I’ve just been for a walk. While that may not sound like much, for me - it’s huge right now. This walk involved actual forward motion, no patella brace and no walking stick. Very minimal jerky movement. And no crying with frustration. Last August, I wrote the blog ‘Bad knees and integrity’, talking about the difficulty I was having with walking and how I was contemplating the physical and metaphysical aspects of what that meant for me. It’s been nearly a year and walking has become increasingly difficult, to the point where a walk further than the front door usually brings me to tears.
It has thrown me, not being able to really go for a walk. And while I can actually walk, after about five steps I falter. It’s like my left leg has forgotten how to take steps. So after living with this for a year, with it getting increasingly worse, I decided I needed help.
As a wholistic practitioner, heading down a more conventional path of healthcare can make me feel hypocritical. If I can’t walk my talk, how can I keep talking my talk? So putting my judgements aside (of myself and other modalities) I took a step in the direction of my wellness. I knew I needed exercises to strengthen my vastus medialis, so my patella would track properly. The exercises proved very successful - my knee cap is tracking like nobody’s business! And with that, my walking has actually deteriorated. This has sent me down a whole different spiraling path of despair. If my knee cap dislocating wasn’t to blame, then what was? I was so focused on my mobile patella that I didn’t see there was a deeper issue involved. Something which was going to take a lot more work than just strengthening one muscle. I needed to retrain my brain and muscles to not only keep my kneecap in place, but to not hyperextend.
Over the past year I have been contemplating the multi-dimensional issues around my knee. What is it that keeps me from moving forward with love, grace and ease? In yoga this week, the intention was Mindfulness. The teacher talked about being mindful of our journey. Which got me thinking about my knee. If the esoteric belief is that the left side represents the Feminine and the knee represents forward movement, what was I not being mindful of moving forward in the Feminine? A friend recently gave me her take on my knee. “Maybe it’s about being present.” Being present. Being mindful. Being present to every step on my journey. Being mindful that it’s about the journey (feminine), much more so than the destination (masculine). So maybe it’s not so much about completing a walk, but about taking each step as it comes. And for me, especially lately, it has been hard to be present. I am often looking into the past or wondering about the future. Whereas really, all we have is right now. And right now I need to take one step at a time. Not worry about how my knee used to be, or how I am going to get through a whole walk, but just focus and be mindful of the step that I am in.
I wish you presence and mindfulness in your journey. With gratitude.
South Coast boat (c) 2013
First day of autumn. And with it - rain. All through the night. Such a welcomed sight, sound, smell. In between the gusts of wind and shaking leaves, a collective sigh can be heard. A kind of 'ahhhh' as the water soaks into the trees, flowers and earth.
The temperature has also dropped. Being a born and bred New Englander, I don't go much by the southern hemisphere's idea of seasonal change dates. Here, the new seasons are heralded in on the 1st 's- 1 June; 1 September; 1 December; and 1 March - autumn. In my bones I know the seasons change on equinox and solstice dates. So when people here say things like, 'This isn't much of a day for the first day of summer!' I hold my tongue and think, 'Give it three weeks.'
Old timers in the parts where I grew up used to say that if you look at the weather on the equinox, you will get an idea of prevailing weather for the next six months. I have got to say, the times I took note of this, it proved eerily accurate. What no one wanted to see on March 21 or September 21 was the weather blowing a strong nor'easterly gale. The old timers also used to say that winter wouldn't come until the ponds were full. In other words, if there wasn't sufficient autumn rain, then the winter would be mild. Another observation which proved its truth many times.
These bits of Yankee wisdom were told to me by old timers who lived their lives on a small island, 14 miles to sea. There is a reason why talking about weather is a commonality - it is something we all live with every day. And when you live in a small community, buffeted by weather, wind and tides, you develop keen observational skills. The weather determines your livelihood. We come from agrarian societies - the weather meant feast or famine. Being able to read the weather patterns, and intuit what they meant, could be the difference between life and death.
We live now in a society where other people tell us what the weather is. Sometimes, listening to their forecasts, you have to wonder if they have windows to the outside or if they have ventured out of doors. They rely on computer mapping to tell them what's coming, instead of their senses, memory and intuition.
Sound familiar? Sometimes we can get so far from our own selves that we believe what others tell us instead of what we intuitively see, feel and know to be true - in our bones.
The old timers didn't have the technology we have today. Yet I would listen to their observations every time over what a weather report on TV might tell me. They listened and felt what was going on around them. They were connected to nature and to community. They took the time to listen and observe. And those skills allowed them to sense things 'in their bones'. They put trust in what their surroundings were telling them.
