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From Silence Came Wisdom

In Response To: Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound Of Silence

In life, I am a very sound-sensitive individual. Certain pitches and volumes that would normally just annoy most people physically hurt at times. Too many differing sounds make me want to cover my ears and scream (perfect example: heavy metal music or a loud television with unpredictable shifts in volume).

Several years ago, when I was actively involved in meeting with my spiritual guide on the astral plane through meditation, I was sitting in my apartment one night about to crawl out of my skin. I ran to the back of the building to escape the noises of the air conditioner, the TV and the cars outside…

I closed my eyes and immediately sought my Guide who was waiting for me and he tells me, “Let me be your peace.” He takes me into his arms piece by piece, frequency by frequency, we shut out all the noise. In silence, he has me spiritually enter a tall, strong oak tree in my neighbor’s back yard and I become one with it. He tells me to hear the heartbeat of the tree.

I say: I know this tree.

He says: “You know because you feel . You feel because you are. Now, what do you feel?”

I say: I feel the heartbeat, which pulses once in a year. Once in a season. The roots swell with the rains and with the force of life which will push up into new leaves and blooms. I feel its slow strength. I feel its serenity. I feel every memory. I feel the cold earth surrounding my feet. I feel my arms reaching high in its branches toward the sun. I feel the energies it draws in and those it puts out. I feel the force of life ever flowing. I feel the dark stillness inside the heartwood. I feel the rush of the wind. I feel the complexity of its internal patterns. I feel its age. I feel it holding strong to its will to survive. I feel its faith. I feel its health and its dis-ease. I feel its healed scars. I feel its perseverance. I feel its slow pulse and the reason for its longevity. I feel its patience.

My Guide tells me: “In the end, what you feel is the secret of life. You truly are awakened. You know. This is your wisdom – the way to peace, to knowledge, to those things that you cannot learn from man. You are one with nature, and it is one with you. This tree has allowed you inside its very core. It knows you are of good will, and it knows you possess the Gift. The others will all feel the mark of its energies within you, now that you have joined it as one. You are indeed a very special, precious child. I told you in the beginning you were gifted. Now you understand… this is what I meant. This is why you are here, because all your senses are in tune with the nature that surrounds you. In silence, you can communicate with nearly everything. Many of us cannot. Many of us only possess a special connection with certain entities but you, my dear, you have the ability to hear the trees, the spirits of nature, the spirits of men, the spirits of all that surrounds you.”

My Guide continues: “I know that you have lost faith in men (people), but do not lose faith in nature, for that is what you are here to protect. Mankind has destroyed itself and now settles into its death. Nature… it will survive, but it will need to be healed and to be able to heal it, we must be able to understand its needs above what we can already see with our eyes. We must also apply our minds to the energies it gives us and decode its secrets with an understanding that very few have managed to achieve.”

From silence came wisdom and with wisdom, the ability to understand the world around me with closed eyes and an open mind. Sometimes after all, we must close our eyes to truly see.

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Daily Prompt – Money for Nothing?

In response to: Daily Prompt – Money for Nothing

Dream jobs… we all want one. For some, that dream job just means sitting back and collecting on a winning Powerball ticket.  The most joy, I think, comes from the satisfaction of doing work that you love that also pays the bills.  My dream job is not going to be found in any newspaper or on Monster.  It will have to be crafted with hard work and a hefty sum of funds to start – where they would come from is unknown but… prayer does bring miracles, especially when it’s for a good cause.

This is something I’ve been half-heartedly plotting for years – half-heartedly due to not knowing where or how to acquire the funds to start and run it all.  I started by listing three of my main interests that I would love to make my life’s work: animal rescue, social work and a bed and breakfast.  In combining these things, I came up with an idea: An unwanted horse rescue which would be run on a ranch. As part of a ranch, there would be housing. That housing could be used as a battered women’s shelter.  The name: Renewal Ranch.  The organization’s “icon” would be a simple sunrise, signifying each day bringing new light. Something like…

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…Without the green screen of course 🙂

Horses are taken in to be cared for. Women are taken in to be cared for. In return for their shelter, the women would get to connect with nature and the horses by helping to care for them.  Both the women and the horses would be safe, sheltered, fed and helped to recover from abuse, neglect and un-want. The joy to me would be in helping everyone involved, give the women a purpose and the horses a second chance. The positive energy would come full circle as the women rehabilitate the horses and the horses help rehabilitate the women. I’m giving myself 9 years to find a way to acquire the funds for this project because I would like to “retire” from the corporate world at 50 and spend the last half of my life (yes, I plan on being around until at least 100!) doing good for some of those most in need.  My dream job – a labour of love.

