Tag Archives: Awareness

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.

Clearing The Path

img_1527Waking up at four in the morning from the rain and wind, creating a wild song that reminded me a lot of the rhythm “Chaos” in the 5Rhythms movement practice, in which a wave consists of five rhythms: flow, staccato, chaos, lyrical and stillness. Chaos has always been my least favorite part of the wave, finding it challenging to move to music that feels jarring not only to my body but my senses as well. Usually I would either resist it or eventually surrender to it. Last night the raindrops hitting the metal roof from the trees above in loud chaotic patterns and fitful waves, combined with the unpredictable gusts of wind making the cabin moan and groan, made sleeping rather challenging.

The sudden sound effects kept pulling me out of sleep again and again, causing my mind to try to identify the unruly sounds of the night and wrestling with the thoughts and fears they evoked. At one point going back to sleep seemed impossible, as my mind had latched onto the question that had been swirling around for a day, of what it means to ascend.

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Earlier in the day I had read about this week’s photo challenge “Ascend”, which had awakened in me that particular question, never mind figuring out a photo that would fit this theme. My first response was wanting to google the word “ascend” as an easy way out, so that my mind would rest and let me go back to sleep. But I knew this wouldn’t be enough, something was prompting me to listen to the answer inside of me. After a while of listening  to the wild noise outside and contemplating the question, I had to admit, that “I don’t know!”, and this opened up a space to see some things I couldn’t see before.

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Remembering how much I resisted having to clear the path to the meditation area earlier that day, which was totally overgrown and the jungle had reclaimed it when no-one was paying attention or using it anymore. Wrestling with spiky leaves from the giant century plant and thorny raspberry canes that would tear my flesh and clothing, adding to the “not wanting to do this” and feeling too tired from the super long bus rides into town, not to mentioned the rain which added to the discomfort and resistance.

P1200108.jpgAs the day was coming to an end and it was getting to hard to see, I suddenly noticed a shift in me. Looking around the space I had uncovered and created, I sensed a new spaciousness inside of me and the resistance that was so present earlier, was no where to be found.

Lying there in bed in those early morning hours, I could suddenly see how removing each thorny bush, thick ferns and weeds was also clearing out my own inner entanglement of thoughts, fears, beliefs and desires, img_1522which is exactly what meditation helps us do. Just as my resistance to the noise of the wind and rain was exactly the chaos I needed to wake up and shake out the last remaining ties or blockages, which is exactly what chaos in 5 Rhythms dancing gives us the opportunity to do, which then can lead to inner stillness even when the wind is rocking my little cabin.

Remembering the work of the last thirty days here, all the clearing and weeding of the jungle, as well as bagging pig dirt (the earth that the wild pigs loosen from the lava rocks and we can then use for planting), I feel such gratitude and can see the perfection of it all. How everything is helping me on my path, repeatedly prompting me to love life and what is, love what I am a part of creating and becoming, even if it looks like pig dirt and embracing this impulse to clear the barriers, to evolve and ascend.

Thinking of what happened after I stopped clearing the meditation area, brought a big smile to my face. Hurrying back to my cabin to get out of my wet clothes and change into something dry and warm,img_1521 I disturbed a gecko, who had been lounging on my chair and promptly escaped into the pile of clothing that were there. Seeing his tail sticking out of my pajama pants, I couldn’t help but laugh at the humour of it all and carried my little friend outside, before he got into more mischief. What better way to remind me of not getting too comfortable or fall asleep, but a Gecko in my pajama pants!

I also began noticing the difference in me now as I listened to the rain and wind’s wildness with a sense of openness and gratitude for waking me up and helping me see, that as I am clearing the path and the meditation area, I am clearing the trail to my own inner stillness and center.

After writing down some of these awarenesses, I turned off my headlamp and for a little while I could still see the light in mind’s eye, even though the cabin was once again wrapped in darkness shaking like a leaf in the wind. I wondered for a moment if the light was perhaps shining from my third eye and showing me the way to ascension. This idea brought a soft smile to my face, as I drifted into sleep, listening to the beautiful awakening sound of chaos.

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In response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Ascend

 

The Ancient Ones Are Calling

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Grandmother Turtle was calling me in her mysterious way long before I even knew I was returning to the Big Island of Hawaii. Her vivid image kept appearing in my mind’s eye when least expected. She had been there to greet me when I arrived on my birthday last year and to my surprise and delight met her again in the exact same spot on the day I had to leave. She had a curious mark on her shell which helped me recognize her immediately and there was something special about sitting with her at a respectful distance on both my first and last day on the island. Her ancient presence held me spell bound. It felt like she was transmitting something on an energetic level that cannot be put into words.

As soon as I got back to Hawaii a couple of weeks ago, I returned to the same sacred spot where we had met. Somehow I already knew that she wouldn’t be there, it didn’t matter. I felt her presence as clearly as on the first and last time we met. I stood there watching two much younger turtles make their way home into the ocean surrounded by many visitors capturing their escape on camera.

Leaving the beautiful sunshine and heat of the Kona area behind, as well as the sweetly familiar landscape and landmarks, I made my way towards the Volcano National Park. Turning off the highway a few miles from the park entrance, where eventually an unpaved lane led me to my new temporary home at a rustic artist sanctuary at a much higher elevation with much cooler temperatures and huge amounts of rainfall.

Settling into the jungle and rustic cabin was easy, feeling welcomed by the other women as well as nature. The wild pigs had opened up the path to the rustic cabin I am staying in, which the rain turned into mud. Feeling the squishy mud beneath my feet as I carried my suitcase to my humble home, I had a sense of stepping deeper into an unfolding mystery and this might turn out to be quite different from the dream that brought me here.