We have had a very hot and dry summer and throughout it all my husband has been saying, at least once a week, 'I think we could be in for a cold winter.' To which I think, 'Yeah. Not going to happen unless we get rain.' So, as I sit here on the first day of autumn (southern hemisphere time) and the weather is cool, blowing a gale and raining, I think it could very well be a cold winter. And I am thankful for my husband's persistence in getting us set up - there is already wood in the shed and a new, hopefully warmer and more efficient, wood stove waiting for installation.
I will be noticing the weather again on the equinox but for now, I am listening to my intuition which is saying, 'My husband might just be right...'.
Bright blessings for this transition between seasons. Remember that all you need to know is within you, if you are able to still the mind and listen. If you are feeling out of touch with this, step outside. Immerse yourself in nature. It will help you to hear and feel what you need to know. It will ground you back into your body; back into your intuitive self. Happy autumn/spring.
I have just launched The Ocean Oracle on the App Store. It's a funny thing to have it out there, to be at this end of a process that began nearly four years ago. I am excited and happy; pleased and grateful. As well as feeling a bit distraught, empty and at a loss. The creation and delivery of this oracle has been a part of me for a long while now. The publishing feels like a birth. And now that it's birthed, I feel a void. I am no longer in control of it. I have nurtured it and shaped it and now I need to let it go. I have done what I could with it and now I need to trust it will find those it can help, those it will resonate with, and those it will heal. Just as it has done all these things for me, and continues to do for me as it makes its way into the world.
The process has been remarkable. It began in a February morning meditation when I was strongly guided to write an oracle based on the ocean and its ability to heal. The vehicle to do this was through story and messages. And so it began. Although I knew this process was about healing I needed to do, I also felt the stories and messages I was intuiting would have healing for others. I knew it was something that needed to be 'out there', available to a larger audience.
It didn't matter how many publishing house rejections I got, I knew my oracle was worthy and important and needed to be available. I knew it offered healing on levels people needed healing. I started making decks myself, selling them at markets and on-line through my website. And then a friend mentioned making the deck into an app.
What I love about the app idea is its instant accessibility and availability. Millions of people can have ocean oracle wisdom at their fingertips. My desire is for this app to go viral. I want the Story and Messages the oracle offers out there, out there doing what it's meant to do. This world, OUR world, needs healing. We need to remember who we are - we need to remember our beauty and brilliance, our light and our gifts. We need to remember these qualities individually, so we can start healing collectively. We know what happens when people are hurting and in fear, so disconnected from themselves and who they are. We are reminded of this every hour of every day if we watch or listen to the news. Imagine the world in which people are healthy and tapped in, connected to their source. Imagine the power of love when we are all okay, functioning from a place of healing and not hurt. This oracle offers the remembrance of our true soul selves. In this place of remembrance, healing begins.
I feel very strongly about The Ocean Oracle and what if offers. There have been times when I wonder about how hard I need to push, but everything feels right about how the oracle and the app came into being. Now I need help. I need help getting it out there, further. I want people to know it's available. I believe one of the best ways is word of mouth. Please tell your friends, tell your family, share with your networks, share your stories. It's a brand new year and a brand new world, full of infinite possibilities. What passion, what spark of an idea, are you going to follow this year? I would be honoured and grateful if you would share The Ocean Oracle - my spark of an idea ignited four years ago. Allow it to be part of the journey - for your Self and the world.
I learned the word liminal recently. It was the perfect word, at the perfect time. Like most words, it can have a few definitions, but what resonated with me was its reference to the space between; a transitional time; a threshold. Between what was and what is. Or what is and what will be. The space where we are neither one thing nor another.
I think why I fell in love with this word recently is because it described, in one word no less, where I've been. And as difficult as that space was at times, it was also incredibly joyful.
Most everything in life is a process and often we are unaware of these transitional times. We move seamlessly from one thing to another. Like breathing. We inhale and we exhale, not often aware of the space between breathing in and breathing out. If we focus on that space, the experience becomes something new. Something else.
That leaving of the old to start something new. The space in between is liminal space. And that space can be all manner of things. It can be overwhelming because we are essentially in 'no man's land'. We are not our usual self. We are no longer connected to what was, nor yet present in what is to come. And that is the beauty of transition; of being on a threshold; of liminal space.
