Morning Altars final

Reflections and Aha Moments

posted in: Community, Mindfulness | 1

For the past year, I’ve been taking a course called Morning Altars. I’ve shared this journey a bit over the course of the year, and as teacher and creator, Day Schildkret, says: endings are really just new beginnings. So where do I go from here? What’s the new beginning that I’m about to embark on?

Briefly, Morning Altars is a healing practice around creating impermanent nature art, art from items found in nature. So naturally, this year long course was about so much more than just the process of creating art. It was introspective, much exploring of our inner world, and then letting that come out in our creations. Since I was a very young child, nature has healed me, so this part came naturally to me. However, there were lots of aha moments as a result of this class and my creations.

We are all creative beings
Simple statement, and true. For years, despite the fact that I am in a creative field (both my graphic design business and my mindfulness business), I did not consider myself creative. Yet as humans, we create, that’s what we do, and once I saw that, I became more creative. See how that works?

Find yourself a sit spot
Experiencing the healing capacity of nature, you’d think I’d spend as much time in nature as possible. And I thought I did. Now I’m not sure. That’s why a regular practice of a daily sit spot is necessary. Not only do I remember to go outside, it also raises up the practice of being in nature to a greater level of importance.

Deepening my relationship than the other-than-human world
I did not think this was possible because I felt like I had such a close relationship to nature. By the last day of the class, as we were building altars around beginnings, middles and endings (the image at the top of this article – think seeds, full blooms, decay), I was sad for taking new flower buds before they had the opportunity to complete their cycle. There was a definite shift away from humans as the exception towards the wisdom and community found in all of nature. It’s a give and take relationship for both, and when you only take, eventually there’s nothing left for her (Nature) to give. It’s having gratitude for the gifts I am given.

Goodbye expectations, hello possibilities
One of my recent Monday articles centered around this very topic, influenced and formed by this insight. As much as I talk about living in the present moment, I clearly have much work still to do in this area. When I expect a certain outcome, I am closing myself to other possibilities and this is not how I want to live my life.

Large, online classes where there is a lot of sharing are very challenging for me
This is more logistical and specific to my own learning style, and I still want to mention it because perhaps it applies to you as well. As an introvert, it can be quite overwhelming when there is a busy chat window, people raising their hands and sharing, and teacher instruction going on all at the same time. By the time I processed everything in the moment, we were already well into the next. That said, Day created a safe space and a community that lifted each other up. No easy task on Zoom.

There was so much more to this year-long class, and these are just the nuggets. In answer to the questions I posed at the start of this article – the ones about new beginnings? Well let’s just say I don’t have any expectations and I’m open to all the new possibilities. Until next week, be sure to spend time in nature every day!

  1. Carolynne

    Hi Susan
    I did not know you are a graphic designer. I do know you are a great writer and I do read all the blog posts . Well done
    I love your musings. . . This one makes me remember Cristo. (Cristo Curtain) And other nature artists- like sand painters.
    – Carolynne

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