Category: Eco-Spirituality

The Art of Nature

The Art of Nature

I stood in awe as waves crashed in shallow waters. Their foamy beauty rose and crested and curled as the momentum carried them into powerful, moving forms of art.

The wind was strong, in fact sometimes so strong I had to brace myself. I had to use care to protect my camera from blowing sea spray and rain but I couldn’t leave, such was the magnetism of the constantly-changing art formations.

Standing on the pier gave the perfect view of waves close-up and in the distance. Sometimes I would focus on a single wave and track its birth, growth and death. It was like I was shown some mystery of nature as the process continued again and again and the details of it froze in my photograph frames.

Long sets of waves captured my attention as well and the relationship of swells was revealed as I watched, mesmerized by the intense display. The energy was so strong I finally had to leave because I was exhausted from standing in strong winds that seemed to strip me of gravity.

I wasn’t alone on the pier as other people stood along the rails transfixed by the large waves. I think we all need to experience something larger than ourselves. In a strange way it made me feel more at ease, more at home in my own skin to witness something so much bigger and stronger than me.

I wonder if we don’t need more experiences with nature where we understand that in the end, nature will always have the last ‘word.’ We need the perspective that we aren’t in control, that we have to live with conditions around us. It’s very humbling and I suspect most humans in our culture could use a little less ego and a lot more humility.

Yesterday and this morning along the Alabama Gulf Coast it was beautiful to witness the power of nature’s art. It is a different story for all those in the main path of the storm. My heart goes out to all life forms who are still experiencing suffering and loss as I write this.

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It’s unusual to see a major hurricane make landfall during the day. Perhaps we needed to witness the fury and power and realize that as we contribute to warming the atmosphere through fossil fuels, we are part of the problem that feeds huge storms such as this.

 

Darkness Within

Darkness Within

It’s easy to see the darkness exposed in our country….politics, citizens, potential judges, appointees. So many protections and laws that make our country great are being rolled back…environmental protection, protection for children, families, women….there’s no need to list the many assaults on our way of life that appear to be happening to enrich a very small percentage of privileged individuals while the rest of us suffer. There is no denying or debating those facts.

The bothersome thing I’ve noticed is my own ability to hate. I wasn’t aware that the strong seeds of hate, planted when I was a child raised in the Deep South, were being watered by the injustices seen daily…and the hate was going out to the racists, fascists, the drunk white boys and men who get away with it, those who destroy the environment to line their pockets….the list is long so I’ll stop here and say how uncomfortable I am with the fact that how I was taught to hate by society as a child wasn’t healed completely so it’s rearing it’s very dark and ugly head.

And the truth is this….when I practice hate it fuels the evil happening to everything I hold dear. When we practice collective hate….against evil….it fuels the evil. Read that again….and then pause for a few moments.

Those of us that claim to be on a higher spiritual, moral and ethical path must examine our own hearts and keep shining the light of awareness into our darkness. How could anyone mock a woman brave enough to tell her story? How could anyone mock a physically challenged reporter? How could….how could….HOW COULD??? We RAGE! We cry out for justice. And friends….let’s be honest….we feel hate….against the haters.

We say this is a time of greater awakening, the dawning of the Age of Aquarius….a time where all will walk as brothers and sisters. And I submit this: Until we look within ourselves to examine our own hearts and minds for seeds of hatred, we are part of the problem.

I want clean air and water. I want grizzly bears to have protection. I want whales and dolphins to be protected from ship strikes and sonar tests and fishing line entanglements. I want children to be with their parents. I want non-biased, non-political supreme court justices. I want a leader that doesn’t embarrass our country with his venom and abhorrent comments on all manner of issues. I want lawmakers that care for our elderly and those that are less fortunate. I want us all to get along no matter our religion, color, or economic status.

All of those ‘wants’ are great but first I must look within myself and search not only for light, but for darkness. Don’t be afraid of the darkness….and don’t be afraid of the light….both are within. Which one will we choose to water?

Luka Bloom, Don’t Be Afraid of the Light


So….what do we do with the angst we feel? The frustration? The anger? Stay tuned….I’ll be sharing ideas soon about how to stay engaged with our best light and how to refrain from practicing hate. Put on your seatbelts….it’s gonna take us rooting out some old patterns and beliefs. Love to you all!

Rebirth into the Sacred

Rebirth into the Sacred

“We are bleeding at the roots, because we are cut off from the earth and sun and stars, and love is a grinning mockery, because, poor blossom, we plucked it from its stem on the tree of Life, and expected it to keep on blooming in our civilized vase on the table.”  D.H. Lawrence

Sounds True is broadcasting an event including people that I have loved for many years….Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Joanna Macy, Marianne Williamson and many more. This morning I viewed an interview with Matthew Fox. He reminded me of the core of my growth…the work I am called to do–Honoring the sacred in all life.

Kabir, the 15h century mystic poet said, “You have been asleep for millions and millions of years. Why not wake up this morning?”

When we connect with the sacredness of all life, we come into balance with ourselves and the world. We discover Oneness in the realm of the sacred.

