Category Archives: Writing

A Deeper Belonging

Deciding to set up my office outside today hummingbird zooms by a couple of times insisting it is time for me to hang up the feeder to welcome it home. As I prepare its “welcome home” feast I also feel called to smudge before I sit down in my less than elegant but totally enjoyable writing space. Watching the spiralling smoke as I set the smudge bowl onto the altar, I am surprised to see the restless patterns dance into the room. Mesmerized I am drawn into its wild dance wondering about the energy it is releasing.

Finally sitting down again outside I can reflect upon the letting go of the grief and pent up emotions over the changes and experiences in my life over the last several weeks. Raven glides overhead, the swishing sound of its wings feels strangely connected to the energy of releasing. Taking a deep breath I also tune into the sound of the chimes moving softly. Its song is surprisingly gentle and comforting.

There have been many uplifting gifts lately which I received gratefully as maneuvering through these strange times has not been easy. Deeply longing to just retreat from the world and become still, life had other plans for me and didn’t let me of the hook. I write this with a smile, because I recognize the opportunity of growth as I slowly break through my resistance, exhaustion and sadness around the unfolding of events not just in the world but here on our little island.

These two very special beings, Omar and Raven, from White Horse Sanctuary (https://whitehorsesanctuary.com/) have been helping me stay sane and are such incredible teachers bringing me back into presence and oneness as well as finding the source of self-assurance and what that actually means to me. They unfalteringly show me when I am not present and make me laugh. It is so good to laugh and delight in the many gifts of spring including the opportunity of gardening.

Last night’s gift was incredibly special. Perhaps you received it as well. Watching the light slowly fade after sunset and a pink glow appear in the sky announcing the arrival of the Full Moon, nothing prepared me for the sight as she crested the coastal mountains bringing me to tears with her golden beauty. Thoughts, emotions, everything vanished in this moment of witnessing something I don’t even want to try to put into a box of words.

Sitting in timelessness everything just fell away. The cold wind felt like a kiss of awakening blowing away any sadness or anger, taking me into a stillness and fullness that perhaps the picture of the moon can convey just a little. Many hours later making my way slowly back down to my cabin with the light of the moon illuminating the way home, I was filled with so much gratitude and joy and a sense of a deeper belonging. It is still with me now as I write these words and hummingbird takes its first deep drink of the season before it buzzes away again.

This morning after the best sleep I had in years the first light was pulling me from my dreams. Rushing back up to the bluff wrapped in a blanket the rays of the new day brought more tears of wonder and deep appreciation.

The recognition of how truly blessed and loved I am took my breath away. And as the light of the sun warmth me on this beautiful but still cool day of spring I am reminded once again of a truth that felt so distant in recent times: Love connects us all.

May the one heart shine brightly in each of us like the golden light of the sun and moon and may tenderness replace judgement, fear and separation. May we be kind to ourselves, to each other and all beings. And may we receive the teachings and blessings of this time with graciousness, openness and patience.

The Scrawny Caterpillar

Once upon a time there was a little caterpillar who did not want to do what other caterpillars did: eat all day. Instead she wanted to see and experience the beauty of the world around her. Often you could see her sitting on the highest leaves of the tree looking at the ever-changing landscape. She loved watching all the creatures in the forest and took delight in whenever one took time to talk to her. But she didn’t get much eating done and consequently was much smaller than her peers.

The other caterpillars were too busy eating to notice. One day Grandmother Bear walked by and right away saw the scrawny caterpillar sitting on a leaf looking out at the world. She asked the caterpillar why she wasn’t eating like all the other caterpillars. “Are you sick? ” she asked. “Is this why you don’t eat as much as the others? The little caterpillar shook her head. “No!” she replied and explained that she just didn’t think all the hard work of finding food and eating constantly was what life was all about. She wanted to just experience the beauty of the forest and the world around her. The wise old bear shook her big head when she heard this and said: “You know that you are a caterpillar and eating is what all caterpillars must do, so that they can evolve to the next stage of becoming a butterfly.” After she spoke the big old bear continued on her journey and disappeared behind the trees.