In that space, though, we can feel vulnerable, lost, anxious, depressed - it's not a space we are used to hanging out in. We go through transitions all the time, every day. Between sleep and wakefulness; between daily activities; between wakefulness and sleep. We are often not aware of them. And some of the transitions are easier than others. But what about the bigger transitions - changing jobs, partners, homes, towns? Those are all major changes. Do we give ourselves enough time to transition? To be present in liminal space? What would happen if we did?
I have recently been gifted 2 months of, essentially, liminal space. While I was in this space, I was uncomfortable. I couldn't understand what was going on. I was in incredible flow. Highly creative and happy. Yet giving my self such a hard time because I wasn't making money. It was such a fight between what I love doing versus mainstream money making employment. I feel like the space was a gift because it was a special time. And although the transition hasn't been something tangible, I feel like a completely different person; slightly askew from where I was. But totally taken with where I stand and the view around me. I feel like I have crossed a threshold.
I didn't know I was in transition - I just knew I was no longer where I was, yet not arrived at where I was going. Liminal space describes exactly where I was, the whole time. Who knew?! I am ever grateful and ready to step forward.
I've been having trouble with my knees lately. This isn't anything new. But the degree of how unstable they have become is scaring me. I have never been able to trust my left knee. (And no, the symbolism of being able to move forward into the feminine is not lost on me.) This comes from a childhood of knee dislocations which would have me wandering along quite nicely one second and then crumpled on the ground the next. These scenes were awkward, and painful, to say the least.
I had surgery on my knee when I was 14. And although my knee has not dislocated since, I have never fully trusted that it wouldn't. I am still realising how much this fear has impacted me in my life. I am hesitant to cross roads, I am extra careful around furniture at knee height (not wanting to inadvertently knock my knee cap out of place, like what happened in drafting class when I was 13). But I've always been okay with just plain walking. And I am very thankful for that. Because walking has always been one way for me to process and to ground. When all else fails, a walk helps.
So it is to a new level of fear that I have come into lately as walking has become increasingly difficult. I don't trust my knee any more to support me. I feel like I am going to topple over backwards and this leads to great jerky moves of my whole body. It's really quite freaky. It's like a startle response without the actual startle. I no longer trust in the fluidity of my movement. In short, I feel like my knee is lacking in integrity.
Which is interesting because this week's Ocean Oracle card is Rosa Rugusa - INTEGRITY. The card, story and message can be read here but what I find interesting is that I am trying to walk a path - walk MY path. And I no longer trust it. And while I know there is something physically wrong with my knee, I can't help but wonder at the metaphysical stuff around it: according to Louise L. Hay's 'Heal Your Body', knees 'represents changes in direction in life and the ease of these movements'; left symbolises the feminine. I remembered today that these jerky movements started a couple of years ago. As I was contemplating the transition from permanent state government job to self-employed healer, I used to walk in the park near my office. It was on these walks that I started to feel unsteady. Now I have transitioned so far into the healing side of things that I forget I was ever an extension horticulturalist. But lately I have been having trouble trusting the process. And although on most levels I feel completely supported, in a couple of ways I feel completely unsupported. It's as if my physical knee is reflecting my internal walk. So as I walk further along my path, in my truth and integrity, I am being challenged by all manner of things which currently seem to manifesting as a dodgy knee. I've got choices up ahead. The path is not only in one direction or even one path. I know I need to keep moving forward, even when that movement is awkward and scary and uncomfortable. And even if my knee is lacking integrity, that doesn't need to reflect the integrity of my choices. In gratitude.
I'm not really sure where I am at the moment. I do feel a little lost at sea but since the ocean is my favourite place to be, this is a comfort to me. But I am also feeling the almost constant challenge to stay present and grateful. Sometimes it can be too easy to slip off the radar and live a life of isolation, just focusing on my own thing. I am grateful I have the time and space to delve deep into what interests me but I have to remember the importance of community and engagement and getting out of my space to share space with others. Like most things, it's a balancing act. I thought this card was so very appropriate for the coming week. Wherever I am - and wherever you may find yourselves - this week, allow gratitude to flow into your heart and see where that leads you. Below is the #9 card from The Ocean Oracle. If you've been feeling lost at sea, I hope there is a jetty guiding you into a safe harbour this week.
There was so much to be grateful for. She did not know where to begin. She had been lost at sea, a storm blowing her far off course. She had been gripped by fear as she tried to find her direction. She was in a sturdy vessel with all the best equipment, but she still could not find her way. Was it hours, days or weeks she was like this? It did not matter. She was so grateful that at least she had provisions and a sea worthy vessel. As the seas calmed, the fog settled heavy and thick, rendering her instrument panel useless in helping her find land. She turned inwards, putting trust in her intuition, and headed in the direction she felt was right. As she spotted the jetty which would guide her entry into the safe harbour, she remembered to give thanks to her self - she was so grateful for her whole being.
