Qi Thought of the Day…

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“PASSION” is the energy of which our souls rely on to continue toward that which we desire, seek, long for, but most importantly,  LOVE…

If passion is missing, then our lives and work become mundane, regular, un-motivating and task-like.  This passionless situation affects our spirit in a negative way by weighing us down and allowing us to lose hope for fulfilling our future plans, wishes and dreams.

Listen to your spirit.

It speaks of the passion that burns inside… have the courage to admit what it is,  seek it, and follow it…

Because it is in embracing your passion that the magic begins to unfold!

Day 99: Friendship springs to life…

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Have you ever felt as if you thought that the path ahead was ever clear, not a bump, not a rock, not a barricade and then when driving along at a smooth 70 mph you come to an abrupt and sudden stop?  Something comforting and yet a bit jarring, and your senses become disoriented and your path is now blurred by a fog that rolled in from out of nowhere…  Yes, this Quest was one of getting lost and intrinsically being found.  A “couple” who are good friends of mine, invited me to go with them on an adventure to Buckeye Hot Springs just north of Bridgeport, CA.   It was meant to be a new experience taking a dip in the hot and healing waters that gifted the area… and what transpired was nothing short of serendipitous.

I met my friends and we drove together down through the Carson Valley… these were relatively new friends of mine and so the conversations were a bit hesitant during the beginning of the drive. But then we ventured onto a deep topic that inspired many stories to be shared.  My one friend began to describe an intimate moment with his father who  had unfortunately passed away .  How this most valued spirit in his life, had journeyed through times when the present was all that had mattered and that the after-life was not truly existent in his mind.  As my friend spoke I could hear the words of admiration of his dear father flow from his mouth as if they were saturated with love for this spirit.  He spoke of the care that he and others devoted and rendered to help his father transition from this Earth. They helped him pass with sincerity and respect while encompassed by a shield of pure love.  My friend disclosed that he felt that in the weeks that led up to the transition, his father, who was reticent about his beliefs that this earth is the final destination, began to have an evolution of thought on this very topic.  My friend stated that it was quite clear that his father realized through various occurrences and enlightenment that indeed there is another journey, one much greater, that awaits… One that transcends this place and time…  It was in that moment that I looked out and saw a very large golden eagle sitting in a lone tree on the side of the road as we passed by.  An eagle, a bird that embodies the term, “spiritual journey”… I smiled…. Of course!  And with that most profound story shared and a bit of silence that filled the gaps of contemplative thought, we continued on our adventure.

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We made a turn at a sign that directed us to Buckeye Creek down a dirt and rocky road.  The road was quite narrow and twisted and turned up the mountain face.  Let me be clear, it is a very narrow one-lane road with a steep cliff on one side and barely a bit of shoulder that hugged the other… and as we climbed, I held my breath but maintained my faith in my friend’s driving ability to get us to the destination.  Halfway up the mountain I dared to look out at the view and it was nothing short of awe-inspiring!  The view led these green eyes to reach miles over a golden valley and then to the other direction, snowy peaks of mountains so high they seemed to touch the heavens.  I began to relax and before I knew it we had arrived at the hot springs.  A short hike was in store, so with the wind a bit brisk, a warm jacket was worn and we were off.  One of my friends began to disclose to me a rather frightening chronic struggle in her life.  The details were remarkable and her tenacity to overcome the issues that debilitated her days was nothing short of astounding.  Others have walked in her shoes and not survived. Some afflicted with such a situation simply have chosen to allow themselves to be lost in the details and forget how to live.  As she told of this story, you could hear the passion in every syllable, scientific description and detail being shared.  Her eyes were fierce with determination that she would not give in and certainly refused to give up.  The fire for living that emanated from her spirit could be felt from every fiber of her being… even the sound of the rushing creek that flowed through the canyon we traversed was muted by her energy.  She would not allow this life challenge to take her spirit down… not even in the slightest sense.  And as we continued to walk, the two friends were almost hard to disseminate from the other…. They had been married for many years and yet had the youthful outward love and affection for each other as if they had just met.  It was endearing to watch and yet quite profound at certain moments in the conversation…   With one facing life-threatening challenges, you could feel and sense the other’s emotion brewing from within while the story was told… reliving these moments.   It was a gift to witness….priceless to see this level of love and devotion between two souls.