The scrawny caterpillar had listened carefully to what Grandmother Bear had told her, but didn’t really understand what it meant to be a butterfly or how to even get there. After the old bear had left she sat in silence for a long while and watched all the other caterpillars in their busyness and noticed how much bigger they were. She asked one closest to her if he was happy doing what he was doing. He looked at her with a puzzled look thinking about what she had asked. He then answered slowly speaking with his mouth still full: “I am doing what my inner nature is prompting me to do. I don’t really think about if it makes me happy. I just eat, enjoy being in the moment and trust that it is what I am meant to be doing right now”. Then he took another big bite and turned to crawl to a new leaf that was beckoning him.

The little caterpillar thought about his answer and wondered if she should try this. She could always go back to doing what she loved to do: sit in nature and just be. As she took a bite off the leaf she was sitting on, she allowed herself to tune into her own inner knowing. This started taking her to the best food to eat and soon she felt very full and ready for something….

As she listened closely to her own inner guidance she found a special place where she carefully began to spin a silk chrysalis around herself. From the outside it looked like she was resting, but on the inside many transformations started taking place. Then one day when she was done all the forming and changing on the inside another prompting came. It was time to come out of her chrysalis. Slowly but surely she emerged from her cocoon as a beautiful blue butterfly. Her wings were still soft from having been in the tight enclosure. But after a rest she felt the urge to move her wings for the very first time. Blood pumped into them and soon she was flapping them vigorously. She knew when she was ready to take flight. Something inside her just knew!

In that very moment Grandmother Bear magically appeared again walking down the trail towards her. She immediately saw the beautiful blue butterfly and showed no surprise when it spoke to her: “I want to thank you Grandmother Bear for taking the time to speak to me and telling me of my destiny. I didn’t know what you meant by what you said, but I did listen and now I understand.” She then gracefully spread her beautiful blue wings and lifted effortlessly off the branch she had been sitting on. Dancing joyfully around the bear’s head before flying off to the nearest flower she drank for the first time the sweet nectar of life and never questioned again her own inner knowing and allowed herself to be guided from one beautiful flower to the next, delighting in each of them and in just being herself.

The End

Wild Geese

by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

The Morning After The Eclipse

Waking up in that perfect moment when the first rays break through the cloak of night, I am delighted to discover that frost has transformed the fields outside my cabin into a white sparkling world. Part of me doesn’t want to leave the warmth and comfort of my bed, yet the magic outside is beckoning and I am ready for this new day to begin.

Last night’s total lunar eclipse felt very special. I was gifted by a dear friend the opportunity to watch this spectacular event from the comfort of a hot bath in an old cast iron bathtub in the forest, which somehow magically faced the moon, so I could witness her light being slowly eclipsed by the shadow of the Earth. Even though the tub was probably one the most comfortable tubs I ever had the pleasure to bath in, the sacred bluffs nearby were calling. Leaving the warmth of the water and dressing quickly I made my way to the bluffs and sat on the soft moss watching the moon’s light disappear in the deep silence and stillness of the night.

What a sight to behold! The sense of the grandness of the Universe filled me, as I sat there with the stars, planets and the milky way surrounding me. It made me feel like I had stepped right into a scene of the movie “The Life of Pi”. If you have watched the movie, I am sure you will know which scene I am talking about. Even though I was aware of how many people out there in the world would be watching this wondrous event, I felt completely alone.

Strangely this aloneness felt magnificent rather than scary or sad. I know I will not find words to truly explain it. Perhaps you have an inkling of what I am speaking about. Since my mother’s sudden death in October, my world has shifted. It is and never will be the same. It is what happens to us when we loose someone of great importance in our lives. Now with both of my parents gone, I do feel an aloneness that is different than anything I have ever experienced. They had been my reference point all my life and now this reference point is gone.

