“Change with heart!” These three words were the only thing I remembered as a noise pulled me out of my dream. Yet the clarity and meaning of them stood in astonishing contrast to the grogginess I felt from being pulled out of my sleep. Strangely even though I couldn’t remember a thing other than these words, the meaning was as clear as the raindrops gently falling from the sky: inner and outer change needs to come from the heart!
It also reminded me of the experience of finding a beautiful black and white feather beside my plate one morning a couple of summers ago when my mother was visiting. I still remember the feeling of sweet surprise as I sat down at the table set for breakfast holding the woodpecker feather gently in my hand.
My love for rocks and feathers was never quite understood by my parents. It was usually made fun of, so it was extra special when I found this treasure by my plate. So strange how a feather can feel like one of the greatest gifts I have ever received from my mother and she has given me so much including my life.
Now looking back at that moment I clearly see that this gesture was her way to acknowledge and honour my love for these offerings from nature despite her seeing them so differently. In that instance the lifelong belief of not feeling understood or seen by her vanished. Instead another memory brought a smile and tears to my eyes: The Spring after my oldest son Magnus was born, my mother and I were taking turns pushing the baby buggy over impossible rough, recently logged, terrain and carrying a magnificent big white rock I had found that I just had to bring home. We still often laugh and remember that long walk home and how much strength it took to bring both the rock and the baby safely home.
That special stone has moved with me from my cabin in the mountains to the ocean and many other homes in between. It holds a very special place in my heart. It reminds me of that powerful time in my life raising my boys in the wilderness and my parents coming every year to help out with so many projects like building a woodshed, or helping me cut the six chords of firewood needed to get us through the winter and the many other amazing things they did for us. My mother who loves the city put aside her own beliefs, fears and comfort, venturing up that “crazy” mountain road where you prayed that you wouldn’t meet a logging truck coming down around each corner especially in the winter.
A woodpecker flies by with its bright red cap announcing its presence and bringing me back into the present moment. I think he agrees it is time lay to rest the old false beliefs and hurt feelings carried from childhood and I thank my dream and my heart for letting me see so clearly how loved I am.
This summer seems to be going by so quickly. Once again I find myself housesitting in a lovely cabin on the south side of Cortes Island with a beautiful ocean view. I am feeling very blessed indeed. Coco, the cat, comes and goes as she pleases. Yet the smoke in the air from all the wildfires covering this part of the world in a thick blanket of haze, makes everything appear unreal and strange. The thick air paints the sun and moon deep red or glowing orange with temperatures that are surprisingly cool.
This morning I found myself thinking about the Orcas that I had seen one foggy evening earlier this spring when I was housesitting not too far from here on the same beautiful beach. I was having a deep conversation at the time with someone when we spotted the whales. There was a male with a much larger fin in the distance moving up and down through the water and a couple of other Orca whales much closer to us that seem to be resting or perhaps waiting. I had heard before that the male will herd a school of fish towards the waiting pod. Then my thoughts turned to the Orca mother who had carried her dead baby for over two and half weeks recently. How can one not be affected by this display of love and deep grief? I couldn’t help wondering if it was the same pod of whales.
With my heart aching for these giants that are suffering and struggling, I got up to put my mug into the sink and looked up to see where grey ocean meets the grey haze. In that very moment my eyes discovered in this endless see of grey a big white spray of water. A whale rose from the water in that instance, letting itself fall back into the depth of it. The feeling of deep surprise is hard to describe as I watched the whale breach a few more times. What are the chances to be looking out the window right in that moment! This recognition of our connection and the many events of synchronicity that keep pointing that there is no separation brought tears to my eyes.
As a tiny spider climbs up my computer screen I wonder what her message is. Perhaps it has to do with the web of life that we all weave together and that every action, every thought effects the whole web. When we open our hearts to those suffering regardless if they are two-legged, four-legged, finned or winged, we are each called to respond just like a mother responds when her child cries out.