“Those who have never known the deep intimacy and the intense companionship of mutual love have missed the best thing that life has to give.”

-Bertrand Russell

The stories concluded and there we were creek-side, enjoying some lovely snacks that had been carefully chosen and packed by my friends.  And as we sat, the topic of the after-life re-emerged. Our deep conversation was framed by the energy of the rushing creek, how it flowed with intensity and determination… a bird on a rock seemed to sing in delight at the conversation that had been broached.  Not a doubt among us of the power that leads and guides us in our lives.  The path that we take is all meant for a reason, even when there are moments when we wander to find ourselves, to become more grounded and focused.  And with several moments of laughter and smiles to help with the serious stories that we shared, we sat together with not an ounce of remorse or regret.  We reveled in the simple appreciation for the moments that this life has gifted us all… Some moments we wish to forget, several that conjure a laugh, but all how they have brought us to this point in our lives… a moment of understanding and perhaps better clarity for why it is that our paths had crossed.

We had finished and dusk had arrived and it was time to take a dip in the hot springs and watch the stars emerge… I had never been to a natural hot springs of this sort.  I donned a bikini top and board shorts and stepped into the approx. 105 degree water.  The first step felt like hot tub happiness and then as I settled into the water with the sandy bottom below, I looked up and there in the deep cool midnight sky the first star was seen… and yes, a wish was tossed up to the heavens in hopes that it would be honored.  Time will tell…

There I sat with several others in the hot springs and a discussion with one man ensued.  He was disheartened with the events he has seen in this lifetime.  He was feeling pessimistic and sad that the world contained so much evil.  He felt as if nothing was being done and nothing could be done to eradicate it.  And there we sat discussing what could be done to change that and whether those ideas were even fruitful.   Feeling his sense of loneliness and knowing a little of his journey,  I then suggested to him that I felt he needed to invite more spirits into his life and that he seemed closed off from inviting others.. he paused and softly agreed.     He had said how he felt a bit lost these days of late and that is what brought him to the hot springs.   I advised him to open up and live a little… not get too focused on remaining alone and not take life too seriously… to be willing to allow others to go along his journey with him as I thought he had much to contribute to this world and those he might let in.  He smiled, agreed and seemed to appreciate the sentiment.  And there we sat, strangers under a sea of stars waiting to be wished on, and so with that, I released a wish for his spirit that he find what he is looking for.  Again, time will tell.

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The night had ended and we had to climb up steep rock terrain to get to the car.  With bags in tow and the glow of lanterns to light the way in the darkness of night, all three of us made our way to the top.  My friend had panicked a bit as he thought he had left the keys in his car.  When we arrived at the car, he realized that in fact his keys had been lost.  A deep sigh and a plan was formed to go back down the cliff side, retrace his steps and search for the lost keys.  As we searched, through muddied grass, around rocks and boulders and sulfur streams, with a couple missteps, some falls and heavy sighs, I stopped for a moment and released a short prayer to the powers that be… “To the powers that be… his keys are lost and can’t be found, please oh please, bring them back around.”  And within one minute I heard him call my name… “Michele!”  I responded, “Yes!”  He said, “I found them!”  I whispered to the heavens, “Of course you did, Thank you!!!” What I hadn’t known at the time was that my friend too had an intervention of sorts from those not seen to help him with his search…  And when I heard this, I thought, “Of course he did!”

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It was on the way home that it was my turn to reveal a bit of myself that my friends knew nothing of.  Details seemed to stream from my lips as if on auto-pilot with only one destination and that was to be shared with them.  This was exceptionally hard to do in that I am quite private and they were intimate details of my life I never share or disclose with my new friends.  And I could hear the silence fall like snowflakes in the forest as I spoke.  Not a judgment made, but rather understanding rendered in the most sincere and loving way.  And when I was done, and we had arrived at our destination, a moment of concern crossed my mind as I had lost track of where I had placed my keys to my vehicle.  And I paused to center myself and focus and I remembered in an instant where they were placed carefully and securely in a zippered pocket, kept protected from being lost or removed.  A smile emerged with a soft sigh and a general sense of relief fell over us all.