Are you feeling lost at sea? Surrender into yourself and find a place of gratitude for that which you are sure. Small things, big things - it does not matter - the energy of gratitude brings a certain grace to your being. Open your heart to receive and give thanks for the abundance in your life. The flow of gratitude towards your self and others will bring unexpected journeys and gifts.
Are you where you want to be? Are you doing what you want to be doing? Are you living your truth? These questions often come up for me when I travel. And my last journey was no different. I am always questioning, it seems, if where I am is where I want to be. Quite often the answer is yes. But when I'm between places, having left one and not quite landed in the other, I wonder. I've been uneasy since returning to my home in Australia. Leaving summer and arriving in winter probably doesn't help. But there is something more, as well. Not really able to shift it, I asked the Ocean Oracle for some clarity around what's going on. And out came TRUTH. Which completely resonated with me. I'm not sure if where I am is where I want to be. But I know the only way through this is to remain present in my truth. (I've posted the card here as well as on this page, where you can also purchase a deck if you're interested.)
These creatures had not been seen in these waters for years. They had left long ago, driven out by the pollutants that people left behind. They needed clean water to thrive and the waters here became too murky and infested for them to live in a healthy way. So they chose to leave, find a place where they were part of a balanced ecosystem. They flourished for years but grew too many for their home to sustain them. Some migrated into new waters and some eventually ended up back in the place they had left long ago. But it was not the same place. Something had shifted. The things that had polluted the water were no longer there. There was more awareness of the way the oceans and ponds and tides worked. There was a place now for the urchins to thrive. They were able to expand and contribute to the ecosystem in a life enhancing way.
Your truth is your truth. Are you in a situation toxic to your truth? Do you need to re-assess your truth? Has a situation changed in which your truth can come forward again? Is your environment supporting you in your truth? To live in our truth and integrity, it may be that we have to move, and sometimes that means physically. Stand strong in your truth and respect your limits. Set your boundaries but know rigidity may not be the answer. An urchin’s spines protect it but if pushed too hard, or in the wrong way, the spines break.
My time here is winding down. It's been a good visit, of course nothing like I imagined. Not that I imagined it wouldn't be good - more that I thought it would be endless days of wandering the land, caught up in creative pursuits. Reality is often far from imaginings. As I write this, I am outside, watching robins fight over some treasure they probably both want for their nests. Something to help nurture their young. It's spring time and nature is alive and abundant! And sometimes fighting.
A friend came to visit me yesterday, made the journey to this island, to spend time away from her life and with me, here, in my life. It was a perfect day in many ways. It meant that I was out and about most of the day. When I came home, late in the afternoon, I wandered down to my hut and found, just outside to the east, a painted turtle laying her eggs in the lawn. I felt so blessed - that she would entrust this little yard to keep watch over her buried treasure. I was excited to think of little turtles emerging after their time in the earth, to venture out on their own.
And it reminded me of a card from my Ocean Oracle deck - 41 - Turtle - Protection. I have posted that card on The Ocean Oracle page, and also below. For me, it is a reminder that sometimes you have to entrust someone, or something, else to help birth what you have created. That sometimes you don't have to do it all yourself. That you can ask for help for those things that you can't necessarily do on your own. And also that Mother Earth is always there to protect you. In all sorts of weather. In those times when you thought you could do it all on your own, but realise that the reality is otherwise. And entrusting someone else to look after your 'baby', is sometimes the wisest option.
41 Turtle PROTECTION
He watched, fascinated, as the turtle made her way towards the beach. He was mesmerised by her ancient being, and her deliberate focus on the task at hand. It was the season of egg laying for the native turtles. Each year they came from all over the area to lay their eggs on the beach, deep within the sand which offered the eggs protection as they gestated. They trusted the earth, in which the eggs were laid, to look after their young, to help the eggs develop into what they would become. When the time comes for the eggs to hatch, the mothers return to help their young emerge from the earth, reborn. Earth Mother looks after them until they are ready to enter the world, and blesses them with a shell to protect them once they leave her womb.
What are you protecting right now? Do you need to be protected? The instinct that has you in protection mode - is it fear? Do you need to find a safe place to birth an idea? Can you trust someone or something else to nurture what is being birthed from you? Protection can keep you from harm but may also limit your potential. Be aware of intent. You are protected by Mother Earth. Like a turtle retreating into her shell for protection, allow Mother Earth to be your shell at this time.
