Come Suddenly To The Ground

Crossing the threshold into Fall my curious mind takes me on a journey exploring the origin of the word “fall”. Growing up in Germany I fell in love with the English language in my first lesson in Grade 5. It was instant and it has never left.

Reading through the different definitions of the word, both noun and verb, I come to a halt when I read “come suddenly to the ground“. It feels more like an instruction. Often when I am out in nature especially when I bring my camera along, sooner or later I drop to the ground to closely inspect what is capturing my attention. Lying with my belly and chest pressed to the earth the world looks different up close, clearer and always showing me something new or opening up a different perspective. This dropping to the ground is never planned, it just happens. I imagine creativity just moves me.

I look outside for signs of autumn and wish I was outdoors right now. There are no leaves floating gently to the ground. The Arbutus trees that surround me let go of their leaves in the summer, which is always so perplexing to see yellow leaves gliding through the air and covering the path thick with leaves in the midst of summer.

Yet Fall is undeniably here. Many of the birds are already gone and most flowers are done their blooming. I am delighted to see the little hummingbird sitting on the dead branches near the feeder every morning, wondering if it is the same one that kept me company all winter last year. The squirrel is another being that is here to stay while deer come and go and are rarely seen right now.

I welcome the cooler temperatures and changing weather and trust in the cycles of nature even in the craziness of our current world. I know that nature will continue to ground me and invite me to let go so that change can come from the inside out. My heart keeps me steady on course.

Yesterday I thought of Viktor Frankl, who survived years in the concentration camps and wrote the amazing book “Man’s Search For Meaning“. I wish to end this post with a quote from his book that confirmed what my heart already knows:

“For the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth – that Love is the ultimate and highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love.” 

― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

Many blessings on this Fall Equinox!

Summer Bliss

Feeling the shock in my solar plexus of loosing everything that I just wrote I sit and stare at the empty screen. It is kind of funny to be noticing my own disbelief, the sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach as I press the UNDO button over and over again while hearing in my head: “What have I done?” .

Two hummingbirds come and hover around my head, one on each side. Maybe they are trying to balance my brain. I smile at the thought. Or perhaps they have come to comfort me, which is rather unlikely. But I do like the idea. They sure take my mind of what is no more and instead I breathe in the sweet summer air and enjoy the gentle buzzing as the little helicopter birds check out the colourful clothing hanging on the line. I strung up a long cord between the trees and it feels like I am sitting in a room with walls made of towels, bedding and clothing.

June’s unexpected heat wave brought back something that I didn’t know I had been missing. In my youth I would spend many days and hours just reading novels. Riding my bike to the beach or pool on those long hot summer days you would always find at least one book in my bag. Alternating between swimming and lying at the beach reading, life was full of simple pleasures and endless reading. The epic classics like War and Peace, Doctor Zhivago, Anna Karenina, Beyond Sing The Woods and many others opened my heart and mind to different worlds, different world views and of course the human journey in a story created by brilliant diverse writers.

With no escaping the incredible heat other than dipping into the lake or ocean I found myself with very little energy or motivation to even move in the last week of June. So I picked up a novel from the library and found myself reading for hours and hours till deep into the night not wanting to break the spell of the story. A visit to one of my neighbours who shares the love of reading resulted in bringing back a little more treasures. Just holding these books in my hands and turning the pages brought pleasure. It almost felt like I was slowly remembering an old part of me. How sweet it felt to drop the to-do list and instead read to my heart’s content for just the pure pleasure of it.

Sleeping outside most nights brought more magic. Drifting in and out of sleep only to see the sparkling sky every time I opened my eyes, while hearing the whales’ deep breathing and watching Grandmother Moon travel across the sky were also unexpected gifts. And one night the wind came and cooled me like no fan could. Finally I slept so deep I didn’t wake up till the sun was already high in the sky hidden behind clouds.

The cooler temperatures however brought an army of wasps. These great warriors do not let the hummingbirds return to their feeder and have chased me from the deck as well. I have moved my lounge chair and found a different spot to hang out and enjoy these beautiful summer days. Feeling deeply content with simple pleasures like dreaming up new variations of ice tea, finding more novels to order through the library or reading a good poem or two I pause to take in all this beauty.

I hope you are able to fully enjoy this summer and perhaps remember something that makes your heart sing. Sometimes just the memory is enough and other times we may dip our toes back into what we used to love.

