Flower Power

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Opening….allowing….offering….receiving….

The crows came for a short visit this morning, landing in the trees close to the house. Peeking into the window they delivered their message and were gone in a heartbeat. This is Raven territory, so crows are a rather unusual sight here at Elkenwolf.

Later I went into the garden and was looking at the many flowers that are opening, offering their sweet nectar with such grace despite the grey and cool weather. Watching the bees drink joyfully from the vibrant centres, I allowed the fiery colours of the poppies to awaken in me the truth to follow, what makes me come fully alive, and burn away any fears that stop me from doing that.

Thanks to the flowers, the message is now clear.

 

 

 

 

 

Almost Open

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It’s not every day that Hummingbird brings me a message so loud and clear and this one wants to be shared:

You can look at beauty or you can look at problems. You can’t be immersed in both at the same time. If you choose beauty, you will respond and take care of what needs your attention in the moment with openness and love.

The message was so perfect for me and I decided to get out of my head and instead immerse myself in the beauty all around me. A short while later I discovered that the one and only rose blossom is about to open. The wonder of it all! I can’t imagine a more perfect symbol for beauty.

Wishing you all a beauty-filled day!

May Offerings

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The month of May has always been my favourite time of the year. Perhaps having been born in the fifth month makes me a little partial to it. This year May has been much cooler and wetter than I can remember. Still it does not take away from it’s special beauty. The birds are singing wholeheartedly while Mother and Father Goose are cautiously showing off their three little offsprings for the first time, yet almost to the exact day every year.P1240842

After a restless night I could feel my body was more than ready to get out of bed this morning and release some of the aches and stiffness. As I slowly rose, the first thing I noticed was the water in the bay shimmering emerald green with the sun about to rise above the tree tops. I got quickly dressed in order to get in the kayak and be part of the magical moment when the sun bathes everything in its golden light. Well, I made it out in time, but the clouds had quickly covered up the sun, hiding it’s magical rays behind them.

It did not matter! It was so sweet to just be gliding through the clear water that had looked so green from a distance. I headed towards the channel between the little islands that protect Reflection Cove and create a sheltered lagoon. Noticing the pink hues on the little island closest to me, I had to stop and investigate. Soon finding myself totally enthralled by the abundance of wildflowers covering the islands. Everything was bursting in full bloom and many colours from a sea of pinks IMG_0507with sprinkles of whites and yellows to the mysterious checker lily that completely stopped me in my tracks with its unusual beauty.

Every step I took there was more to be discovered. Even the things that looked dead surprised me, like the skeleton of a small Arbutus tree with it’s haunting beauty. Yet on closer inspection it had one shoot coming from it’s root that was very much alive. Life and death seem to be intimately entwined on these little islands where the harsh winter storms show little mercy to the plant beings that are brave enough to live there.

Suddenly the powerful call of a loon rang through the silence. I rose from where I had been captivated by the pink flowers growing in the midst of a young juniper bush beside a much larger one that had not survived the winter. My eyes searched the sea for the lonely caller. There it was! The Loon was keeping a safe distance from the little island, but kept me company till it was time for me to leave the little paradise I had found.

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As I turned around towards home I looked upon my beloved bluff where I often sit and where Sea, Earth and Sky meet. From there I often admire the snowy white peaks of the mountains rising up into the heavenly blues and on a few rare occasions whales or dolphins can be seen. Now looking at the bluff from this different viewpoint made it appear so much bigger, more real, yet mystical at the same time. It made me wonder how often I look at something through the narrow lens of a certain perspective. What would it be like to see something from many different perspectives and viewpoints? I have a feeling a whole new world could open up for me as it did for me on those little islands today. Everywhere I turned another gift was waiting for me. It brought back many memories of exploring as a child, lying on my belly in some field to see something really close up or climbing on cliffs because something was calling to be discovered at the top or perhaps on the other side. I remembered that May for me has always been a month of delight and discoveries, where the natural world is bursting forth with so many colours and scents and without holding anything back, celebrating new life in the most magnificent ways.

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When I arrived back to where I started out from, I sat for a while looking out at the familiar view of the islands that I had just visited. Somehow they didn’t look the same anymore. After exploring them in much greater detail and having found so many treasures that delighted the senses to no end, I know I see them differently now. They have come to life for me in a whole new way, just like the wildflowers in their undisguised wild beauty. Two hours had passed there as if there was no time at all. As I began writing about my experiences, the faintest scent caught my attention. I looked up immediately, my whole being becoming alert. Instantly something in me recognized this scent, yet not in the way that I could say it came from a certain plant or the sea. Instead it triggered a memory of beingness that I experienced on my first visit to the Big Island of Hawaii, where I had the magical experience of feeling completely free to just be me, where for the first time I completely trusted and felt so loved and taken care of by the Universe. It is this freedom, innocence and trust that was awakened once again in me on my magical journey to the little islands so close to home at my favourite time of the year, when the lilacs bloom, Beltane is celebrated and people still weave ribbons in dances around the Maypole. It is the month where we celebrate and honour our Mothers, who have given us life, and for me it is the month that I came to be here. There is so much to be grateful for on this May day.

