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First Day

Wet green moss beckons

as she steps barefoot into the New Year

Out of time into the warmth of Now

Love illuminates the barks, mosses and leaves

while stag moves slowly 

towards her unmoving presence

Golden Elephant breaks through

the last clouds in her heart

offering her the universe in one drop

Laughter bubbles to the surface

inviting one numb foot after the other

into the welcoming womb of unexpected bliss

Sailing away into the misty moment

she lets the seaweed caress her skin

on this first day

Happy New Year, everyone!

Wild Christmas Beauty

For Belonging
by John O’Donohue

May you listen to your longing to be free.

May the frames of your belonging be generous enough for your dreams.

May you arise each day with a voice of blessing whispering in your heart.

May you find a harmony between your soul and your life.

May the sanctuary of your soul never become haunted.

May you know the eternal longing that lives at the heart of time.

May there be kindness in your gaze when you look within.

May you never place walls between the light and yourself.

May you allow the wild beauty of the invisible world to gather you,
mind you, and embrace you in belonging.

Walking through the woods on this Christmas Day I noticed how the trees were lit up like Christmas trees. It was so beautiful and unexpected to find Christmas out there in the forest. Breathing in the forest air a deep sense of belonging filled my heart. There were so many gifts to be discovered, like secret little hiding places which made me wonder who actually lived there and many different mushrooms and mosses glistening mysteriously, hinting at a wild world which was beckoning me to enter. I came home two and half hours later filled with so much joy and wonder.

So before this Christmas Day comes to an end, I want to wish you a “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays”!

And may the wild beauty in our hearts guide us into this new decade and New Year and allow us to broaden our sense of belonging and our part in that greater family.

Much love to you!

Messenger Outside

Discovering a young buck lying peacefully outside my door was such a sweet surprise this morning. Peeking from behind the window I watched him for a long time just chewing his cud. It was strangely meditative observing him bring food back up into his mouth and slowly chew it before swallowing it again. Suddenly the elusive answer to a question that my mind had turned into a complex mess popped up out of nowhere. Here it was, right in front of me and so simple. Watching the buck also inspired me to finally start sorting through my boxes, full of things from the past, deciding what to let go off and what to keep.

Flashes of memories of visiting my grandmother and her people on their little farm easily came to mind as I stood by the window gazing outside. I still remember the excitement and fear I felt of helping my great-aunt “Tante Bärbchen” with the cows. We would take them out onto their pasture in the morning and bring them back in the evening. Recalling the loud sound their hooves made on the pavement, as we walked through the tiny village, I always marvelled that they didn’t just run off. Instead they listened carefully to my great-aunt and were happy to come home to the barn, which was attached to the house, to get fed and milked. I loved seeing them lie peacefully in the straw at night chewing their cud.

These memories must have prompted me years later to get my own goats. Again the joy I felt milking them and taking them on their daily walks in the wilderness is still with me. My son was just two at the time and I would take him with me on these walks. Everyone would join us: the horse, our dog Mika, our two cats Cinderella and Tinkerbell and most of the chickens and Mr. Rooster as well. It was a funny looking herd to say the least.

The goats were very protective of my little boy and wouldn’t let anyone except me get too close to him much to Mika’s irritation. After all he was supposed to protect us. Instead he had to watch out that the goats didn’t succeed in butting him if he dared to come too close. He barked with outrage at them, but they kept their tight circle around my son whenever they felt some perceived danger.

Afterwards we would hang out with the goats in their shelter for a while. It was warm and cozy as we watched them peacefully chew their cud. So grateful to have these memories…and yet there is this funny dilemma with memories when you don’t remember who you told them to already. So please forgive me if you have already heard this. These were the images that came to the surface while watching this beautiful wild animal lie so trustingly near my door step. Perhaps in a way it is me chewing my cud in the form of these vital memories from what now seems like a long time ago.

Well, of course I had to try and take a picture of this magnificent animal. It took about ten seconds for him to jump up after I opened the front door and make his way to his brother or buddy who also had been lying down nearby. It was such a powerful sight seeing these two look back at me. You just never know what unexpected gifts, messages, answers or memories are brought to your door step…

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.

