direct way to become the student, and let the learning begin.
dwell among the
beauties and mysteries
of the earth
are never alone
or weary of life.
- Rachel Carson
The amount of variety, choice, range of scenery and difficulty, the amount of resources and trail maps, the access to trails by bus!!! It’s all just overwhelming. And that’s a wonderful thing!
The picture here was taken by my friend Kris with the panoramic feature on her new camera, on a hike we did in early October to Geomunoreum. For this hike, you must reserve a spot and go with a guide. Was it free or a few bucks? I can’t remember. I just remember it was lovely.
There are also over a dozen Olle trails, which are marked trails that meander around the island, and an info booth at the airport with maps and help.
The coolest thing though is that you can take a local bus to the entrance of most national parks. This makes it easy even to hike in one way, and return from a different part. This is a good idea when doing an Olle trail or when hiking the ‘big mountain’ here, Mt. Halla.
There are also dozens of smaller hiking trails. Jeju is dotted with oreums, small volcanic burps. Walk up one and get a lovely view. You’ll also probably find some outdoor exercise equipment and a temple.
Not sure what do to? Ask a friend, ask the Olle information person at Family Mart, or call the tourist info line at 064-1330. Nice and easy.
A hefty elevation climb, but a short distance from my home is an oreum. Oreums are little volcanic burps under the surface that dot the island. These little hills generally have walking paths and at the top, a Buddhist temple or two.
So, it’s a lovely Sunday morning walk to head up to the top, about a 25 minute walk from my apartment.
Even though this is ‘tourist season’ and it was a Sunday, there were very few people. (Nothing like the crowds I got used to on paths in Busan, or even in Boulder!)
Buddhists generally put their temples in a natural setting to enhance the peace of mind of those who visit. As I walked up, listening to birds singing, seeing butterflies and moths flit in and out of the shade, I felt more peaceful with every step. A monk once explained that temples are positioned so they have a good view, so the temple itself can feel that same good feeling that we do when we enjoy a beautiful view.
On this oreum, there are actually three Buddhist temples. They differ in some ways, but share: lovely setting, and colorfully painted eaves, detailed pictures on walls, and beautiful sculptures.
As I approached, I could hear the bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop, bop,bop,bop banging of the little percussion instrument the monks use.
I wandered around the grounds of one temple. Unlike a busload of about 20 tourists that showed up, I didn’t go inside this time. Instead, I took a few turns at the exercise park on the edge of the grounds: lifting weights, stretching my arms by twisting a big wheel back and forth, and another arm flexibility exerciser that involves reaching up with alternative arms, pulling a cable up and down. These outdoor exercise parks are sprinkled about in towns and parks. A really cool idea!
Today I headed out in the heat of the day, at 3 pm, and met a friend/student. We took the subway and bus to Taejongdae Park. (About an hour traveling, $1.50).
From there we took a ferry ride (10,000 won, $9) out and around a bit, then got off at the lighthouse. Ladies prepare fresh fish and serve raw fish to visitors at ‘restaurants’ on the rocks…red and blue canvas tarps stretched over rugs.
We skipped eating but instead walked back for a couple hours along the trails, savoring the sea breeze, and shady paths.
For dinner, we went to Nampodong and had Ssamkipsal …grill pork strips and garlic at your table and eat as lettuce wraps with greens and sauces. Yummy. Then, we went for coffee on the second floor as we looked out to the street for people watching. Nampodong reminds me of Pearl St mall or Santa Monica …that kind of cool, trendy area to hang out.
My Korean friend helped me learning some Korean phrases. Our main study material was a paper menu with dozens of items. I’d cut it up into small pieces and she helped me read and understand what it all was. Really fabulously fun and helpful!
I’d never thought of the ability to sit on the grass as a luxury. Until I lived here.
I keep thinking maybe I’m overlooking something. But really, there’s no place to sit on the grass. You can sit on the beach, you can walk into almost any restaurant and immediately be seated and served, you can sit at the subway station or train station. You can sit by the creek on a bench or on the hard ground (bring a mat!), but you can’t sit on the grass.
They have been doing construction on the walkways near my apartment. In the last week, they brought in a few pallets of sod. They placed the sod on the sloped landscaped areas in the medians or pedestrian areas, between the turn lane and the main road. The sod is now down and tho it’s at a 45 degree angle in the middle of a large road, I still have the urge to sit there. But, I’ll keep looking for a better spot!
A 20-minute bus ride from my home/work is the large City Park of Busan: Children’s Grand Park. The park is similar in many ways to large city parks you might know, like Central Park in NYC or City Park in Denver. It provides a natural, green space get-away from the large city that surrounds it. The paths and creeks are nearly all shaded by towering trees, which makes it a cool place even on hot summer days.
But these parks are well-used by probably thousands of people each day. So, paths are engineered to handle lots of foot traffic: rock or pavers, metal, wood or recycled timber handrails and fences, detailed signage.
In this park, there is also an amusement park, many little stores selling ice cream, mylar balloons of spongebob and other characters, and even a few Korean restaurants sprinkled about the park.
The first day I visited was a weekday and the paths were busy with 50+ year olds. The men are often wearing North Face or Columbia gear. The women wear either fancy label gear like that or a nylon blouse and visors with large brims. (My student friend joked that one woman with a huge dark plastic visor was Robocop and hid behind a tree as she passed!)
On the weekend, I went with fellow teachers. It was packed! There was some type of fun run, but those participants were only a fraction of the thousands of people in the park that day.
A really cool aspect of the park is the number of places that people enjoy a picnic! Koreans seem to have a knack for savoring picnics. Groups of women, men, or families are seen resting on a picnic mat (either of straw(?), plastic, or foam pad), with traditional snacks like kimbap (kind of a Korean California roll).
The creeks were lined with picnickers. At a couple places the creek was ‘redesigned’(??) to make it nice for people to splash about in. (Click on the photo for more pictures.) We considered joining them but weren’t sure if we might ruin the experience for others, by participating. As the only three ‘foreigners’, in the park, to have the three of us (including one big Australian), bust into the stream with the little kids seemed a bit iffy.
After our walk, we stopped at a nearby restaurant and enjoyed cheap, wonderful Korean food. My friend ordered the mulmyeon, a great choice for a summer day. Noodles in a cool broth with melon, hard boiled egg and a slice of beef.