The Spirit Moves Me

It’s February, and as my Facebook memories are reminding me, I’m supposed to be in Hawai’i right now, or at least counting down the days until I’m there. For the past 12 years, I have spent 2-3 weeks on either Maui or the Big Island every winter. It’s not just the warm weather and beaches that draw me there; it’s an indescribable ‘something’ that makes me feel connected to myself and the surroundings.

Hawaiians talk about, and demonstrate, “Aloha Spirit”. “Aloha”, while often associated with being the word for “Hello”, actually refers to “the presence of breath”. It is the “coordination of mind and heart within each person.” (Chapter 5, Hawai’i Revised Statutes) It is a way of life on the islands, where goodwill and kindness are extended to others.

I felt it on my first trip. As soon as the aircraft door opened and I could smell the air, I felt at home. It doesn’t matter which island I’m on, it’s the same. There is something about being there that makes me feel completely connected – physically, mentally, emotionally.

At first, I thought it was being near water. I can sit near the ocean for hours – watching and listening to the waves crash on shore. I get a similar feeling sitting near the lake at home, so I knew it was more than that. Is it the humidity in the air? The scent of the plumeria flowers wafting on the breezes? Being surrounded by so much natural beauty?

I remember the feeling I had when hiking into “The Bamboo Forest” (Pipiwai Trail) on Maui on the way to Waimoku Falls. As far, and tall, as the eye could see – it was bamboo. Greenery everywhere. A slight breeze added subtle percussion sounds as the bamboo swayed. A gentle rain started to fall. All I wanted to do was sit on the forest floor and experience it.

Whenever I am on the islands, the urge to be creative is overpowering. I want to write, draw, paint (and I’m not a visual artist!). Something about the Aloha spirit connects me in a primal way to myself. I feel things more deeply. I feel a profound sense of peace. I feel whole in a way that’s completely different from how I feel anywhere else.

Connections are interesting things. It’s not just the connections between people, but also things, feelings, places, experiences – everything it means to be human. Some connections can be explained, others cannot – yet they exist for a reason. How a girl who grew up in a land-locked Canadian province found such a profound connection to her being on the tiny islands in the Pacific, I’ll never know. But, I’m grateful.

Since that first trip (and there have been seventeen, to date, in total), I feel I leave a small piece of my soul behind when I leave the islands. Maybe I’m called to return in order to connect all the parts of my being.

You Can’t Undo Awareness

Reflecting on Luna Terra Soul podcast and card reading.

Every blessing ignored becomes a curse

The Alchemist

In our most recent podcast “The Ace of Space”, Selena (Luna Terra Soul) mentioned the book “The Alchemist”. I hadn’t heard of it before or at least not yet connected its importance to the current journey I am on. In the podcast one of the cards that had come up for me was the 4 of Swords. I’ve had some time to reflect on its meaning and the significance of appearing now.

The confession of not being in balance is true. The more I clear space, the more real it becomes. The 7 of Pentacles does tie into the present and future as I reflect on what path to take next. It’s a confirmation to always have a back up plan. The main story in “The Alchemist” follows a young shepherd on his quest to find his treasure in Egypt. At one point he is distracted from his quest for a period of time. I know how that feels as I have often set out to accomplish one thing and ended up pursuing something else that filled the space without awareness. An event occurs that brings him back to his original goals and he has to decide which direction he will follow. The parallels of his journey and mine are not lost on me. We both seek a treasure. I have a feeling that we both at this point believe the treasure to be one thing and will eventually realize it might be something else entirely. 

I can always go back to being a shepherd

The Alchemist

“ I can always go back to being a shepherd…maybe I’ll never have another chance to get to the pyramids in Egypt”(excerpt of reflection by the boy in book).

I can always seek out the opportunities that my education and experience has brought me. There is comfort in the familiar path and very little that is unknown if I seek to continue it.

“Why not” is mentioned in the book. To some, that might seem insignificant. To others, it’s something I have been known to say often. An omen perhaps to relate to a kindred spirit? To go into ambiguity and uncertainty with an open heart and mind. 

The synchronicities that come up for me in this book would be spine tingling if I wasn’t used to the universe’s ability to validate the reason I go where I go and do what I do when the timing is right to do it. That might sound confusing so let me explain. 

Series of events…

  • Selena mentions the book “The Alchemist”
  • I don’t recall it and decide to start to read it
  • Right away I start to see the connections
    • I am a visual person, the fact that the journey begins in Spain in areas in which I have stood, engaged in the culture and heritage. I have sailed across the very channel he speaks of to the port of Tangier. 
    • The desert of North Africa will forever be forged in my spirit. I didn’t quest to go all the way to Egypt but I can close my eyes and smell the dust, feel the sway of the camels as we venture further into nothingness and dream under thousands of stars.

The geography is one part of the familiar journey, the boy’s personal journey of balance and desire is another. The book talks of a Personal Legend. It goes on to explain that when we are young everything is possible. As time passes and life interferes with our goals we say goodbye to those dreams. If we stay open to the potential the universe will send us omens to forward our Personal Legend. It’s just waiting in the wings for us to be aware once again and is willing to pick up where we left off if we chose to continue.

Further in the book it talks about “making a decision is only the beginning of things.” I have noticed this anomaly happen in my life. I don’t have to have the master plan in place, just intuitively choose a direction to go. The rest will fall into place as it should if I am aware of the signs, nudges and gifts of knowledge that show up when appropriate. 

