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The Fire of the Frost; The Soul of the Sunbeam


“It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake,
the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam.
This crisp winter air is full of it.”

—John Burroughs, “Winter Sunshine”

Good morning! The winter solstice is on Saturday, and, although I’ve been shoveling feet of snow somewhat begrudgingly the last few days here in the Northeast, the very fact that winter is almost “officially” here, has me in a joyous spirit and ready to celebrate the season! How about you?

I’ve created a Visual Inspiration for you today featuring one of my most favorite winter photos paired with a marvelous quote by writer and naturalist John Burroughs, from his essay, “Winter Sunshine.”

The memory of taking this photo is vivid in my mind. Although it was three winters ago, it feels like yesterday. It was 10 degrees outside, and despite the freezing temperature, I stood in awe, snapping photos for nearly an hour, until the very last light. I had been driving home at the end of a full day of shooting photographs along a lovely lake in Upstate New York, and, as I was driving, I caught a glimpse of the most incredible colors in my rear-view mirror and quickly turned off the road to look back in the direction of the setting sun. Just moments earlier, the sky was dull and lifeless, and, now, only moments later, it had exploded with color! (I’ve learned that some of the very best sunsets here in the Northeast are often right after you think the show is all over! Lol.) I just love how the setting sun’s light rays danced and played on the frozen surface of the lake that evening, reflecting their fiery color in the swirling patterns of ice. When I read the line, “The fire of the frost,” in this essay by Burroughs, I knew it was perfect quote for this photo!

Enjoy ♥

Valerie Rickel

~Valerie Rickel, Founder of SoulfulLiving.com

© 2013 Valerie Rickel


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Guest Article: Get the Monkeys Off Your Back

Fall Trees

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”
Mark Twain

Good Morning! I loved hearing from so many of you in response to yesterday’s Visual Inspiration. It is very meaningful to me to know that it spoke to the heart of so many. Thank you. I have posted another Visual Inspiration for you today, entitled, “Everyday Miracles Abound.”  You can view it here. ♥

Today, I’m pleased to offer you a guest article by author Robin L. Silverman that carries forward yesterday’s theme of “worrying vs. positive thought.” Robin is the author of “The Ten Gifts” and “Something Wonderful is About to Happen.” Her article, “Get the Monkeys Off Your Back,” offers fun and clever methods to help you shift your thought process from the negative to the positive.


Robin Silverman“Get the Monkeys Off Your Back”
By Robin L. Silverman

Are you walking around with a monkey on your back? Most of us are. “Monkeys” are worries, regrets, anger and guilt that never keep quiet and refuse to sit still. They are born from the more than 50,000 thoughts each of us think each day, largely about things we cannot control, do not wish to see happen, won’t have time to experience or can’t let go. When it comes to mind and spirit self-improvement, monkeys are what hold us back from thinking clearly, reaching our goals and feeling more peaceful.

I know a lot about mental monkeys because I often feel like I am carrying around an entire zoo. “Go here!” one screeches. “No, go there!” another insists. They chatter on about my weight, my undone laundry and the garden I haven’t started. Depending on the day, the setting or whoever’s present in the room with me, they may remind me incessantly that I’m about to miss a deadline, a train or an important piece of the conversation because I’m still stewing about something someone said a dozen years ago.

Mental monkeys, unfortunately, sabotage all other self-improvement methods. If I set the alarm clock to work out, I hear, “I don’t want to get out of bed.” If I try to meditate, they start talking about breakfast and the staff meeting at 10:00. Even trying something as simple as watching my breath is a challenge, since they’ll laugh and say, “You’re not doing it right!”

I’ve done my best to get rid of my monkeys, but it’s not so easy to do. No one else wants them. Have you ever seen the eyes of your friends or your co-workers glaze over when you try to give them some of what’s bothering you? I’ve tried ignoring my monkeys, but they just pop up in the middle of the night and, like infant children, scream until I’m awake enough to feed and comfort them. Soothing them with positive thoughts is only a temporary salve for their restlessness. Counseling silenced a few, but in time, their places were filled with new monkeys. I’ve thought about choking them more than once, but somehow that feels as if I’m suffocating a part of myself. I know lots of people who are carrying around dead monkeys on their backs, and they’re not happy about it.

Ultimately, I’ve come to realize that when it comes to mental monkeys, there’s only one thing to do: play with them. When I do, something very interesting happens. They stop annoying me and start adding tremendous fun and energy to my life. When they call out one of their usual negatives, I simply answer, “Well, what do you want to do instead?” The answer almost always turns out to be something that increases my personal freedom, helps me to grow, or brings me a moment of joy…

Continue Reading “Get the Monkeys Off Your Back”

Copyright Robin L. Silverman. All Rights Reserved.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on Robin’s article! Please scroll down and leave your comments below.

Wishing you a positive day!!


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