Wednesday, December 2, 2009


This week’s blog will focus on some of my favorite exercises from the second section of my book “The Songbird In My Heart.” These exercises are called “Acts of Contemplation, Freedom for a Glad Heart” and are designed to put you in touch with your deeper self. Each day a corresponding prayer from the book will also be posted to Facebook.

The inspiration for these exercises came from two unlikely sources. The first are the beautiful books from Thomas Merton and his editors A Book of Hours, Seeds of Contemplation, and New Seeds of Contemplation. The second is the red Fieldbook by Peter Senge to his best selling business book The Fifth Discipline. While this part of the book bears little resemblance to these great books, they did serve as inspiration.

Please take some time and try them out! If you like, let me know how it goes. Best of luck. Mark

Acts of Contemplation, Freedom for a Glad Heart

Monday – Walking In Quiet Stillness
Tuesday – The Blue Skies Shine
Today – Naturetime
Thursday – Mindtime
Friday - The Universe in Time


Opening Thoughts
Nature is who we were before we became civilized. That is why we appreciate it so much. It reminds us of who we once were. As we separate ourselves further from it, we forget its best lessons.

In closer proximity, nature’s lessons bring us closer to the reality of life. We have the opportunity to do so as a silent witness. I recommend a digital camera to record the memories.

Acts of Contemplation
Act 1 – Place a birdfeeder within the view of a window where you can observe the birds. Identify the birds that visit. Take notes of the timing of the comings and goings. You will find that the birds come in waves, certain birds arriving with other species, some alone. Appreciate their beauty and aliveness. Take pictures for your friends and family.

I put out seed after the first frost and stop after winter comes to an end, usually November 15 until March 15. I mix my own combination of cracked corn, sunflower seeds and wild bird seed mix. Some areas will need to be careful about attracting bears if you feed too early in the fall or too late in the spring. If the squirrels bother you, put the feeder on a pipe covered with something slippery.

Act 2 – Install a bluebird house facing toward the sun and out of the wind in the late winter. Place it where you have a good sightline. If you like you can check it once a week to monitor progress. Keep notes. I only check mine at the end of the year these days. You may want to find the local bluebird club that monitors bluebird activity.

Act 3 – Place a hummingbird feeder outside of one of your windows in the late spring. Appreciate their unique splendor. Keep notes on your observations. The first ones appear in early April and usually migrate south in late September.

I have six feeders near my house. There are as many as twenty flying nearby at any time. Last year they nested in back of the house along the woods edge. The sugar mix is 1 sugar to 4 water to be changed every 3 to 5 days depending on the heat. These are the most magnificent creatures on earth.

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