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“Lakeshore Peace” by Karen Glosser. Photo: Karen Glosser/Provided.

Hello friends!

My creative process as a nature photographer often involves hopping in my car with my camera and going for a drive to see what attracts my interest. Some years ago, as I was following this process, I often found myself drawn to the shores of nearby Lake Erie. At the time, I was recovering from a major surgery and had recently spent eight months in a leg cast or walking boot.

Eventually I was freed from those encumbrances, but it remained very difficult to walk without pain. My body was healing, but the limitations on my abilities made it hard for my mind to heal. As I spent time on the beach, I felt relief from the mental distress and found peace in my soul.

The Lake Erie water and wave photographs and short corresponding writings that resulted from these outings eventually became a solo show of mine, titled “Soulscape.” As I researched Lake Erie and wild waters, I came across a book written by marine biologist Dr. Wallace J. Nichols. “Blue Mind - The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do” put a name to the feelings I had experienced as I photographed and spent time at the shore. 

According to Dr. Nichols, Blue Mind is the mildly meditative, relaxed and peaceful state that results from spending time near water. Water is essential to our life, of course. Water is life. We physically cannot live without it.

But did you know that water is good for us in many other ways? Water is medicine! Why do we make so many plans to be near water? We do this because we instinctively know that water is good for our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Time spent near, in, on or under water heals us physically, mentally and emotionally.

Oceans, lakes, rivers – all our wild waters can become access points to our Blue Minds, as we relax alongside, paddle, boat or fish in water's midst. Perhaps a swimming pool is "your water,” as you swim laps, splash or just float. But what if you do not have immediate access to wild water or a pool? The benefits of a Blue Mind state can be found right at home.

How many of us come home from a long day and relax with a warm bath or shower? A simple glass of water, as we pause and think of its wonder, can help us access our Blue Minds. Even water-themed music, books and art can bring us the mental and emotional benefits we seek.

Even in winter, we can find the peace that comes from being near water. In previous newsletters, we have gone on a winter woodland photoshoot together, and I have introduced you to my childhood snow days here in western New York. That feeling of peace amongst the silent, snowy trees? The fun of a snowball fight with family and friends? The serenity of winter skating under a sky full of stars? All Blue Mind moments!

“Winter Pond” by Karen Glosser. Photo: Karen Glosser/Provided.

A great way to learn about Blue Mind, Dr. Nichols' work and the wonder of water is to be a part of this year's 9th Annual Blue Mind Online Book Club. Every year for the past eight years, Dr. Nichols has read and discussed his book live on Facebook. This year continues the tradition, reaching out to those familiar with the book, along with many new friends.

This year's book club began on January 9 and continues for 70 days, nightly at 8:30 p.m. EST. (You can also watch the book club after the fact.) Dr. Nichols covers a chapter a week, with Sunday evening reviews. He reads, talks Blue Mind and takes us virtually to various locations. He may play the guitar or have special Blue Minded guests.

The book is written so that each chapter stands on its own, and you can join in at any time. Connect to the book club at Dr. Wallace J. Nichols on Facebook. And as a Blue Mind ambassador, I encourage you to connect to water as a way to enrich your life.

One tool that I use is a blue marble. Do you remember that iconic photograph from the 1970s of our planet, which was taken from space? Earth looked like a lovely blue marble, suspended in the darkness. Now envision a cool blue glass marble and think of that marble as a symbol of our blue marble water planet.

Dr. Nichols created a low-tech, slow motion art project called The Blue Marble Project. The idea is to pass these representations of our planet, these beautiful blue glass marbles, through the hands of every person on earth. In the years since the project began, marbles have been passed to millions of people – heads of state, rock stars, the Pope, the Dalai Lama, school kids and many people just like you and me –  as a token of appreciation for our beautiful, fragile water planet – our only home. 

“Lakeside” by Karen Glosser. Photo: Karen Glosser/Provided.

Although I cannot pass a marble to you in person today, I share with you a virtual blue marble, as my way of saying thank you for joining me on this month-long Blue Mind winter water journey. I hope you will take time each day, even if it's for only a few moments, to spend time with "your water" in whatever way you can. By spending time near, in, on or under water, we can reap water's many benefits and make our physical, mental and emotional lives better. 

I also encourage you to share your water experiences, stories and photos with your friends and families and on social media using the hashtag #bluemind. There is so much more I wish I could share with you about Blue Mind, but I must leave it at this for now. You can learn more and find the book at https://www.patreon.com/wallacejnichols.

I look forward to joining you next week for my final, and very special, Creators & Innovators newsletter!

Until then, experience the effect for yourself – get out there, find your water, and get your Blue Mind on!

- Karen

Karen Glosser is a fine art photographer from western New York. Follow her on Instagram, like her on Facebook, or visit her website at www.karenglosser.com.

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