A few weeks ago I came across this mushroom breaking through the earth. It made me pause and take in this moment of birthing, watching earth opening, as a new life form pushes through into the light. Isn’t every birth worth stopping for a moment to witness this tremendous miracle of something new being born? And isn’t every death worth pausing to honour the being that is leaving, who has given it’s unique gift to the whole web?
As the summer’s harvest is in full swing and I watch many around me busily collecting and processing what they have planted and tended since early spring, I have to say I miss my garden, but not the huge amount of work that harvesting can be.
I recognize that right now I am tending my Inner Garden. I feel a softness as I write these words and yes, I can see and acknowledge to myself that I, too, am harvesting from my inner garden. A few days ago I picked up my art supplies from home and spend some sweet time in the garden pulling the long overdue garlic from the earth and tying them onto bundles to dry. What bliss it was to see the towering sunflowers and the abundance of beans…
Yet it is also fun to play again with colours like I haven’t done in a long long time. And it is so freeing to not have any goal, to just let creativity express in whichever way it wants. There is almost a childlike pleasure of discovery and joy in the moment. I just watch as something unfolds with no preconceived notion what it might turn out to be. This drawing named Inner Garden Goddess that came into being a few days ago is part of the harvest of my Inner Garden.
Holding out my finger to the little spider it jumps fearlessly onto it, not just once but a few times, before I carry it outside where it happily climbs onto the clematis leaf. Once again I am reminded “I can trust life” and feel deep gratitude for the whales and what they are here to teach us. May we all open our hearts to receive their gifts!
All day I meant to go to the garden…but I didn’t…putting it off again and again. You know something is up, when on a beautiful sunny summer day you avoid going outside.
All day I wanted to write, be creative…but felt frozen inside…distracting myself with things that give no life nor joy.
All day something is hovering on the edge of my awareness…and as I am trying to finally grasp it, mosquitos decide I am going to be their meal if I want to or not. Feeling torn to stay with what is finally coming to the surface, yet at the same time trying not to get bitten. What a strange balancing act life is!
Unexpectedly two poems land in my inbox, reminding me of a white dove and a black raven, so beautiful and powerful. Then it rises to the surface and the floodgates open: “Don’t ask why – sometimes there just are no answers.”
Like the poems a memory now takes me on a journey. I find myself following in slow reverent steps the white Stag through the dark forest. His horns are glowing light illuminating the path. Jaguar and a Grandmother spirit are walking behind me while Eagle flies above. I am being escorted to meet with the one who can help: the Golden Elephant.
Love shatters any remaining shields around my heart when he comes into view. He gently invites me to climb on his back and takes me to where I need to go back to. It is time to release, heal and forgive something very old.
The love that surrounds me holds me in a tight embrace. On this night I will not disappear in the water. On this holy night I will let the sacred water wash away the blood, the tears, the pain. On this holy night my womb is made whole again as I stand waist deep in the ancient sea.
As I turn and slowly step out of the water, I take off the bloodied gown. I walk up to the man sitting there in silence watching me. It takes courage to look into his eyes, but I know I must. As I spiral down lifetimes I lift my head and with my hands on my womb I let the words come out slowly: “I forgive you! And I release you!”
Eyes meet, something clears, something heavy lifts and evaporates.
“I ask you to forgive me as well!” Once again our eyes meet.
Slowly I turn around and go back to the shore where it all ended eons ago. The Golden Elephant, our witness, embraces me one last time with his trunk. Words are not necessary anymore, love knows gratitude and gratitude knows love. In the end there is only love.
When the drums call me back the white Stag carries me to the entrance of the cave in which I once again disappear into another world.
With summer in full bloom I feel constantly called to try and capture the vibrant beauty with my camera. Some of these moments are only meant to be captured with the heart’s eye like the tiny speckled fawn following her mother into the bushes. While others like the butterfly resting on vibrant blooms or the incredible abundance of berries after the rain may be shared here with you. I have never seen such an abundance of berries and marvel at the green lushness on each walk through the forest.