And speaking of good poems, here is one that came to me this morning as I sat in the early morning light out on the bluff. I opened a book randomly and this was the poem that greeted me:

Rice

It grew in the black mud.

It grew under the tiger’s orange paws.

Its stems thinner than candles, and as straight.

Its leaves like the feathers of egrets, but green.

The grains cresting, wanting to burst.

Oh, blood of the tiger.

I don’t want you just to sit down at the table.

I don’t want you just to eat, and be content.

I want you to walk out into the fields

where the water is shining, and the rice has risen.

I want you to stand there, far from the white tablecloth.

I want you to fill your hands with the mud, like a blessing.

~ by Mary Oliver (from her book “Devotions”)

And off to the garden I go….

Entering The Night

Settling on my blanket on the bluff last evening I felt so glad that I had packed up my basket with the usual: my camera, wool shawl, journal, pen and glasses. The setting sun was painting the clouds in broad strokes of orange hues. A mountain peak or two were still lit up as I felt the movement of the ocean moving me in some unfathomable way.

It felt heavenly to sit on the earth with solid rock and soft moss beneath me. Having listened to some brilliant story tellers just before I was called outside, their stories, their words, the mystery contained in them, was still alive in me and moving through me in this present moment. My heart was tuning in.

Slowing down to the speed of now I watched my hand move the pen across the page while listening to the birds settling in the last glow of light. Their voices becoming fainter, less frequent, quieting one at a time, until only the sound of the ocean and wind remained.

My body’s need to stretch in the much cooler air made me shift and something outlined in a tree in the distance caught my attention. The camera revealed the shape of a bald eagle also settling in for the night. He must have been there all along, silently witnessing the ending of the day from his perch. It suddenly dawned on me that this is probably the same eagle in the same tree that surprised me a few weeks ago while I was looking at a beautiful new house being built not far from me. As I was admiring the new creation something suddenly had made me look up in the tree beside me. Yes, something in me just knew that this was the same eagle.

As the first stars appeared in the darkening sky I appreciated his presence. It was lovely to share entering the night with him.

Still Celebrating

Wondering how to celebrate May Day on my own this year, I listen to the orchestra of the chimes ringing in the soft spring breeze with birds singing near and far, each taking their turn of listening and singing. I realize quickly I am not alone. Far from it. The buzz of nature around me reminds me that I am very much a part of this aliveness. Hummingbird hovers in front of my face letting me know that I am being seen. No, I am not alone. Soaking in the warm rays on this first day of May a little bird catches my attention before it flies to the forsaken nest above my bedroom window. My heart rejoices: they have returned. It looks like the cycle of life continues on. Yes, there is still much to celebrate: these little moments, this aliveness and the deepening sense of belonging.

Happy Beltane and May Day Blessings to you!

First New Moon Of Spring

Today we have the moon and sun joining together in Aries: a great day to set new intentions or make New Moon wishes. I can’t help but feel the excitement of spring in the air and joyfully discover each day new greens and plants that are waking up from their long slumber. The sun is promising more warmth and making the new greens look even greener and of course the garden is beckoning every day.

Bright New Moon Blessings to you on this beautiful spring day!

Sparkly And Fresh

It is the New Moon in Aquarius today. I can’t help but feel excited about this one. This wintry, sparkly New Moon holds so much potential. It is inviting us to allow something new to emerge in our consciousness. I wonder what new dream is growing in you? Where do you feel called to move forward in your life?

There is so much energy helping us tap into a new vision with the Sun and Moon and four planets all in Aquarius. May this New Moon show us new ways and new ways of being that bring us together and allow our true nature to shine.

Bright New Moon Blessings to All!

Perfectly Imperfect

For a moment everything appeared calm and perfect. Even the pigeons on the roof of the ferry building were closing their eyes after a good grooming session. It made me wonder if they felt as relieved as me that the sun had come out despite the rather gloomy weather forecast. Then without warning the peacefulness was interrupted by a crow joining the sleepy crowd. Everyone scattered making room for the strange visitor who nonchalantly moved to the eavestrough for a drink. Holding up a found treasure which looked like a white pearl in his beak he stared down at me. It felt like one of these special moments that invites you stop everything you are doing or thinking and just become present.

Not sure until the last moment if I was going to risk the predicted stormy weather to visit my sons on Mayne Island I am so glad that I went for it. Driving down Vancouver Island and making my way in stages I was enchanted by the fall colours and the dramatic changes of weather embracing the feeling of freedom.

