Against the Flow

Waters of the great Pacific Ocean travel in and out of a fish hatchery nestled at the edge of an inlet.  Flocks of birds launch and land, sing and swoop, dip their beaks and bodies into the water. Some soar up to the tree tops, screaming their call to others while down below in the water, large salmon float in stillness, holding their bodies against downstream currents. They are returning home during their final stage of life. Their homeland is now covered with golden debris from millions of fallen leaves. Decay and end of life are everywhere even as dead fish can be seen laying sideways, nestled over underwater rocks.

To the observant eye, this is the natural cycle of life. There is no energy of sadness or despair but only acceptance and wonder from many people passing by. Young and old peer over the footbridge railing, looking down into the flowing creek. Some jump down onto the muddy bog that lines the creek to get a closer look. All faces appear neutral, neither solemn or grieving but open and curious. They see what they see.

What if we all approach life in this fashion? Imagine walking the road of life without fear, judgement and emotional reactions. Imagine remaining neutral and 100% present and accepting of life cycles. Then surely the great path of life would be easier. Like the fish, you could rest quietly in the moment and move forward when the time is right. You could continue every step of the way with courage and confidence on your journey back home to the place where you began. The human spirit, like the spirit of fishes, are all derived from the same source. Their home is our home. Their wise lesson for all of us to learn from this is to go against the flow when necessary in order to come home to our own true nature!

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Thriving Naturally

Nestled in a neighbourhood of homes with manicured lawns, trees, shrubs and resident selected plants is a plot of wild land. Untouched by man, there is absolutely no evidence of human interventions within this small city block. Only a very natural mix of plant life thrives here without any need for gardeners, sprinklers, landscapers or even the weed man! No specialists at all are needed here as every living thing within this area inherently knows how to thrive!

Trees young and old, broken and flourishing are randomly scattered about. At their base and surrounding them are thriving ferns and myriad mosses, lichens, fungi, ivy and thorny wild bushes. The sky high flourishing trees sway gently with the breeze while smaller plants down below creep merrily across the shaded forest floor. Many of these small plants have emerged from seasonal debris, a soft bed of crumbled tree bark and dead leaves. Age-old tree stumps also provide nutrients for new life, supporting another new generation of it’s kind and even other varieties of trees and plant life. These stumps also provide homes for millions of insects and other tiny forest critters, which surprisingly don’t bug them at all!

It is evident that harmony exists in the wilderness. Life and death co-exist in miraculous ways. The seemingly dead tree stump holds as much life as the forest floor. Appropriately named ‘nurse stumps’, they literally nurse new life even though their own flourishing ended long ago. Interestingly enough, these nurse stumps naturally turned into medicine bowls … the perfect evolution to support continued thriving in the wilderness!

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Misty Dusk

As dusk settles and the sky gradually loses light, mother nature’s visual majesty fades into the darkness. As a dense fog rolls in and blankets the surrounding landscape, trees and mountains disappear into the mist. When dusk and mist are both present, much more is needed than our eyes and mind to decipher what is truly present.

The sound of crashing waves to the west assures a strong and vibrant ocean nearby. A blurry mountainous tree line to the east assures a grand forest flourishing with life. A fine cool mist swirling down from high above assures gentle winds and the scent of ocean life assures many other living species below the earth’s surface.

Strolling barefoot along the beach reveals yet another surprise, enhancing sensory awareness. The soft and luscious fine sand subtly gives way to every footstep, producing an other-worldly experience with a quality and texture uncommon to our paved, shoe-clad world. Like walking on marshmallow soles, the soul gently sinks down with every step merging into the world below. What is present can only be deciphered through intuition and gut feelings. Although the fog greatly limits our view, it most certainly enhances sensory experiences. The fog’s misty presence gifts us with plenty and one of the most glorious is the fine cool shower delicately sprayed upon the skin. Another exquisite gift is the lesson mist has for all humans. This lesson is only to be found in the story of mist or the mist story … aka mystery!

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Squeak! Squeak!

Walking through Central Park in a big city reveals a blend of nature and the modernized world. A mix of man-made trails and structures intermingle with large old growth evergreen trees, berry bushes, ferns, fungi, moss and lakes that cohabit a few square city blocks. Amidst all of this are wild creatures, including scampering squirrels, young and old, brown and grey.  It seems they have become very comfortable with humanity as they approach many people passing by in hopes of getting a treat!

Observing the actions of these squirrels reveals both a sense of trust and cautiousness in them. Even though they scurry forward, they are also quick to retreat. All it takes is a gesture from a human like an arm swinging quickly forward and they will bounce back behind a tree or bush. But a slow and subtle gesture like a gentle squat and hand extended softly forth entices many to continue coming forward right up to the hand that has an offering!  Whether it be nuts or seeds, the squirrel grabs the treat and withdraws back to chomp, nibble away or even stash it in their secret hiding place!

