NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.COM, and KINDLE.
“Connection with 48 Natural Contemplations,” is a 35,000 word spiritual/ecology/meditation work
by Charmaine Coimbra
Genres: Inspirational, Eco-Spirituality, Contemplative Memoir, Gift, Nature, Ecology, Journal, Cards
Samples from “Connection” are posted below. For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org
View this short video for an introduction to
“Connection with 48 Natural Contemplations.”
“Connection with 48 Natural Contemplations”
“I was reminded today, [after reading Charmaine’s book] that we have become consumers instead of creators.”
—Debra Berry, US Army Veteran and second grade educator
“ Charmaine’s connections to nature , action points and contemplations to achieve peace of mind are interesting…I can see how many people will find her book both interesting and helpful to fulfill personal betterment.”
—-Frank Bonaccorso, Ph.D, Emeritus Wildlife Biologist
“Charmaine’s book is a love song to the ocean, the trees, the wind, the owls, and everything else she sees and feels in nature. It is a kind but fierce condemnation of non-parenting and tracks her development from “problem child” to preacher/inspirer/eco-activist to wisdom elder to embracer of all of life.”
—-Judith Fein, author and award winning journalist
“I like the way Charmaine has created four categories. It gives the reader a structure in which to read the book…Her life as a California girl is something everyone can relate to…the images are wonderful. Every reader will want to be on those beaches and in those waves.”
—-Christine Heinrichs, author and award-winning journalist
“Like the trees there is a sacredness about this writing and with it an invitation to contemplate the material world around, our home on planet earth. As we do this we are helped to see through these reflections that there is more to this world than the simply material. For me it speaks of a divine heartbeat and hum at the centre of creation.It is a book to return to time and time again, to dip into, like the ocean when thoughts are jaded and souls in need of connection.”
—-The Reverend Charmaine Host, Vicar of St. John’s Swindon and St. Michael’s
Himley, two Church of England parishes in Lichfield Diocese, UK
“I really liked [Charmaine’s] observations of nature and the interconnectedness with all things. The contemplations at the end of every section are insightful.”
—-Patricia McComb, M.S.W., M.S., LCSW
Table of Contents
“Connection with 48 Natural Contemplations”
About the Author
By the Sea —Life
We are Like the Ocean
2) Birthing a New Spirit
3) To Become Like Floating Phytoplankton
4) Cycles & Gyres of the Sea & Life
5) Interconnectedness with the Sea
6) The Drift of a Tidepool
7) Upwelling’s Wind and Natural Magic
8) Our Daily Hunger for Life’s Balance
9) Fog: Mystery, Romance, Nourishment
10) Depth and the Abyss
11) Eye to Eye with a Whale, Now Listen.
12) The Sea’s Gift: Life
Among the Trees — Strength
2) Rooted for Nourishment & Growth
3) Out on a Limb
4) Reach Out
5) Nourishment for Growth
6) The Spirit of Being
7) The Will of Survival
8) The Symbiosis of Soil
9) Renewal by Fire
10) New Growth
11) Owls Champion the Night
12) Strength is Ours
Desert Expanses —Vision
1) Kingdom of the Sun
2) Anger’s Folly
3) Time Unveiled
4) The Mirage of Aura
5) Space Eternal
6) Wind, A Desert Temptress
7) Desert Rain’s Mini Miracle
8) A Fragile Environment
9) Silence When There is No Quiet
10) A Glistening Expanse
11) The Desert Dance of Rabbits and Hares
12) Vision brings Understanding
Home — Compassion
1) Come to the Table
2) The Garden
3) Of Family & Tribes
4) To Bring Love Home
5) Forgiveness over Revenge
6) Simplicity for a Healthy Home
7) Our Daily Rituals
8) Retreat and Remember Who You Are
9) Gentle Footprints
10) Dust Interconnects!
11) Pets as Friends and Guardians
12) Compassion Begins at Home
Final Thoughts —Connected
More Awe, Less Uh
A Gift of Grace
“Solitude is not Separation”
A Personal Moment in the Arms of Loving Kindness and Compassion
Life’s frenzy effortlessly yanks us away from nature’s calming elements. For me, as an adult, that frenzy included a widowed motherhood, a successful career I built and developed against the odds, a series of failed and destructive relationships, and two bouts of cancer.