On this beautiful frost covered morning after the Eclipse I know something has shifted. I felt it coming in the last little while like the light slowly returning after complete darkness. The joy and completeness in myself that I felt last night on that bluff beneath the stars showed me that life is ever changing and that in the letting go, something new and precious can be found. As I noticed a shooting star just before the last light of the moon faded, I was aware that my mom and dad are not far, just on the other side somewhere. And I could feel the presence and love of my dear golden companion Frodo who is always looking out for me from the other side and who sat with me on that bluff marvelling at the beauty of this world years ago.

I am grateful for this morning and that in this new light I can write again and put into words what my heart has been longing to express: The biggest Thank YOU ever to the woman who gave so generously and who dedicated her whole life to her family and home. I will never forget our last trip together to Hawaii in 2016, where we celebrated your very special 80th birthday – just you and I – with so much laughter and love. I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me my life, for being that steady caring presence, for all we have shared and all you have done for me and most of all for your love!

Someone posted these words by Mark Nepo on Facebook a little while ago. It speaks deeply to me. So I would like to end this blog post with his elequent words today:

…The reasons of the heart
are leaves in wind.

Stand up tall and everything
will nest in you.

We all lose and we all gain.
Dark crowds the light.
Light fills the pain.

It is a conversation with no end
a dance with no steps
a song with no words
a reason too big for any mind.

No matter how I turn
the magnificence follows.”

Tending The Inner Garden

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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.

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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.

P1260020As 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?

P1250585As 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…

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Photo by Dancing Wolf

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.

Elke's Goddess #1Holding 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!

 

 

 

Don’t Ask Why

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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.”

P1250474Like 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.

P1240768As 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.

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The Turning Of The Wheel

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As I watch the last days of Winter dance and intermingle with the first days of Spring, showing me once again that life doesn’t happen in a straight line, nor can it be predicted or controlled, my mind has a hard time to surrender to “what is” at times. Whereas another part of me is glad, that this is so, for it allows the experience of awe and wonder, keeping us connected to the great mystery of life.

Witnessing the great wheel turning and seasons changing, I open myself to whatever the new day might bring: perhaps another round of snow, or sunshine and the sweet fragrance of Spring, that makes me long to be outside and receive it with every cell of my body, or even hail or thunder announcing both an ending and a new beginning.

P1220674With winter ending in this part of the world, I notice many changes and awakenings around me as well as inside of me. It has been a long journey, that felt a lot like having been deep under water, only coming up for a breath of air here and there. Today as the sun is warming my skin and the birds are singing ever so sweetly, I experience a feeling of lightness, reminding me of what it feels like to float on the surface of the water without any resistance, allowing the current to carry me gently to an unknown destination.

P1220720The last six months have been intense, expanding, beautiful and hard. Letting go of a partnership is a deep process with many doubts, fears and old patterns, all rising to the surface at once, yet giving the opportunity to meet them in a new way, as well as allowing myself to take a deep honest look at myself, the relationship and what is prompting the letting go. Sitting with one another in the love, the pain and the grief, witnessing each other in this process, so unique and different, yet shared with such sincerity.

Today I feel the wheel of life shifting not only the season, but my life into something new. I have no idea of what it will look like. Lying awake in the early morning hours, listening to first stirring of the day, wondering where life might take me and hoping to find that special cottage or cabin, my own little nest in Nature somewhere on this island, that feels right for me, where I once again can immerse myself in the work that I love so much: Vibrational Alignment sessions, transformational coaching, writing, blogging and creating to my heart’s content.

P1220711Feeling the deepest gratitude for the powerful and rich experience of coming together five years ago, following our dream here to Cortes and now shifting into a new way of relating, as we cut the cord and untethered under the Libra Blue Moon, where we offered this relationship to the fire, acknowledging the support we have given each other through the many emotional waves that letting go have stirred up in us on this journey, meeting the deep call of growth. Love has been our guide and has brought us to this point.

