Cathedral Grove

Cathedral Grove Reaches 100+ Followers!

…and to celebrate, I’m giving away free e-hugs to all! 

I know it’s no free all-expenses paid trip around-the-world (…we’ll have to save that giveaway for 100,000 follows, I think…), but free hugs are also pretty great and they won’t give you jet lag so that’s nice too, I suppose.

Anyway, thank you SO much to one and all for helping me reach this meaningful milestone. 100 followers may not seem a lot to some, but it means a great deal to me. Thank you all once again for reading, liking, commenting, and sharing as you have so often done over this past year and a bit. 

And so…

*hug*

100+ Followers Graphic

*hug intensifies*

Cathedral Grove is 1 Year Old Today!

Cathedral Grove at 1 Year Graphic

Hello and huge thanks, everyone! Because of all you lovely people out there kindly following my little seedling of a site, Cathedral Grove has put down strong roots and branched out in all sorts of ways that really please me. 

One year ago today, I published my first post – Hello, and Welcome! – here on Cathedral Grove. Since then, I’ve shared over 70 posts on topics near and dear to my heart, primarily focusing on travel + adventure, nature/environment, and wellbeing.

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey. I’ve certainly enjoyed working on this little creative project of mine, and I hope that you’ve taken something positive away from it as well.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet, but there will of course be more to come soon, so please stay tuned! 

In the meantime, many thanks once again to one and all! 

 

 

 

5 Books About Nature and the Environment Worth Reading This World Book Day

Today in the UK it’s World Book Day, which seems a fine time as any to pass along a few recommendations of some truly worthwhile non-fiction books concerning nature and the environment. I’ve enjoyed reading these books at some point over the past few years, and I suspect many of you might enjoy them too.

Let’s get right to it, shall we? And if you have a recommendation as well, please feel free to leave a comment below!

pexels-photo-1223345 Read More

It’s March 4th…

…the day we march forth toward adventure! (See what I did there? Honestly, we didn’t choose this particular date because of how it sounded, but now that I’ve thought of this connection I find the date rather appropriate, really!)

Yes, that’s right – today is the official beginning of our sabbatical. A few months off work to rest and re-center, to scratch that travel itch, to try new things and discover fresh interests, to have experiences and take part in training that might help us in the future both professionally and personally. 

Honestly, knowing what a worrier I can be about all the things, at all the times, I expected that as this day approached I’d be a big tangled ball of stress-yarn. Instead, I’ve felt lighter this weekend. As I was finishing my last few shifts for the time being this weekend, I noticed how positively different I felt. A weight was being lifted, and I could breathe deeply again. 

It feels so good to be in command of my time and energies for the next while and a bit, to be able to say ‘yes’ to experiences and endeavors that I’d ordinarily refrain from, feeling that I needed to reserve a significant chunk of myself for the intense, physically and emotionally draining work week ahead.

It might sound a bit cheesy, but today I feel like a superhero. Wonder Meg. 

I rather like that.

(Now I want to wear a cape.)

I’m so grateful to you all for joining me here on my little seedling of a site, and I’m really looking forward to sharing loads more content with you soon. Until next time, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing in my journey a bit more. I’m sending all of you all the mental hugs and high fives I can.

pexels-photo-1571734 

 

 

 

 

Sabbatical Shenanigans: An Update on Things (Hopefully!) to Come

pexels-photo-66100

Hello, lovely people!

There’s no Monday Mindfulness post again this week, but it will return once more before too long. You may have noticed that I’ve taken a little break from posting much of anything over the past few weeks. Fortunately, this hasn’t been due to any unfortunate events! Rather, it seemed best to put creative endeavors aside for a short while, just so Nick and I could focus more intensely on furthering our plans for our upcoming work sabbatical as we draw closer to its start.

So – what’s new with us? Well, mostly we’ve been working away as normal. We’re both adventurous activity leaders at a residential centre, so for around 12 hours each working day we’re looking after a group of primary school children and their teachers as we run them through a quick succession of activities like canoeing, climbing, archery, zipwiring, et cetera… When you’re working with a lovely group and things are going well, it’s quite enjoyable and fulfilling. Other times it may be that you’re having to lead a canoe session during a hail storm, or you’re breaking up fist fights between not-so-pleasant children, or you’re cleaning up buckets-worth of sick in the dorms… In other words, it can be a bit of a mixed bag, you know? You just never know what each new work day will bring. 

Anyway, we’ve been busily mapping out our sabbatical a little bit each weekend since just before the new year, and we’ve now got a better idea of when and where some things will be happening.  Read More

Happy Winter Solstice, Everyone!

Winter Solstice Graphic

Hello, everyone!

Just popping in to wish you all a very pleasant Winter Solstice today. Sure, it may mean that today is the shortest day of the year, but that just means that the days will only start getting longer from here!  

Here’s hoping that wherever you may be you are content and you are well.

Just to let you all know, there likely won’t be much in the way of posts here on Cathedral Grove over the next two weeks or so as I’m visiting my family for the holidays. A more regular posting schedule will resume in the new year.

Let’s Connect! An Update from Cathedral Grove

Hello, everyone! Megan here. 

Just wanted to drop y’all a line to say that it is now possible to follow this little seedling of a site via Facebook and Twitter! I’ve changed things around ever so slightly on the main page so that now there are a few convenient icons with links to our social media pages just below the site’s header, at the top of the sidebar – just look under ‘Follow Cathedral Grove on Social Media.’ 