This book about our interconnectedness with nature, along with 48 natural contemplations, is the result of my personal spiritual journey, a journalistic passion to write about nature, and my time volunteering as a marine life educator. It’s also my response to a directive received during a retreat and consultation at the New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur.
I’ve divided this work into four basic sections to use for connection and contemplation: the sea (representing life); among the trees (representing strength); the desert (representing vision), and the home (representing compassion). “Connection,” offers the reader 48 moments of contemplation and meditation that follow a review of our link to nature. Each section is derived from factual evidence of the condition of our world and our inner selves. This work is not meant to be religious. It is meant to help us collectively walk in peace and respect as we awaken to the life given us — regardless of one’s faith or belief system.
I have borrowed the knowledge of scientists, quoted poets and writers, and shared the wisdom of academics, philosophers and the ancients to connect what I know about our seas to life, our trees to strength, our deserts to vision and our homes to compassion, and all four elements to each other. I encourage the reader to find quiet moments of thought and discover these outer links to personal inner peace, wisdom and health.
I favor Thomas Merton’s explanation of the process, “Genuine contemplation is incompatible with complacency and with smug acceptance of prejudiced opinions.”
If ever there was a time to connect with nature, it is now. Perhaps the author Edward Abbey best warned us in his 1968 book “Desert Solitaire,” when he wrote, “If industrial man continues to multiply his numbers and expand his operations, he will succeed in his apparent intention to seal himself off from the natural and isolate himself with a synthetic prison of his own making.”
There is an obvious effort to push nature’s beauty into the background of industrialization. When nature falls into crisis, so do we. We are nature. Social, political and spiritual dysfunction dominates the news and proves itself on social media. Meanwhile, nature reels and rocks alongside of us.
This is not a path I wish to walk.
Conversely, medical physicians prescribe nature walks for health. There’s a variety of names for this therapy that range from ecotherapy, earthing, forest bathing, and eutierria — becoming one with nature.
When we spend more time with our oceans, forests, deserts and our natural homes, and put ourselves into nature’s true environments it is good for the body, the soul, the brain and creativity, researchers say.
“Connection with 48 Natural Contemplations” aims to help us reconnect to nature, even if we can’t get away from our desk. It also promotes the sun in our face, the wind in our hair, the smell of the sea, the forest, the desert and the joys of home.
We can’t always be by the sea. But we can find healing and wisdom most anywhere in nature. This collection of reflective thoughts takes you to the sea (life), encourages you to be among the trees (strength), asks you to seek the wide expanses of the desert (vision), and offers thoughts to live in light at home (compassion). Life, strength, vision and compassion are four elements in one’s existence that can make a positive impact within.
They are all connected.
Silent moments of contemplation and meditation are majestic prayers that allows us to lift above the storm and calm the air we breathe.
Contemplation, according to Merton, “… is the highest expression of our intellectual and spiritual life. It is that life itself, fully awake, fully active, fully aware that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being. It is gratitude for life, for awareness and for being. It is a vivid realization of the fact that life and being in us proceed from an invisible, transcendent and infinitely abundant source.”
There is no attempt in this work to assume that each offered contemplation will bring about a mystic experience. Instead, it is my hope that each section will speak to you at the moment and bring about reflection and thoughtfulness which may open the door to true contemplation.
Meditation is a hike into the heart, the mind, the soul. It is a door that opens our minds and hearts to understanding and quietude.
By the Sea
My love affair with the sea began as a child during a dark moment in my personal life. Rescued from my family’s dysfunction, a kind relative included me in a two-week seaside vacation.
Energized by the sound of the sea and the lapping waves not far from the oceanfront getaway, each morning I gulped my breakfast cereal, scurried barefoot down the wooden stairs and charged through the sand toward the surf. By 9 a.m. I bobbed where the waves began their incoming swell. The swells lifted me from the sandy bottom and I flattened my body into a dead man’s float. My nightmare childhood dissolved as I transformed into an unnamed mammal that healed in the seas.
Among the Trees
At age 21, I sat on the deck of a northern California home that overlooked a redwood, oak and madrone forest. The morning fog slowly revealed a magnificent beauty, and my own awakening. Honey-scented Scotch broom sweetened the air.