From sun to heavy rainfalls autumn made itself known to be here. Rainbows graced the sky a few times making the long awaited visit even more special. It was my first trip since Christmas and it felt wonderful to be walking along the trails with my sons sharing the treasures and views along the way just like we have done since they were little except in those days we lived on a mountain top in the interior and now we were sharing the wonders of a little island in the ocean.

Every now and then one of them pointed out something they wanted me to see like a large snail crossing our path or a seagull rocking precariously on a moving log in the water giving me a glimpse of the past and of the wonder and curiosity in the young boys eyes seeing or experiencing something for the first time. Yet so many times I still have the experience of awe in nature and seeing with brand new eyes and I sense it is still there in them as well. Nature just invites this kind of opening and expansion.

Having visited Mayne Island quite a few times now the different landscape still surprises me each time I go. It is so much fun to discover more details and let my eyes feast on unfamiliar rock and sand formations that seem so unique to this island. Hearing also more about the rich history fills in the imagination of what it must have been like in the past and colourful sceneries come alive in a new way.

This trip my curiosity was drawn to the strange mounds of rocks scattered all over the forest. They look like little peaks where the ocean may have pushed the rocks into pyramid shaped forms a long time ago. It made me realize how everything changes over time and consider how high the water must have been at the time these came into being. What seems normal today may some day be something odd or strange, not quite fitting the landscape surrounding it.

Taking in the beautiful colours of the water surrounding the island it took me a while to figure out who was hiding in the kelp. All I could see was the whiskers of some mysterious water creature. It looked like a beaver, but I dismissed that idea not sure that beavers actually live in the ocean. So my next guess was an otter, but it wasn’t that either. Ever so slowly the animal’s head rose fully out of the water revealing a very sleepy seal, who could barely keep his eyes open to take a look at me before sinking back down until only his mouth and whiskers showed just above the waterline.

Standing still I watched it rise and fall, opening and closing its eyes, I imagine it was probably glad when I decided to join my sons and leave it be in peace. My sons were waiting for me around the bend and we got one last glimpse together of the seal hiding for an afternoon nap floating in the kelp before we moved on.

As short as the trip was the joy of sharing these special moments with loved ones was priceless and well worth the effort. I was so grateful that the weather was part of the wonder rather than stopping the trip before it even began. Watching the ferries go by and the dramatic change of clouds and light was like watching a silent movie together while we shared food, memories and what is current in our lives.

On my ferry rides and drive home I had much time to reflect and rejoice in the time we had together and feeling the fullness of my heart. Remembering also the recent visit of my dear friend and a special tapping session she did with me where she helped me embrace my “perfect imperfections“. Examining how much the idea of perfection had stopped me from doing certain things in my life because I knew I could never be perfect at it, her simple statement that I was being perfect at being imperfect brought tears of joy and relief. This I could be!

Laughing out loud on this perfect drive home I was so happy to embrace the beauty of imperfection. The freedom and joy I have felt since releasing this old belief formed such a long time ago is quite remarkable. Knowing whatever I do is perfect in its imperfection allows me to have a lot more fun with whatever I do.

On The Cusp

Summer is officially coming to an end tonight. I let the fact sink in and notice a little bit of sadness. Somehow this summer was very precious because it was so different. It not only gave my body time to recover but also allowed grief that was still in my heart to finally move through and made it so clear what changes still needed to be made.

There are dishes in the sink waiting to be washed but just for this moment I pause and remember. It feels important to acknowledge the changing of the season and express appreciation and gratitude for the many gifts of this summer: the opportunity to rest and be still, the quiet solitude, the fruits, veggies and the flowers from the garden, witnessing the sun rise, just breathing, deeply taking in the smells, the sounds, the shooting stars, the colours and the unique beauty of summer. Nature took care of me and taught me how to take care of myself by following my own rhythm and to listen.

Photo by Michelle Venne

Today squirrel knocked on my window – literally! It had never done this before even though we had a few discussions about throwing pinecones at me when I am walking beneath the large pine or digging holes in the middle of the path to my cabin.

Hearing the strange knock on the window this afternoon I drew back the curtain just in time to watch something leap off the windowsill onto the deck. I expected it to be a bird and was surprised to see the squirrel instead. Once it had my full attention it talked quite excitedly while moving along the edge of the deck, stopping every few steps as if it wanted to show me something important.