Daily Prompt: Simply The Best

This post is in response to: Daily Prompt: Simply the Best | http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/daily-prompt-best/

Where do you do your best thinking?

My mind is one of those that always seems to be going non-stop, even when I’m trying to get to sleep (sometimes especially then).  To make it all make sense takes special focus.  It takes actual pen and paper to chart out those processes, expand them, tie them together, and condense them in an organized, easy to tend manner.  While thoughts on everything from finances to short story ideas come in a mudslide, my key to gaining this coveted organization is sensory deprivation – or as close as I can get to achieving that.

This state of thought can rarely be achieved at home. With seven or more people in the house at any given time, there is rarely any quiet, much less a time of few to no distractions.  Our back yard provides a very temporary haven to sort things out as we have a large fire pit set far enough back that household cacophony does not reach.  It does seem though that every time I retreat to the fire pit for some brain-time, soon someone realizes I am back there and comes to hang out, the rest following shortly after they’ve realized the first is missing.

Alternately, beautiful shorelines are all around me.  Be it a small lake, a creek, river, or beachside, there is always somewhere I can go if I have the gas to get there.  The area around the library is one of my favourite places to sit and sort. If one view becomes monotonous, another is only a couple minutes’ walk away.  People don’t bother you much out there, aside from the expected nod, smile and “good morning!” as they pass you walking.  Being surrounded by natural scenes allows my mind to pause, take in the simplest of sounds, sights and smells, and stop long enough to think on paper, one topic at a time.  Nature gives me the space I need for my body and soul to just breathe and just that in itself helps everything fall into order.  Oddly, the darker, rainier, stormier it is, the more creative the thoughts become.  Until of course every hair on my body starts to tingle, then my only thought is “Lightning – Shelter!” *winks*

The only time it becomes impossible to think straight is when I am under extreme stress, and I have had my share of that.  When depression starts to creep in over the things causing stress, there is no place or situation that seems to help me think.  In fact, thinking when I am feeling depressed is something I try to avoid because it tends to begin a downward spiral which only ends badly unless by some miracle something happens to pull me out of it.  Likewise, I try like hell to avoid making decisions or plans under pressure.  Those are the ones we tend to regret the most.

So nature, every bit my thinking box, especially when the calming energy of water surrounds me.  Your turn – Where do YOU do your best thinking?

 

Working For Free – Oyster Reef Volunteer

Having been out of work for some time now, the cabin fever was setting in pretty hard.  Between having no income yet still spending gas to get to job interviews, there was no gas to just get away for pleasure, a break from the monotony and certainly no funds for entertainment.  I needed to feel useful again, productive.  That is when I came across a request in the local paper for volunteers to help that coming weekend on a project to build an artificial reef in the area.  I’m a nature lover and have always been interested in (and often active in) conservation efforts – how cool was that?

After e-mailing the listed contact for details, I was excited to get to work – even if it was for free.  I let a friend of mine know about the project and he was on board as well.  That Saturday, he picked me up early and we went out to Harbour Pointe on the inlet where several tons of oyster shells were ready in large barrels and on sheets of plywood in huge piles.

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About 20 other volunteers showed up and we were given a brief primer on the task at hand.    We organized ourselves into each area – shoveling, bagging and tying off.  I shoveled shells into smaller buckets while my friend bagged and tied them.  They were then loaded onto a truck to be moved to their final resting place in Wildcat Cove.  

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During a break in which bottled water and other drinks were provided, the leader of the operation and a colleague commended us all on our efforts which far exceeded their expectations.  In just about 2 hours, we’d already assembled about 400 20-pound oyster bags for deployment.  My friend and I stayed for a 20-minute informational lecture about oyster reefs, their local benefits, lots of statistics and zoological info as well.  We broke for lunch then and would meet up at low tide a few miles up the coast at Wildcat Cove.

