Tag: nature

A Grieving Planet

A Grieving Planet

Tahlequah gave birth July 24 to a calf who only lived one half-hour. Since then, she has been carrying her baby for a week, refusing to let go. This grieving ritual is being witnessed by her pod….and the world. She’s become the focus of our collective grief that goes far beyond her baby’s death. Tahlequah is the matriarch leading us all in a planetary grief ritual.

J-Pod is starving. Not enough salmon. Orcas–endangered whales– this pod has become another reminder of the crisis in which we find ourselves.

Loggerhead Hatchling

Each of us is alive at this time to bear witness to this decline in global well-being of all life and health. Overpopulation of humans stretches resources to a breaking point coupled with reckless exploitation of fossil fuels and use of toxic chemicals…no need to review the many ways humans are failing our own life support system.

For too long we have viewed this sacred Earth as a resource to exploit. Surely we cannot be surprised at the rapid changes created by our careless behaviors.

Many of us feel helpless as we stand witness to an administration that values money and power with absolutely no regard to compassion and love–the very basic tenants of what the great masters have taught us. The empathic ones are especially suffering because we feel the intense suffering of many species, including humans.

So what can we do?

I suggest that instead of turning away from our pain and grief we join Tahlequah as she mourns. Shed tears for her loss, the loss of salmon that feed her pod, pollutants they carry in their bodies, health of humans in decline, separation of children from families, polar bears loss of vital hunting ice, penguins loss of snow, sea turtles and manatees dying of toxic red tide, out-of-control forest fires destroying many areas of the planet, plastic pollution….

Increase practices that help maintain balance….walks in nature, yoga, prayer, meditation, drumming, singing, dancing, creating art.

Join with others to strengthen these efforts. Connecting with others of like-mind and intention is a powerful antidote to the feeling of helplessness. For example, the drum circle that meets at my home has increased our meeting frequency to help us through this challenging time.

Stop watching the news and read it from a trusted source (such as NPR). Unplug from social media one day a week (or more). Refrain from practicing hate and stop giving your energy to those in power who thrive on attention…any kind of attention.

When you feel despair at the state of the world remember there are others who feel it, too. There are others whose hearts are breaking with sadness over Tahlequah’s loss and cry when they see an injured bird or a lost dog or cat. Or who mourn the loss of species, decline in ocean health….Reach out to others. Join together in compassion and love. Work together.

Celebrate beauty! Let us be mindful of this amazing, profound beauty still abounding even as species die and other landscapes crumble. Rejoicing in what is still beautiful cultivates appreciation that ripples outward from your heart and mind to others. Share beauty on social media and express it through art, writing, dancing, speaking…let us help each other remember.

Mostly importantly, please remember you are not alone in your grief and sadness…and outrage. As we cultivate unity and the qualities of compassion and love I suspect the shifts we have longed for will emerge. Every other way has failed….perhaps its time to give peace a chance*…. and love….and compassion. The reign of anger and hatred is over only when we choose something different.

*John Lennon….Give Peace a Chance. All we are saying is give peace a chance. All we are saying is give peace a chance.

 

Weaving

Weaving

To surrender to the day’s gifts, to be open to the creative impulse that winds through the strands of experience…my only goal this day.

To welcome the surprise that spins in the courtyard flashing wild colors on her belly as raindrops kiss my shoulders…bliss.

My open heart meets nature and together we journey into Oneness.

From a place of no expectation comes amazing gifts that weave into the tapestry of the day…and I am richer for them.

Enough

Enough

I wonder…do we withhold action fearing it won’t make a difference.

As children we form our own personal mythology based on interpretation of the world around us. Family, culture, society, churches, schools constantly demonstrate patterns of behavior, give clues about acceptance and expectations and how to fit into the norm. We take this information, form filters and create a story through which we live our lives.

Because we live in an imperfect world with imperfect people, the signals and messages we see are not always healthy or based in compassion, love and support. But as kids, we don’t know this so we form our entire, magnificent life based on what we’ve seen, heard and experienced. This didn’t start with our parents, or even our grandparents. This is the human condition.

Perhaps there is no greater quest than to uncover the personal myth we have woven our lives around because that story informs every decision we make, how we see ourselves and how we see the world. But this isn’t an easy journey. This is the journey of unraveling, shedding our skins, taking off masks and finally coming face-to-face with the basic belief upon which we have choreographed our life.

During a recent and very unusual bout of respiratory crud, I checked out digital books from the library and did a lot of reading. One was by Alan Cohen, Enough Already, The Power of Radical Contentment. One chapter reached out to me and helped me answer decades-old, frustrating questions: What is my personal myth? What is my stumbling block? How do I hold myself back?

