In Three Sisters Spring, a highly-visited spring in central Florida by manatees and people watching manatees, there are areas set aside as sanctuaries for resting manatees. Humans are not allowed to follow them past the barriers and the manatees know this. They head to these quiet places to rest and seek respite from the colder river.
I totally understand their desire to hide from massive amounts of people in this ‘warm’ water haven. In fact, I have often wanted to request a sanctuary for humans that simply want to float in stillness and quiet rather than be among those kicking, splashing, talking, yelling or crowding manatees….where is my sanctuary?
Earlier this week I found it. Two days in a row I had the spring to myself. Well….there were fish and a cormorant and maybe a sleeping manatee but there were no other humans. I floated face down watching the spring bubble up 15 feet below me and dropped into a deep stillness that comes when I’m in water, in my happy place.
There was no splashing, no loud voices…it was an amazing experience of beauty and peace.
Ripples of light reflecting off the sand created a wave of rainbows in constant motion. Bliss…delight…wonder…awe.
One afternoon there was a large, sleeping manatee. I swam far away and past it to the big spring for my meditation. The manatee and I held space for each other to rest and relax with no expectations or demands. All encounters are not face-to-face. Perhaps some of the most profound are not even in close physical proximity.
I felt so alive and wonderful after spending so much time floating, drifting in stillness.
If you know me, you know I love manatees and whales and sea lions, whale sharks, dolphins….but what I love almost more than an encounter with them is giving them their space and honoring their need for rest and stillness. Cultivating respect for others…accepting their choices to engage or withdraw…and doing the same for myself leads to increased inner harmony and balance.