It was time to say “Goodbye” to my good friends. The road we had traveled this day was nothing like what I thought it would be.  We traveled beyond this earthly place and yet we were earthbound spirits recollecting years, days and moments when we fought through difficult times and endured unforeseen obstacles as they were presented.  And with each story we all shared, the fog had lifted and the vision became ever clear about one another’s journey as spirits.  Clear as to why our paths had crossed, what we had to learn from each other, what more we wanted to know, and then still yet, more questions formed, waiting to be answered another day.

At some point along this life’s journey, we may find that:  The road is not always paved, maybe made of dirt and rocks with twists and turns and precarious steep cliffs on one side and a snug shoulder on the other.  Even then, there will be moments that must be surrendered to take in the glorious views from above, but the pauses maybe short in order to continue on our way.… this life we can be assured will have rushing creeks to flow with intensity and determination, and birds to sing our praises, with hot springs to soothe the soul and the stars to lend a way to place a wish, to cross paths with others lost and yet hold onto an undeniable faith, we all will be found.

We don’t let our challenges define who we are, but rather identify ourselves by the resilience we discover we possess in overcoming those challenges.  And in the end, the one thing that sustains us all, is the love for another… friend, husband, wife, mother, father or other…

Having been gifted with the stories that encouraged, supported and guided the way to this shy girl revealing details of her life, to two new friends how they had gained her trust, lassoed her heart and strengthened her spirit.

“Important encounters are planned by the souls, long before the bodies see each other.”  -Paulo Coelho

Wondering where this twisting road will take this shy girl next…

Day 98: Puppy love…

“Love is not about finding the right person, but about being the right person.”

-Bryant McGill

 

 

Oh how the days have flown by during this restful break.  I am closer to returning to regular activity and yet, the physical break has gifted me time to go exploring and take some much-needed pictures.  As the days go by and the moments add up, I find myself thinking about what is truly important in this lifetime and what seems to be central in my life.  When I was younger, my friends and I would discuss how love was about finding the right one.  And yet, as I grow older, I begin to realize more what love really is and the various places it can be found and how its value can be measured.

The other day, I was invited to the lake by a friend who is a photographer, to take some pictures and perhaps even learn a thing or two from this gifted man.  When we arrived at the location, my dog, Jet, and his dog, Sekani, leapt to each other as if to greet one another in a most familiar way.  They had never met before and one was older and the other younger, yet this hardly even factored into their thought process.  Jet, an aging Golden Retriever and Sekani a young white wolf dog, without hesitation or thought, ran off along the trail.  My friend led the way down a steep and winding trail and I tagged along trying to keep up with the exuberance that blazed the path.

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I was on the tail end of recovering from recent surgery, so my steps were gingerly made but my senses seemed so alive.  The scent of the pine permeated the crisp cold air and the fallen pine needles beneath each step were soft and bouncy, and then in what seemed to be an instant, there in front of me was a most breath-taking view!  I came to a most sudden stop and in complete awe, just marveled at the heavenly “Secret” sight before me!  Normally I would have camera in hand snapping away, but there I was frozen in the moment as if to allow my mind to download every pixel of rich color and authentic beauty I could possibly store in my organic memory bank.  It felt as if I had been re-energized with a mere view of Lake Tahoe!  Sekani led the way for Jet in their explorative efforts.  Jet had not been to Tahoe before, so this was a new experience for the both of us!

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We walked along the trail and rested for just a moment on some rocks as my friend began a quick lesson about photography.   I had a hard time focusing on the topic at hand as nature’s distractions were too numerous to count.  And then, on the beach below, my eye caught a most surprising site… a senior citizen man leaning against the rock, naked as a jaybird!  Yes, there was more to why they call this gorgeous place, “Secret Cove”, then its natural alpine beauty.  This shy girl was slightly stunned by the lack of hesitation and amazing confidence displayed by this man…  And yet, I found something so organic and relaxed about the image.  A sense of ease fell across my mind like a gentle Lake Tahoe wave.  The body is merely a shell of which we are, not meant to be a topic of judgment or disgrace… just a vessel to hold the most precious contents, the core of which is our authentic and genuine spirit.  How can the naked form not be a beautiful sight to see… regardless of flaws seen and unseen?  Just then, I began to smile as the man put on his clothes and ended his time at the beach below.

