Roots and Reflections

"Roots and Reflections" are inspirational teachings and reflections that have deeply and positively influenced my life, work, passions, and connections to all beings on this planet.  Please return here again for periodic additions.

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"Keep moving in the direction of your true north, the overarching purpose and priorities that organize the pieces of your life, give them meaning, and keep you on track.  Don't let "shoulds" and "musts" pull you from your true course. Your true course is one that is authentic, at the intersection of your talents and joys and values, appropriate to your temperament and nature, and filled with heart."
-Rick Hanson

"Our hearts are like seismographs, picking up the tremors of intent.  In difficult times it is this repeated setting of our heart's compass that determines results." 
-Jack Kornfield


Ardently loving nature,

Fear-free and Wholehearted

“Guilt and anger and fear are part of the problem. If you want to save the world, save it because you love it!”
-Gary Snyder (as shared in Jack Kornfield’s No Time Like the Present from Wes Nisker’s interview)

"I think that admiration, true admiration of nature will be what saves us. Adoration, like not letting it be harmed."                                                                     -Alice Walker (Tami Simon interview, Sounds True)


Great Gray Owl,  Strix nebulosa

Great Gray Owl, Strix nebulosa

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Stepping into the fire of transformation

Tragedy, trauma, grief, and loss are not in an of themselves transformative spiritual experiences. But they are opportunities, indeed they are invitations, to step into their fire and allow them to transfigure us.                                                                            -Mirabai Starr, paraphrase from Caravan of No Despair


"Sooner or later life is going to lead you into the belly of the beast, into a place where you can't fix it, you can't control it, and you can't explain or understand it. This is where transformation begins."                                                                                           -Joseph Campbell

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Beauty of Broken Hearts

When life offers me another sorrow I will repair my broken heart as a Japanese kintsugi artist delicately uses gold inlay to piece together broken pottery shards. My repaired heart will be more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. This is the gift of self-compassion, returning us to our courageous hearts.

-Ellen Donoghue


Everything is a gift. Yes, everything.

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand this too was a gift.

-Mary Oliver



Trusted guidance

“The person who, being truly on the Way, falls upon hard times in the world will not, as a consequence, turn to that friend who offers him refuge and comfort and encourages his old self to survive.  Rather, he will seek out someone who will faithfully and inexorably help him to risk himself, so that he may endure the suffering and pass courageously through it, thus making of it a ‘raft that leads to the far shore.’  Only to the extent that a person exposes himself willingly over and over again to annihilation, can that which is indestructible arise within him. In this lies the dignity of daring.”

Karlfriend Durckheim, Zen teacher
The Way of Transformation, 1988

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Dog wisdom

“Sure, a well-placed cairn in the backcountry can be a welcomed sight.  Ah, but a well-placed dog confirms beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are exactly where you are meant to be in this moment, in this landscape, in this life.

Present moment awareness, joy in the flow of Earth's vitality and cultivating inner-strengths to be at ease with the ebbs and flows of life is the essence of Ardent Nature's motto 'Anchoring in Your Raw Aliveness!'”             

-Ellen Donoghue, Mt Adams Wilderness, September 15, 2017


Explore Your Ardent Nature

"It is a fact, patent both to my dog and myself, that at daybreak I am the sole owner of all the acres I can walk over. It is not only boundaries that disappear, but also the thought of being bounded." 
-Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

"Change occurs when deeply felt private experiences are given public legitimacy."

-Mahatma Gandhi

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Courage of an open heart

When I teach classes or offer inspirational talks on the "courage of an open heart" I tap into the place within me that knows no boundaries, that feels limitless, free, and unconstrained. With this heart courage comes a welling up of equanimity which strengthens me to offer compassion to myself and all beings that may be suffering. Equanimity keeps me grounded in love, rooted in the present, nurtured in truth. I believe many people recognize the sensation of inner peace, strength, and the ability to bear witness to all that comes and goes in life, even it it may be fleeting at times. This is aliveness.  More and more people are becoming empowered to cultivate these inner-strengths and awaken their "ardent nature."

-Ellen Donoghue,  

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I Wanna go home

What do Dorothy’s slippers and practicing stillness have in common? Stay tuned for a coming reflection. In the meantime, drop me a note with your thoughts on this!