Joy Through Sacrifice


Watching an interesting TED talk today about a young Arctic surfer (yes, you heard me right, that was Arctic surfer), he said something that really struck me–not about surfing, but about sacrifice. As you can imagine, someone who surfs in frigid waters does a fair amount of sacrificing.  He does it in part to get away from the normal tropic crowds, but also to take these amazing photographs. To paraphrase very loosely he said something like: most things worth any kind of real joy usually involve some kind of sacrifice.

That gave me pause.

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I began thinking about some of the things that take sacrifice but bring joy:

  • 9 months of carrying a baby: the worrying, the weight gain, the hormone shifts, the vomiting, the swelling, the potential dangers involved…
  • being in a relationship: any kind really. It’s constant ups and downs, bargaining (with the kids, partners, co-workers, family members), tears, give/take, compromises, giving away parts of yourself at times
  • having a dream or goal: these can take huge amounts of time, money, changes in lifestyle and re-evaluating ourselves for the final outcome
  • moving somewhere new: leaving friends and family behind; leaving a career or job, doing something scary, taking a leap of faith
  • starting over (with a job/a person/or alone: leaving your comfort zone, stretching parts of yourself you may not know you had, or totally remaking yourself
  • helping others or someone else: living with less than normal, learning about other cultures (which maybe is uncomfortable), focusing less on “me”
  • giving up something completely: getting used to life “without”, feeling what it’s like when others perceive because we are now “different”
  • changing our point of view for the greater good: getting into arguments (political/family?), battling within ourselves over the old point of view, reconciling what’s right/wrong
  • coming out: about our sexual orientation, addictions, mental health, illness, abuse, political view or anything else we’ve been keeping inside for fear of judgement, shame or condemnation
  • sharing our home with animals: limiting our work day, getting up in the middle of the night, cleaning up hair, poop and vomit off the floor
  • Waiting: for anything you want, it can be excruciating at times because we are a culture of wanting everything now, having patience is like hot iron swirling in our bellies…the loss of precious time while we wait
  • standing up for what you believe when others around you don’t agree: this can be going to rallies or being a vegan, it can bring agitation or arguments from others, confrontations or simply tiresome questions
  • sharing our home with children: never having peace and quiet (or rarely); suddenly realizing you have to sacrifice so much and become a very good teacher when you hardly know yourself (or much else for that matter…)

There are so many more things…what can you add to the list? And it all comes down to mindset like anything else really. We give to get. Nothing comes easily really.  It seems like many things feel like work these days, and trying to pick out the little pieces of joy can be tough. But when you think about the sacrifices we make all adding up to something beautiful–that it’s the wrapping surrounding the gift inside, then it doesn’t feel quite so much like drudgery. 

So when you are climbing that next mountain and it feels like hell: the boots are giving you blisters, the sweating like a banshee and the mosquitoes buzzing around your head: remember that when you get to the top you will see this incredible view of the world below. Every step you took to get there was worth what lies before you as you look out. See it as you breathe the joy and try to remember that you couldn’t have experienced the splendor without a bit of pain.

earlier 2

 

Poem: Weary


Some days I rest

my weary thoughts

upon the gentle sea

the blue green beauty 

 beckons with her waves 

and reaches out to me

I cast them far

into the depths

where they rock beneath the tide

it’s quiet below 

and dark with fish

that watch my troubles sink

they grab them in their mouths

and take them off to hide 

So now they are far below 

beneath the heavy waves

my sorrow and my shattered pain 

tossed in wind swept freedom 

and caught by Mother’s womb

to die within her grave 

Poem: The Artist 


Turning inside out 

exposing raw reality buried 

under layers of hidden sinew

meant to stay tucked 

the quiet fist of crazy

crouched behind daylight 

They dragged it out

in slanted moments 

It came at times 

unwilling 

and others 

leaping out of its den

But once loose

It pleased Pandora 

and never would return 

Now free to torment 

its fire burns beauty 

until the brilliance 

dies out

Turn Around


rainbow and old house

This is one of my most favorite pictures that I’ve ever taken. I’m not exactly sure why except for me it epitomizes a lot in my life: much of it has seemed kind of tattered and worn down. It has been beaten by the elements of time and I wear the scars to prove it. I’m rough around the edges, yet I’m still standing. I show many signs of age, but that’s because I’ve lived. To many, I look old and maybe not that beautiful, but I know inside I hold many secrets–only the ones really brave enough to enter will know. And although I’ve weathered many storms and darkness has followed me, there is always hope and beauty that seems to linger right near by. All I have to do is summon the courage, step away from the edge and turn around.

