Zen and The Praying Mantis

Nature works in mysterious ways. Very mysterious ways. I had been working in my fern garden last week, determined to find a way to get water to an area that has struggled with the drought that we have all experienced this summer. The ferns had died down, the hostas were weak and I actually felt sadness looking at this area of the garden that usually is thriving, revealing brilliant shades of green. Working with ferns in my Japanese Garden design, I remember the Japanese Garden Masters sharing with me their wisdom that maintaining the garden is just as important as stone placement. I dedicated this day to the mindfulness of caring for those I seemed to have neglected during this heat, and set out to remove the weeds. Somehow in my own way I would try to bring relief to their shriveled up, gentle petals.


After only a few minutes of splashing water out of the hose onto their leaves.... I began to experience a connection that felt very different. A robin flew down, and then another, and then a squirrel joined in. Even a red cardinal came to take a drink from the water that I was providing to the planted ferns. One simple hose, one gentle flow of water captured the attention of so many creatures as I stood there in awe. Watching this, I reflected on living a Zen lifestyle, and how simply one source of water can be shared by so many. There was no fighting between species, they each took their turn, and as I watched in amazement... I connected to each creature. Effortlessly, they understand who they are and where there place is in our world. They instinctively know how to survive, and knew that the little green hose with the bubbling water could be shared by all.


Then there was the Praying Mantis. It was an awakening... in the wet drips of water, within the stillness it arrived. Soaking up the water droplets I offered,  it sat there before me as if to get close to me. Landing on the garden light, it let the water droplets fall gentle on what seemed to be a fragile creature. Yet, it tilted it's head and looked at me, and it rubbed it's two folded hands together in nature's own prayer. In that second, I realized I did not have my camera on hand, not even my iphone. Today was a day of mindfulness in my garden, and this ethereal creature had joined the robins, cardinals and squirrels in the joyous wonder of water. It was then, I asked it to stay. It was then that I realized if I could capture his image, and share it with others, then I didn't need to prepare for my blog anymore. I can just share my Praying Mantis. I slowly walked away... all the way to the house, through the door and grabbed my iphone. Walking back... I thought if he was gone then that was my fleeting moment only for me. If he was here, then nature has truly given me a gift to share. This was Zen Living all unto itself. It is the beginning of an everlasting circle of life that we are so priviledged to experience. I didn't need to prepare for this week's blog. I just needed to be present in my own fern shade garden.

Think about your life by examining the beliefs that you hold onto while opening your heart to the wisdom of nature and the gift of Zen Living. The Praying Mantis did.


Love & Light... M

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    MaryEllen Malinowski

    Zen Living by design is a division of Infrared Light International, a lifestyle design company that enlightens, educates and empowers clients to connect with living an extraordinary life based on the simple elements of nature, water, light and tranquility. Founded by MaryEllen Malinowski in 1994, The Infrared Light Gallery®’s success is based on eastern art, lifestyle, designs, travel and international design concepts that make people’s homes, business and personal well being reflect a simplified Zen Living. "M" is an international award winning fine art infrared photographer, published author, Japanese garden designer and Executive Director of The Koi Whisperer Sanctuary & Japanese Gardens in St. Charles, Illinois. MaryEllen's fine art infrared prints have sold at Sotheby's in New York, and her lifetime dedication to Asian design has developed into her creations of mesmerizing Japanese Garden designs and water gardens that can be found in estate homes and properties in the U.S. MaryEllen's dedication to Living Art, The Nishikigoi of Japan ( Koi) has opened up to an international mission of Koi Keeping. A lifetime pursuit of developing a magazine is in the works and Zen Living by design Magazine will be coming Spring 2015. M@infraredlight.com zenlivingbydesign.com .koiwhisperersanctuary.com infraredlight.com

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