What makes these wild critters so comfortable with humanity? It seems living in the modernized world has affected them. It seems they have built a sense of trust in the human population and this trust appears to be highly instinctive. Could we humans be as instinctive and trusting of the wilderness as squirrels trusting the civilized world? Although there are endless stories of humans not trusting the wild world, there are also many stories of people who thrive in wilderness, having ventured into it for extended periods of time to experience a subtle connection with all living things, whether they be animals, plants or insects. It is true, there are many commonalities between all living things. You and I and the squirrel, a furry little rodent in the forest share more things in common than we realize. How does that make you feel? Peaceful and at ease or uncomfortable and closed? If the latter, try stretching your mind while contemplating the following:

There is no boundary between all life forms. We share the same air, water and land on this earthly plane. All squirrels breathe the same air we breathe. Together we breathe in the aroma of the magnificent trees and plants around us. Together we can play and respect and appreciate one another. These squirrels have a lesson for all humans in that we are one and the same at a deeper level. Just as they seek survival, so do we! That is the same basic instinct of all living things. So treat yourself to a bowl of nuts and squeak! squeak! in the delight of their flavour and texture. Give thanks to mother earth for all the nourishment she provides all living things!

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Dandy Lion!

It is a hot summer day. A steep hillside in the sunny Okanagan shows soil that is pale brown, arid and dusty. Even though the soil looks extremely parched, an abundance of plant life thrives on this rugged terrain. Shrubs, wild grasses and flowers of all shapes and sizes cover this beautiful sloped mural, created ‘soul-ly’ by mother nature! At the base of the hill, a footpath meanders through with one very large sphere of wispy dandelion seeds drooping over the path. If this dandelion could speak, it might say something like: “Look at me! Look at my beauty!!!”, and of course it captures the attention of all those admiring the magnificence of the area.

Looking closely at this blooming sphere, it is truly the most perfect ball. Every single strand contributes to a spectacular patterning that leaves one awe-struck. A grand geometry of lines that ultimately creates a circle, mirrors that which is sacred in life. Who would have thought that straight lines could make a perfect circle? And who would have known this sturdy stemmed creation is so vulnerable? All it takes is a gust of wind breezing through and its helicopter-like threads take flight through the air, floating up and down which ever way the currents carry it. And where ever it lands may be where it germinates and gives life to yet another new generation of this floral wonder.

Human life can likened to this dandelion. Humans are extremely resilient and adaptable, capable of being both firmly grounded in roots yet also vulnerable to the winds of life. Hence, we can remain solidly grounded regardless the winds of change. Just like the seeds that eventually float away, we can let go parts of ourselves and surrender to the flow of life. The winds of change often takes our breath away and leave us in a surprising new place, much different than what we anticipated. This place may be dandy or not and if we muster our lion-like qualities, we can maintain our own sense of power over change rather than feel victim to it. If we roar with the winds in subtle ways we can certainly mirror the power of mother nature! We can thrive regardless of external changes, planting new seeds for evolving towards our true potential!

Bzzzz!

Bzzzz! Bzzz! Bzz! Bees buzz. One brown bee buzzes while burrowing into the forest floor. It is not buzzing into a flower for nectar as we frequently see but for some other reason, this bee is digging in through a bed of dried pine needles under several towering trees high above it. Bzzz… Bzzz… Bzz!

As the brown bee buzzes, it burrows like a rodent. Bit by bit, it pushes back pine needles with its tiny legs, moving its body deeper into the ground. Who would have known bees and rodents have this in common? Why was this bee burrowing into the ground? Was there something beneath the earths’ surface that was compelling it to do so? Was it nestling in for the night? The burrowing seemed to last for a very long time. Was this its’ home and alternate hive?

Bees are instinctive by nature. This forest bee didn’t have a backpack or guide map. No! It followed its instinctual knowing as all species in the animal and insect kingdom do. There is no prescribed plan. There is no set agenda. Only a deep inner knowing that steers them moment by moment.

Allow this deep inner knowing within you to guide you like a bee. Practice cultivating this talent for intuitive living. Moment by moment, you will discover the inherent buzz in you, that brings lively life energy and heightens pizzazz in your life. Go for it! Buzz away! Stretch yourself beyond your comfort levels and allow surprises to arise! Your inherent talents and true nature awaits discovery!

 

Stars

A baby boy arrives into the world two weeks before the scheduled due date. Even though his early arrival surprises many, there are no physical indications he is premature whatsoever. He has all the beauty and perfections of a full-term infant. The only difference is the alignment of stars and planets at the time of his arrival.

Instead of the anticipated astrological sign of Gemini, he is now Taurus: a little bull who is solid and strong! Geminis on the other hand are expansive and fluid. This shift mirrors the great mysteries of life. There is so much more to life than we realize. There is so much we do not know about ourselves and others.

The alignment of the planets yields subtle influences in every moment of our life. Whether the moon is full or crescent shaped, whether the sun is up or down, whether Saturn, Venus or Mars rules, it all effects our existence. The energy of the universe is always shifting, invisibly influencing the human spirit in profound ways.

Look up to the sky and its vast limitless presence. We are but tiny beings in this vortex of massive life energy. We swirl with the planets and stars as the earth spins on its axis. We are little stars on this planet earth and this precious newborn baby boy is a unique and exquisitely special star, just like each of us!