I thought I had learned to listen. Yet when the squirrel asked me to follow it today, I chose not to go. Reflecting back on it now I see that none of the reasons for not going were good enough to miss taking in the fullness of this last day of summer and receiving whatever the squirrel was trying to show me. I wonder now what I may have missed…

One late evening this summer as it was getting dark I got the clear instructions to go down to the water. I was feeling very tired, but I hiked down to the ocean anyways and I am so glad I did. It was profound to get such detailed information where to stand, how to connect with a whale who was resting in the distance through sending messages from my heart to his, breathing together and then having to hurry all of sudden to a certain outcrop of rocks which was not easy to do in the dark. I found myself standing at the edge of the water just in time to witness a pod of dolphins swimming by lit up by the bioluminescence in the water. I will never forget the sound they made nor the magic of seeing them gracefully gliding through the water like fiery arrows with sparkling light everywhere. It felt like the sound and light was moving right through me. In that moment it was so clear that there is no limitations of what we can manifest.

So glad I decided to leave the dishes for now and dig a little deeper. I had completely forgotten about the incident with the squirrel until I stood out on the deck after dinner tonight enjoying the feel of the rain on my face and feeling my socks grow heavy from the moisture.

Feeling grateful and excited about welcoming in the new season I intend to apologize to the squirrel in the morning for not listening and following its invitation. Still I keep on learning…

Gentle Equinox Blessings to you!

A Revealing New Moon

The sound of the woodpecker’s rhythmic drumming on the Arbutus tree just outside my window reminds me to light a candle for this New Moon in Virgo. As the flame flickers wildly I wonder what new beginnings and new ways of being this moon invites me to open to.

Looking more closely at the pictures that the Woodpecker so graciously allowed me to take I discover to my delight that some of the white shapes on its wings look very much like tiny hearts. This brings a smile to my face. Who would have thought that the woodpecker would be a messenger of Love?

Today seems to be one of these days where things that I have not previously seen come all of a sudden into my awareness. Maybe I didn’t look closely enough before or perhaps other things distracted me.

This morning for instance while sitting out on the bluff for my meditation I noticed to my great and utter surprise a little bump of land just behind Kinghorn Island that I had never seen before or don’t remember seeing. I have no idea if it is a part of the island or if it is another smaller island behind Kinghorn. This was a rather startling discovery as I have looked at the same view pretty much every day since I moved here a year and a half ago.

Perhaps this is what Raven had been trying to tell me this morning while we were watching Kinghorn island slowly appear as the veil of smoke began to lift. With no background of the coastal mountains to distract me the little bump of land framed by the smoke finally was able to attract my attention. The fact that I had been blind to it all this time made a different kind of impact than the mighty mountains that continuously draw my gaze with their undeniable majestic beauty.

With the smoke limiting the view considerably it also seems to accentuate or bring into focus little details I have never noticed before. I have a feeling this New Moon in Virgo may also be encouraging me to look more closely at the little details in my life that I have not looked at or have not been able or willing to see.

It was fascinating to watch the boats go by and notice that they were all kind of colourless, blending in with everything else, which stood in sharp contrast to the rising sun’s fiery light on the water. Somehow the smoke makes everything appear to be the same except for the sun. It stands out like a beacon in the sky changing from vibrant red, orange and yellow – the same colour as the fires that are burning.

All of a sudden a different kind of smoke fills the air from the burned out candle as I type this. It seems I am meant to be present with, rather than resist, the fumes both on the inside and outside and what they wish to expose. It is not lost on me that it is another New Moon that inspires me to write and share once again.

A little later in the morning as I sat with my friend on the same bluff eating a late breakfast both of us in the same moment discovered the spiral on the button of my shoes. My friend spoke first as I stared at the beautiful swirls. I couldn’t help but laugh because I have owned these shoes for a few years now. The spiral reminded me of the mystery and the sense that life isn’t linear but full of swirls, illusions and moments of joy, moments where our hearts crack open and moments that may feel so challenging that we wonder if can rise to the occasion.

Ever since the Sun has entered Virgo I have felt the need to de-clutter and organize, discerning what needs to be let go of, what is aligned and what isn’t. This has also given me the energy I needed to move forward in my life and offering my services – coaching, counselling and Shamanic energy work – to those who are in need of support in these turbulent times as many of us are being called to give our gifts and rise to the occasion. Doing this work fills me in a way I can’t put into words and I am aware I have come full circle.

