Kundalini Yoga in Crested Butte, Coloraddo

Kundalini Yoga by donation is a monthly event at Sunset Hall behind the fire station in Crested Butte South.  First class was held August 26th in honor of Yogi Bhajan’s birthday.  The theme was “Connecting to the Teacher within” Morning started with 5AM Sadhana!  Second class will be hosted from 7-9PM on September 21st.  The theme will be about balancing self and relationships to others.  It’s the Equinox and post eclipse month which might be a wild ride.  Set your intentions and stay steady!  Location is at Sunset Hall in CB South.  September’s class is going to be really juicy and sweet.  It will calm the nervous system and prepared your body for a deep sleep.  Golden Milk will also be served following class and this warm tumeric almond milk and honey drink is great for reducing inflammation and again, calming the nervous system.

Come on down to CB South on Wednesday night Sept 21 7-9pm for a soothing experience.  Bring a mat, pillows, blanket, mug for golden milk and a friend.  This class is Kundalini by Donation and of course all donations are welcome and appreciated.  I am super excited about hosting these classes.  October’s class will be about Strengthening the Immune System – getting ready for winter!  Expect to sweat and build up some heat in this class!  And come winter Kundalini by Donation will become a regular event along with other great classes!  Spread the word and I look forward to seeing you!  Till then, Caroline

Morning Light and Meditations

Daylight savings started today and thus I rose before the sun.  My body and mind were reluctant but once up with a cup of tea in hand, I got to admire and enjoy the morning light.  The morning light is soft, warm, and yellow.  The low angle of the sun to the earth creates this gentle glow on the planet at both sunrise and sunset.  Here along the east side of the Rocky Mountains we get spectacular morning light since the sun rises on the horizon 50 or so miles away. The front range mountains light up first in pink and orange, followed by a receding shadow line to the east.  When clouds are present on the horizon, we get an array of other warm, low angle, defracted shades of magenta and purple.  This moment in time is like a warm cup of cocoa.  Sweet, luscious and short lasting.  I use this analogy because our best sunrises  occur during the winter months when the sun is at its most southern apex.  When the earth is at its chilliest and when a thick cup of cocoa warms the heart and spirit in mind and body.

Daylight savings also marks the beginning of spring, longer and warmer days and the return of our songbirds.  Now that the magic moment of sunrise has passed, the day has begun and the robins are singing in the day.  Another sweet reminder to wake up and enjoy all the gifts  in the universe!  Cultivate your inner garden with love and light!

Photography, Meditation and Sense of Place – Crested Butte, CO

DSC00628Coming to Crested Butte, Summer 2015: Disconnect to Reconnect – sunrise and sunset drop-in classes, weekend  journeys and forays by appointment.  Settle into your vacation immediately! Relax, restore and refocus while connecting to nature’s beauty and gifts in this mountain paradise.  These classes are about connecting to sense of place and self.  See the extraordinary in the ordinary and fully engage on a new level that embodies your mind, body and spirit.  Why waste 5 of seven vacation days just to really relax  and let go of work on day 6!  Instead, jump start your fun (and wellness) by dropping the stress, the agendas and maybe the phone!

If interested in scheduling a class, hike, workshop contact me through this website.  Thank you!

Strolling down memory Lane – Bedford Riding Lanes Assocation, NY

Mid- October, forests of leaves are beginning to change color, when my brother and I met in Stamford, Conneticut  to  revisit our lives 40 years past.  On the first evening we met up with Alice Carter.  A horse and mini dacshund lover/trainer and daughter of  Sue and Fred Carter, my mom – Spencer’s friends, banker and estate trustee.  We -McLeans are thankful and appreciative of all that the Carters did for our family and thus it was great to reconnect with Alice 40 years later.   The first evening Alice laid the ground of what to expect the following day’s visit to Bedford (NY) and beyond. She and Hoot reminised, recalled names and faces and updated us on North Salem Hunt Country.  In typical “Craig” fashion, I fell asleep. My horsey saturation point matured at a young age.

The following morning we had a 10 AM appointment with Charolotte Kooyman – BRLA maintenance coordinator volunteer who also happens to live in a “new ” house below our former  Hook Road ” homestead” – Stirrup Cup Farm.  BRLA stands for the Bedford Riding Lanes Association which is a network of trails crossing and looping through mostly private lands.  The now non-profit association manages well over a 100 miles of trails. My mom -Spencer, held the same position as Charlotte 40 years past and  my  life roots developed  and grew along these trails.  Revisiting the BRLA trails around our homestead was the focus of our visit.

