Thank you Joseph Campbell

Thank you Joseph Campbell

IMG_1729It was a spectacular spring day for cycling. The backcountry trail in Gulf Shores resounded with bird song. Flowers bloomed alongside the trail creating never-ending color accenting the live oak forest, swamp and sandy dunes. As is so often the case, cycling in the woods provided an opportunity to connect with nature in a beautiful way.

As I pedaled, a sort of unwinding occurred and I puzzled over why I had been having difficulty ‘going inside’ lately. I attributed it to a rebound effect after being so open and deeply…profoundly…connected with humpback whales while snorkeling with them in late February. How can sitting meditation in my home compare with floating mediation in the water with humpback whales just twenty feet from me in their contemplative stillness?

_TSL1859 1.08.19 PM-2It hasn’t been easy making the adjustment from doing moonlight yoga on deck with whales all around just before sunrise to yoga in my courtyard or in a room. Opening to the stars, moon, sea and whales during my practice was off-the-scale amazing.  Just being moored 90 miles offshore for a week created the strongest connection with nature, with Spirit…with myself…imaginable. One week with the sea, whales and salt water opened the door to profound Oneness and healing. Coming back to land…no whale snot coating my sunglasses, no moonlight yoga and no salt water mediations…..created a collapse of the expanded state in which I had found myself.

Lately every time I’ve attempted to touch that deep place of Oneness I’ve felt resistance. My mind immediately pulls me away with the usual monkey business.

As I was cycling I affirmed, I am willing to listen with my heart. And so I just listened as I pedaled and soaked up spring’s beauty.

The next day in yoga, my teacher Augusta’s theme was cultivating a listening heart. Don’t you just love it when the Universe gives confirmation that you’re on the right track?

_TSL1788 1.08.14 PMIntegrating peak experiences into life isn’t easy. I feel so changed, so amazingly renewed and open after powerful encounters with ocean life. Then I return to an alien world of everyday life where nobody understands the wild gaze in my eyes or the crazed light of my wide-open heart. Trying to explain it or even write about it doesn’t fully convey the impact on me. It’s like I’m speaking in whale song to a group of humans. It sounds pretty but what does it really mean?

_TSL7226As I listen with my heart I remember returning from the Sea of Cortez the first time and how difficult it was to leave the remote ocean wilderness of the Midriff Islands.  The whale sharks and sea lions on the second Sea of Cortez trip last year were just as hard to leave behind. In my listening I heard a question: What do all of these experiences have in common? I was completely in my element. The Ocean. Saltwater. Big animals. Bliss. I feel my most whole in wild, remote places of the sea. I feel inspiration, peace…connection to all life…profoundly with the sea.

_TSL6836Moments flash through my mind….floating on the surface of the Sea of Cortez after diving and feeling in complete and total balance….meditating in the water with humpback whales….yoga under moon and stars on the boat with the white mist of humpback breath drifting over me….shadow on the mountain in the Midriff Island created from moonlight that appeared to be a giant woman, a sea goddess….a sea lion that played with me while I photographed her….a mother humpback who followed her calf to the surface with her massive eye as she rested deeper in the water….the grunts of humpback whales as they rested beneath me….on and on the memories surface.

Impressive tail breach by an adult

Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss. If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.”

If I see these journeys as connected, with time on land necessary to do the translating and sharing, then its much easier to integrate them into a flow instead of isolated experiences. The only thing I know to do is to follow my bliss, to joyfully step forward into more Ocean time, more underwater encounters and allow these experiences to continue their transformational magic on my life…my soul. And to continue trying to translate them to those who will listen.




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