Gifts from the Sea, Sky & Land and Why I Still Believe in Beauty #lifeisbeautiful #seaturtle #turtlesymbolism #kindness

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Photo Credit: <a href="http://Image by Andres Hernandez from Pixabay” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Pixabay

I have thought often of the sea turtle over these last two weeks as the knot in my shoulder grows with the tension of stress. She appeared suddenly, unexpected. I was paddling too far out from the shore in the warm waters surrounding Grand Cayman Island. My daughter, her friend, and my son where off in the distance, and I found myself pulled in equal measure toward the water and to the three of them, scattered around me on their boards.

My thoughts drifted over the waves as my heart filled with love and gratitude for the beauty surrounding me. The day before I had swam with rainbow fish through bleached coral. Fed stingrays from my palms. A tourist in a land not mine. I wanted to give thanks for the intrusion. For allowing me to experience the joy of being held in the buoyant embrace of tropical waters. Water I knew was suffering, but still held beauty fiercely.

“December Winds,” the islanders had called it. An ocean usually like glass whipped into waves by the wind. We were way past the red marker, my daughter the one to notice and call us back in. I had become lost, temporarily, in joy. The turtle rose through the current for breath while I was in my reverie. A juvenile tattooed with the beauty of youth, appeared suddenly before my board. A head that felt ancient with wisdom lifted towards the sun, followed by one fin-like arm. A mere moment in time hovering in stasis before the water swallowed its gift back home.

It was so brief an encounter, it felt like a dream. I was the only witness to a greeting that felt sacred and secret, but I wanted to share it. I paddled through the current, trying to catch sight of the turtle once more. Hoping it would come up again for air as I called to the three scattered teenagers. That’s when my daughter noticed we were too far from shore and began reeling us in with her voice. The turtle was never spotted again, and when we reached the sand, it became more legend than truth. I am used to being a “crazy mother,” so that was okay. The gift was still with me, even if my eyes were the only two to bear witness.

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Yesterday’s snow

I have since returned to the cold land of New England. Yesterday it snowed, and I found myself shoveling the driveway while Mille the cat raced up the hemlocks and across my cleared path. I was tired and sore from days of painting the bathroom, and from worrying about life. Across the road, my neighbor was doing the same thing, only she had a lot further to go to clear the white layers to rejoin her house to the street.

So I shoveled around the mailbox then crossed the road. Sometimes gifts come when we need them most. Unexpected, yet at just the right time. I didn’t know that my neighbor’s hip was bothering her, or that her husband was away, until we began to chat over the lift of our shovels. And somehow we got around to the state of the world. It felt like deja vu. Three winters prior I had been there with her husband, who had recently gone through rotator cuff surgery, shoveling snow and talking about our world. And, once again, I found myself in equal parts gratitude and despair.

“I’m glad I’m no longer a teacher,” my neighbor confessed. “I can’t imagine dealing with third graders who think they can act out because their president does.” I am paraphrasing her words, which carried the heat of her frustration. I felt it too. This world that we share so filled with incomprehensible immorality. A world that despite our best efforts, is still beautiful.

I looked at the still falling snow and felt the softening of its touch. Gratitude filled a weary heart once again. Gratitude for the blessings for the white weight of frozen water  blanketing a troubled land. The anxiety inside of me was still present, but lessened by its touch, just as the warm waters of the Caribbean and its turtle had lifted me into joy when I needed the reminder that life is indeed beautiful.

Hours later, the blessing of the snow would test me with a call from my daughter. “Mom, mom, are you there? I went off the road. Can you come?” The knot in my shoulder tightening as I turned off the stove, gathered keys, shovel, sand, and my wallet, and dragging my irritated son out of his room, just in case.

Gratitude returned later, after I realized it could have been so much worse. She was fine, as was her friend, the passenger. Even the car was fine, despite being tipped into a ditch. “You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve seen this here,” my kind neighbor up the road, whom I’d never met before, told me as he offered his assistance. “I’ve offered to pull them out, if you can find the hitch.”

I couldn’t, but there was also the young policeman behind them, who had somehow gotten there before me, even though I’m five minutes away. That’s the kind of town I live in, though. Help is never far away. “Don’t worry,” he told me. “I’m staying here.” And minutes later he was beside us once again as I fumbled with icy hands to dial for a tow. “Forget it,” he told me as he looked over shoulder to witness the ridiculous hoops I was going through to get to the end result (whatever happened to people answering phones?), “I’ll call one in. It will be faster.”

