Walked in the Quinte Conservation Area after work today. I am not feeling creative enough at the moment to write much about it except to mention that it's a very pretty spot, as you can see by the photos. Black-flies and mosquitoes were out in full force, but strangely they weren't biting.
One of these fine days, I will get back to doing some actual writing and posting of photos on this blog. Until then, I just enjoy these quotes so much.....this particular one speaks to me. "Your dark side will keep you whole" really resonates. Embrace your dark side...without it, you won't truly understand your light side. We all have a dark side, a shadow self. Learn to understand it, take responsibility for it.
I find this is often sadly true of people. They lose themselves, somehow, in their focus on and adoration of another person.
People who are joyous in their life don't draw into themselves, they expand outwards into the Universe, become amplified. People who have gone cold and lost their joy for whatever reason (being strongly attached to the wrong person seems to usually do it) draw inwards, the way the body pulls in it's circulation in severe cold to preserve it's core. They drop their interests and often their friends and find all kinds of reasons and excuses for doing this.....
Never put all your happiness eggs in one basket, be that basket another person, a place, or thing. Be true to yourself, always.
"If you surround yourself with people who do nothing for your growth, let them go. Enjoy your independence. You are only young once; now is the time to get to know yourself. Be happy to be alone. Love yourself. Anytime you find yourself making a negative judgement about someone or something, counteract it with a truthful compliment. Try to be the best version of your self. No one is perfect. No one claims to have all the answers. Your journey is what you make it. Spirituality is a way of connecting to your authentic self. Take time every day to do one selfless thing for someone and watch how your life starts to change. Stop being so selfish. The world doesn't revolve around you. What other people say or think about you won't matter in the grand scheme of life. Everyday won't be a walk in the park, it's not supposed to be. All you can try to do is be there for the ones you really love and most importantly be there for yourself."
Recently this quote popped up on my Facebook feed, and it impressed me enough to hit 'share'. It was then that a thought that had been trickling through my brain for some time suddenly crystallized; all this 'sharing' and 'liking' on Facebook is kind of stupid. When did it take the place of actually sitting down and having a profound conversation with someone? You read something, think, 'Oh...that's kind of cool.....', hit 'share', and then forget all about it.
For awhile now I've been feeling an annoyance and dissatisfaction with Facebook, and social media in general. Twitter...what the hell is that about?? I have a Twitter account but never do a thing with it. Pintrest (or whatever it is) I haven't even bothered to explore. I keep remembering the days before Facebook, before the internet itself even existed. When you wanted to talk to someone, you TALKED to them. You spoke and laughed and read a person's expressions, intonations of voice and their body language. I realized, recently, that I want that. Yes, sometimes it's a challenge and it does take effort to actually talk to people, but it's a good challenge. Would you rather look at a picture of, oh, I don't know, anything, a sunny Spring day, a cool classic car, a dish of your favorite food, or would you rather experience those things? Feel the warmth of the sun, sit in the car, savour the food? I'm not sure I care much for the artificial 'friendship' Facebook seems to promote. There's a certain narcissism to it that bothers me too.....you post your 'profile' picture, (which is generally quite flattering and not a typical representation of your actual appearance), and people 'like' your photo....I suppose this makes some people feel good. I don't know.
Yes, I know it's an excellent way to keep in touch with folks at a distance, and most businesses these days have a Facebook page, where news of events, promotions and product can rapidly reach a wide audience. And yes, I will most likely keep my Facebook account - for now. As is usually the case with me however, I often spend large amounts of time away from it. I've decided, for the time being, to focus more of my limited on-line time here, on my blog, where I can practice the art of writing and showcase some of my photos.
I've always been fascinated by travel, and on the rare occasions when I get to, I try and open myself as fully as I can to the experience.
I recently went on a cruise with a friend. She had booked the trip a full 10 months prior, but I decided rather at the last moment to tag along. I've never been on a cruise ship before. It was an experience, and an interesting way to travel to be sure....but, me being me, I'm pretty sure I would have gotten just as much out of the trip had I travelled on a banana boat, or a sailing ship. I wasn't that surprised to discover that for me, all the excess and amenities the "Norwegian Epic" had to offer, the casinos, the clubs, the non-stop loud music, lost their appeal rather quickly.
Instead, while on board, I found myself drawn to the rail on one of the upper decks. The incessant clamour of people drinking and swimming and the on-going pound of Caribbean music would fade into the background as I watched the ocean, it's deep sapphire of afternoon, it's golds and reds of sunrise and sunset, the swirling larimars and greens and foamy white of the ships wake.
The ship stopped at Ochos Rios in Jamaica, and at Costa Maya and Cozumel in Mexico.
