Tag: BEAUTY

Self-Portrait

Self-Portrait

A true self-portrait evolves and changes as we change and grow. Several years ago I created one and found it the other day. I decided to create a new one and see how it might be different.

Our lives are works of art that evolve as we change and grow. I’m so grateful for the adventures, both inner and outer, that have shaped my life.

What shapes your life?

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.

 

Threads

Threads

He stood at the edge of the swamp–antlers upright, eyes staring at me. It was the briefest of glances but I still remember the steam rising from the murky water and streaming from his nostrils as he sniffed and snorted. Magnificent, strong, ruler of his domain, the encounter with the buck has remained burned into my memory…in my heart….and every time I pedal past that gap in the trees I glance to see if he is there. Five years ago…and he’s still there in my mind.

After slowly awakening this morning, I picked up my iPad to check email and realized that for over six years I have opened email in the morning expecting a message. A message from him. I didn’t realize that simple act of finger touching glass was an act of hope. Why this came to consciousness today I don’t know. There is no pining away or waiting for him…I go on with life…so it was a surprise that there’s still the hope lingering….hanging like a thread. I had no idea…

Years pass yet there are imprints…people, animals, places…that simply don’t fade or lose their importance. The connection I have with Nature is like that…and those threads, once pulled, take me to humpback whales, elk, coyotes, dolphins, manatees, tiny reef fish, sea turtles, sunrises, sunsets, purple mountains, cliffs and seascapes, rocks. Once pulled, these threads always lead me back home–to my soul, my true self–the little girl who talked to nature spirits and animals.

And that’s where I find myself these days….embracing that nature child whose wisdom is intact, who knows that Oneness isn’t just a flaky idea, who still hugs trees and talks to whales and dolphins and manatees….and spirits that few others feel.

The Magical Nature Child…all roads lead home to Her. Every thread of memory weaves the tapestry of life that is Her playground, Her sacred realm. This then is where compassion and kindness reside and love for all life is treasured. This then is the place of beauty and sacredness for all life…it’s where instinctual wisdom blooms like a lotus blossom every time I sink my toes in the mud.

Sunset

Sunset

A few decades ago I stood on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and listened to Her through the waves and wind. “I feel like I should be here helping you,” I said aloud. You will know when to return. With that answer, I returned to the Piedmont of North Carolina.

April 20, 2010 I was leading a night dive in Curacao, 50 miles off the coast of Venezuela, and tasted an oily flavor in the air I was breathing. I stopped and surfaced and asked others if they had similar experiences with their tanks….none were noted. I continued leading the dive being very cautious and diving relatively shallow just to be safe.

Upon returning to the Atlanta airport two days later, I learned of the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The night of the dive was the night the rig exploded and sank…and the nightmare of the largest oil spill in US history began. Sitting in the airport I remembered the sea’s answer…You will know when to return.

And so, for the next year I spent a week of nearly every month back at the Alabama coast documenting and writing about the disaster. I traveled back and forth from Asheville, where I lived at the time. And finally, the work led me to live along the coast.

Within a couple weeks of moving here I found sea turtle volunteer opportunities and a bit later, manatee volunteer training and volunteering. Both became very important in my life. But after six years here, and two children’s books and two photography-inspirational books, it felt like my work here was coming to a pause….a long pause….a very long pause and I knew it was time to open to the next chapter.

The sunset….oh, yes. The sunset.

I walked along the beach a couple nights ago and found myself at the water’s edge asking Her permission to wrap up the work here and move back to the mountains. Well done, daughter. Return to the mountains to be nurtured in the lush green and fresh running waters, I felt more than heard.

Nearing the end of the walk I was on the boardwalk leaving the beach when the western horizon drew my attention. Perhaps a pause before leaving wouldn’t hurt.

Little-by-little the most amazing sunset I have ever seen began to illuminate the sky. My heart opened with deep gratitude. I have witnessed such sadness here….oil covering animals and beaches–the smell burning my eyes and throat years ago and recently a critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle and a huge loggerhead sea turtle washed ashore dead on my last two sea turtle patrols. But the sky reminded me of the gift of beauty that has also been experienced during my six years here.

It seemed to be a thank-you…a gift that will remain burned into my memory.

As I write this my dog is running in his sleep as he lays beside me on the bed. He’s off adventuring in his dreams. I welcome the next adventure as I don my hiking boots and walk into the welcoming arms of the oldest mountains on the planet…camera in hand, note pad ready and heart open.