Today is a quiet day. The snow has settled from its fall from the sky and the landscape is cocooned in its nest.  I don’t know what the next moment will bring, but there is a stick of butter thawing on my counter. Sometime, later on, I will mix it with chocolate and ginger, using a recipe from a good friend who will soon be calling. Forming a dough to bake into cookies for a young officer whose kindness went beyond the call of duty. And so for now, I sit here on the couch, writing and contemplating the beauty that wraps us always in its embrace. Even when we swirl inside chaos.

Entering bliss through the heart

It’s the only way, really. Isn’t it? To enter bliss through the heart. Yet, we try so many other ways. I am thinking of the energy of the second chakra in particular. That womb of creation where energy stirs in fiery red/orange when truly ignited by love. I am thinking about Kimberly Harding of Soul Healing Art (check it out, she has wonderful posts) who often writes and paints about this chakra. And, I am thinking about the many messengers Spirit has sent me over the past week.

Yesterday, there was the hummingbird, a messenger of joy, soundlessly flying her green-gold glory into my gardens to penetrate and retrieve the sweet elixir of life from the open, red flowers of bee balm.

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One may think of sex, in the many ways the womb of creation, with its feminine energy is penetrated by the masculine energy of activation. Sometimes, fertilization occurs and something quite wonderful and new is born. There is the energy that is created when the masculine and feminine energies peak into climatic joy, and truly merge and join in a harmonic frequency of bliss.

And, one can think of the hummingbird, and how penetration of joy need not be overtly masculine and never needs to be aggressive. In fact, it’s the aggression, the over-use of male energy that creates a damping and compression of the feminine fire. Look at that hummingbird making love to the bee balm. The image is beautiful and soft. The bird knows only joy and light, for it is her purpose.

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There is nothing aggressive, nothing forced about her light-body as it silently hums over the flower. The hummingbird, with her green-gold feathers, lives through the heart, the divine path to joy and the opening of creative fire.

Two days before I saw the hummingbird, I found myself creating a circle of green stones around an orange stone. The green stones resonated with the heart chakra, the orange, the sacral, or second chakra. I was, I realized, activating the sacral chakra through the heart, in preparation for an energy healing session.

Spirit often brings me symbols and messages in dreams and visions before I have healing sessions with clients. The eve before this session, I had fallen into sleep with a vision of Mt. St. Helens.  I felt my soul leave my body on the wings of Spirit, as I soured over the exposed womb of a blood-red mountain. I was seeing the energy of the volcanic mountain not with the eye, but with the soul.

There were messages from the goddess of the mountain, some of which I can still recall, others have imprinted their emotional memory upon my cells. It was the energy that mattered. That womb, open and exposed and still working to heal. Gaia’s red energy activated through her green heart. A larger, much more intense, representation of the hummingbird and the bee balm I would see days later.

Sometimes, when our creative fires are dormant for too long, when we allow them to build against the walls of a womb without allowing them the freedom to explore the channels of our mind/body/soul, we face the threat of eruption. This happens to Gaia, this happens to humans, as we are all one. We share compression, we share release. When I flew over the volcano, I saw a sacrifice. I saw a gift. I felt the energy of Gaia open and exposed, so that we could learn and receive.

A wise, intuitive friend of mine pointed me to the Gaia Stone after telling her about my dream. It is a brilliant green gem forged from the ashes of St. Helen’s. A heart-stone created from fire. It’s frequency works to heal the emotional heart inside of us, to find the balance lost.

I have found that all fears find a place in the heart. When one is lucky enough to live in the pure state of joy, like the hummingbird, there is no need for violent eruptions of energy, there is only the soft energy of a heart filled with joy. Can we get there together? Can we heal our hearts, and in doing so, heal the wounded heart of the Earth?

A Collector of Hope

Sometimes, when I get discouraged by the trash that re-appears each week on roadsides, I think of the collector of cigarettes on the corner of Wende Dr. and Derry Rd. While I waited for the traffic to clear, I would watch him behind the windshield of my car. Trying to be discrete, I would peak at his bent form, his eyes focused on the task at hand, as he plucked cigarettes out of the sand and bagged them like precious peaches fresh from the farm.

He must have been in his mid-to-late eighties during the six years I lived in southern NH. His advanced age was obvious, the stoop of her shoulders, one could see, was not limited, but perhaps, accentuated by, the hours he spent each week searching through the sand. He looked, in fact, as though he were part of the landscape, weathered by time. Tan work-boots caked in dust adorned his shuffling feet, above which more dust colored his faded trousers and plaid shirt. The man I called the “Cigarette  Collector,” wore an untrimmed beard that covered lips I imagined mumbled sounds coherent only to his mind. While I watched, he greeted no one, but the earth below his feet.

