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

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.

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.

Letting in the Light

Last week the heavy energy that had been accumulating in the form of humidity where I live, was released by a night of tremendous thunderstorms. Structures shook with the power of lightning, as the clouds and wind brought the rain back to the earth and lifted dense energy to light.

The next day I felt lighter, in fact I felt so light I knew I was not completely grounded to the Earth. That is the trade-off of too much light. It can leave us feeling as though we could easily drift into the heavens. Not by accident, it was a turtle that brought me back down to Earth. Turtle is the animal symbol of Mother Earth, and the teacher who shows us how to join Heaven and Earth inside of our bodies. There it was in front of me as I walked the path in the woods with my dogs. A small snapper stopped on its way. I couldn’t help but pause, knowing that there was a message in this unexpected creature, and as I did, the dogs too took notice. In a flash, the turtle jumped to meet the sniffing nose of Daisy, and as I watched my dog retract in pain, I followed the drip of her red blood as it met the Earth.

I was back on this plane.

We, as souls incarnated as humans, face the challenge of balancing the elements inside of our beings. Too much air and we lose our ground; too much earth and we feel heavy; too much fire and we feel rage; too much water and we are over-come with emotion.

Today, I asked my guides about light and realized as I transcribed their words that we each, individually, have the ability to bring light to our shadows and heal the wounds we accumulate through our lives and store within our cells. Not long ago I was convinced I needed someone else, a trained healer of energy, to heal my centers of pain. Perhaps I did need this catalyst, for soon after I started paying attention to moments when the intellect gives way to the soul. In my sleep and in my meditations, my body let in the energy of light, and healed the pain lurking in the shadows.

These were dramatic moments, like the sessions I had with the energy healer. There are though, I’ve come to realize, many ways to bring in the healing energy of light. Months ago, I started tuning into the energy of trees, and felt my body bounce each time I passed large pines and oaks while I walked through the forest. When we laugh we release heavy energy and let in the light. Sometimes the act is involuntary, like a sneeze, or a good cry.

This morning I did my tai chi forms outside, with my bare feet finding balance on the uneven ground. With martial arts forms like tai chi (yoga also does this), we bring the red energy of the Earth Mother into our bodies, drawing it up through the soles of our feet as we plant them firmly on the ground. It is an active event. The breath is the vehicle. When we breathe in we draw energy into our bodies and disperse it throughout our cells. The body moves with the breath, which exhales from deep within, drawing the toxins out of the shadows and dispersing them into the air. In doing this we find our power. We become charged with light energy, with our feet still firmly planted on the ground.

Each of us has the ability to be our own energy healers. Taking the time to listen to your spirit and finding the method(s) that work for you, will bring unquestionable benefits. It’s not something, as I was reminded today, you can do only on occasion, but ideally, a daily practice. What makes your soul lighter? Is it singing, writing, painting, dancing, gardening, or cooking and eating healthy foods? Or something else? Most likely there will be many answers that come to you. It’s worth the exploration.