Breathing into this turning of the wheel, I allow myself to inhale deeply, allowing the gift of life all the way in, where it expands my belly, my chest, my awareness, before releasing it slowly, channeling it through my heart deliberately, then through my throat and out my nostrils. With each deep breath in and out, I feel the space in my heart expand and a softness in me welcoming this new day and season, holding onto trust that all will be well. Writing this, I remember the dolphins attending our ceremony around the Solar Eclipse, not only supporting us on this journey of untethering, but raising the vibration so high, and that there could only be joy.

P1220016Right now I also feel deep joy in writing and sharing with you once again. It has been a while since this urge to communicate and share got strong enough to break through, whatever resistance or process I was in. Yet in this long pause I have also learned to trust deeper in the Muse to guide me and show me to give room for this inner turning that is going on, much like the seeds in the grounds preparing for the right moment to break through the earth into the light.

And for my dear friends who haven’t heard from me in a while, please forgive me! I needed to give myself this time and space to fully immerse myself and honour the deep process of letting go of my relationship and the expansion that was being asked of me.

P1220166As I looked into my now former partner’s eyes today, I saw the same lightness also reflected in his eyes and I have never seen him more radiant.

I am so very grateful to know and see you and be known and seen by you. To a new way of “relating”! And to Love!

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Daily Prompt: Radiant

 

Exploration

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Being still and sitting with what is, is not always easy, especially when life feels like it is unravelling. It has been for a while, but admitting it to myself has not been easy. Sitting now in the uncertainty of possible changes in so many areas of my life: relationship, home, work, etc., I find moments of clarity here and there, as if clouds are parting and suddenly I can see the brilliant blue sky beyond.

Change is in the air. The Fall Equinox is happening as I am writing this at 1:02 pm here on the West Coast. Summer has ended. You can feel it in the cool crisp air and see the leaves turning bright yellow and brown, some letting go, gently drifting to the ground below. The theme of the Equinox of finding Inner Balance, as the sun enters the sign of Libra, certainly speaks to me in a big way and my sense is for many others as well.

Looking at the passing clouds and watching the interplay of different layers, shades of grey and their transformation before my eyes, gives me the opportunity to view change not through the lens of fear, but with openness and wonder.

 

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What I love both about photography and writing is that it exposes unseen layers, discovered through both the stillness of the image or the words and having the opportunity to dive deeper into what is being shown. Often I may see something that I couldn’t see before, revealing a deeper magic and a much wider perspective on things.

It is in these layers and different textures of life as well as the spaces in between, that I slowly find the clarity I need to move forward on my path. Exploring all that is happing and taking time to look from different angles, close up and from a distance, creates a field of vision that is needed to see a more complete picture and also allows me to open up to what is being uncovered. Some of it is easy to see and some of it is painful to receive and be with.

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As I witness my inner restlessness pushing and pulling, I am reminded of one of my favourite poems by Mary Oliver “The Journey“, whose words describe so well that deep inner calling to step out of the familiar and into the unknown. For now I soften into the restlessness, the not knowing, the fears and the dreams, trusting that love will guide me on this journey, wherever it takes me.

 

The Journey 

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
‘Mend my life!’
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognised as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Mary Oliver

 

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In response to the Daily Prompt: Leaf  and the Weekly Photo Challenge: Layered

Zufriedenheit (Towards Peace)

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When I think about the word “satisfaction” or feel into it, words like contentment and fulfillment arise. In my mother tongue (german), the word for satisfaction is “Zufriedenheit“, which loosely translates to “towards peace“. I love that!

What leads me towards peace? For me it implies taking some kind of action that moves me towards fulfillment or peace of mind. As I sit with the question, more and more answers bubble to the surface.