As I waited for my turn to exit my neighborhood, I would imagine the life of this mysterious man. When I was a child, growing up in a small town in central NH, there was once an old man, we’ll call him Mr. Witherspoon, who used to live in a tiny run-down house painted red beside a creek. Mr. Witherspoon, as far as I knew, kept to himself and lived alone. This only added to his intrigue.

It wasn’t often that my path would cross by his house, but when it did I would stare at the trophies that lined his lightless windows and try to imagine him as a young man. It was easier to picture him as an eccentric recluse, shuttered against time. The tiny stream beside his house, I became convinced, was where he bathed, even in the snows of winter.

I never got to know Mr. Witherspoon, just as I never got to know the collector of cigarettes who spent hours each week clearing a small space of earth of discarded debris. As far as I knew, the mysterious old man that captivated my adult imagination, collected only cigarettes, for his plastic bread-bag held only their candy-corn colors.

I found the cigarette collector’s regular presence both sad and comforting. To me, he looked lonely and withdrawn, but perhaps I was merely projecting my own emotions onto him. Yet, he gave me hope. The old man was a symbol of timeless grace and compassion. His feet moved in a slow dance across the sand that was captivating and beautiful. His heart, I knew, was beating the sacred rhythm of the Earth he cared enough about to keep clean.

A Walk to School

DSCF3332I spent the early part of the morning, after I’d loaded the kids off to school, stressed. I could feel the tension rising in my chest as I searched my home office for the packet of photographs my birthfather had sent me months ago, then, when I found them, how to scan the ones I wanted from my printer onto the computer.

While I was looking for the photographs, I shifted through piles of debris, hardly giving these stored mementos a second glance in my panic to find the photos. Instead, there were the barely perceptible pauses as I catalogued the contents for later review. As my mind wandered to many places, I kept hearing the voice inside telling me to get outside. Downstairs the banana bread I had made for my son’s class was sitting on the counter cooling, and the voice urged, Why don’t you walk it to school?

As I showered, having given up on my efforts to scan the recovered photographs, the voice kept coming back. I thought about the time it would take (the school is only about a mile from my house), and whether the dogs would protest. But, as I sliced and wrapped the bread, popping a heal in my mouth to make sure it would pass the taste bud test of 7 and 8 year olds, I thought, What the heck, I’m going to walk.

The dogs barely noticed, as I wafted by them with my bag of bread and quickly opened and closed the front door. They knew, as I did, they’d still get their daily allotment of 3 walks/day. It’s a rare day when they don’t.

There’s something about stepping from the enclosure of a building into the open air that has an immediate effect of lifting one’s mood. Well, at least for me. Especially on a fine, spring day. Instantly, I felt lighter and the tension began pouring out of my cells. I had, I realized, through the urging of Spirit, given myself a gift.

Even though I stayed on the roadside, I was surrounded by bird-song and that showy abundance of chlorophyl one finds only in spring and summer. There’s a reason why so many people go into the cathedral of nature to find themselves, and to heal. Green is the color that vibrates from the healthy heart, it’s the aura of a healer, and it’s the expression of life in nature. Unless one is metaphorically asleep, you cannot help but feel the uplifting effects of being in the presence of  plants and trees.

As I walked to the school, I inhaled the color green with each breath, and took in the gifts Nature had to offer me. On the way home, I asked Spirit for a plastic bag (an easy request, as they’re often tangled in the undergrowth of trees), and found one minutes later caught in the hands of a small shrub. The roadside was full of discarded debris, and I began piling soda and beer cans, disposable coffee cups, cigarette packages and butts, and all manner of plastic inside my too small bag.

If I hadn’t taken the extra time to walk to my son’s school on this beautiful day, I would not have seen the black bird fly across my path. I would not have taken that deep breath to absorb the gift of its energy, and in turn, hear its message of reassurance, You will find your way. If I had driven my car, I would not have paused, while retrieving bits of styrofoam, to seen the pair of orioles  spreading sunshine through the pines. And, I would not have paused beside the fire pond to watch the light dance on water.

The Heart of a Tree

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It’s been an emotional week for me, as I process the energy of rebirth. In this time of spring, this is what I am choosing to call the destruction around me. On Tuesday and Wednesday, 7 trees were felled in my yard in an effort to bring the unfiltered energy of the sun to my too-shaded home. There is mold my attic, there is green mildew creeping along the white edges of my siding.