I was caustic and deeply hurt by an unexpected rejection by the religious faith that I was born into. I pondered an Allen Watt’s quote, “If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.” Like Joni Mitchell’s “Chelsea Morning” lyrics, ”And the sun poured in like butterscotch, And stuck to all my senses,” my baptized faith no longer offered me answers. What I sought was right in front of me–nature in its most glorious beauty, and it stuck to all my senses
Not only are trees essential for life, but as the longest living species on earth, they give us a link between the past, present and future.
Historical references to the sacredness of trees fills volumes of poetic works. Taliesin, a 6th century Celtic bard used what some academics claim as the secret language of trees to express and exchange ideas with those with need to know, “without anyone there being any the wiser.”
“Of all (the desert’s) inhabitants it has the least concern for man.” —Mary Austin,
“The Land of Little Rain.”
The Mojave Desert was home for much of my life. I howled like a desert coyote in my bristled, dry, and motherless youth growing up in the desert. My one goal was to escape this pit of endless heat and wind. But it was the sunrise, the crystal nighttime sky, the miles of endless vision and possibility that tempered my hungry coyote song. Light, more than anything, dominates the desert. For that, I have returned to the desert to expand my vision and heart.
“The weird solitude, the great silence, the grim desolation, are the very things with which every desert wanderer eventually falls in love. You think that strange perhaps? Well, the beauty of the ugly was sometime a paradox, but today people admit its truth; and the grandeur of the desolate is just paradoxical, yet the desert gives it proof.”
John C. Van Dyke, The Desert
Deserts are another one of nature’s metaphors to human life. Most deserts were once lush and fertile environments. But as the planet ages, so have those once lush forests that now seem sterile and vacant of life. Lifeforms, however, adapted in North Africa’s Sahara Desert, South Africa’s Kalahari Desert, Australia’s Great Victoria Desert, China’s Gobi Desert, Western Asia’s Arabian Deserts, and North America’s greater deserts that include the Mojave, Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and the Great Basin Deserts.
Deserts are home for ancient Biblical texts, and indigenous creation stories from America’s Southwest.
Deserts represent the extreme with vast vistas that can bring peace or even death.
“If humanity is to survive, happiness and inner balance are crucial. Otherwise the lives of our children and their children are more likely to be unhappy, desperate and short. Material development certainly contributes to happiness – to some extent – and a comfortable way of life. But this is not sufficient. To achieve a deeper level of happiness we cannot neglect our inner development.” The Monk in the Lab
Gifted with shelter, gratitude exudes from my pores. My heart aches for those who live without shelter. The imbalance of those with and without shelter parallels the human impact on the earth’s environs. I understand that all the challenges we face here on earth cannot be met by me alone. And this is why I write and plea for finding a home for compassion in our hearts. That is one step we can take to finding solutions.
Home begins with our life here on earth. It is sacred, requires care and love. “Do we not know that it is all an interconnected whole, that the state of our planet and our loss of the sacred is one story told in different ways? Is it not time to listen to this story, to find its meaning, and to recognize finally that this story belongs to each of us —it is our own story as well as the story of the whole world,” wrote Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, PhD, in his rather dim perspective “Darkening of the Light.” Vaughan-Lee’s books call out to its readers to grow in mindfulness of our planetary home and to become diligent in spiritual responsibility and accountability.
This is what we can do within our private space to rise above what seems at this time in history a darkening of an era.
Yes, there are volumes written in the theme of survival of the fittest. There is fitness and strength of the body, but more importantly we can seek fitness and strength of the spirit, for this is something that almost everyone can achieve.
It begins within the home of our very being — which by nature, is compassionate. Humans are a caring species and humans are more dependent upon caring, from the moment of birth, than most other species.
Dacher Keltner wrote: “Our babies are the most vulnerable offspring on the face of the Earth. And that simple fact changed everything. It rearranged our social structures, building cooperative networks of care-taking, and it rearranged our nervous systems. We became the super-caregiving species, to the point where acts of care improve our physical health and lengthen our lives. We are born to be good to each other.”
“Compassion is what fuels empathy. Kindness is the expression of that compassion through helping, a basic form of altruism. Compassion is what makes it possible for our empathetic reaction to manifest in kindness,” Thupten Jinpa explained in his book A Fearless Heart.
Compassion begins at home.