Beyond Duality

Looking at the sky early this morning while standing out on the bluff I wondered what the day would be like. The sky looked like it had a hard time making up its mind. The clear division of sunshine on one side and dark heavy clouds on the other made me laugh reminding me no matter what, that I have choice through which lens I want to see the world and meet what life brings me.

As it turned out it was a mixed bag all day, quickly changing from sunny to cloudy… back and forth. However the flowers on my deck still wet from the gentle rain last night and shining vibrantly despite the cloudiness were calling me to take a picture of them. Perhaps it was the greyness of the moment that made their beauty even more pronounced.

I love taking pictures after a rainfall. Each glistening drop sparkling, containing and reflecting the mystery of life to all who care to take a closer look, just as each flower speaks to us of a beauty far deeper than what can be seen by the eye. Perhaps that is why gardening is so deeply satisfying as it allows us to enter and commune with both the very tactile grounded earthiness and the mystery contained in each seed planted. I do not have a garden here as I literally live on a rock, but the planters on my deck filled with herbs, greens and a few flowers gift me with the joy of being connected with the cycle of life and feed me in so many ways.

As the summer is deepening I allow myself to slow down and take in the gifts of the season… it’s scents, colours and delights. The Humpback whales have been hanging out nearby and I can’t describe how deeply it moves me to hear them breathe and speak to each other and perhaps even speaking to me and my friend as we sat under the starry night listening and watching stars fly through the sky. Neither of us had ever heard whales speak. Such incredible magic!

Yesterday the whales were slapping their fins and breaching for a long while. What a magnificent sight that is! It made me long for a better camera, as I kept missing those perfect moments. However I know I did not really miss anything as I allowed myself to take in the joy and exuberance that was being offered with my whole being.

I feel so blessed to have a place to call home and not just any place, but such a special one. And I get to share this gem with others who find their way here for a session or come for a cup of tea and hang out in the magic with me. Each moment is so precious and I love the gentle relaxation after a crazy busy spring, just being, still healing and enjoying this incredible beauty, the abundance all around me and the many fun and heart connecting community gatherings.

Yet just as sunshine and dark clouds meet in the sky and the whales dive again deep into the depths of the ocean I am aware of the duality we live in, which contains it all: birth, life, death, joy and grief… and the pearl that can be found in all of it: the love which takes us beyond duality.

Remembering Abundance

Lying in bed this morning with no motivation to get up, I heard a quiet voice inside whisper: “What is here is enough….it is more than enough. It is true abundance!”

This got me out of bed in an instance, wanting to write it down as it struck such a deep cord inside. The day before I drew an angel card as I often do, receiving the Angel of Abundance. It made no sense to me in that moment and couldn’t relate to it at all, feeling not well from the after effects of a tick bite, infection in my body and the antibiotic treatment I received that morning.

Now, however, it didn’t only make sense in my head, but I remembered with my whole Being what it meant and knew that I can trust in the perfection of what it is here…and as I watch the squirrel make its way to the bluff, I feel the invitation to follow it and allow my body to be gently moved.

Wishing you all a beauty filled day with so much love!

Five Years In The Making

Making my way to the bluff I take off my shoes as soon as I reach the moss covered ground. The moss is dry and brittle, but still soft beneath my feet. I drink in the heat of the sun through the soles of my bare feet as well as my skin. It is surprisingly hot after a few cooler days with just a sprinkle of rain. I don’t last long in the full sun, enjoying one last look of the gorgeous view of mountains, forests and ocean and retreat to my cabin that I am blessed to now call home.

Meeting a very friendly squirrel on the way back, it surprises me how it comes fearlessly all the way down to the path I am on, checks me out with gentle curiosity and then keeps on going past the bathtub on some sort of mission. With no rain in sight and already a Level 3 drought warning I let go of my plan to have a bath in the moonlight tonight. That will have to wait till rain is in the forecast and will be something to look forward to and celebrate.

It feels good to be back in the much cooler cabin and it feels incredible to finally have a year round and hopefully longterm rental and not only that, but such a special one. What a relief and joy after a year and a half of looking for a new home.

