August 2021

Spirit Garden Reflections

Five Smooth Stones

We should build with the stones we have.

-Swedish Proverb

Welcome to the Reflection for August!

The summer months are a favourite time to go for long meandering walks outdoors.  All my life, I have found myself walking with my eyes downcast, looking for interesting stones during these warmer months. 

Since moving to the Maritimes, the summer months invite long walks on beaches, gathering stones that seem to call my name.  There is something soothing and calming about walking with a stone in hand.  Perhaps holding a small piece of the firm earth in our hands helps us to become grounded and centred within. 

Throughout time, stone has provided building blocks and foundations for our living.  They are found lining river beds, supporting buildings, and stacked together to create fences.  Stone walls were the first canvases for art and storytelling in prehistoric times.  In many ways, stone offers us structure by holding our memories and our history. 

Near the beginning of the summer, I had returned to the story of David and Goliath and I have been pondering the role that that five smooth stones play in the story.  These five smooth stones have captured my imagination.  I have walked the beach and gathered my own set of five smooth stones to hold in my hand and meditate upon.  These stones offer an invitation to bring more wholeness, awareness and well-being into the world.

I hope that you will enjoy this Spirit Garden Reflection about five smooth stones.

With grounding blessings,

The mind divides the world into a million pieces.
The heart makes it whole.

-Stephen Levine

Five Smooth Stones

The audio file below offers a reflection on the story of David and Goliath, called Five Smooth Stones.  The reflection is followed by a handout with some questions that are intended to help you journal your own thoughts and experiences that arise from listening to the Reflection.  Please print these out before you listen to the audio file.

You are invited to create a comfortable space for yourself and perhaps light a candle as you take about 20 minutes to listen to the recording and then answer the questions.  May this be a time of watering the garden of the soul.

Reflection Questions

Please click on the button below to download the reflection questions that go along with this reflection.

You may wish to take a moment and simply gaze at the picture of five smooth stones below after listening to the audio recording and notice what arises within you.  Perhaps take a moment to consider, what five smooth stones do you carry with you at this time that help you face the challenges of these days?

five smooth stones

May the Holy One preserve in me a burning love for the world
and a great gentleness.

-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


Spirit Garden Moments

Spirit Garden Moments offer a short pause in your day and an opportunity for reflection.  The Spirit Garden Moment this month is about nurturing gratitude.

A Path to Gratitude


Surprise leads us on the path of gratefulness.

-Br. David Steindl-Rast

Forest Walk

As I sat outside and gazed at the trees and flowers in my garden this month, I have been pondering the nuances of gratitude.  Have you ever noticed that when someone asks you what you are grateful for, you will often name small things that happened to you during the day?  Or, that often your gratitude is sparked by the little things that surprised you and came to you as an expected gift or treasure?

This month, I have noticed my gratitude coming from watching hummingbirds delicately gathering nectar from the flowers in my garden.  It comes from going for a walk and spontaneously encountering a deer nibbling on the low hanging fruit of an apple tree.  It comes from watching squirrels racing among treetops as though travelling on a superhighway. 

My heart is unbelievably touched by witnessing these interactions of giving and receiving that are taking place in the natural world all around me.   These surprising encounters always leave me with a sense of joy and delight.

I was in a class discussion this month and we were sharing that our first response when someone asks us what we are grateful for, is usually not to say things like, ‘I am grateful for that degree I worked so hard to achieve ten years ago.’  Instead, our gratitude often stems from the unplanned moments when life graces us with a gift that nourishes our hearts. 

The things we tend to spontaneously feel and express gratitude for, are the small things that freely came to us and brightened our day.  They are the small moments in the day that engaged our hearts and made us feel more alive.

In his book, Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer, Brother David Steindl-Rast says, “Whatever causes us to look with amazement opens the ‘“eyes of our eyes.”  We begin to see everything as a gift.  An inch of surprise can lead to miles of gratefulness.”

Amidst the turmoil and unrest in our world these days, may the path of surprise lead us each to the garden of gratitude.

Many blessings,

The discipline of creation,
be it to paint, compose, write,
is an effort towards wholeness.

-Madeleine L’Engle


In Closing

The Spirit Garden Reflections offer invitations for walking and gathering gratitude and awareness.  You may wish to find a stone that becomes a gratitude stone that you can hold at the end of the day and reflect upon what surprised and delighted you.  You may also wish to have a stone that can help you hold your prayers for healing and wholeness for our world.  

Earth blessings,

Kathy by the Ocean

Connect & Share

You are invited to share any of the words or lessons that the element of water has evoked for you, or perhaps what you look forward to each spring. May we help each other welcome the energy of this new season!