Fox said to remember the inherent friendship we have with Nature and to remember because of that we are never alone. “The Universe is friendly and yearning to connect with us….It loves us.”

The simple act of finding the sacred in everyday places takes us on a journey to wholeness. Connecting with the Cosmos and Nature is the primary way to connect with the Sacred.

Go deep, Fox reminded us. Get down to the level of being and non-being to emerge with mindfulness.

“Recovering the Sacred is vital to healing the self and the planet,” he said.

Be mindful that all life is sacred. Humans are one strand in the web of life, not the entire web.

Allow yourself to be awed….by a whale or a flower….by a friend….by the night sky….or ocean….or mountains. Every day take time to find the sacred in life and see how your life shifts….said Simone. 🙂

….Remember in Judaism the secret name for God is compassion. Jesus was a Jew and taught compassion….sort of let the secret out. Compassion friends….that’s the root of how we make a difference…beginning in our own lives and with all others we meet be they two-legged, four-legged, winged, finned, or creepy crawlers…or standing trees or rocks or bodies of water. Everything is Sacred.

Oneness, 2

Oneness, 2

Cool raindrops kissed my skin as I pedaled just after dawn. It felt like a cleansing, a baptism of sorts, after several weeks of intense soul work.

My open mouth welcomed raindrops falling on my tongue. Drops of rain dripped through helmet vents as my crown was cleansed. No lightning insured a simple, sacred sprinkling.

The truth of Oneness was a thread I tugged on throughout the eighteen miles. I thought of my concerns over selling my home and purchasing another one and wondering how that will work out with five precious four-leggeds that depend on me. I pondered the work that calls me which I have no real definition for or direction to.  Feeling stuck with all of this has driven me deep into my own depths–which has been incredibly painful.

As I pedaled I heard an inner voice arise with guidance that answered my concerns.

It reminded me that what I’m going through–wondering about ‘home’ and how everything will work out–is something wildlife is experiencing….not through ‘thoughts’ but through loss of healthy ecosystems and food sources. Loss of potential mates and young. Extinction for a group of orca seems certain. Right whales….the future is very grim. Is this not the same experience of sorts? Only mine is a matter of timing whereas their situation is truly dire. Remember the mother orca that carried her dead baby for weeks as the world watched and grieved. I believe she was reaching out to some intelligence–somewhere– to ask for help for her species…for all species.

We tend to personalize our suffering, our worries and concerns; however, because there truly is no separation and only Oneness, all life is experiencing this pain simultaneously. We can tune out by ignoring or distracting or practicing addictions that keep us insulated from the global pain or we can, with courage and intention, allow ourselves to feel the grief of all life. If this route is chosen, be warned….it’s not an easy journey.

In truth, if we don’t choose to listen to the cries of all life as it weeps over loss and struggles to survive, we are contributing to and speeding up the process of its destruction…our destruction. Humans are not immune to experiencing loss. Ask those who are living through the floods from Hurricane Florence.

Remaining open to the realization of Oneness is like dancing on the railing of a ship tossed by a storm. It’s a delicate balance where we must gaze into the eyes of suffering while not allowing it to make us fall into the tempest. Somehow we must learn to dance with open hearts and minds, looking at the suffering of the world as it is reflected within us. We do this by reaching out to each other, holding hands and vowing to work together…no matter what.

We must remain mindful that joy and beauty are the Medicines that keep us sane as we acknowledge the deep suffering of our world.

 

Deepening with Nature

Deepening with Nature

I wrote a friend tonight about the correlation between my connection with nature and feeling at home in myself. Being with humpback whales, spotted dolphins, manatees….all have given me vast experiences of connection to Oneness with the Universe and help take me deeper into relationship with my Self.

Other moments photographing nature in the mountains or in wild places in nature, such as Ireland and England, have opened doorways to inner realms of vast expanse that changed my life. I also realized, as I wrote to her, that I haven’t had a really profound, ah-ha type, nature connection since returning from Ireland last February and that’s partly why I’ve been out of sorts lately.

Connection with nature is my rock, my anchor to deepening the connection to my inner realms. And really, there isn’t an outer and inner anything. It’s all One. The truth is simply this….when I align deeply with nature I feel Oneness, the lines of separation vanish and I am at peace.

I go outside daily and cycle often at sunrise but it’s different to go outside and be outside. What keeps me from being with nature?

Empathic distress probably has a lot to do with my unrest of late. If what I value most is in danger of disappearing, I am at risk for anxiety and stress and separation from Oneness….all of us who love our planet face those same risks…humans, animals, plants….all life is at risk. If the places and animals I love the most deteriorate and disappear, then what? It is a very stressful time to be alive because we see what is at risk–everything.

What is this environmental and social nightmare we are collectively creating?

While I can be active and make socially and environmentally good choices, the most important action I can take is to develop a strong practice that takes me into Oneness, into nature…deep into Nature.

John Muir, my favorite naturalist and nature writer reminds me… “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”

And Black Elk reminded us, “Crazy Horse dreamed and went into the world where there is nothing but the spirits of all things. That is the real world that is behind this one, and everything we see here is something like a shadow from that one.”