Painting it from top to bottom was well worth it, even though I had no idea how much work it would turn out to be and how long it would take. Preparing this space was a labour of love, not just for myself but even more so as a healing space for others. It felt like it was just made for it and I was so happy when the moment finally arrived and I was able to offer my first session here last week. It was like coming home on many different levels.

This feeling of being in the right place surrounds me here among the Arbutus trees. Even the dead ones still hold a powerful energy and beauty and remind me once again that endings are tightly interwoven with new beginnings. This is the place I first stayed at on Cortes Island five years ago over a long Easter weekend. I fell so in love with this beautiful island then, that I didn’t want to leave. Little did I know that my yearning to be here and my sense of belonging would fulfill itself in such a way, bringing me back not only to the island but to the place where it all began almost exactly five years later.

Trusting that life has opened this door for me for a reason, I delight in being here, feeling so happy to be surrounded by the beauty of nature and feel so welcomed in this neighbourhood. Amazingly I am doing exactly what I had envisioned five years ago: sitting by the big window amidst the Arbutus trees and writing on my computer. What a confirmation of manifestation….

With so much gratitude to all my wonderful friends that helped me paint, move, build a gate, decorate and support me in so many ways on this journey…thank you so much!

Circling Around The Heart

As I sat down at my little table the other morning facing the still white fields with the intention to write, a movement outside caught my attention: high in the sky birds were circling… and so many of them.

Rushing outside with my camera the birds were now even higher in sky and further north and looked like tiny moving dots. Their white tail feathers flashing in the sun revealed that these were bald eagles gliding upwards in a thermal. There must have been thirty or forty or more.

Running back inside to get my binoculars wanting to have a closer look, they all disappeared behind the clouds by the time I returned.

Standing on the melting snow and taking in the beauty of the day the birds were singing a happy melody reminding me of Spring, when suddenly four eagles reappeared performing their dance in the sky. Mr. Kitty also joined in, circling around my feet as the eagles were drawing spirals in the sky.

Thinking of the beautiful heart cloud that presented itself just before Valentine’s, a gift of Love appearing out of nowhere, I see how my mind likes to put every experience I have into neat compartments of “like” or “don’t like“. The heart cloud filled me with joy, while watching a seagull kill a little duck was heart wrenching to say the least, while an eagle was keeping a close eye on Mr. Kitty who had followed me down to the beach. I decided to stay and protect the cat rather then try to rescue the duck. It was a very weird moment recognizing that we are all predators and prey and that attaching any kind of label seems rather pointless.

This morning waking up from a dream with my heart pounding, I was glad to see the golden light of the new born sun shining on my pillow. Taking a deep breath and releasing the feeling of sorrow that I took with me from my dream in which I had met up with my golden companion Frodo, I jumped out of bed with excitement, feeling happy to be alive and have a day off on such a beautiful day.

The dancing light on the ocean was not to be missed and it didn’t take long before I made my way to the beach rejoicing in the pattern the freezing cold night had painted on the pond and the one single leaf left on the tree made me pause in wonder.

Discovering more delights on the beach, but also noticing the contrast between the pine tree so ladened with seeds announcing new birth while its branches are hanging low over dead logs littered all over the beach for as far as you can see. Trees that were cut down for a reason, but that never made it to their destination or intended use. Maybe not everything has to make sense like the seagull killing the little duck and then just flying away or so many trees ending up on our beaches never used for anything. Perhaps it is in the noticing and being with what life and death are offering that changes the lens through which we see the world. Certainly some experiences change us forever almost instantly and others, perhaps like the rocks being polished by the sea, take a long time to round out the sharp edges and letting in new awarenesses.

I’ve been loving the gift of winter that February has brought us here on the island with so many magical moments, but also the reminder of stillness and death. Yet I can almost feel spring waiting in its wings, ready for it’s turn to offer us its beauty and unique expression. I am looking forward to the changing of the season, ready for the new greens and buds bringing in new life.

Nature has so much to show and teach me and being in the moment is one of the greatest lessons I am learning. And in this moment the sunshine outside is encouraging me to get on my bike and give my body some much needed exercise, even if my mind needs a little more convincing.

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.”