Tag: love

Breadcrumbs and Buried Treasures

Breadcrumbs and Buried Treasures

When I was a child I instigated buried treasure hunts in the bay where my grandparents lived. A great uncle told us the story of pirates using Week’s Bay as a hiding place and pointed to a place where they used to anchor their ships. He suggested there might be a treasure hidden there in the depths of the sticky, thick, muddy bottom. Every time the tide was low enough, I’d try to recruit my brother and cousins to search for it. We never found it but the seed was planted in my subconscious….buried treasure lies hidden in the dark, sticky, thick mud.

In an effort to clear my phone of clutter, I’ve been sorting through photos and videos. There are many that need to go; however, there are some real jewels that are beautiful and quite amazing in their ability to remind me of not just of good times and travels but of the strong, wild, adventurous person I was. Yes….I said ‘was.’

Over the past year (plus some) I’ve been clearing inner debris…diving into my depths. The phone cleaning is like a final polishing compared to the deep, inner work I’ve undertaken. During this descent into my Underworld I’ve met up with all kinds of ‘fun.’ Fears, anger, resentments…did I already say fears? It’s like the lid was removed on the well-hidden psychic debris and I did a deep dive into it.

One of the gems I discovered on my phone was a letter I wrote to a workshop facilitator from Ireland. I went there for a Celtic spirituality retreat in September 2017. In the letter I described an experience I had there and as I re-read it again yesterday realized that was the entry point into the Underworld.

We were singing a Brigid chant and I saw arise within me a primitive form. It was slick, wet, dirty and it unfolded within me. It felt like this being had been cramped and shoved down into the muck for a very long time. As the day progressed I observed as the figure became progressively clear and more humanoid. Later that night I did a solo walk up to the 5000 year old fort perched atop a 700 foot cliff on the Atlantic Ocean. As I climbed in darkness of night, I could feel Her given space to breathe and freedom to unfold. The next morning She was shining and beautiful. She was a goddess. The Divine Feminine literally born within me. I had been waiting my entire life for the rebirth and worked hard for that moment.

As I walked the next day along the narrow roads of Inishmor, it was Her voice that spoke through my voice, arising to protect the planet and all Her creatures. Something had shifted within and it opened a doorway to a journey…remember Innanna? Her journey?

This experience was the invitation to go deeper, to excavate the inner realms. Not as a way to punish myself (yes, it’s been that hard) with difficulty and pain but so I can discover hidden treasures buried within the fears, resentments, anger. It’s all in there in one massive debris pile and sorting through it is the way to discover the strengths, talents, and gifts.

More sorting on my phone unearthed a video I created over two years ago within a stone circle in Northern England. It was the day after the US election. I was heartbroken as I saw clearly the suffering and darkness that would envelope our country….a lessening of human rights, an increase in social injustices, an attack on the environment and innocent wildlife. That morning I checked the news and fell to my knees in the cottage where my friend and I were staying. I sobbed with grief as the vision of what was to come unfolded. Then it felt like a push and message interrupted my spiral into despair. “Go to the circle.”

I quickly dressed in many layers as it was November and Northern England is quite cold then. My friend was asleep so I left a note and drove to Castlerigg. I was alone there for a while as it was early. I went to the main stone and fell on my knees and simply listened. Very clearly an inner voice said this: This is necessary for there is much darkness hidden. This president will take the country into the depths of hidden darkness so that light can be shone onto it and healing can take place. It will be a perilous journey but one that is necessary. Do not despair.

Foggy dawn below Castlerigg Stone Circle

Two years ago the preparation for my personal descent into the Underworld began. Nearly a year later is when She was freed from the prison of mud and since then it’s as if I’ve been in explorer mode, going where I’ve never had the courage to go before and facing the root of fear within myself.

During the middle of this intense year the Thai boys trapped in the cave were rescued in a most amazing rescue. In an odd way this gave me hope that I would survive my own descent into my inner ‘cave.’ My guide, instead of a cave diver, was a wholeness coach who offered to work with me in my journey. She has been holding the lantern as I make my way back from the long, perilous journey.

