Tag: Humpback Whales

Waiting

Waiting

As I was cycling today I dropped into inner stillness. As I pedaled and pondered, realization dawned. The angst over the past several months is rooted in a feeling of concern that we will wake up too late.

When I was studying Outdoor Recreation and Resource Management at Auburn many years ago, the curriculum took me on a journey through the great conservationist’s efforts. I read of John Muir who journeyed on foot through the wilds of the Sierra Nevada and Alaska. I read about his walk from Indiana to the Florida Keys in 1867. Through his diary entries the sacred beauty he experienced in Nature as well as the heartbreak he felt at the destruction of vast lands to fill pockets of the wealthy was evident. His writings heavily influenced the creation of places we now know as Yosemite National Park, Sequoia, Mount Rainer, Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon and more.

Film maker Ken Burns had this to say about him: “As we got to know him he ascended to the pantheon of the highest individuals in our country; I’m talking about the level of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Thomas Jefferson and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Jackie Robinson–people who have had a transformational effect on who we are.” Muir’s writings inspired Teddy Roosevelt to create conservation programs and the first national monument…Yosemite National Park.

As I reflect on his life, John Muir reminds me that one person can indeed make a huge difference. Activism, people caring enough to be involved in whatever way their passion leads them is what makes a country great. Not hate, not violence. Love….for places, people…whatever the heart whispers.

And then after lunch I read where the new US government administration wants to allow oil and gas drilling in these sacred lands that John Muir lovingly championed in the late 1800’s. I was torn between wanting to: 1) Scream at the greedy individuals ‘leading’ our country into darkness; 2) Express shock at their unapologetic push to deregulate protection for our environment; and 3) Sit and wait for inspiration to come so I might be a person that makes a difference.

“There is nothing more eloquent in Nature than a mountain stream, and this is the first I ever saw. Its banks are luxuriantly peopled with rare and lovely flowers and overarching trees, making one of Nature’s coolest and most hospitable places. Every tree, every flower, every ripple and eddy of this lovely stream seemed solemnly to feel the presence of the great Creator.” Muir wrote this September 12, 1867 about a branch of the Clinch River in the Cumberland Mountains.

He wrote this about the Oneness of all life. “There is not a fragment in all nature, for every relative fragment of one thing is a full harmonious unit in itself. All together form the one grand palimpsest of the world.”

“Muir was a quintessential romantic frontier figure. Unarmed, carrying only a few crusts of bread, a tin cup, a small portion of tea, a notebook and a few scientific instruments, Muir walked into the vastness of the Sierras to search out truths. Single-minded, he did not hesitate to challenge the accepted authorities and their explanations regarding the wilderness he loved; he formulated his own theories and carefully searched out the evidence….he was an activist. He not only explored the west and wrote about its beauties–he fought for their protection….In the forests and national parks he helped to preserve, he gave the natural world back to the people of America.” Frank E. Buske wrote this in the introduction to Wilderness Essays.

Why are we so willing to have our sacred lands–set aside because of their beauty and uniqueness–raped and ravaged by greedy politicians and their backers? My heart is breaking as each day brings a new onslaught of attacks against our environment and the places held most sacred by those who saw this great country before it was developed. When we fail to remember history, we are destined to be destroyed by ourselves.

While I have screamed–and quite honestly scared my dog and cats and quite possibly the neighbors–and I have expressed shock to my friends and companions, today I find myself more at peace with waiting…for inspiration, the right door opening, the right phone call that leads to opportunity to share my work with more people.

I long to wander like Muir and connect with the magnificence of Nature and feel first-hand the spark of the Divine that lives within all life. And like him, write with passion to inspire others to care. And with my cameras capture the essence of life that shines so brightly if we take the time to see it in a flower, a stream, a dolphin, a frog, a mountain.

It may seem as if I am doing nothing sometimes but this pause reminds me: I am like an arrow being slowly drawn through a bow. With steady determination and a sense of purpose my work will find its mark. Let us remember that everything we do makes a difference. We are part of the solution. Let us rise up to protect that which we love.

Lasting Treasure

Lasting Treasure

Some times I find myself working too hard to figure things out. That’s been the case with my feeling of stuck-ness that has lasted for five years. Sure I’ve written books, taken really nice photographs resulting from amazing travels, possibly even contributed to the awakening happening on our planet…but I’ve just not been able to find a steady rhythm of forward momentum. For an Aries, a trail-blazer, it’s almost unbearable. Shouldn’t I be doing SOMETHING more!?!?