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Within a few days of my arrival three of us drove to a beautiful beach near Hilo where the sun gifted us with some heat, which was most welcomed after sleeping with four blankets at night to stay warm in my unheated little abode. Exploring the beach and cliff, I was immediately captivated by the dramatic and stunning contrast of the green vegetation against blue sky and the turquoise water and white waves crashing against the black lava. The wild beauty was stunning, bringing me deeply into the present moment.

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Yet I felt strangely vulnerable standing out on that cliff covered in black uneven lava rock with huge waves rolling towards me. Both fear and exhilaration took their turns in me as wave after wave crashed against the rocks, some so unexpectedly big and powerful bringing the water way too close for my comfort level.

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Deciding that I wanted to find more peaceful surroundings, I made my way back to a channel I had waded through to get to the cliff. Soon I discovered a perfect spot right at the edge of this channel, where I could watch fish of different shapes, colours and sizes enjoy the calm water leading into a sheltered pool.

It took me a while to notice her. She was sleeping underwater, her shell blending completely into the rocks she was lying on. It was almost a shock when I realized that the giant rock in the channel beneath me was really a giant turtle. This one was even bigger than the one I met last year. A new friend of mine sat on the opposite side of the channel and we both sat silent in the presence of this giant ancient being. People came by, some noticed her and some not. One made a comment that she surely must be dead as she was lying completely motionless on the bottom of the water.

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When another giant turtle swam through the channel right over her, she lifted her head and soon made her way to the surface. Watching her take a her first breath after being under water for a very long time was like watching a baby take it’s first breath. As she looked at me and acknowledged my presence, I had the same feeling I had a year earlier when Grandmother Turtle greeted me. Then she turned her head slowly and looked at my friend on the other side before sinking back to the bottom resting on the matching rocks. My friend and I looked at each other, neither one of us had words to describe this experience. “Awe” doesn’t even come close.

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As I sit here writing this, “Flash Flood Warning” messages appear on my phone every couple of minutes as the heavy rain keeps coming down relentlessly, and I wonder what we could learn from these ancient ones, what messages they might have for us if we cared to listen.

As I slowly break through my resistance of the endless rain drenching me each and every day, keeping me awake most of the night with the intense drumming on the metal roof of my cabin four feet from my head, teaching me to surrender, rather than resist what life is bringing me, encouraging me to open to the gift that is waiting to be fully received in this moment.

I remember last year around this time I volunteered at an amazing fundraising event for Standing Rock on our little island, bringing so many of us together, recognizing the incredible importance of water. The event was a huge success beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. “Water is Life” our small community choir sang at the benefit. The powerful words are still ringing in my heart as is the power of people coming together and stand together for what is sacred.

Each day the lessons around water deepen and bring greater awareness. Yesterday we decorated our new “African Shower Bucket”, that has brought us immense amount of delight in decorating, as well as much appreciation for being able to wash our hair and bodies with warm water. After many cold shower this is truly heaven. And it is not lost on us, that there are many in the world who have little or no access to water. So I am letting go of my dream of sunshine and embrace both the incredible abundance, the lesson and the gift, as the frogs start singing their nightly song regardless of if it’s raining or not.

Return, Return, Return

 

P1190884Waking up to Kingfisher’s loud and distinct rattling call, I opened my eyes to see what was going on. The little ducks, that come to stay in the bay and grace us with their presence every winter, have returned and for some reason this is either not to Kingfisher’s liking or perhaps he is just very excited that they are back to keep him company during the darker winter months. As he is announcing their arrival to the whole world, I watch him fly low over the ducks from shore to tree and back again, over and over while rattling away.

This summer to my delight I was lucky enough to capture three of them sitting together on the rope by the dock, a favourite resting place in the mornings, after diving in and out of the water many times for their breakfast. But lately I have seen only the one coming to sit there, pruning itself in the sunlight after the morning swim and meal.

P1170257Looking at the Kiwis lying on the table being kissed by the early morning sun, it is hard to describe the joy I feel looking at their fuzzy bodies and also felt while I was picking them as the snow was coming down in silent reverence a few days ago. Standing on the ladder twisting and turning to get those hard to reach treasures, while icy cold drops from the leaves dripped on my face and neck, running down and making me shiver with aliveness, I could feel joy spreading inside and filling me, as I picked one by one and carefully placing them in my basket.

These old Kiwi vines are a huge tangled mess and I had to laugh when my hat kept getting pulled off by the branches and pretty soon my long hair also got tangled in the vine, making it at times impossible to move. It felt good to laugh out loud, slowly untangling myself and filling the basket with so much abundance. It wasn’t lost on me as I freed my hair of how it was reflecting the untangling that is happening in my own life. Now seeing the hundreds of kiwis lying on the table, I feel awe and gratitude for Mother Nature’s incredible generosity and teachings.

P1200005While picking the fruit I was singing a favourite song I learned in choir: “The Earth, the air, the fire, the water….return, return, return!”  Standing on that ladder while snow and rain were taking turns to awaken me, I couldn’t help but hear the elements around me calling to become truly present: Return! Return! Return!

As my awareness deepened, I saw pictures in my heart’s eye of how we used to honour and celebrate together the elements, the seasons, the sun, moon and stars, and our mother…how we used to dance together around the fires celebrating all that sustains life and how deeply connected and intertwined we were with life itself.

The earth, the air, the fire and the water are singing their invitation to all of us to return, return, return…

 

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