Now looking at the picture taken a few mornings ago of the sun rising over the mountains behind the smoke I allow myself to enter into the mystery of the glowing fiery circle with a trusting heart and open to what else wants to be unveiled on this New Moon where the sun and moon meet in the sky.

Beautiful New Moon Revelations and Blessings to you all!

The Days Of The Mess

A New Moon seems to be the perfect day to create another blogpost… especially a New Moon in Leo. Hoping that this time the fire of Leo will sustain my creativity and this post will actually be finished and shared when so many others have been written, abandoned or discarded, not ready to be seen.

With the garden in full bloom, fruits ripening on the trees and the heat of these beautiful August days calling forth in me an almost childlike joy to create and a wish to connect once again with all those who enjoy my photos and read my posts and I give myself once again to this process of natural unfolding.

A big mosquito stops the flow for a moment or perhaps adds to it and redirects it to a new mission as I defend my body. However it got away, which means tonight I either have to surrender and offer my blood or stay on the alert if the famous sound of the “buzz” awakens me. This is at least what my mind tells me are my only two options.

Each day brings new experiences even on days I am not going anywhere. A young buck might come barrelling down the path as if chased by a ferocious predator only to come to a sliding stop at the bottom of the path below my window to lie down for a midday rest, licking and tending itchy spots or bites and eventually going beneath my cabin for an even cooler place to hide.

Earlier this day I came across an interesting article called “The Mystery of the Tidal Phenomenon of Chalkida, Greece” written by Tasos Kokkinidis in which he describes the unique tidal pattern of the famous Evripus Channel. Not knowing much about tides in general I found this fascinating. In this channel that separates Chalkida from the mainland of Greece the sea current moves for six hours in a northerly direction, then becomes completely still for eight minutes before moving for six hours south in the opposite direction. This pattern is repeated four times each day, day after day, except for the 7th, 8th, 9th, 22nd, 23rd and 24th day of the lunar cycle. These days are called “the days of the mess” and the waters may change directions up to fourteen times or not at all and be still for up to eight minutes.

I don’t know why but I love this idea of the stillness of the eight minutes before the cycle changes and the strange predictability of the “messy” days, in which nothing seems to have a rhyme or reason. Just coming out of my own cycle of stillness after chaos which was so needed after a very stressful and crazy spring and early summer it is this stillness that also brought the clarity of necessary changes.

Like a snake who is in the process of shedding her old skin there is no going back. Trying to put the old skin back on is not an option. It takes a while for the mind to catch up and accept that life once again is changing directions. Sensing that this vibrant New Moon is indeed a New Beginning and a turning towards what I love to give the most and what fills me. I see I have been preparing the inner soil and the space so I can move forward in a new way.

It has been a very different summer for me. Remembering so many summers longing for the freedom to deeply enjoy this beautiful season, when it usually ended up being the busiest and craziest time of the year. This summer was different than any other I have known. The first half I spent mostly inside not having much energy for anything and allowing myself to feel the depth of tiredness from all the movement and changes. Now as my energy is slowly returning I am so grateful for this long pause that allowed me to just sit in the exhaustion, feel it and surrender to it. Often sitting out on the bluff I wondered if my own exhaustion mirrored the exhaustion of so many and that of Mother Earth herself and if this pause is absolutely necessary for me/for us to change gears and direction.

In the stillness I felt held by Nature who kept sending me signs of love and tenderness and of strength. Perhaps this new strength is a different kind of strength, one that is centred in stillness which can take a different softer form as it moves back out into the world in a way that is nourishing and nurturing, sustainable and thriving, and able to face the messy days yet to come.

The many blessings and wonder I received in this time especially since I decided to let go of the old skin and the old job and surrender to the Unknown were beyond anything I could ever imagine. Perhaps I will describe some of these in a future post. For now I hold them close to my heart trusting in the messages that came with each gift.

Last night another sweet gift in the form of this little hummingbird arrived who kept me company enjoying the evening breeze as much as I did and was even up to a mini photo shoot. Then we just sat there together, every now and then each of us taking a sip, me from my cup and the hummingbird from the feeder. The peacefulness of that moment is still with me reminding me of those eight minutes when all movement seizes.

Then the dark invited me to the bluff again where I have spent so much of this summer just lying on the moss feeling the firm ground beneath me watching the incredible display of the night sky with meteors flying like arrows through the star filled sky as Jupiter, Saturn and Mars hold space to be – to just be.

Happy New Moon in Leo, dear ones!

May it ignite the spark to shine our unique light in and for us all!