Welcome ...

One day I was contemplating the advice I had been sharing with hundreds, if not thousands, of people over the years. I decided it was time to put my experiences into the written word and hope that you find as much pleasure in my adventures as I have ... and maybe, just maybe, if your travels cross some of the same places that mine have, perhaps my words of wisdom will make your journey that much more fun and exciting.

So whether it's local restaurants or exotic destinations ... as my Uncle Jim described me, I am the "intrepid traveler", always ready for an adventure, whether traveling solo or leading the way ... you never know what will pop into my head and come out on the keyboard.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Her Heart On Her Sleeve

A few years ago my friend Joy gave me a very special gift.  It wasn't big and expensive, it wasn't outrageous or extravagant.  It was so simple but in its simplicity, it opened my eyes to the subtlety of whispered messages surrounding me.  My gift?  A simple seashell, but not just any seashell.  One of Joy's favorite things in the world is the beach.  Hailing from Bulgaria, they don't have the pristine beaches that Florida has and after spending many sunny days and sunsets there, Joy finds much "joy" and solace in the sand and surf.  My shell had been found on the beach in Naples, FL one day and Joy decided that I had to have it.  A seashell is a seashell is a seashell or so most of think.  Remember that tongue twister from your childhood?  "She sells seashells by the seashore."

But the truth is that a seashell is not just a seashell.  It once held a creature so delicate that it had to build itself a wall so thick that only a fisherman's knife would open it.  Or so thick that a sea otter had to float on it's back and use a tool to smash it open.  Shells were used by ancient indian tribes to call to one another.  Mound Key in Florida is an actual mound of oyster shells that the indians had eaten and discarded, so shells are an archaeologists dream.  Remember the first big shell you ever held up to your ear and could swear you hear the ocean?  Seashells give us beaches of beautiful white sand and coral in the depths of the ocean to snorkel to and discover hidden treasures beneath.

What made my gift from Joy so special was that this particular shell had a heart broken into it.  It inspired thoughts for me such as, when we see hearts in nature, is that what Mother Nature's heart looks like?  Does our Earth contain life at levels our eyes and ears can't distinguish, but our hearts can?  Is this Mother Nature wearing her heart on her sleeve?  I look back at moments of being in Nature and seeing hearts around me.

Like the time I was hiking the ridge trail at Radnor Lake. As I enjoyed the sound of the wind in the trees, the sun on my face, my breath in my lungs, I glanced down to the rocky path, and there, in the middle was a heart shaped rock.  I noticed it but kept on walking.  All of a sudden, I thought to myself, if I didn't go back and get it, really SEE it, was I ignoring Mother Nature?  I turned around and went back down the path.  Would you know, I found that same heart-shaped rock within minutes.  It was as if it was calling to me.  Today, that little rock sits on my bedroom window sill.

Recently I was hiking on the north shore of Kona, and I was so focused at putting one foot in front of the other, making sure I didn't slip and fall, that I wasn't noticing what was around me.  But taking a moment to look beyond the tips of my shoes, I noticed the gravel and rocks and dried leaves.  Not just any leaves, but here they were, heart-shaped!  It seemed that they were placed "just right" and once again, I saw the heart.  And the more I looked, the more I saw.  Now that I am home and look back, I wonder if it was my own heart calling to the heart of the islands.  Like many who venture to Hawaii, we fall in love.  Not with some one but with a spirit of the islands that you can't see but you can definitely feel.  So in this case, could I say that Pele's heart was being worn on her sleeve?  I would say absolutely yes! 

You can see those hearts every where you go.  They aren't just "flowers" or "leaves", they have that shape for a reason. But how often do we take the time or even make the time, to try and figure out why?  There is so much that we take for granted and so many things that we assume will be there for us forever.  Just as I did during my hike, I was focused on putting one foot in front of the other, not looking beyond my own toes.  However, if we stop to breathe, and truly breathe, from the depths of our souls, it is in those moments of stillness when our senses are heightened and we are more aware of our surroundings.  We reconnect to the cave dwellers that we once were, leaving our strappings of condo dwelling and find solace in the simplicity and the stillness.

There was a song that I used to listen to, and I can't recall the title of it nor, who wrote it but the words are along the lines such as this "It's written on the wind, it's every where I go, so if you really love me, come on and let it show."  The love that we can touch in ourselves, from being in Nature, is such a simple one.  It's not complicated, there are no rules, there are no conditions.  It's a love full of color and content, of a beauty that can bring tears to your eyes and your heart fills with wonder.  There are color combinations that human beings would not put together but just somehow seem to "work" in Nature.  Look for the hearts in Nature, and in those times when you can't see them, just re-create them.  I challenge everyone who reads this to take a day to live from your heart.  Not a few moments or a few hours but an entire 24 hour period.  It will change your life and open you to possibilities that you never dreamed possible.