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Shimmering Blessings

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Shortly after publishing my last blog “The Eye of the Storm” I found this beautiful blessing or perhaps the blessing found me. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to share it with you. The words opened my heart like a flower after a heavy spring rain. I felt myself relaxing and breathing deeply.

Jan Richardson is an artist, author and ordained minister and lives in Florida. It is well worth checking out her blog if her words touch your heart as it did mine. If you go to her website (link below) you can check out her beautiful work.

Blessing in the Chaos

To all that is chaotic
in you,
let there come silence.

Let there be
a calming
of the clamoring,
a stilling
of the voices that
have laid their claim
on you,
that have made their
home in you,

that go with you
even to the
holy places
but will not
let you rest,
will not let you
hear your life
with wholeness
or feel the grace
that fashioned you.

Let what distracts you
cease.
Let what divides you
cease.
Let there come an end
to what diminishes
and demeans,
and let depart
all that keeps you
in its cage.

Let there be
an opening
into the quiet
that lies beneath
the chaos,
where you find
the peace
you did not think
possible
and see what shimmers
within the storm.

© Jan Richardson, from her book The Cure for Sorrow.

janrichardson.com

The Eye Of The Storm

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Rain is on the way. The calm smooth water and early morning birdsong have been replaced by strong ripples on the water and trees swaying this way and that way. The wind is singing a different kind of tune, one that feels urgent and forceful. The low grey clouds are moving in fast, darkening the sky with their arrival, while raptors high in sky are circling on strong currents. They are so far up, it is not possible for me to tell anymore if they are eagles or vultures. As I watch their effortless flight I wonder what they can see…

Sitting inside with a freshly brewed cup of nettle, oat straw and lady’s mantle tea I listen to the fire crackle in the wood stove and the wind’s changing song. I feel the exhaustion in my body, telling me it’s need for rest and nurturing. I am so glad I took time to carefully choose the herbs for the tea. The response to the warm liquid is a big “Yes” and “Thank you” from my body.

Ah, here it is! The drops of rain are rapidly falling on the roof and skylights, adding their own rhythm to the day. Frodo, my dear old deaf dog, is lying quietly by my side not hearing any of it. I miss our long walks in all kinds of weather. DW-Elke&Frodo P1120504We had so many adventures together: climbing hills, discovering new paths in the forests and valleys, checking out stormy seas while walking on beaches with the wind almost knocking us over. There was always this sense of being connected, even though we were exploring our world in different ways. I often wondered what Frodo was discovering when he sniffed something that had called to him from some distance. He would give it all his attention for a long period of time while I was gazing at the beautiful vista before me or taking a closer look at something I found on the path. I often joked that he must be reading a whole book before he finally moved on to the next smell. Now we only venture out together so he can do his business before he turns immediately back to the safety of home. Food and comfort are now his greatest joy.

Thunder unexpectedly adds it’s bass voice as the wind increases noticeably, bringing the chimes to life. Their higher pitch is startling and really stands out as the storm’s hum increases and decreases in unpredictable patterns.

Life has been rather unpredictable lately. While writing this I recognize that life is ever changing like this storm, even though there have been many periods in my life P1080769that have felt more steady with a certain pattern. Perhaps I have forgotten the challenges each day presented then. Looking into the eye of the storm I see that my exhaustion stems from trying to control what is going on in my life and work, and having expectations of myself that I cannot possibly meet in this endless sea of change.

Gratitude for the wind arises in me as it is making me pay close attention. It’s loud voice cannot be ignored. Listening I once again remember the key is to “trust life”, whatever it brings and that I will never figure it all out or get it all done.

For now the idea of rest sounds lovely indeed. I will give myself this gift of comforting tea and warm fire as I watch the beauty of the storm unfold without me having to do anything. My books and journal like faithful friends lying by my side just like Frodo and the joy of writing filling my heart once again.

 

 

Even though

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Even though it is raining here day after day or so it seems, spring is here and awakens me to fully be and participate in the great unfolding of life. I want to share with you on this grey morning a beautiful blessing by John O’Donohue.

Let us bless the imagination of the Earth.

That knew early the patience to harness the mind of time,

Waited for the seas to warm, ready to welcome the emergence

Of things dreaming of voyaging among the stillness of land…

Let us thank the Earth that offers ground for home

And holds our feet firm to walk in space open to infinite galaxies.

Let us salute the silence and certainty of mountains:

Their sublime stillness, their dream-filled hearts.

The wonder of a garden trusting the first warmth of spring…

The humility of the Earth that transfigures all that has fallen of outlived growth.