For those interested in purchasing a deck, I am still offering a limited number of them on The Ocean Oracle page at AUS$30 (which is about US$29) for US addresses. This offer ends Wednesday June 13 2012.
I have continued to post a card from the Ocean Oracle deck while I've been away. Which feels appropriate since a lot of the creation of the deck occurred while I was in this space a few years ago. I am visiting this home earlier than I usually do. I've come before the summer and tourist season start in full. And although the island feels spacious and green and accommodating, I can't help but notice the busy-ness as everyone prepares for the summer onslaught. I was able to witness some of it, being here for the first official weekend of summer - Memorial Day. I could feel my own patience stretched, dealing with the extra people and cars and bikes. It requires an extra something from every body, to get through this time with love, grace and ease. It's hard, this going from quiet and calm of the winter months, to the craziness of summer and it can be easy to forget that we are all one. We all have stories and things we carry. We are not so dissimilar to each other. So when I pulled this card this morning, with thoughts to the week ahead, I felt it was very appropriate and wanted to share it here.
Give awareness to the journey a piece of driftwood has had. The piece of wood you find washed up on the shore has had a most eventful life, often not considered. This piece of wood is here before you, and you only see it in its present state and probably think it is not much; and perhaps not worthy of your attention. For a moment, though, consider the journey this wanderer has been on. He started out as a seed and grew in circumstances you will never know - was he nurtured, tended with love; or neglected, left to his own to grow up? Did he grow tall in a forest? A plantation? On the side of a road? Where did he grow? How old was he when he died? Was he felled? Cut for timber? Struck by lightening? What happened in his life to bring him here, at your feet, only a piece of his former self? How did he end up in the ocean? How long has he been at sea? Was he part of something greater, which has now broken apart? Be open to the lessons his journey provides for you.
Your path may not be what you imagined, but be thankful for all the aspects of it - good and bad. Remember the stories of your past and your path but do not be ruled by them. They have shaped you, but they are not you. No matter your journey, your true essence will always remain. Mighty oak or driftwood - they both have their place and are of the same vitality. Be grateful for your journey and without ego, know that the mighty oak and the humble driftwood are of the same beauty.
For those interested in a deck, please check out the Ocean Oracle page. For my time in the States, I am offering a limited number of decks at $30 (incl. postage). This offer only available to those with US postal addresses. (The price is Aus$ but the exchange is about 1:1 right now.)
My idea of home is tricky at the best of times. I live in one place, in the southern hemisphere, while having a place in the northern hemisphere which can pull strongly on me. I was born to this place in the north, and it is my heartland. But I choose to live in Australia because I love it and it has always felt like home. It's tricky having two places which I call home because they are mutually exclusive - opposite sides of the world sees to that. And I don't imagine I will ever be able to live in one place and not be homesick, at least on occasion, for the other place.
It is to this latest bout of homesickness that I now find myself shrouded in fog. And I am feeling my way through how similar fog and homesickness can be.
I arrive in America this time in the dark. The morning after arrival, I head to the ferry, which will take us passengers to the little island I call home. We embark in fog; sail through fog; disembark in fog. I think if I didn't know this place intimately, I would find I don't like it. It's uncomfortable, this fog. Not being able to see more than a few yards in front of me requires an immense amount of trust. I really have to trust my own navigational skills and trust that there isn't harm, just out of view. And depending on where my head is mentally, this can either be liberating or inhibiting. Will I trust my safety? Or fear unseen dangers? It doesn't take much to tip it either way.
One day, then a second day, of fog and I start to question myself. It's hard to gain clarity when you can't see the path. From experience I know the path is there but do I want to fight my fears to feel safe to walk it?
And then, in a New England minute, the fog rolls away and the most divine and glorious day is unveiled. I breathe a joyous sigh of relief. I can move forward with a sense of direction. There are wide expanses before me and so many directions I can't count. Everything is possible. That night, the sky is filled with a million stars I can't see most of the year. All is well and I am so happy to be home.
The next morning, the fog is back. And while it's still wonderful to be here, it's not as wonderful. Being in fog can be very disorienting. From experience, you know where things are - certain landmarks, for example. But you can't see them. It's back to trust. Trusting yourself and your own memory and intuition to guide you.
And it's a bit like homesickness. Needing to see those people and places that you remember, but time and space have relegated to foggy recesses. You know they are there, but just out of sight and reach. For me, it's about trusting that beneath the fog there is always a glorious day. If I can trust that, I can enjoy the beauty and stillness of the foggy days.