Last week a different kind of experience left me feeling rather unsettled for a few days challenging me once again to accept life on it’s own terms. For me dragonflies, like butterflies and hummingbirds, have always felt like messengers of joy and magic, delighting me with their beauty as they whirl through the air.
That perception was deeply challenged when I found a dead (?!?) dragonfly on the path to the garden. Stopping to glance at it briefly after another dragonfly had flown away from it, I intended to just walk by to get to the garden to fulfill my mission of checking on the plants and do some weeding.
However as I was stepping past the dragonfly body, a movement near it caught my eye. Thinking that it was perhaps a spider, I curiously turned back to take a closer look. Crouching down I noticed the spider was turning to look at me. My mind reeled when I recognized that the spider was not a spider at all, instead it was the severed head of the dragonfly with two of its legs attached. For a moment I wondered if I had stepped into some kind of Sci-fi movie.
As I moved around the dragonfly in disbelief, it’s head kept turning so it could see me, which was a bit unnerving. Then witnessing the body starting to move as well, I wondered what was happening here. It seemed liked the two parts were trying to move towards each other. All my concept of life, death, dragonflies, nature and beauty were turned upside down in that moment and my mind (head) did not know what to do with this information.
Later after grounding myself in the garden with weeding for an hour, I decided to go back to the house to do some research. Noticing my deep reluctance to go passed the dragonfly, I made myself stop to look at it again. This time neither the body nor head moved. Part of me was greatly relieved, while another part of me (my head) wanted answers.
At home I looked up all kinds of information on dragonflies. I learned a lot I didn’t know, but only found one other person online speaking of a similar experience of the detached head staying alive for quite some time. Now several days after the event I am able to share this without feeling disturbed by it. It took some time to come to terms with this and now I can honestly say, I am glad that I had this experience. Once again something in me needed to expand, let go of fear and not only accept something that felt so bizarre in the moment, but find the gift and wonder in it.
I even asked myself what this might mirror to me. Reflecting on this, I am now able to see how often my head (logic) is in charge and how we are so conditioned to let it make the decisions in our lives, often not taking our heart, body or spirit into consideration.
Taking the world in through my eyes (like the dragonflies does with it’s 30,000 lenses in each eye) I instantly put reality into certain boxes of reference and sense that these boxes narrow my experience of life. It also made me wonder if life is asking me to slow down, instead of listening to my mind’s constant nagging “but you haven’t done this…” and run around like chicken with its’ head cut off. This saying has a whole new meaning to me now and I don’t say this lightly.
It also made me look at beauty and how my mind keeps it neatly in a box: This is beautiful! This is not beautiful! I am grateful for the many gifts this experience brought me from challenging my perception of life and nature, looking much deeper into myself and how I meet the unknown and how I meet life, as well as finding beauty in dying and death.
The greatest gift however is the realization that I can trust life to bring me the perfect experiences I need to expand and welcome life’s gifts with an open mind and heart. That is not always easy like this experiences showed me. Yet I know that as I open to what is different and unknown, I take another step on this journey towards greater love and wisdom.
Leaves are fluttering softly in the ocean breeze singing a song I haven’t heard before with birds adding their own melodies here on the south side of Cortes Island. I am slowly settling into my new very temporary home where I am housesitting, allowing its incredible beauty and expansive ocean views to touch and open me.
My two very affectionate canine companions that I am looking after for six days, have finally settled down beside me. Each is lying curled up on either side of my chair, waiting patiently and often not so patiently for the opportunity to receive more attention, a meal or another outing. I have to admit the sunshine glistening on the ocean and the sandy beach getting more and more exposed as the tide goes out is hard to resist. This invitation to fully experience the dramatic beauty offered here so freely beckons every time I lift my head and look outside.
Since arriving here on Friday I have noticed myself taking in my new surrounding more slowly and carefully than I usually do, but certainly with as much wonder and delight. It almost feels like I have stepped into a beautiful dream, which I don’t want to wake up from.
The many flowers, the sacred feel of the garden as well as the beauty of the spirit of this land bring me gently but deeply into the moment. I notice an inner response, a feeling of something lifting and finally once again letting go of needing to know how life is going to unfold. What a sweet relief to keep surrendering!