On the last New Moon I set an intention to write each day for at least 12 minutes. This has brought me more satisfaction and joy than I expected. It was the piece missing in my life: a commitment and making room for something I love doing on a daily basis. Of course more often than not, the 12 minutes turn into an hour or more, because time just doesn’t exist when you are happily flowing in the realm of creativity.

 

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Also there is something incredibly satisfying of capturing a perfect moment or the beauty of what I see in a photograph. It can be just watching a sunset or beautiful cloud formation, or discovering the unique patterns of a leaf or the mysterious bug on a flower. Often the satisfaction comes from being present and taking in fully the beauty or essence of what is before me or what I am experiencing, like the wind gently caressing my skin.

And then there is just being in Nature, no doing. There is nothing that brings me more joy and “Zufriedenheit” than that.  In our busy world it is a worthwhile question to ask ourselves: “What moves me towards peace?”  Perhaps as each of us move more in the direction of inner peace, the world on the outside will reflect more peace as well.

 

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Photo by Dancing Wolf

In response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: satisfaction

Little Pockets of Time

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Today I am doing something different, which feels really good. Today I am writing in response to a daily writing prompt that I had signed up for ages ago. Even though I faithfully look at each new prompt, I have never been roused into taking action. Today however I felt compelled to write by the one word offered to me.

Paradoxically, it is the word “dormant” which got me going. In the instance I read it, I realized that this is what I have been feeling for quite a while now. There is a part of me that feels like it has been in a state of hibernation. And isn’t it funny that the word “dormant” should be the one that awakens me from that state?

Perhaps the rain has helped, too. I can almost hear the sigh of relief from the plant world around me and a few humans as well. There is something about the freshness and smell of the air in the forest and garden after a rainfall. The garden is delighting us constantly now with it’s display of colours, new blooms P1160673and harvest. Many of these plants started as tiny seeds and are now dazzling us with their beauty or taste.  The rain reminded me that all seeds need water to germinate. This daily prompt “dormant” was the drop of water I needed to break open and feel motivated to write even if just this little post.

Another thing that is different for me today is that I realized while washing dishes and looking at the empty bay before me that I don’t need a lot of time to create as I thought I did. I can take little pockets of time here and there and do what I love. So this excuse is no longer valid. Deciding to let go off this belief is moving a big hurdle out of the way and allows me to do what I love even when life is busy and full with many other things that are all calling for my attention.

I wonder if a seed might feel a sense of excitement and possibility, when it gets planted in the ground or the wind carries it through the air into the unknown. There is something very special about imagining what nourishment or conditions are needed for a dormant seed to awaken and bring forth it’s potential. And what a miracle it is that a tiny seed can grow into giant tree or carrot or flower….

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Daily Prompt: dormant

 

Kinship

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Gratitude fills me on this quiet morning here at Elkenwolf as I look outside at the familiar yet ever-changing scenery. I feel deeply held by the community of trees surrounding our cottage, like sacred guardians standing silent and strong. A pair of eagles sitting high on their perch across our little cove are bearing witness to the delicate unfolding of this moment.

The sun is breaking through the dense greyness that seems to be holding everything, even this day, in suspense not knowing which way it’s going to go. The unexpected light illuminating for a moment both the outer and inner landscape I find myself in as I give my attention to what is showing itself to me.

Just last week I heard myself talking to a few different friends about my difficulty in returning to an unfinished blog. Yet as I heard myself speak these words, I wondered if this is actually true or if it is a belief that stops me from entering the essence of the unfinished piece. Perhaps some of them are not meant to be finished and were just fleeting ideas. Yet as I look at these unfinished beginnings I know some of them need to be written and this is one of them.

Last June I began with the idea of a blog about a woman I had heard about but never met. Her  name was Gilean Douglas. The title and pictures came easily, but I didn’t get very far with my writing. Now nine months later this post is ready to be born, urging it’s way through the birth canal.