My intention for the visit was to scope out a potential 40 year, retrospective photographic portfolio project.  Since my early years, the natural environment has been and is the focus of my life’s work.  As a young child, Spencer put me on horseback and took me on her daily rides.  My memories were that of boredom as mom and lady friends rode ahead, dragged me along, chatting about this and that.  Thus at the time, I did not know what was happening as I bonded to the natural world.  My live as a child was all about the woods, streams and trails.  Since moving to Colorado, growing up, I earned a masters degree in ecology, have taught outdoor/ environmental education, was a field biologist and now a fine art contemplative, nature photographer.  About a year ago, I began reflecting upon my early childhood influences, horse trails, Lee’s Pond and St Matthews Glebe land. I started talking to my brother , interest grew and here we are in Bedford

Here we are  at our first photo stop,  parked at the intersection of Hook Road and route 22, the location of the historic Bedford Oak Tree.  The surrounding meadow and golf course across the street appeared more overgrown but the Beddford Oak looked the same, situated behind a green wooden gate and bordered by stonewalls.  The branches sprawl and extend like spider legs reaching out in space.  The trunk is moss covered, and knotted with warty growths.  The tree exudes age, wisdom and earned respect; and in this wealthy provencial suburb of Manhatten, there is another non-profit association that supports the elder care needs of this amazing tree – the Bedford Oak Foundation.  After a brief moment of admiration and photographs, we continued up the still dirt Hook Road. We passed the Pattersons, Reimers, Lees, Davidson, Cunningham, Gwynne, Nicely, Gaul, Ewing/George, Mitchell, Winnokur, Snake Ladys house, Alperts, Saunders, Holiday, McLean and finally reached the gated Kooyman home, a stone’s throw from the  river of my childhood memories.Charlotte is a lovely gracious woman who was excited to meet us, serve us coffee and be our tour guide for the morning.

I shared a collection of old photos from the family scrap albums and gave her a book about Spencer and her life on horseback that my sister Cynthia wrote after mom died in 2005.  We began the tour walking up past the old “homestead”.  The area looked significantly different.  The barn and garage were still in tact.  The house looks much nicer as to the yard/grounds.  Everything was manicured.  The split rail fencing was replaced with white plastic fencing and our horse pastures were mostly lawn.  The hillside down to Charlotte’s house was terraced and much of the vegetation near the creek was removed giving way to river views from Charlotte’s living room.  No horses lived on the property.  The driveway was paved and new, square edged stonewalls replaced most of the previous hand-stacked stone walls.  Yet, it was the stonewalls that gave me my bearings.  The homestead land looked much smaller, everything was much more dense and compact.  From the intersection of our old driveway and road extension to Charlotte’s we accessed the BRLA that paralleled our propertyline and a stonewall.  The trail was wide leaf covered, the woods were drastically different. 40 years ago, the woods were a mix of pine and hemlock.  The understory was mostly needle duff and easy to navigate cross country. The woods  and creek were my playground,  a place to make forts, swing on vines,  raft the rapids, discover and explore with my imagination.  The woods were a short cut to school, to friends houses and town.  My childhood was all about the woods, a place that nurtured my soul and spirit.

It is now January 2015, three months later and I keep thinking about the visit to my childhood woods.  They were different.  The coniferous trees were gone and replaced by weedy brambles and impenetrable thorns.  Everything was overgrown or gentrified with manicured lawns, gates, rock walls, fortresses and no trespassing signs.  The church lands were posted with ” hike in pairs”, it was no longer safe to walk the woods alone.  Ticks and lyme disease are a hinderance too.  Nature was no longer a place for children to play.  It is a dangerous, unstructured, unaccountable place for children.  The woods were dead and my childhood memories of joy, adventure, creativity, exploration and free form play is a thing of the past.  I am dated, old fashioned  and an advocate for nature.

Communities need places and organizations like the BRLA trails.  People need to be in nature.  Nature and the out of doors are healing.  We need need sunshine and connection . The modern world is forgetting and in this (hopefully short lived) amnesia we are creating havoc on the planet and to ourselves. We need places like the chapel in the woods, the st. matthew glebe land, the national forests, wilderness, and free flowing rivers to nurture our birthrights of love, creativity, imagination, body awareness, emotions and intellect.  We think we can solve our problems with intellectual reasoning and science.  Much of which we can,  but we need to reconnect and drop into our hearts.  We need to learn to listen deeply and pay attention to our internal knowing.  Nature is our guide and we need to come home and give her thanks.  Life will be better when we reconnect and nourish ourselves and nature.






Autumn Light!

ArriveWoke to the glow.  Pre-sunrise sunshine reflecting off a thin cloud cover creating a cast of energy across the landscape.  Orange, yellow, brown leaves cling to branches radiating their brightest light.  Hillside of grasses not yet awake but there’s a warmth like the child still snuggled in its morning bed.  The air is still and quiet as if all is aware of this coming glory, as if a miracle is about to happen.  The animals, the dogs, the people all feel this sense of joy, warmth, stillness, love, gratitude while awaiting the glorious awakening and crest of the sun over the horizon.

Autumn light, its long shadows and low angle is the best.  The light event has passed. The sun is obscured by the clouds, a slight breeze blows and its time to get on with our day.

Connecting people to nature one photograph at a time!