Amazing Beauty 


Sometimes the beauty of the world is so apparent. It hits us straight on usually when we need it most. 

In its silent wonder, it communicates more than most words ever could. And in times when we may long for those words of comfort, nature will speak its bounty. 

Those of us who spend most of our time alone, use nature as a partner. It is our go to comrade in times of trouble or sadness–the soothing scenes ease our souls. 

And in times of joy, nature becomes the dance partner twirling us around as we soak in the scenery. 

Few souls can’t be tamed by its mystery and glory. From the tiniest insect to the grandest mountain–each can move a human. 

Those trapped within concrete and cities have become robots. Their angst is palpable because they have forgotten to look. As we lose our natural areas, man becomes lost also.

So that is why we must always remember to preserve these places. As they die off, so do we. As species continue to disappear, the web that we are a part of weakens. 

This means wherever we are, we must keep looking for the beauty around us. It is everywhere! And it our job to find it, appreciate it and preserve it so others will enjoy it too.

The Music Of The Universe


Lately, in keeping with all the inner work I’ve been doing and with the great changes coming out of the last few years of my life, it has naturally moved me back to the more spiritual side of myself. In my past, the spiritual plane was almost equal to the plane in which I lived on a daily ‘normal’ basis. This meant I often felt very in tune with so much more around me and on a much deeper level: people, animals, the natural landscape and of course: the mystical.

Then, the course of my life got in the way, and this beautiful and magical part of my life slipped away  without me really noticing. The spiritual habits that I had practiced left me; all the ‘unexplained coincidences’ that would so often pop up joyfully in my life seemed to disappear and life just became a dull and routine existence.

Like so many of us, the tether to the unknown–to that thing beyond us–(call it what you may), isn’t always there unless you are really looking or open to it. Many just don’t believe, being simply too rooted in reality.

But we all have our own scopes of what reality may be. And I know that my reality had encompassed many things which could not be explained by scientific or simple explanations. You just had to be there to understand. To have faith in the powers and energies that flow. And I did.

So the time has gently begun to seem right, bit by bit, to reemerge within my spiritual self. To put back on my garland crown and flowing robes and step back into the circle once again. And I feel my power returning like an old friend. It was just waiting for my call.

My dreams have been full of visions, visitations and clarity. I use a dream book that I have to help interpret them and I’ve been writing them down in my journal, along with other long and inspired thoughts about my journey.

My interactions with people feel more purposeful and I am often drawn into deep conversations on a sidewalk with neighbors. Seeing people now brings me warmth rather than anxiety and I’m happy to share these moments and feel they are all meaningful.

Most things now feel part of my plan, that I am drawing all things to me. Some days I pick a tarot card to see what it might say, and often it will reflect what I have been feeling during my meditation. That nothing is random: I am creating this reality around me.

It has a been a very long walk to this place of inner peace; to be able to shrug off the demon within each time it threatens to claw its way to the surface. And now that I am dancing on my spiritual path once again, my peace is sweeter: for finally  I can hear the music of the Universe with my whole soul.

The Bird And The Seed


The Bird had been looking a long time. It knew by now, that when satisfying hunger, one must not give up. There were many others that were hungry too, and not much to go around–that’s just the way it was sometimes, but the Bird didn’t complain. The Bird understood The Way of things, but it also made him strong, willing to keep going when others just gave up. Finding what you are looking for may not be easy, but when you do, it’s sweeter for the trying.

Finally, The Bird landed on a plant. It was a rather flimsy thing, which barely could hold him up. But he had noticed that there on the plant was what he had been searching for: The Seeds. There weren’t many and they were hanging off a thread like stem, one that would never hold his weight, this he knew as The Bird balanced precariously on a nearby leaf.

But the hunger burned in his belly. So close he was to his goal and his journey long. Quietly he sat and pondered his predicament. Every time he moved closer to The Seeds, the more they seemed to get away from him. He moved slowly, but would slip down into the swamp below. He would contort himself, but The Seeds would dip into the waters with every move.

After much time and many different attempts, The Bird was eventually able to manage to grasp hold of a small part of the plant! And now, carefully he drew it closer to his beak and plucked two small seeds to eat. He had partially satiated his hunger and yet…as he grabbed for more–

He slipped! Now he was in the water below and what he had been there for: gone. The Seeds had fallen and plunged into the depth of the marsh and were lost.

The Bird, being the creature he was, simply climbed back up…shook out his wings and contemplated. He did not fret or cry out. It was The Way, after all.

And now it was time to move on…