Last night after listening to the wind and chimes creating beautiful music together, I went to bed wondering why writing sometimes is so easy and effortless and at other times almost painful like being in labour. I fell asleep with the question in my head what my highest excitement is in regards to writing.

This morning I turned on the computer with the intention to begin the day with writing. While closing tabs on my computer I stumbled across the announcement of a radio program about Gilean Douglas, I had exactly one minute before showtime. Immediately I was spell bound hearing about Gilean’s life from people that knew her. The same deep feeling of kinship arose in me that I had felt last May when I first heard about her…

A few days before leaving on a vacation a friend of mine had asked me out of the blue if I had heard of Gilean Douglas. I had not. My friend began telling me about this fascinating free spirited woman, nature writer, poet, feminist and journalist who had lived here on Cortes Island for forty years until her death at age ninety-three. We walked over to the bookstore where my friend showed me one of Gilean’s books “The Protected Place“. I opened up a page and immediately was drawn into the world of Gilean Douglas, which felt strangely familiar.

Two days later I found myself with four books in my suitcase on my way to Hawaii:  Silence is My Homeland (a book Gilean wrote about her life in the mountains of British Columbia), The Protected Place (a book written by Gilean about her life on Cortes Island), Seascape With Figures (a collection of Gilean’s poems) and Writing Nature Finding Home (a biography and collection of her works by Andrea Lebowitz and Gillian Milton). On the beaches in Hawaii I got to know more about Gilean and her life and I loved what we had in common besides the love for writing.

Gilean first found this sense of home in Nature while living in her mountain cabin in the interior of BC and then again on Cortes Island after losing her beloved cabin in the mountains to a fire. I also had experienced that immense feeling of being truly home for the first time while living in a cabin on a mountain top for nearly thirteen years in southern BC. In 2005 I left our mountain home with my two sons following a deep inner calling to live by the ocean and go to counselling school. It was one of the hardest thing I ever had to do. Just like Gilean I grieved the loss of my home on the mountain very intensely for many years. It was like losing a best friend. Finally ten years later Cortes Island called me.. . and here I am, finally home in Nature again!

Within a few days of my return from Hawaii I met by chance (if there is such a thing) one of the authors of the Writing Nature Finding Home. Once again I found myself being connected to Gilean, learning more about her from Jill Milton who had been a friend of hers for many years. Within a month of my return my friend who first introduced me to Gilean Douglas took me to the Protected Place, Channel Rock, where Gilean had lived till her death in 1993. We spend a beautiful afternoon there, picnicking on the rocks in front of Gilean’s oceanfront cabin, walking the immense grounds and her beloved garden. It was easy to imagine Gilean sitting on these rocks writing, immersed in the beauty and wildness of this place.

While I was listening to the radio show Gilean’s writing was described as “singing songs of praise” for Nature and as soon as I heard this, I knew that it was the answer to my question from the night before. This love I have for Nature, for Spirit, for Home so wants to be expressed and writing is one way for me to do this. I am grateful for the sense of kinship, not just with Gilean, but the women who introduced her to me and all who love nature. For it is this kinship with Nature that gives me my greatest sense of belonging. I want to end this post with a beautiful heart-opening blessing written by John O’Donohue from his book Anam Cara, that I send out to all of you:

A Friendship Blessing

May you be blessed with good friends.
May you learn to be a good friend to yourself.
May you be able to journey to that place in your soul where
there is great love, warmth, feeling, and forgiveness.
May this change you.
May it transfigure that which is negative, distant, or cold in you.
May you be brought in to the real passion, kinship, and affinity of belonging.
May you treasure your friends.
May you be good to them and may you be there for them;
may they bring you all the blessing, challenges, truth,
and light that you need for your journey.
May you never be isolated.
May you always be in the gentle nest of belonging with your anam ċara. 

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Drinking life’s nectar – taken in the garden at Channel Rock