Tag: conscious change

Path of Soul

Path of Soul

Over the past several months I have been doing a practice twice a day. Once during my morning dedication time and once during the afternoon or evening, I envision my ancestors standing with me. I think of ancestors as all life that has lived before me…humans, animals, rocks, plants. I equate the word ‘ancestors,’ in this instance, with ancient wisdom. So twice a day I close my eyes and see all this amazing Wisdom standing with me, surrounding me, and together we call in the Path of my Soul. I ask them to open the way for the work I came here to do and to draw to me the Path that best supports the intention of my Soul’s journey.

This started when I found myself at a loss for how to proceed in my journey after dedicating the past 16 years of my life to photography, writing and creative efforts to help people awaken to Earth’s Wisdom and Beauty. Almost two years ago I arrived at what I consider the prime destination for everything to come together—living on land that was cared for by the traditional custodians, The Cherokee, and the place that resonated with my soul since I was a child and called me over and over, back to these sacred lands. 

Ireland is the Original Soul home for me and has awakened me in this lifetime to remember so much, but that’s another story. And I couldn’t move to Ireland, so the way became clear as I listened to the question, Where have you wanted to live since childhood? The land and home where I live is in the mountains of Western North Carolina with the Great Smoky Mountains my view from this little mountain of green and fog and magic.

When I started standing with my Ancestors and calling in the Path of Soul, I felt supported by eons of Wisdom. Much of the fear and concern about my direction was eased as I leaned into that lineage of support. And doors opened to new and exciting possibilities. But the fear does creep back in at times.

Last night was such a time. I slept soundly until about 1.30 am and awoke to the fear voices asking all their questions that can send me spinning. I wrote in my journal, centered myself and finally turned off the light, laid back down and heard this question: What does my soul look like? I had never considered the question because the soul is such a vast and deep Mystery. But since sleep was eluding me, I figured…why not?

I settled under the covers, closed my eyes, and asked my Soul to step to the front of my consciousness. It was as if a clear bubble of light enclosed me and every beautiful place in Nature was contained in It. My thoughts calmed, the fear voice quieted, and I simply observed. I saw…no, felt…the Oneness of all Life. I felt how I am a part of everything and truly there is no separation. It reminded me of a statement Ram Das made once: “We’re all just walking each other home.” 

Many times in the past I have asked for my Soul to guide me, to align me with my life’s Path of service but never thought to ask It to show me what It looks like. I’m guessing this is unique for each of us depending on where we focus our love…where we direct our creative energies.  This is possibly because our Soul is always whispering direction, place, situation, actions.  Sometimes we hear them, sometimes we might not.

If we can follow that which calls us, I believe we find our Soul Path. For me it’s Nature and connecting deeply with It. And helping others see the beauty of It. Spirit manifested through Nature….or God, the Universe, the Creator…whatever name you might use to describe the Creative Source. That’s it for me. Deepening with this Essence—Deepening with Nature—is my intention, purpose, heart’s desire…for that’s where I am most authentically at home in my skin.

As I walked in waders carrying fly fishing gear today, I saw some of the most magnificent places on a trail that runs beside a creek in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was a tough 6 ½ miles but I kept flashing back to the visualization I had during the early morning hours of my Soul and as I walked, I allowed that to return. To feel the Oneness, that I am a part of such beauty, brought so much peace.

I suspect the Soul provides creative energy. Maybe that’s what it is…Creative Force. The more I allow myself to listen to that Creative Force, the happier and more peaceful I am. 

Late this afternoon, after tying a few new flies with crazy colors and patterns (very non-traditional flies that are simply fun practice) I sat in stillness and listened…just listened. I felt compelled to go into Child’s Pose, a yoga posture of surrender. In doing this, it felt like surrendering my ego/personality self to my Soul Self, letting the Soul lead me instead of trying to control everything that makes my life.

For the past 36 years I’ve been seeking to know my Soul, to walk the Path that reveals the Mysteries of Life. The more I learn the simpler it seems—surrender the ego and live in Oneness. There are many, many ways to get to this point; in the end, I suppose this is where we all meet.

What is Your Message to the Earth?

What is Your Message to the Earth?

I love to walk at a very beautiful place in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I go there regularly and have started picking up trash there because the first mile of trail is used by tubers on the creek and they are really being litter bugs this year. It’s been horrible to see the trash they leave behind.

Yesterday I picked up five bags of litter in that mile and today I thought there wouldn’t be as much. There wasn’t until I got to a popular viewing area. There I found a mound of trash…but it was from someone taking it out of the creek. And they had other piles created from their efforts along the creek.

While I was so happy that others are taking an interest in keeping our beautiful creek/trail clean, I wondered if humans would ever wake up. Can they not see the beauty they are trashing? And it led to this question: What is your message to the Earth? What do your actions say? And I put it to a favorite song in this little video.

What if…we save ourselves

What if…we save ourselves

What if the Second Coming is within our own hearts. What if the trumpets we hear awaken us to do the work of the heart. What if the master Jesus gave us everything we needed to awaken consciously and now it’s up to us to awaken to those teachings of compassion and love. 

I suspect as a race of beings we have gone as far down as we can go in the evolution of consciousness and there is no need to list our faults. Look around. See the destruction, lack of empathy, lack of compassion and greed and desire for more material ‘things’ at any cost. 

Yet….we also have an amazing capacity for selfless action, love, care, compassion. So we know absolutely it is within our reach to embody what was taught by the master Jesus.