For as long as I can remember I have felt a deep-rooted sense of not being enough…that there was always something more to do, that my work wasn’t good enough, that I wasn’t a good enough wife or partner, that I was a failure….even with beautiful photographs published, books circulating out in the world, positive efforts and giving of time, money and creativity. The thread that has nearly destroyed me is the core belief that I am never enough.

During my yoga practice this morning my mantra was, I am enough. As I held this intention and moved through the poses I realized that when I buy into the belief that I’m not enough I am literally fighting myself. Every effort I put out into the world has incredible resistance because of this personal myth that I created and have lived.

How often do we sabotage our lives because we believe we are lacking, not good enough, not smart enough or pretty enough or creative enough….and the list goes on and on and on.

What if we truly believed that we are enough. Not that we are perfect but that in the moment, at this exact moment, we are enough. I am enough. As I breathe that idea in, I feel joy…lightness of being…and my lips began to curl upward, into a smile.

Can we surrender the story we create about who we are? If we do there’s a good possibility we will find, at the foundation of our lives, a beautiful, sparkling person filled with everything necessary to be enough. Not to move mountains or shift the course of humanity or save all creatures and humans from pain….but simply to be enough.

I’m guessing that if we can find the freedom to be enough, our creative energies will flourish and our brilliance will shine through. Once we break through the self-created barriers there is no limit to our ability….to simply be enough.

The world needs us to be enough. Today I gift you with the mantra: I AM ENOUGH.

 

Dare to Listen

Dare to Listen

From my journal, March 15th…One thing stood out from the afternoon–I need more time underwater. You know my gills are dry when floating in cold, green water brings immense contentment.

For months I have felt change coming. I knew I would sell my large, beautiful home nestled under grandmother live oak trees and move but had no idea where. I thought it would be a local move but nothing was clear. In meditations I kept hearing to wait until March and the answer would come.

I was scheduled to be in Crystal River for a book signing mid-March so loaded my kayak and camera gear, wet suit, dry suit and a few clothes. After arriving I was on the water, paddling in high winds, just 30 minutes after a 7 hour drive. After half-hour paddle I was underwater.

The tide was high, the water was green but as I floated watching particles float by with my underwater housing and camera, I was happy. Cold, shivering but happier than I had been in a while. That was when I knew it was time to move to a place where being underwater was a regular occurrence, not a special treat.

On the drive from Crystal River to O’Brian, Florida I saw a huge gathering of migrating birds….and scribbled this–Chaos of white bodies and wings black-tipped in flight, swirling, random uncertainty. Invisible alignment of orderly progression into three V’s moving united to true North. A pause. A massive spiral of flight–breathing, expanding, contracting–infinite mind of Oneness riding the thermals, a vortex of living matter organized in the moment as birds in migration. Random thoughts colliding in confusion of where, when, how, why and then fresh wind blows through to carry away thoughts about thoughts. Slowly ideas begin to form over the vortex of my life and the path opens before me.

Being with manatees always changes me, helps me ground into my life more and the connection in March helped me get clear about my next step….more underwater photography regularly. My intention to document and share the beauty of nature deepened. And in the process of determining the next step in my life, another passion has arisen.

Years ago I lived on 18 acres of land and started working with the land and connecting people with nature there. A series of personal life events brought that to a close and now, almost 15 years later, I find myself wanting to once again help people deepen their relationship with nature through creating a sanctuary where they can visit.

As I deepen my commitment to be underwater more and share the story of our water planet, I renew the intention to create a sanctuary with land, trees and a home that calls me….somewhere near High Springs, Florida. Fears creep in and questions about how it will all come together, but when that happens I drift back in my mind to the cold, green water and manatees that reminded me where my heart beats happiest.

I have built a strong foundation of work on the Alabama Coast and that will remain solid as my work expands and deepens into the flow of freshwater springs and quiet rivers. The voice of the soul moves us ever-closer to perfect alignment with our purpose if we dare to listen.

The Dawn of Spring

The Dawn of Spring

So close to making it to the beach for sunrise but alas that amazing orange orb rose over the swamp as I pedaled. It didn’t matter. It was still an outstanding start to Spring. And was still low enough in the sky at the beach to offer very nice light for a couple of phone photographs.

I felt my life begin to open last weekend with manatees, kayaking, a book signing at Franklin Anderson Gallery of Art and a visit with an old friend. Laughter with my friend, water, sea cows and a family of artists I met were Spring tonics. Clarity began to ease the old stuck places into motion and it feels as if my life can breathe once again.

This is the magic of Spring. Not first stirrings but all-out growth bursting forth.

Growth doesn’t happen simply by reaching for light. We must dig our roots deep into darkness and dare to explore the Unknown before we leap forward into light.

My friend Deco. His dad took us on a fun ride on the Suwannee River.

What a glorious dawn of Spring that amplified the joy from the past weekend. Grateful for so much….friendship, soul-sister-artists, manatees, water to play in and answers.