Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dolphin Love

My first up close and personal encounter with a dolphin in the wild took me by surprise. I was in Hawaii with a group of 7 people on small boat. We had set out to find a pod of dolphins to swim with. I had never been swimming with wild dolphins and had a case of nerves mixed with excitement. I didn’t know what to expect jumping into water with wild dolphins. I am a scuba diver and was no stranger to the open ocean but my nerves wouldn’t let me relax.

It was an idyllic morning. The sun danced on the water as the boat sped along the gorgeous Kona coastline. A call came in over the radio. There was a sighting of Pacific Bottlenose dolphins by another boat captain who was kind enough to radio us to let us know. We were looking for Spinner dolphins to swim with, but our guide decided to momentarily alter plans and check out the Bottlenose sighting. (I found out later that our guide's intuition told her there was someone on the boat who needed to meet the Bottlenose.) Shortly afterward we found the small pod. The Bottlenose dolphins began to playfully swim around our boat as it kept motoring along. Immediately the mood on the boat changed from subdued to laughter and jubilation. The dolphins were interested in us as well, it seemed. It was so joyful to see them all around us. Two people were up on the bow looking over the edge. One of them stepped down and asked me if I wanted to have a look. I gladly accepted, not knowing what I was about to see.

Peering over the edge I came face to face with a mama dolphin and her baby swimming on their sides. The mama was on the right and the baby on the left side of the bow, keeping perfect pace with the speed of the boat. I gazed into the mama dolphin’s beautiful eye and she gazed back. We were connected in that moment and we both knew it. I felt so much love and so much joy. I was so overcome with emotion tears flowed freely down my cheeks. My heart felt like it was bursting wide open with love. I had never felt anything like it. Their beautiful muscular bodies glistened in the sunlight as they swam. They were dark gray on the top and almost white underneath. The white on their undersides were glowing a bright pink. They were having a workout!

I’m not a mother, but I can imagine that raising a little one would be a very difficult thing to do. I'm guessing that I would be constantly worried about the welfare of my child and maybe I would tend to be over protective, but only out of love. This dolphin was teaching me what it is to be a mother. She was showing me how much she loved her baby. I understood that even though she loved her baby she knew that her baby needed to be free--and loved. Her baby needed to explore, experience and enjoy the environment it found itself in--including experiences that could be potentially dangerous. The mama dolphin was loving her baby so much that she let it swim close to a boat full of humans to feel the exhilaration of that experience. Her baby was loved, supported and encouraged by her. I understood in that moment that to love unconditionally is to love fully--without attachment, expectation or over-protection. She taught me that unconditional love is liberating and accepting not confining. She showed me that love is action more than it is feeling.

We went on from there to find many Spinner dolphins we actually got in the water with. I had more profound experiences with them. It was glorious. I had no idea though, that I would learn a most precious lesson from a dolphin while on a boat. I was so grateful to our guide for listening to her intuition that morning. Clearly I was the one who needed to meet the Bottlenose. I set foot on a boat one beautiful July morning as one person and stepped off several hours later, as another. It was only the beginning of what I was to learn about love from dolphins...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What's Happening to Me?

A good friend of mine shared recently that he was going through a period of deep soul-searching that left him feeling disoriented and out of steam. He asked me to share any insights I might have because he knows that I’m pretty much always soul-searching. I thought that maybe record solar flares lately could be influencing how he felt.

Solar flares are just one (I can’t believe I’m using the word just in the same sentence as solar flare, but there it is) of many celestial bodies influencing us at any given time. Their influence is affecting us in ways that we might not realize. There are many astronomical events that affect us on very deep and superficial levels. We feel it through our bodies, which act like antennae in the world, picking up energetic signals.

Maybe you’re feeling tired, or cranky. Maybe you’re juiced up and raring to go. If you can relate more to the former than the latter these days you’re not alone. If we had any idea of how much energy is passing through our bodies we’d be amazed by what we did accomplish in a day.

So what does this mean to you? It means that if you’re not feeling quite like yourself these days it’s okay. Many of us are feeling that way. It’s important at times like this to allow yourself to have your experience as yucky as it may feel. There’s a saying that goes “the only way out is through.” It’s important to go with the flow—now more than ever.

Nature is always moving forward, always in flow, it never stops. The forward motion inevitably brings change. The unusual thing about what’s happening now is that the motion seems to be fast forward. Things are happening quickly. Changes are happening quickly—maybe one thing after the other; maybe changes are happening all at once. This can certainly feel overwhelming.

The bad news is the old ways of being don’t seem to be working for us anymore. The good news is the old ways of being don’t seem to be working for us anymore. Change usually involves a period of adjustment that can feel uncomfortable. Once you get used to it though, it often feels better than it did before. This can be a time of great transformation if you allow it to be.

These changes are bringing with them the opportunity to grow into more of who you really are, while shedding parts of who you were that no longer serve you. The unnecessary and inauthentic parts are withering away and dying. It sounds graphic I know, but it's a good thing. Think of a snake crawling out of its old skin. Even the skin of its eyes comes off. It has got to be uncomfortable while it's happening and requires a good deal of struggle, but in the end the snake feels renewed, refreshed and actually has a brand new skin! It means a new lease on life and the ability to see life through new eyes.During this time we've got to keep our eyes on the prize—that new skin, not on what's happening that’s unpleasant. In other words, we've got to keep our eyes on the new life that is coming for all of us. The Earth is changing, we’re changing; everything is changing. Now more than ever the possibility for magic and miracles is upon us. This is what we're here for. Even though it may not seem like it right now, hang on anyway, the best is yet to come!