I haven’t finished the book yet as I write this blog. I felt compelled to get down my thoughts today before I go for my walk. It feels right to do so and share it with you.

I am still not sure what my next chapter looks like. I have some reflection still to consider. The dreams I had as a young girl no longer seem valid to this midlife woman’s heart. I will have to see and feel what the cards are bringing up next. There is comfort in knowing there is time and I am learning the practice of patience.

The Healing Springs of Bali

The healing powers of Bali

Unpacking space: Past, Present and Future

I am forever grateful I have this gift of past travels. To bask in my adventures through memories, meditation and photos is priceless. To give gratitude everyday for having the presence of mind to soak up every minute of it helps me now to cope with our current present. To know that you are part of something greater than yourself and to be open to the customs and healing rituals of other cultures and beliefs enriches our humanity. It’s an amazing world and we are lucky to have it! You don’t have to travel to exotic places to enjoy and take part of wellness( I know that’s easy for me to say as I have done that many times). The wilderness by my house is full of medicine for my soul. It’s the intention to create a space for healing that counts in the long run to what we put in our “spaces”.

In a time when the world is in turmoil, the need to open a sanctuary of comfort and kindness is desperately welcomed. I was lucky to have experienced such a place in 2019. Accompanied by my neice and a mutual friend, we traveled for three glorious weeks throughout Bali. As was our way in Bali, the guide found us at the entrance to the springs. He then proceeded to spend the day giving us guidance, history and acted as our personal photographer (didn’t expect that but now I am grateful for the wonderful photos). It was an opportunity for us to reflect on our past, be fully aware of our present and to create an inviting space for our futures.

The Titra Empul Healing Springs in Bali has a rich history, sense of sacredness and truly a wonder of nature. The temple was built in 926 AD during the rule of Warmadewa. The location was chosen because of the presence of a sacred spring. The legend tells a tale of an epic battle between a magical king named Mayadenawa and a god called Indra.

Mayadenawa possessed great spiritual powers of transformation. As with any great power the temptation to exploit it caused him to use it for evil instead of good. The god, Indra, took exception to this practice and planned an attack on the king. Mayadenawa caught wind of the plan and snuck into Indra’s camp as the army slept one night. He decided to create an enticing pond where the army would drink from when they awoke in the morning.

Indra discovered many of his men had perished and many more were sick or dying. Indra, with his almighty power, pierced the ground with his staff and converted the water to a sacred spring that was thought to be holy.

Today the spring still flows and many locals, countrymen and seekers of healing line the pathways eager to immerse themselves or fill their water bottles in the ponds.There is an interesting property about how the water bubbles up to the surface. The earth in which it emerges is a combination of sand and gravel. One would think it would be cloudy or discoloured. Any yet, it comes up crystal clear. I watched as many visitors fill their jugs, canteens and water bottles. I was curious so asked the guide what the purpose of doing this is? Since the water is believed to be sacred and full of healing properties, many use it in ceremonies, blessings and personal rituals.

Before we got to the temple we had stopped at a local market to purchase a sarong as the dress code was very strict in the pools and on the grounds. The guide was very helpful in showing us the right way to tie a sarong. I was skeptical that it would cover my bits but he was an expert and in no time we were ready to make our way to the gates of the first set of pools. We purchased a small bamboo container and some flowers and incense to make an offering then made our way to the entrance.

Opening space…

Centering your being with intent and focus is part of the protocol and practice. We found a space to sit on the stone benches facing the water. Ah the energy in a place like that is mystical, thick with culture, history and balm for your soul. In silent meditation we drew on our own desires and needs. We opened our hearts and mind to the knowing support was available from these ancient spirit guides.

Saying “goodbye” to the past…

The guide instructed us that there were 3 sets of fountains in the maze of pools. They represented the past, the present and the future. As you approach each flowing tap, meditate on what you want most then fullfill the actions as directed. 

My heart was beating out of my chest as I worried about remembering all of the instructions. I wanted to do it right! It was my turn. The past, what wrong doings did I want to let go of? Who did I need to forgive, forget and release? I cupped the water as instructed and with a downward motion washed away my past three times in quick succession. To seal the deal, I then dunked my head under the spigot to get rid of any lingering negative energy. Even as I write this now, I still feel the release and a sense of being lighter somehow.

Bring awareness to the present…

We navigated out of the first pool and made our way to the second set.

In this meditative labyrinth we contemplated the present and future. Invited positive energy to fill our hearts and minds. I cupped the water and let it flow from the back of my head this time to the front. Welcoming the exchange of energy instead of pushing it away. An invitation to heal within my being.

By this time I am feeling pretty wonderful. Almost like the water is full of happy juice. I start to notice the people around us clearer. I can see the generations of families that are here together from newborn babies to great grandmas. I am in awe and a bit jealous of the bond they must be feeling. As we make our way to the stairs, one of the families is right in front of me. Great grandma is making her way up the stairs to rise up out of the water. I reach to help and all of the sudden there are numerous relatives surrounding us. She smiles at me, my heart clenches. Can she see into my soul? I think she can as the joy is reflected back at me through her generational eyes.

A drink to the future…

Our final wade leads us towards the future. The ritual changes slightly. We dip our heads three times under the fountain and then take a sip from the spring. This will ensure any lingering negative energy or toxins are released and we ingest positive energy for our future.

We came away from the springs refreshed. Each of us wanting to find a quiet space to savor and take in all we had been blessed to be part of. 

My heart was full. My mind was sharp and clear and my soul? It was soaring!!