The kindness of the Earth, opening to receive

our worn forms into the final stillness.

Let us ask forgiveness of the Earth

For all our sins against her:

for our violence and poisonings of her beauty.

Let us remember within us the ancient clay, holding the memory of seasons,

The passion of the wind, the fluency of water, the warmth of fire,

The quiver-touch of the sun and shadowed sureness of the moon.

That we may awaken to live to the full the dream of the Earth

Who chose us to emerge and incarnate its hidden night in mind, spirit and light.

Mysterious Connections

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A Great Blue Heron is sitting perfectly still on the walkway to our little dock. It has been there for a few hours now. The possibility of capturing this rare sight made me rush outside in my nightdress early this morning, only to find that my camera has stopped working. As I stood there shivering in the breeze, I noticed my resistance to accepting the reality of my camera having died without warning. It had served me so well. Then I remembered my commitment to trust life. Making my way back to the warmth of Elkenwolf cottage I considered the joys and possibilities a new or slightly used camera could bring.

Watching the sun illuminate the tidal water, the vibrant spring greens and the Heron’s feathers in the most magical way, I gratefully witness this morning’s offering. As I find a picture on the computer that I took last summer (see above) the Heron starts walking up to the land, talking softly with each careful and graceful step. Spreading it’s wings for a moment, calling now loudly, he then turns around and goes back to the same spot in the middle of the walkway hovering over the glistening water. There he begins his preening ritual, calling every now and again. I can’t help but wonder if he is calling for a mate on this unpredictable Spring day. Silently watching and writing, I feel a deep sense of connection and being a part of what is here.

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Last week I began walking to my car which I park over two kilometres from our home near where the pavement ends, rather than driving our old pickup truck on the off-road section. On one of these walks I noticed myself being caught again in the torrent of thoughts about work and the busy-ness of my mind, almost missing what was actually there for me in that moment. So I looked a little closer at a ditch filled with rainwater and a leaf beneath the surface beckoned my attention, as did a robin on a storm-topped tree. We gazed at each other curiously in the stillness of the morning.

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However it was the bubbles in a little creek further along that were the most unexpected gift and reminded me of a favourite childhood delight and the mystery of blowing bubbles out into the world. As I entered fully the here and now, the discoveries were numerous and some astonishing like the face that stared out from the rushing little stream. If you look closely perhaps you will see it too. P1160149 A sense  of wonder spread through me and I became aware of another strong memory, one I’ve been getting glimpses of on these walks.

It is a fluent memory of a walk last May to the Panau-nui Pu’u Loa petroglyphs on Hawai’i. Pu’u Loa, means the “long hill” or “Hill-(of)-long-(life)”. It is a sacred place with over 23,000 petroglyphs carved into the hard lava stone. The hike to the petroglyphs had a very special quality to it. It was something I knew I needed to do on my own. As I hiked to the site I met a few tourists on the path, but soon found myself completely alone. It felt like each step took me further into timelessness and something so ancient and yet so vibrantly present. I remembered reading about the old custom of the Hawaiin people that were connected to this sacred land whose families brought the umbilical cords of their newborn babies to this ancient site, leaving each in a carved hole covered with a rock and special symbols praying for a long life for the child.P1100165 I couldn’t help but wonder how many had walked this path in reverence and had prayed here asking for their child or grandchild to be blessed with a long, well-lived life. I felt myself being called here and there, standing before each carving and just being completely present in the mystery and the story that each one contained. One of these carvings stood out in particular and spoke to me in a very deep way. I heard myself speaking words of prayer and gratitude with tears filling my eyes. It was hard to leave, but when I finally turned to go, I heard people arriving filling the stillness with their voices. To this day I have no idea why this particular carving spoke to me in such a way. But on these walks to and from my car, as I put one foot in front of the other, the memory of that particular hike on the black lava stone and the mysterious connection I felt there, comes alive in me, leaving me in the great wonder of how it is all connected.

The Heron is still here, gazing now quietly out over the bay while standing on one leg. It’s complete calmness and balance calls me into the centre of my own being. May the wonder of these mysterious connections stay alive in all of us, open and guide us on our individual and collective journeys.

And once again a poem wants to be shared. This one is called “Stone” written by David Whyte.

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 The face in the stone is a mirror looking into you.
 You have gazed into the moving waters,
 you have seen the slow light, in the sky
 above Lough Inagh, beneath you, streams have flowed,
 and rivers of earth have moved beneath your feet,
 but you have never looked into the immovability
 of stone like this, the way it holds you, gives you
 not a way forward but a doorway in, staunches
 your need to leave, becomes faithful by going nowhere,
 something that wants you to stay here and look back,
 be weathered by what comes to you, like the way you too
 have travelled from so far away to be here, once reluctant
 and now as solid and as here and as willing
 to be touched as everything you have found.
  
 ~David Whyte