Sometimes so-called ‘social’ media can engender feelings of being disconnected from other people and can bring about other negative feelings besides, but it need not always be that way. I believe in utilizing platforms such as these to highlight and share stories of kindness, of hope, of the positive things that humankind can do (and does!) when it puts its collective mind to it. If you’d like to join me on this little journey of mine then I’d enjoy the pleasant company! 

On another note, I want to say a really big thank you to everyone who has followed this site to date. Thanks to y’all, Cathedral Grove now has 50 followers! That won’t seem a very large number to some, but it means a ton to me. That’s 50 kind souls who have taken a little bit of time out of their busy day to stop by, to have a read of my words, to leave a like or a comment on something into which I’ve poured a little bit of my heart and soul. So, thank you – really, truly, deeply! 

pexels-photo-297755

 

Happy Thanksgiving! Giving Thanks, Today and Always…

Thanksgiving Day Graphic

Here’s wishing all of you a very happy Thanksgiving! 

No matter who you are or where you’re from, I hope your day is filled with joy and gratitude, love and laughter. Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you’ll find a moment or two to be thankful for the good things in your life, whatever they may be.

What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving?

For me, well, I am always so profoundly grateful for my amazing parents, for their unconditional love, their positive example, and their understanding. Mom and Dad, I know it’s been difficult for you both at times these past few years, what with my meeting my partner-in-adventure and in so doing becoming an accidental expat. I’m grateful that our connection and our love is strong at any distance. Looking forward to being home in the USA for a bit soon!

I am also incredibly grateful for Nick, my aforementioned partner-in-adventure of over 4 years now. Nick, my dear, your kind heart and generous soul inspire me every day. So looking forward to whatever we might happen to do next!  

I am so very grateful for these things and much, much, much more…but I shall leave it at that for this post.

Until next time!

~ Megan

 

‘May you be happy. May you be well.’ A bit of loving-kindness to all.

On Friday, American chef, writer, and TV host Anthony Bourdain passed away at the age of 61, the manner of death reportedly suicide.

Honestly, reports of celebrity deaths do not usually phase me. It isn’t at all that I don’t care – no. Even when unfamiliar with the person, my heart goes out to their family and friends and all the others they may have positively impacted in their life. Any death is a great loss to someone. But this particular news – I must say – hit me a bit harder than usual.

There have been many moving tributes to the man, his words, and his deeds in the days since (such as this one from the network for which Bourdain worked, CNN), so I won’t attempt to summarize and eulogize his life and works here. Suffice it to say, I enjoyed watching his shows, I appreciated his unapologetic honesty about his struggles, and I admired his open-minded acceptance of people from all walks of life around the world.

Unfortunately, suicide as a cause of death is on the rise in the USA. According to a recent Center for Disease Control and Prevention release, the suicide rate has risen by about 30 percent in 25 states over the span of time between 1999 and 2016.

These are heavy things to consider, for sure, but hopefully something positive can come from their discussion. I have noticed, for instance, that in each news report about Bourdain’s passing (as well as that of 55-year-old American designer Kate Spade who also took her own life this past week), the report has ended with a helpline number or link to another important mental health and suicide prevention resource. Good mental health is integral to our overall well-being, so the more ways we know of to help maintain it, the better.

For anyone out there who may be struggling, please know that you are never alone, you are loved. There’s a particular type of meditation called loving-kindness which includes the saying of a mantra I’d like to share with you now so that you might share it with yourself and others in the future during moments of unrest… ‘May you be happy. May you be well. May you be safe. May you be peaceful and at ease.’

 


 

Please also find below a few resources for yourself or others if needed. I hope they can be of some positive assistance.

For UK residents, the NHS has a comprehensive list of helplines and support groups to do with everything from anxiety to OCD to eating disorders.

For those living in the US, see the CDC for an array of mental health tools and resources. You can also find the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline here.

 

 

 

 

 

A Birthday Fundraiser in Support of the Woodland Trust

No Monday Mindfulness post this week. It will return shortly, however – I promise!

I continue to be in awe of this Spring here in West Yorkshire. With only perhaps 2 or 3 days excepted, it has been a Spring of clear skies and bright, soul-warming sunshine, the deepest blues and the most vibrant greens. Today is no exception.

Earlier on this particular beautiful day, I went out to our local park where I enjoyed a nice fresh-baked pastry and began reading a book I’ve treated myself to on account of my upcoming birthday. The book is ‘The Nature Fix’ by Florence Williams, and so far it’s a very interesting read about the ways in which nature helps us to be healthier, happier, and more creative. 

Speaking of my upcoming birthday, I’ve decided to do a small fundraiser for a favorite charity, the UK’s Woodland Trust, in lieu of asking for ‘stuff’. I’ll post the link to my Just Giving page here. If you’re feeling so inclined, please consider a donation of a few pounds. It’s a great cause supporting the protection of ancient British woodland and the growth of new forests for generations to come. 

Here’s the link

Hello! And Welcome…

Megan here. Many thanks for checking out my little seedling of a site, Cathedral Grove. Let’s go on an adventure, between the pines of possibility!

If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to take a wander over to our About page to see what sort of posts you can expect in the future. It’s my hope that the site will change and grow for the better with time, so I couldn’t possibly tell you precisely where the path forward will lead. One thing is for sure – there will be bad, tree-related puns.  (Sorry. Not sorry.)

Do you have any ideas for topics you’d like to see explored on Cathedral Grove? Let me know! Comments are always encouraged and alternate views also quite welcome  – but please, share with respect and kindness. 

John Muir - Every Two Pines