I came across some guidance the other day that basically said I need time to withdraw and contemplate after the breakup of a relationship I thought was my happily-ever-after. (That break-up was over five years ago). It said to rest and grow strong, retreat from life. I was reminded of The Hermit, the archetype that withdraws and consolidates and visualizes the pattern of destiny, the Will of the Spirit.

It’s not a daily sadness or even missing him but a daily remembering of the good times when two people vow to share their lives. I’ve done the healing of grief and sadness but haven’t been able to move out of the stuck place. So in meditation I asked what I was missing in the situation, thus the guidance. How does one create a new vision of life when the path seemed so beautiful and clear with another person? Or job….or home….or child…or planet.

Then I thought, it’s not just ‘him.’ I planned on the the ocean and rivers and mountains and shores being healthy…dolphins, whales, sea turtles, manatees….I’m not just trying to find a way forward from a man I loved, I am trying to find footing on a planet that is in peril. What if everything I have taken for granted and loved deeply disappears? This is the big existential question looming and creating a major pause in my skipping along the merry path. It’s more than just a man…isn’t it always?

Thirty-two years ago I consciously stepped on to a spiritual path seeking truth and searching for meaning. There have been so many times along the way I wished I could forget what I had learned about myself, about the world around me and return to ignorant bliss; however, somewhere along the way I realized clearing out the old ‘yuck’ and healing old, unhealthy patterns of behavior was slowly allowing me to experience deeper joy, stronger peace that lasted longer with each step up the ladder. As my wholeness increased I became more aligned with work that held meaning and felt inspired by my heart.

Photograph Summer 2010…Shell Oil

When the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill occurred I was living in Asheville with my husband. That moment….April 20th, 2010…called me to service. It was my personal wake-up call/invitation to fully commit my time and resources to raising awareness of the beauty of nature and the brokenness that exists between humans and nature…and the importance of restoring the awareness of Oneness of all life. Oddly enough, that was the beginning of the end of my marriage….the unraveling had started but it was the deep call to service that ultimately pulled us apart…him to Iraq, me to coastal Alabama.

Photograph I took Summer 2010. It reminds me of a woman’s body and so I call it the Rape of Mother Earth

I reported the oil when it first washed ashore in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge on the Gulf of Mexico. I sat there and wept as waves of chocolate-colored, benzene-smelling crude oil and dispersant made landfall on the sugar white beaches. My world fell apart. I couldn’t believe humans could do this to a planet. It’s one thing to see it reported on the news and quite another to smell it, feel it, and watch the destructiveness as it creeps along killing everything it its path.

Gulf State Park Summer 2010

I haven’t broken my relationship with nature but humans have, as a whole, broken the bond of Oneness, the realization that whatever we do to nature, we do to ourselves.

How does one move forward with the awareness of such brokenness?

Perhaps it begins by taking time to listen to the Path of Destiny, to form a new vision by taking a break. By asking what the Will of Spirit is preparing as I surrender more to my heart’s calling.

While cycling this morning a David Wilcox song (Deeper Still) came on my playlist and the lyrics really spoke to me, not just about my former beloved but about the path of service. Often these thoughts come…Have I wasted my time and resources? Am I on the right trajectory? What was I thinking? This song was my answer…. In this life the love you give becomes the only lasting treasure.”

In the tears you gave to me
I found a river to an ocean.
Concrete sky and a stone cold sea
Came to where the emptiness cracked open.

Then all my fears came crashing through
And met the fire of my sorrow.
But I found my strength in forgiving you.
I never even knew how far my heart could go.

I live my life beyond each death
From the deeper well of trust.
To know that when there’s nothing left
You will always have what you gave to love.

In this life the love you give
Becomes the only lasting treasure.
So that what you lose will be what you win.
A well that echoes down too deep to measure.

Every bit of love I have given along my path is my greatest treasure….a well too deep to measure.

Lightness of Being

Lightness of Being


Usually I share my own photographs and video as part of my work, my gift to the world. Lately I haven’t felt the words form, haven’t felt inspired to create. It’s been very heavy, bottom to top.

So today I found this video of a humpback calf playing with dolphins and it seemed to tell the story that I don’t feel inspired to tell now, but hope to soon.

I hope you enjoy the lightness of being. May the light of this calf and her friends shower all with beauty and peace….and hope.