Monday, May 31, 2010

Wind Shaping

Yesterday I spent time meditating at the gardens of the ashram. It was a holiday Sunday so lots of tourists were present snapping camera shutters at everything, even me. I know how an animal in a zoo must feel. Oh look: a pale bellied middle-aged contemplator! Just sitting there on a bench facing the ocean! How unusual!

At first these tourists were distracting. And then I realized that this place blessed all of them, whether they understood the full special-ness of it, or whether this was just a place some family member made them walk through on the way to the surfing beach, because it is in the brochure of Things To Do.

I saw a man in his forties regard an oncoming flock of pelicans in full V formation. The man spread his arms wide toward them and threw his head back as they flew over him. He got it.

I saw a small family break out a wind instrument and start to softly sing and dance together as they faced the ocean. They got it.

I saw a sullen faced pair of young men, faces down as they scowled along behind a couple of older parental looking types. One spied the otherworldly bloom of the proteus bush and said “Gnarly”. The other replied, “Kewl”. They were opening up to get it.

I changed benches to get out of the sun for a bit. Once established in the shade I saw before me a beautiful bottlebrush tree. Its crown was polished by the ocean wind.

Oh how our lives are like this. We are shaped by our environment. Each of us is unique because of our life path. We are all beautiful. We come from different places, and we are shaped by those places and the experiences we have there. Just like those tourists I saw who had never seen a palmetto scrub and were so moved they were snapping photos. Beautiful. Welcome.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sand Pose

The beach is my work out gym; no member fee required. Here I find healing and exercise and peace of mind. Today I went at highest tide, with barely a skirt of sand between the surf and the cliffs. I nestled in to the rocks at the base of the wall and did stretches, yoga, and chants, with the sea rushing around my ankles with each pulse of ebb and flow. My private room on the Pacific.

Such energy! Such power! All negativity pulled away from me. My chants are carried away in the strong onshore wind. My shoulders slowly come down. My heart slowly opens once more.

Crow is here again. He sits on the cliff and turns his head upside down regarding me as I do downward facing dog. He must wonder at my awkward gyrations. Egret flies over and rolls her eyes at me.

I am alone but not alone. A dozen yards to either side of me are other humans in a similar self -absorbed ritual. No tourists here today. The tide and the location baffle all but locals. Even my flirt of surfers is tavern-side, awaiting less rip current and chop.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday Sea

More ocean today. Gold sparkles in the wet sand. White caps and violent waves even at ebb tide. Sand slipping out from under my feet as the surf retreats. I charge crystals in the swirling water and receive multiple drenching ‘blessings’ (!) by rogue waves.

Great piles of kelp swarming with flies and tickled by scurrying sand crabs. Cold clear wind. Sweet masculine flirt of surfers who wink by with a toss of bleached hair and ripple of wetsuit. Belly laughs grabbed by the wind and taken around the world. Shadows of spirit on the cliffs, and echos of chants in my head. My rucksack is heavy with treasures. The crystals are charged and giggling. An altogether beautiful day. I am most fortunate.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Crows and Mother Water

Lots of strife going on right now. Friends are ill and in hospital. There is nasty conflict and betrayal in certain arenas I must frequent. Other friends are grieving and require support. I feel the need to ground and recharge. Big time. So off I go to the Water, which for me is the Pacific Ocean.

Water helps us navigate between the two worlds: the World of Form, and the World of the Invisible (well, invisible to us, generally speaking). We live in the World of Form. The World of the Invisible is everything else. And there is a lot of it, that invisible world. It is in the invisible world that we gain energy and wisdom.

Society does not encourage us to explore the World of the Invisible. For that we need guides, both human and spirit. Elements such as Water. Shamans. Navigators. Teachers. Mediums. These help us explore. They cannot do the exploration for us. But they can guide us, and reinforce the way.

And that’s where the crow comes in. They know well both worlds and travel easily between them. They are the original: the best shape shifters of all. I love them. They are one of my totems. They seem to like me, too.

One day last week I went out of my door and found a feather laying there for me. It was a coal black feather from a fledging crow. Still had fluff and scaling around the shaft. That baby is just learning to fly. I looked up to see several crows sitting in the eucalyptus tree, regarding me. We have an agreement, they and I. We stared at each other in silence for a few moments. “Fly” they seemed to say. The oldest one turned her head to look at me from several angles. I told her she was beautiful. She gave a soft caw. It was a caress.

Later that same day I went to walk at the water’s edge and beheld a crow at a pile of kelp. While not unheard of this is rather unusual. Typically we see gulls and varieties of surf running birds on the beach. But this day it was a crow, feasting on kelp flies. Seeing him made me smile.

The crows are with me. All is well.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Wing and a Prayer

Well, My Darlings, I’ve been a bit MIA lately and I apologize for that. So much has been going on. And it’s been an emotional roller coaster. But on balance a good one.

First (the challenging part): Two close friends were hospitalized with scary maladies and accordingly lots of psychic energy and time went to them (they are well). Second: (the fascinating but tiring part): the forensic medium-ship aspect of my life has been extremely busy with a lot of medical record reviews and reports.

Then (the raucous and loving part): the ICDI convention was in town. I got to take class with incredibly gifted people and see and play with friends I only get to visit in person a few times a year. And it isn't everyday you get to see Louise Hay come onstage wearing a flowing golden cowl and announce she was just awarded a doctoral degree at age 83. And (the joyful part): I’ve been working on the book; in general staying in a very positive flow of joy and happy-ness.

The final thing taking my attention (the obsessive part): Molly’s owlets ( ref: March 15) are now fledging. Nightly thousands of us orb in via the internet and watch as the teenagers take their tentative first steps outside the owl box, sit on the fledging shelf and contemplate the mechanics of flight and rodenticide.

Watching these beautiful young birds puts me in thought about the emotion and fear associated with life path actions. Nightly the owlets poke their bobbing heads out of the door, regard the sky, stare at the trees, poke a foot out, step out, and step back in. They will sit on the perch for thirty minutes at a time and flap their wings, never letting go of the perch with their feet. The younger ones remain in the box and stare out at their older siblings in wonder and encouragement. OMG! They seem to say. Whatcha doing? OMG! Look at you!

They are testing their wings and building strength. They are feeling the air in their feathers and smelling the night sky. They are learning the sounds of squeaks that signal a meal is near, and as well the sounds of the soft pant and tread of coyotes, signaling a time of danger.

The chat room streams with human emotion wishing them safety and strength. When will they take flight? When will they complete their first hunt? Anxiety and anticipation! Such human qualities. We are a frail, fearful species. And we have such anxiety about the future!

The owls know. They will know when to let go of the perch. They aren’t fearful. They are discerning. They understand the time of testing, the time of contemplation. They do sufficient of that to gain understanding and strength and then they act. They leap into the night sky with the faith that this is life, and it is time to let go and take themselves into an unknown; an unknown that holds the future. No anxiety. Just confidence, exploration, and action.

We humans can take such lessons from the owls. We tend to hold on to the perch past the point of learning. We hold on when we should be taking flight. I suppose we do it out of fear. How silly. How wasteful.

It’s time for flight. Let go.

[photo by Carlos Royal]