The exquisite scent of roses, honeysuckle and other sweet smelling plants absolutely captivate me, stopping me in my tracks. There is no way that I can walk by and ignore this heavenly calling to breathe in these potent and yet delicate aromas.
As the clouds come and go, flowers in all stages of blooming and decay declare their place in life, reminding me of something I read recently in a book called “Caves of Power”. The author Sergio Magana Ocelocoyotl describes how in the Toltec and Mexihca oral traditions “the lines of your face show everything you’ve ever experienced, but above all the way you’ve lived your life on Mother Earth.” It makes me look at the lines in my own face in a whole new way and makes me appreciate each part of the journey.
I am so grateful that the sun keeps surprising me, despite the forecast which has been anything but encouraging. Yet the artistry of the moving clouds is undeniable as the view shifts and changes from moment to moment. Noticing that as I keep opening to the precious now, the encouragement that I feel to carefully select and plant seeds of what I want my life to look and feel like, while at the same time honouring the dream and love that brought me here and appreciate and be present to what is here now.
As I explore more of this garden of Now, I get to learn and see what needs to be nourished, weeded and let go of, as well as allow myself to receive the gift of the giant bouquet of flowers that life is offering me with wide open arms and heart and so much gratitude.
Observing the month of May unfold with its bright greens, new blossoms appearing daily and the incredible vibrancy of so many birds adds to the awakening and liveliness all around. The sense of new beginnings fills the air, even if the temperatures still rise and fall, letting us know that trying to predict life and nature is impossible. So why even try!
Yet all is not unfolding as peacefully and harmoniously as the beauty around me suggests. The energy of the Scorpio Full Moon waxing, coming into its full power and now waning, undoubtedly has added to some of the intensity that I have been experiencing.
While walking out to the bluff the other day, I heard a lot of splashing in our little bay and to my dismay watched as an eagle repeatedly was diving down, attacking a beautiful small duck. I had been observing the little drake for a week or so as it has enchanted me with its peaceful presence. As I rushed to the water’s edge both birds were getting more and more tired, the eagle from repeatedly diving into the water and rising heavily with wet wings and the duck from diving under and barely getting its breath before the next attack. It seemed a matter of who would give up first. I have to admit I was breathing a big sigh of relief when the duck was able to fly away after the eagle retreated to a favourite treetop lookout.
To my surprise the brave little duck came back a couple of hours later, his mate joining him for an evening paddle on the water, before returning to sit on a nest hidden somewhere nearby. I still feel a bit of unease whenever I see one of the eagles sitting in the trees around the bay, especially when the tide is getting low and the drake is all alone on the water.
The ravens haven’t been happy with the eagles either. They are also nesting again this year after a two year break and their young ones have obviously hatched, according to the noise that goes on up there. My guess is that Mother or Father Raven is bringing some delightful morsel home for the young brood that causes this much noise and excitement. We know from experience that it will only get noisier as they get bigger and believe me, it is not the prettiest sound by far.
However, the raven parents gang up and chase any eagle bravely away if he comes a bit too close for comfort, which obviously benefits the ducks as well. Everyday I observe this kind of life and death drama unfold around me, holding my breath, knowing that every one needs to eat, but still it does not make it any easier to witness.
Making a video with the poem I recorded for the radio show, which I mentioned in my last post, was much more complicated than I had thought it would be. It was also a lot of fun to co-create and see where the river of creation would take this. In the end, all the effort, patience, persistence and surrendering to the process was all worth it, with every challenge an important piece of the creative unfoldment. All of it manifested a deep sense of fulfillment, joy and wonder, as the message of the poem and our love for Nature was guiding us and leading the way.
And now I am finally able to share it with you as promised and hope that this video and my reading of Mary Reynolds Thompson’s beautiful poem “Song Of A Wild Soul Woman” will speak to you and delight and awaken your senses and wild soul:
In response to Daily Prompt: Observe