Dunn's Falls was interesting, and a popular tourist stop. You can climb right up the falls, or use the safer staircase that's built up along-side. As I was not feeling particularly up to par that day, I regretfully opted for the safer route, not wishing to fall and break something only two days into the trip. However, the surrounding scenery, (and the falls itself) was spectacular. The turquoise water, the sand......so, so beautiful.
Later, we swam off the beach. The warmth and salty buoyancy of the ocean water was wonderful......obviously they don't let you go too far out due to currents and all manner of other hazards. But, just for awhile, nothing mattered.....
The catamaran ride back from Dunn's Falls was all about Reggae music and booze. For some reason I got far more hammered than I should of from only two Jamaican Red Line Lagers, and I seem to recall being part of a conga line by the time the ship was back in sight......
More incredible turquoise water, sand and palm trees....yes, the water really is the colour as shown in the travel brochures....
To me, the highlight of Costa Maya, and of pretty much the whole trip was the Mayan ruins at Chacchoben.
"Our ancestors were aware. Attuned to the nuances of the landscape and it's underlying geology, they knew how to manipulate and harness natural forces in the landscape to affect human behavior. That's why they sited their sacred places where they did - not for easy accessibility, but because the land itself was special, numinous, powerful, and divine." - Judy Hall, Crystals and Sacred Spaces
Sacred spaces and places have always been a big draw and fascination for me. While these exist everywhere and you don't have to travel thousands of miles to visit one, I do count myself fortunate that I've been able to visit both Glastonbury in the UK and Chacchoben in Mexico, and they both affected me in a similar way. To get to Chacchoben, we were herded onto a rickety, creaky bus and driven an hour at high speeds into the Mexican interior. But once there, it went very quiet, and I kept imagining the place on a moonlit night.....all I could hear were beautiful bird sounds coming out of the surrounding jungle, and I just stood there with my hand on the ancient stones of these structures, and I kind of wanted to cry a little, but in a strange, good way......
The sky was spectacular that day too, and dozens of vultures were up there, circling the site.
Cozumel was mostly about snorkeling and swimming. Sadly, no photos exist of the snorkeling adventure....I am not a strong swimmer and taking photos while floating around in 30 feet of ocean water wearing a swim mask, snorkeling tube and fins just wasn't feasible. The catamaran trip out and back from the reef and beach was enjoyable. I spent most of it leaning against the rail and drinking margaritas (people kept walking by and handing them to me), relishing the motion of the vessel as it flew over the choppy water, and watching groups of flying fish keeping pace with us.
Later, we swam off a little beach on Cozumel that has been more or less taken over by the operators of the catamaran fleet. Here, stalls of things for sale were set up, the ocean was warm, and there were horses tethered under some shade, which you could ride along the beach for 10.00. I didn't opt for a ride as I felt kind of sorry for the horses....but I visited with them for awhile.
Come to think of it, apart from the swimming, Cozumel seemed to mostly be about animals. Later, wandering around in the shopping district, we came upon some people who, according to the sign they had up ("On your hands is our preservation"), were raising money for the preservation of parrots and their habitat. Lesley has requested that no photos of her be posted on-line, so in order to respect this I have had to crop the parrot photos a bit.....one of the blue and gold macaws they had was trained to lie on it's back in people's hands for photos.
The moments and experiences that stay with me.....a sudden flurry of white egrets taking off from a swamp as the bus bearing us to Chacchoben roared by. The apparent poverty of the people along the route to Chacchoben.....the women and children holding up pineapple and water for sale as the bus slowed down for stop signs, and how I felt sad and ashamed of myself for this, pampered and transported and travelling on a bloated cruise ship as I was, how I couldn't look them in the eye......Chacchoben itself and kind of getting lost there, the feel of being submerged in ocean water, the subtle roll of the ship, the beauty of the ocean, the colour and warmth. Groups of flying fish, keeping pace with the catamaran, erupting from the water and skimming along the surface, glinting in the sun before diving back into the sea.....
I have to admit...I'm more of an interactive, exploratory, emotional, sensate kind of traveller than a pampered one.....so while this experience was amazing I think more exploring and less cruise ship is more my style. But regardless -
"Wherever you go, go with all your heart." -Confucius
Some photos of damaged trees and fences and ice clinging to branches, plus three minutes of really crappy footage of me driving around filming trees and roadways and the dashboard of my car, with DCD playing in the background (not because I was trying to create a soundtrack....it was just what was in the CD player at the time). It's hard to hold a camera and drive on ice at the same time.
This storm knocked out power for thousands of people, some of whom won't have it restored for days yet. This S.A.D sufferer feels fortunate this evening for heat and light after a full day of chilly darkness.....and at the same time sad that I seem to be so dependant on technology for comfort and well-being.
As well, as can be seen by the photos, the poor trees took a terrible hit.
There is now an inch of ice on the ground, making navigating on foot treacherous and difficult for all of us, four-legged animals and two.