You could say I put this off for too long, but each cut of the chainsaw was felt inside my heart. My love for trees extends back, I am sure, lifetimes, but my memories start in my childhood as a little girl seeking happiness in a life of loss and new beginnings. When I was 5, and beginning a new life apart from my birthfather and extended family, I climbed the slender limbs of young maples to seek refuge, and to find peace. Here, in the embrace of a tree, I would find a joy that was often elusive on the ground.

Some of us, especially those who have totem animals such as bear, are meant to climb trees, even as adults. All of us, can benefit from their energies. When I walk in a forest of trees, I heal my inner child. When I walk in a forest of trees, I find myself laughing and skipping with joy. Sometimes, I sing and dance. I am alone, but I am not.

Trees, with their ability to live for hundreds to thousands of years, harbor souls of wisdom. Their roots mix and mingle with the energy of the underworld, where the Earth radiates love to ground and births life. The arms of trees bloom into canopies of green, harnessing the divine energies of the universe. Stand or sit with your back pressed agains a tree’s trunk, and you cannot help but feel this powerful connection of energies. It is sacred.

Before my 7 trees were felled, I visited each one individually. Placing offerings of found feathers, dried sage, and lavender at their feet, I whispered words of gratitude, and asked for forgiveness. With my body aligned with theirs, I felt our energies joined into the universal energy of love. Along with their forgiveness, I asked the elemental spirits who tend to the trees, to rebirth their energies into new life.

It has been a week of rain and sun, fitting for rebirth. Today there is the energy of gray stillness – the aftermath of death, which is not death, but a pause as energy is recycled and repurposed. The only water that drips, is from my eyes. Although I await this new life, and the sun’s healing rays, I mourn the loss of 7 trees.

Earth: A Love Story

When I was a child, I would lie on the ground with my face to the sky so I could feel the heartbeat of Earth. In those quiet moments I felt the gentle pulse of energy that radiates from the body of our planet rocking my cells, as I stared at the expanse of sky above me. It brought me peace and comfort, and, at the same time, filled me with an awe of my “small” place inside this vast womb we call home.

Some days you can still find my flat on my back, gazing into the atmosphere. Have you tried it? I hope you have. I hope you will. In our over-industrialized culture we often forget the source of our life force, choosing to drive through our days inside the fog of technology. We hardly stop to think of the impact on the Earth and ourselves as we strip the land of its resources to add speed and “comfort” to our days. We can do this because Earth is a forgiving mother. She keeps feeding us, she keeps offering her oxygen for our breath, and she continues to quench our thirst with her reservoirs of water.

Earth: A Love Story

Yet, when we allow ourselves to observe the body of Earth we see that we have stretched her belly to the extend that she has well-exceeded her capacity to carry a healthy womb of life. We have contaminated her waters, air and soil with our waste, so that not only is her health compromised, but the health of all of her children. Just as a fetus is affected by the nutrients (or lack of) a mother takes into her body, and by the toxins she ingests, so too are we affected by the conditions of this womb of Earth we live inside.

I didn’t set out to preach in this blog, really, I didn’t. Rather, I set out to make a plea for a collective understanding. You see, for me this is a love story. A love story between our planet and us. And some days, like today, I am reminded that it is still taking a very tragic turn. When I logged onto Facebook (no, I’m not denying that I am also slave to technology) this morning I was greeted by a wonderfully beautiful testament to Mother Nature in the form of a friend’s painting. And, I was also greeted by a shared video of an island filled with dying albatross, whose bellies are bloated by our indigestible waste. The bellies of some are so filled with junk that they cannot harbor viable life. How many more decades, I wondered, will I be looking at these heart-wrenching images? How many decades can we afford?

Nature's Love by Karen Kubicko
Nature’s Love by Karen Kubicko

When will we collectively awaken? When will we heal this mother that gives us life, and, in doing so, heal ourselves? We can start by feeling her heartbeat inside our own. Everyday.

Mother Nature’s GMO

This morning in my email mailbox I had a newsletter from Kaitlyn Keyt, who communicates with nature spirits to create high vibrational products. Her website is: http://vibesup.com/

In today’s newsletter she wrote about programming plant seeds with your saliva to grow  produce designed for your best health. Quite a wild concept, isn’t it? I bet you want to try it? I do.

Naturally, I felt the urge to write a little poem:

Mother Nature’s GMO

she said spit on seeds
I thought of almonds
coated with candy

lay them on earth, catch
sun rays, burn your code
back into the womb

“Let the day find you.” – Mary A. Hall, channeling the Divine