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Upon arrival at Wildcat Cove, we found the oyster bags in a neat pile in front of the canoe launch.  Another 100 bags had been assembled and brought up in two deliveries.  It took a little brainstorming as to how we were going to get the bags to the reef area, but one adventurous girl with her own kayak said she could pull floating tubs of about 30 bags per load out to the location.  There was some interesting trial-and-error in getting the system going, including one thankfully good-humored man getting impossibly stuck in the thick muck at the bottom of the river.  It took more than ten minutes to get the river to release his legs and he lost a shoe, but we got him back safely!  Note to self: Don’t go into the water without a boat here!

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Once we got the production line going, the rest was – pardon the pun – smooth sailing.  Bags were floated out to a mangrove area where a 4-foot high oyster “wall” was built staggered around the mangroves.  Once settled and cemented, these artificial reefs will provide settling places for new oyster spawns, as well as providing habitat for young fish and feeding grounds for birds such as herons, ibis, loons, cormorants, anhingas and more.

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I remain in contact with the organizer of this effort who works for the county in coastal restoration and he is helping me network with other people in the field so that I may actually find work in conservation or a related field.  Even if it is a desk job, it would be a great opportunity (and has been) to do something productive in a field I really enjoy.  Another reef build is coming up in two days.  This time my daughter will also be involved, getting her hands dirty and having a positive impact on our local, unique and delicate ecosystem.

Enough Nature!

As if the black widow in my flower pot the other weekend wasn’t bad enough… (hairspray and a lighter fixed that one…)

Alright so… Sunday, Alyn and I are out swimming in the Intracoastal. It’s coming up on dusk, lots of schools of fish are out feeding (and being fed upon)… i’m about waist-deep in the water but sunk down to my shoulders just relaxing… along comes a SWARM (not a school, a swarm!) of fish (the surface of the water was rolling) and they start nipping at me so I jump up only to feel something having a hissyfit in my bathing suit top! Yanked my top down (lucky Alyn) – a frikken fish propels itself out and takes off to go find his buddies. I said, “Ok! That’s enough nature for me!” and [quickly] made my way to shore squashing I don’t know how many crabs and sea slugs and God only knows what else under my feet on my way in because at that point I just didn’t care about looking where I was going.

Then!

Today after a very busy day at work and a NASTY virus hit that caused me to have to stay a couple hours late, by the time I got home all I wanted to do was put my feet up and RE-LAX. The sunset was getting pretty after a storm began to dissipate, so I took my book of crosswords outside and went to settle into my favourite porch chair. No sooner did I sit than I was swarmed by freakin’ wasps. I – BOLTED down my driveway, goosebumps head to toe, and waited for them to disburse. They didn’t. I managed to get a look at what they were concentrating on and there was a damned wasp nest attached to the underside back of my chair!!!

So I’m out in my driveway, completely befuddled and freaked out, BAREFOOT, my phone inside, very angry wasps swarming my front porch (and of course the front door was the only one unlocked) – and my only weapon was a crossword puzzle book. Yeh – time to die.

I tried for about 20 minutes to time a mad dash for the front door but they just kept circling and getting angrier. Finally, I walked over to Tracy’s apartment and after hiding my head in shame asked if they might have any wasp spray. NOPE. Todd thought it would be a good idea to go spray them down with the hose, so he did. The result? A hive of WET, pissed off wasps. After while, a flyswatter was acquired and Tracy covered me, managing to maim a couple of them while I dashed inside for my keys and whatnot. I ran back out spraying a cloud of Raid and ducked into my car and went straight to the store for a can of wasp killer. I’m inside now… 2 hours later… and luckily none got inside! Oh, and she was nice and gave me dinner again 🙂

Summary: I DON’T LIKE NATURE ANY MORE!!!!!

A Look At The Savannas

This is a collection of photographs I took at the Savannas Wildlife Preserve in St. Lucie County, FL  All were shot on a Canon EOS Rebel G using Fuji 35mm film.  Yep, that’s right:  I’m old-school.

A little history of this photo set… These were taken in 2005, shortly after my husband had filed for divorce and put me and my then 3-year old daughter on the street.  This is where I ended up living for some time, in my little tent while still holding a full time job.  This collection is truly a statement to finding the positive and the beauty in any situation we are given to handle.  I hope they inspire you as well to look around you, no matter what you’re going through, and try to find something beautiful to hold onto.  Even the smallest thing can be enough to keep you going when you’ve lost everything else.

 

Namaste,

Heather.