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The camera lesson ended and some giggles were shared as it was ever apparent to my friend that I know nothing about photography!  Yes, I did just admit as much!  I simply know where the capture button is, the review button and the most important one, the “On/Off” button! With that humiliating revelation grudgingly disclosed, it was time to head to the beach to wait for sunset and let the pups play.  Down the steps we went ever so carefully.  Jet appeared to be in a complete state of joy as he went to taste the cold and pure waters of Lake Tahoe.  As he finished his sip, he turned to look at me as if to thank me in the most loving way for taking him on this adventure.  He was indeed a happy dog!

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He and Sekani continued to play.  Sekani, being more agile and more experienced than Jet, leapt from rock to rock, as if it were simply her nature.  Jet, would watch in admiration and longing to do the same, but his spindly and elder legs simply could not keep up with her youth and agility.  My friend had stepped out on a boulder and called for me to follow.  As I climbed up, I could feel a tug of pain, but tucked it away quickly when I saw that the view from above was as mesmerizing and distracting, as could be!

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Before I knew it, Sekani had followed and Jet stood in the water trying his hardest to find a way onto the rock.  Part of me was hopeful he would accomplish his goal and the other part envisioned a wet dog deciding to shake the water off vigorously if he made it!  I furrowed my brow with a bit of concern.  At that moment, Sekani leaned down and touched nose-to-nose with Jet, as if she granted him a loving canine kiss letting him know it was ok.  Dare I say, I smiled that despite not having climbed the rock, Jet had experienced a loving moment that perhaps he had waited his entire life for and that was worth the tug of pain to witness!

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A step back down the rocks and it was time to rest myself on a boulder, while the pups joyfully played!

 

 

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The sun had signaled the start of her long Goodbye and my friend presented me with a sage bouquet as an offering to the powers that be.  It was explained the sage would be lit and the wishes, hopeful prayers and good thoughts would be offered up in four directions to the powers that be.  It was time for the flame to touch the dried sweet sage and the smoke danced to the heavens.  The instruction was to blow gently on the bouquet to encourage a deep orange glow.  With two hands, this girl stood and held steadfastly the thick bundle of sage made with thoughtful care and now aglow in the nighttime air.  The thoughts how they escaped my mind, bequeathed to those not seen to find.  A patient, shy girl lent a prayer for snow… a prayer for peace… a prayer for love…  And on a gentle breeze her words were messaged to the heavens on secret sage smoke swirls…  With a heavy sigh and lightened heart, a smile how it emerged.

sc7The purple sky and the fiery glow illuminated her friend, who did the same.  You could feel the energy of spirits not seen, how they gathered to bear witness to the sacrifice by two earthbound spirits that yearned for the heavenly liquidity to fall to this thirsty, dry terrain.  After time had passed and the sage had lost its flame, the cold set in and the time had come to end the day as it had begun in the dark embrace left by the setting sun.

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Jet and Sekani were snug in the sand with neither wanting to leave… alas, Jet had learned of another lesson today… that all good things do have an end.  It is in enjoying the time we have in moments like this that truly matters.  Just like the rising sun, the ending flame of the sage, a day of naked sunbathing or a kiss he didn’t want to end, all good things eventually come to their close… it is in holding close those memories and relishing the feelings and emotions that they evoke that we remember the love that created those remarkable moments.

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It was time then, to call upon them both to rise and lead the way back up the trail.  Just like that and as two new companions might be, they playfully leapt to lead the way… both a bit tired from the excitement of the day no less wanting to savor every minute they could.  They were 2 inches away and then 2 feet apart, always within eyesight of each other and yet, they didn’t “need” to be inseparable to be feeling the love from the other.  It was in that moment that I played back the highlights of Jet’s adventure, how he was confident enough to meet a new friend, not afraid to admit his faults of not being a rock climber, and yet still not aged enough that he could chase Sekani around… and in the end, he made no apologies for his short-comings, but rather was joyous to have had the opportunity to have met her.  And in that moment it was ever clear that we would leave and Sekani may never see him again…. Both learning in that adventure shared, that love is not finding the right companion but in being the right companion.

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Having learned another lesson about the power of love through the eyes of a canine companion…

Wondering what tomorrow will bring….

Qi Thought of the Day…

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Love is about who we are and what we give to others.

It is the sustaining energy that motivates us to do great and loving things.

It is the strength that lends us joy and happiness in sorrowful times.

It is the core power that resides from within and grows and expands with the many lives we choose to affect in a positive way.

Love all things and all things will grow in love… then and only then, will the essence of your being be understood.

Love you ALL!!!!