Earlier this week I released a lot of anger and resentment and found myself deep in forgiveness…of myself, of others. It felt like the hard kernel of angst had cracked. I wrote that it was like a dark sphere of polished stone cracked open and from that cracking released me to experience more space and freedom within….freedom from the gripping anger at being wronged by others, at being wronged by myself.

Inanna’s descent into the Underworld, to visit her sister, required her pass through seven gates. At each gate she had to remove one of her royal garments….her crown of heaven, breastplate, gold rings, beads, and scepter–rod of power. When she finally gets to the bottom,her sister curses her with a word of power and she dies and is hung from a hook to rot. She is rescued and arises from the Underworld three days later.

She isn’t a whole person until she becomes vulnerable before her dark sister, dies and returns to life. Inanna’s story is a template for those wishing to be whole. There is sacrifice. We leave the trappings of the ego behind–all of who we think we are must be removed. The ego is stripped of its power, which feels like death. Then we return, cleansed of ego and born into our true self.

Making the journey to the inner depths can be disorienting. All of who we think we are must be surrendered. We learn to be okay with uncertainty. The Unknown becomes a friend or fiend depending on our attitude.

The journey to wholeness isn’t easy. Often I have questioned the reason for going through such painful excavations. Years ago I was given the answer and it continues to be true and grow in power: The clearer and more open I am, the more I can truly live and feel the life force within and around me. The subtle energies of Nature can be felt clearer. The communion with wildlife is sweeter and stronger. I am a clearer channel when I clean my Underworld.

Sometimes it can feel like self-punishment…this relentless quest for wholeness. Ultimately I am simply discovering the treasure that was buried by pirates who plundered and pillaged long ago. Thankfully I have left breadcrumbs in the form of photos, videos and writing.

The following note was written by me on the title page of Matthew Fox’s book, Original Blessing. It is dated October 6, 2005:

It is an outpouring of God from my depths that comes out of me, that demands attention, and I know that surrendering to this passion to express God’s love through me is the only path that leads to happiness for me. When I allow God’s awesome beauty to move through me and express itself through my thoughts and words I am transformed. I become something greater than I imagined I could be. Writing about these transcendent experiences is my salvation. 

Until I saw myself happily talking into the camera on my phone, I didn’t realize how much I have changed…I don’t recognize who I have become. The descent has taken a heavy toll. However, I feel a growing flame of friendship with my self that is hopeful and reassuring and holds within it the promise of light-filled adventures of joy and beauty.

“And one day she discovered that she was fierce, and strong, and full of fire, and that not even she could hold herself back because her passion burned brighter than her fears.”–Mark Anthony

May we have the courage necessary to explore not only our individual darkness but our collective darkness that is now exposed for the world to see.


As I was adding photographs to the blog post an email dinged in…it was from the sweater market on Inishmor. It felt like a little pat on the shoulder from the Ancestors saying, ‘we are proud of you…we support your journey.’ That’s where the descent began….that’s where the deep healing journey kicked into overdrive.

 

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.

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.

 

The Face of What’s Happening

The Face of What’s Happening

Do you dare look? Can you bear the grief? Sea turtle nearly decapitated by propeller. Children ripped from their parents. Whales dead full of plastic. This takes courage friends. To deny our grief is to make ourselves sick. The planet is suffering. All life is suffering. So what can we do?

The face of suffering is evident every day whether we watch the news or read it or listen on the radio. From every direction we are made aware of the destruction. Perhaps our natural inclination is to look away, but not because we don’t care. Perhaps, as Joanna Macy says, it’s because we don’t know what to do with our grief and we feel overwhelmed.

Last night I dreamed I was helping a sea turtle whose throat had been slit. This morning, on sea turtle nest patrol, I came upon a critically endangered Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle whose neck had been nearly severed from an apparent propeller strike. Even in my dreams they reach out asking for help. And so today, I share this turtle’s story and use it to illustrate the bigger story happening in the world and with every one of us.

