Tag: Eco-Spirituality

Remembering the Whales

Remembering the Whales

As I was doing my sunrise, front porch yoga this morning, I flashed back to pre-dawn yoga anchored 90 miles offshore of the Dominican Republic. The moon was still hanging low in the sky, the stars were visible even with the white light of the moon. All around me whales were floating, silent in their reveries. Their misty, fishy breath drifted across the deck as I moved through my practice.

During that time there was no doubt they were completely aware of my consciousness and intention. The words I held in my heart to connect with the Ocean, Stars, Whales were magnified with love moving between my heart and their hearts. As I type this even now I get goosebumps….more than two years later.

In my book, Cosmic Whales, I describe in detail the experience of feeling a purple flame of light surround me. “Halfway through my yoga practice, I face the port side of the boat in a wide, squat pose. White whale breath nearby is illuminated by the nearly full moon. A whale exhales close to the boat and I feel the breath drift across my face and arms. A shooting star arcs across the sky, over the whale….I am awestruck and stand in mountain pose in contemplation….It is a moving mantra of love for the Ocean. The whales respond by coming even closer to the boat….In the moonlit, pre-dawn light I hear them exhale and see their misty, white breath as it drifts across the calm, black surface of the water….I hold my hands overhead in prayer and feel myself engulfed in spiritual flames of blue, then violet.”

Moments like these can bring us joy and peace years after the initial experience. Lately, I’ve been thinking about humpback whales…a lot. They began calling me when I was just a child. And now, living far from their summer feeding grounds, I feel their insistent presence within my heart and mind. Blessed are the singers, who call me home.

Flow Like a River

Flow Like a River

“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.” Rainer Maria Rilke

The manatee played with my vest, searching for something interesting to satisfy her curiosity. I kept flooding my mask as I laughed into the snorkel while holding my big underwater housing at an awkward angle for a selfie with my friend. This was a moment when unbounded joy leaped from my heart and the experience of Oneness was celebrated. I think Rilke had it right….be as a child and let life flow.

I see that with musicians, especially at venues like The Frog Pond in Silverhill, Alabama, where singer-songwriters are encouraged to jam. When the minds of musicians go into that flow, they sync and magic happens. Literally….it unfolds before our eyes.

I want to explore the world with the spirit of flow and openness. When I can be in that place within my Self, I can find holy ground no matter where I roam.

 

When I was in Ireland last September, on the island of Inis Mor, I allowed the spirit of flow to take my feet and surrendered to the direction it led. The path dead-ended at an ancient bee hive stone hut. Far in the distance was a beautiful white horse. I couldn’t see a way to the horse but longed to meet it.

Later that day, our retreat attendees went with a guide to the same place and there, in front of the stone hut was the white horse…waiting for me. Excitement bubbled forth as I greeted the horse. I called her Fiona. Later, when I looked up the name, I found out it means white. She and I still have a strong connection even though there is an ocean between us.

Even in my painting, I follow the muse of humor and fun. Buddy meets a dolphin….Buddy and the whales….much of my work with paint and canvas is a celebration of color, fun and life.

You don’t have to be frisked by a manatee or meet a white horse who likes to smile to connect with the flow. Everyone’s flow and presence can look different. The key, perhaps, is to open our hearts and minds to surrender, to acceptance….and then simply play.

Musicians can be excellent examples of how to be in the flow…to not force or hold back. When they are having fun…it’s magic.

What magic would you like to experience? What calls your heart? What holds you back?

Whatever you do, stop wasting time and waiting for the right moment to be in your flow. Open your heart and mind and leap into the River of Life. “May what I do flow like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.” And I might add to Rilke’s contemplation that you might find Holy Ground wherever you are in that flow.

I invite you to listen to Luka Bloom’s music and follow the way of the Sacred Child to find Holy Ground.

 

Totality

Totality

There is a beginning

a middle

and an end.

We have no say

in how long

we stay

in the middle…

but how sacred,

how wondrous

is that time.

Celebration at the beginning,

Sadness at the end.

In the middle is

where love grows.

Let not this ending

erase the totality

of beauty and magic

this amazing soul

brought to everyone

who knew her.

___________

I woke up the morning after a dear friend’s sister passed with this poem rumbling around inside. I sleepily reached for paper and pen while repeating the words as they knocked against my mind.

Roberta was a beautiful soul who did so much for the Miami community. She brought people together and they loved her for it. Her passing was a shock. It was as if a bright lamp in a lighthouse was suddenly extinguished.

I decided to share this poem because too often we forget the positive effect we have on the lives of others. Lately, life has really held me in a vise grip and I have doubted my work, path….all of it. It’s been a time of deep soul searching.

Today, a friend of mine shared how much she appreciated my writing and photography and what it means to her and how much she loves me. Tears flowed as we shared. Eydie has been a constant support and cheerleader for me here on the Alabama coast. She has championed my work like none other here.

We never know how our efforts in the world will create something that touches another person and truly, it’s not any of our business how it is received. Our only task is to listen to the call of our heart and follow its promptings. And then simply let it go.

We are all here in the middle….together. Shall we recognize the beauty and magic within ourselves and in others? Shall we begin now?

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?

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.

______

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.