No president or government will save us. The change we seek is deep within each of us. No exception. It is time to stop screaming and pointing fingers and do the hard work of self-transformation….that is if we actually want to change.

It’s time to put our egos on the altar of sacrifice, to release judgment of others and embody the change we wish to know in our communities, in our nation.

We were given the keys to the kingdom. Let us not squander that amazing gift.

What if we save ourselves.

It’s Not a Box-Check Life

It’s Not a Box-Check Life

Last night I was talking on the phone with my mother and telling her about going back to Cataloochee Valley this morning to visit the elk. She asked me why in the world I would want to keep going back after seeing them once or twice. As I drove through dense fog in the darkness before dawn this morning, I thought about her question.

Why do I return to see the elk? Or have in-water encounters with humpback whales…three weeks over three different years? Or visit favorite dive destinations over and over again? 

As I pondered her question it was like…why do I breathe? Just because I did it once…

First, to share breathing space with a massive bull elk or a sweet baby, still sporting spots in its shaggy fur or be close to a huge cow elk peacefully munching grass reminds me I am part of the whole, not the alpha or the better or wiser. I am part of Oneness. And secondly…it’s just so freaking amazing! To feel…yes, feel!… the eerie bugle call of bull elks echoing through the valley is one of the coolest things ever. And thirdly…how could I possibly get tired of the continuing saga of which bull will keep what cows and who will challenge who and will I get to witness their meeting? Or will that once-in-a-lifetime encounter yield an image that will touch people’s hearts?

The first time I was in the water with a massive humpback whale I wasn’t sure how I would feel because they are wild and huge and I’m a speck compared to them. What I felt was communion, like coming home to myself. My heart opened and my entire being melted into bliss. And it happened every single time, every single year. I even meditated with humpbacks in the water and did yoga under stars while whales surrounded the boat but, that’s for another post. How could I possibly find that boring? Or ho-hum? No matter how many times I did it? When something touches my heart it opens me to a great sense of life…of being alive!

Even the walks at Deep Creek, a part of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, never feel boring and I walk there three or four times a week. There’s water flowing everywhere, trees, wildflowers, hummingbirds, butterflies, bears, snakes, rocks, rocks and more rocks and waterfalls and trails varying in difficulty from easy to challenging. When I walk in Nature I walk into a living Universe and I always experience these walks with wonder and awe.

As I was walking from the far end of Cataloochee Valley today, loaded down with camera backpack and tripod, I realized I can never be happy working inside for very long. The thought of a full-time, indoor job crushes my joy. As my hiking boots splashed through a creek, through mud and lush grass I had the realization that to honor myself I needed to spend time each day outdoors. It wasn’t a new realization at all but after several days of working indoors, at a part-time job, it was a good reminder.

I’m not ‘me’ in an office. I am most myself when the wind plays with my hair, the frost crunches underfoot, I’m nose-to-nose with a spotted dolphin or fluke to finger with a humpback whale, or when I have my telephoto lens filled with a massive bull elk bugling his powerful voice throughout the valley. Or the dawn shows me how lovely it is to be quiet and observe the mountains enshrouded with fog.

When I open myself to Nature I am at home in my skin; I feel a deep sense of place. For every wild animal that has honored me by allowing me to commune with it, photograph it and write about it…Thank you! You enrich my life with every encounter.

I’m not the kind of person that has a list of things to do in my life and once done move to the next thing. I live my life listening to wild creatures and places that call to my wild heart and will do my best to show up when I hear the call…no matter how many times they whisper my name.

Being an Instrument

Being an Instrument

I stood within the ancient fort atop a 700 foot cliff on the Atlantic Ocean. Metal pipes, drilled with holes for chain-link fencing, lined a small area of the site. A strong wind coming across the ocean caused the pipes to sing in otherworldly harmonies. As the strange sounds filled the air I thought, If we can be open and surrender, be still and silent, the energies of the Universe can then move through us and use us in beautiful ways.

The thunderous roar of the sea pounding on to rock walls reverberated in my heart like a drum and opened the inner door wide. As I walked around the 3000 year old fortification, all of my walls crumbled and I became an open channel for Spirit to move through–a flute for the winds of heaven to play and bring forth beautiful music to the world.

I remembered this experience from Ireland after a dream I had a few days ago. In the dream, I was a stringed instrument and a bow was drawn across me. I felt the vibrations within me, the deep tones and movement of sound throughout my body. The same reminder I received during my experience in Ireland came–be still and open and allow myself to be an instrument.

The past few years have been incredibly frustrating. In previous years I have produced videos, photographs, books…all good…but I feel that deeper work is yet to come and is yet unknown. So I wait and listen and try to be patient. The world is hurting so much and I know that I have contributions to make…but how?

I keep wondering–What is my purpose? Why am I here?What am I to do? Perhaps those existential questions are lifelong puzzles that haunt some of us. The answer I have received for many, many years is to deepen with Nature. And still…those same questions repeat, perhaps so much so that what I search for is hidden beneath the chatter of my mind.

Why is it so difficult to be at peace in that unyielding space of the Unknown?

All I know to do is to lean into the Invisible and be still and silent and listen…and call upon the strength of purpose that came with me to this life…and go outside and connect with Nature.

If we are the instrument we were born to be and are open to being played by the energies of the Universe, we powerfully stand in the space where our gifts and talents meet the needs of the world and that is a place of pure magic.

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