So how can we look upon the face of suffering and death and survive the grief? If you are paying attention, you are probably sad and maybe even depressed. And I’m guessing you feel grief. The answer is to feel it. Have the courage to look and feel the emotions and then allow them to move out of your beautiful heart into the world. Don’t be afraid of the grief and likewise, don’t be afraid of your own depth of caring, love and compassion.

I sat beside the turtle’s body after patrol was done. I sang her a song and thanked her for bringing such beauty into the world. The odor of rotting flesh covered my hands and the wind blew her death smell over me as I wept openly. Not just for her passing but for the opportunity to love. What an amazing time to be alive, when every person’s love and compassion is needed so very much.

Loggerhead Hatchling

If you think you can’t make a difference, or the pain of what’s happening is simply too much to bear, allow the strength of that which you love pour through you as grace. That’s what Joanna Macy reminded our on-line group last week. Breathe in the strength of the turtle species that have survived for so long and let that strength pour through as grace to move out through your heart into the world….or the whales….or children removed from parents….or whatever it is that you love deeply. Work with your grief and let it motivate you to love deeper and fuller.

And let me know if you want to work on this together. Thanks to training with Joanna years ago in a week-long retreat, I have some ideas as to how we can come together and stay sane as the chaos of uncertainty shakes us. Always happy to bring a group together to further more love, compassion and grace in this world. (Email Simone)

 

 

I Lit a Candle Today

I Lit a Candle Today

Mitchell Henry built a small, Gothic cathedral in the Connemara region of western Ireland. He built a castle here in the 1800’s and when his beloved wife died at the young age of 45, he loved her so much he built the cathedral in her memory. Rather than having frightening gargoyles, the structure is more feminine and has smiling angels carved throughout with delicately carved flowers and birds. There is a beautiful stained glass window of Mary depicting the five graces–Fortitude, Faith, Charity, Hope and Chastity.

As I wandered through the small cathedral I marveled at the love this man had for his wife and reflected on my own lack of a partner…which grieves me. In front of the stained glass of Mary was a candle holder where you can light a candle and say a prayer. So I decided to make a donation and light a candle to ask Mary to bring a man that will love me with a great love and be my partner in life and adventures.

After saying the prayer I picked up the lighter. I repeatedly tried to light the candle, thinking it was already in the holder. So I’m not Catholic and had no idea you had to actually put a candle in the glass. I thought the candle was deep inside the glass. I laughed out loud as I glanced to the left and saw a basket of candles.

I finally got the thing lit but am still pondering the entire experience. I asked for this ‘miracle,’ fired up the lighter but there was nothing to light because I didn’t know I had to have a candle. What the heck does that mean in my relationship life? Geez…. There is a definite lesson there.

Anyway….

It was the first rainy day in Ireland since I arrived almost a week ago so no complaints about the rain. There was plenty of beauty to be found wandering around the grounds of Kylemore Abbey.

Some of the leyland cypress trees had to be over 500 years old. I stopped and leaned my forehead against one and dropped into silence. I saw a series of what appeared to be files flashing rapidly in my mind so I asked the tree to slow down and choose one for me to look at…like it was showing me the growth rings representing years. I saw it as a very small, young tree and heard–See, I started out tiny and frail and look at me now. Don’t ever give up.

I thanked the tree and walked on through the forest enjoying the sweet, soft energy of the ancient beings. Maybe the tree was reminding me to keep doing the work I do, that it will grow and develop. Perhaps it was telling me that a great love is coming into my life. One thing is for sure–I was reminded to never give up on something that is important to me.

So beloved man, whoever you are, I lit a candle for you today and asked Mary to guide you to me. And I hugged an ancient tree which reminded me to never give up on anything that’s important to me. And my work to reveal beauty to anyone who will pay attention continues.

I lit a candle today.