Spirituality on the Sea of Cortez – Swimming with the Seals!

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If you’ve never been on a small bus with 10 women, just  think back to a school bus trip or ask Franchesco.I can honestly say, it doesn’t matter if a member of the female race is  5 or 45 …we always manage to cover every topic of conversation at a decibel level , that could put 200 bagpipers to shame .

 

Having a Whale of a time!

Having a Whale of a time!

Two boats, 5 guides, four crew, a chef , ugly life jackets, bikinis, sunscreen and we were ready to, Own it ,Feel it and definitely Live it, on yet another Eco adventure. This time to the rugged islands of the  Sea of Cortez.

First stop – Swimming with the Seals … not my first choice of mammal to swim with, in-fact the thought had never popped into my consciousness before, non the less, it was part of our exploration, of self and nature.

Harmless looking!

Harmless looking!

 

Sergio instructed us on the virtues of swimming with the seals.In one breathe he enticed us by describing the playful charms of a seal pup and  in the next, he put the fear of God in us, as he coached us on what to do, and not to do, if confronted by a 16 foot male.

That’s when I asked, “why can’t we be content with just snorkeling?!”

The next feat was to once again struggle into the confines of the tightest wet suit we could endure…beautiful new ones, but still tight enough to embarrass any good woman and I won’t tell you what Sergio suggested we do to warm them up!

 

Dressed and ready to Swim with the Seals!

Really happy I’m alive and singing!

Wearing Snorkel masks, flippers and wet suits to keep us intact, we all felt like seasoned experts, comical, but it’s amazing how a good outfit can make you feel. One by one, the brave Seal Angels began to dive and flop into the Sea of Cortez.

I was still questioning if I really needed to add this to my list of accomplishments, was I doing this because everyone else was {ego},or because I wanted to? I didn’t relish the idea of  being nipped by a pup, having bubbles blown in my face by a mother seal, or being annihilated  by a whacking great sea lion, however, I was curious.We were playing in their territory, so we needed to respect their law of engagement.

My anxiety dissipated when I witnessed the seals welcome us, just as any good golden retriever would.I was in awe and inspired to dive right into the acrobatics in that moment, lead by our fearless guides who dived deep into the turquoise waters, gracefully spinning like mermaids in rhythm and sync with the seals.

I didn’t dive deep, but I did become part of the show, the spectator behind a mask. I was awe struck, allowing the real performers to come to me. The seals were watching me, watching them, as they playfully swam under and around me …it really was like playing with puppy dogs! Luckily no sea lions took an interest in me, but even so I was out of the waters in record time.

Diving deep!

Diving deep!

I’m truly happy  I swam with the seals, even for a short while. I allowed myself to feel uncomfortable, but I didn’t allow it to immobilize me. I asked myself “What am I afraid of, when will I get another opportunity like this?” After all,I wasn’t alone, I had people close by who knew these waters and it’s wild life. This wasn’t about failure or success, let’s face the seals weren’t judging me and nor were my fellow Seal Angels.This was an incredible chance to connect with another species, in a way that I wouldn’t be able to anywhere else. I didn’t have to be brave and take the lead, instead it was a chance to tread water, be the observer and trust in the unknown, those around me and my own instincts.I simply allowed myself to be totally present and look at this adventure through different lenses.

And this my friends happen before Lunch … more to come!

I bet Charlie’s Angels never swam with Seals!

Own it and Feel what it’s like to really Live it NOW!

 

 Disclaimers-

No guides, Seals or wild life were intimidated or harmed on our adventure.

No sporting apparel or equipment company has offered to endorse, supply or photograph us.

Photographs courtesy of Anja and my I phone.

Alas, still no make-up , hair stylist , or stylist of any description assisted us.

 

 

Spirituality in the Snow…Thank you Snow Angels!

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Nothing is more rewarding than when a story inspires a spontaneous, healthy, happy  gathering in New York!

After being transported back to the shores of Todos Santos with“Spirituality on a Surfboard,” our detox Chef extraodinaire Erika, was inspired to pull her i phone from it’s docking station and reach out to the New York Angel contingent. Clearly the text invite was exactly what every homebound, snow engulfed Angel needed, as the response “YES” instantly flooded her phone screen!

Within hours the fearless warriors were over dressed in full snow gear regalia, snow boots,goggles and bobble hats. Shoveling their  way out of the confines of forced air residences. The Angels were ready and eager for an expedition in the snow drifts of New York. Ok, a walk, but it’s still adventurous!

Googles and a pole - I'm ready for any challenge!

Goggles and a pole – I’m ready for any challenge!

 

After all, the Angels, are well trained athlete’s, thanks to hiking the beaches of Todos Santos, climbing rock faced dusty mountains and swimming with Sea lions in the Sea of Cortez!! Yes, that story will follow.

The Snow Angels embraced the snow with the playful curosity of a child, the same curiosity that enables one to relish,enjoy and be present in the moment.

 

 

It feels so good to be a Kid!

It feels so good to be a Kid!

 

You can tell by the beautiful smiles on their faces that they loved every minute, they had a blast.They felt refreshed and healthy, as evident by the glowing cheeks that would put Snow White to shame. It was time enjoyed together, sharing and connecting to yet another of mother natures glorious seasons.

They sealed the day with the ritual of Afternoon Tea, a fine British tradition and fruit salad, a Californian one I do believe. In the warmth of Erika’s home they continued to talk up yet another storm about life, the weather and subjects protected by the sanctity of  “The Sisterhood of Snow Angels.”

Thank you Erika for instigating a breakout and for sharing the picture!

 

Any Snow Angel’s imprint in a moment of sheer playfulness remains in the care of mother nature! OWN IT, FEEL IT,LIVE IT !

Snow Angel meets a snow child!

Snow Angel meets a snow child!

 

Disclaimers –

No strangers were taken out in the snow ball fight.

No snow ploughs, ski poles or snow dogs were used to make this endeavor easier.

Hair and make-up was unnecessary in this activity and clothing was very necessary, even without a sponsor or stylist!

Spirituality on a Surf board…never say never !!

FEELS A LOT LIKE  YOGA ON A BOARD TO ME!

Looking at the pre surf shot we really could of been Charlie’s Angels… but, alas, we weren’t, instead with adrenaline pumping through our  veins we were four eager women and an italian man named KiKi, praying to our Angels to keep us alive for yet another chance to escape with nature !

I have to say, I’m pretty proud to be one of the four surf virgins, forget “the 40 year old virgin”, we were all “the 45 plus year old virgins”, willing and able to happily admit temporary insanity and conquer some big fears on the shores of Todos Santos!

To be honest, I wasn’t feeling that bold or a 100% willing, even though I’m pretty able.I was actually terrified looking out at the crashing waves,as I remembered the time I was tumbled and smashed on the bed of the ocean on my honeymoon…but that’s another story. I had just fought my way into the confines of an ill-fitted wetsuit without putting my back out, so, at least I needed to honor that feat and listen to the instructors spanglish. As you can see by the pictures below, Pedro did his best to demonstrate  the art of surfing!

Really…cobra pose , followed by upward dog!

Really…cobra pose , followed by upward dog!

 

Then jump, lunge and warrior two?

Then jump, lunge and warrior two?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know if Pedro realized, but we’d already completed our daily  practice of yoga and meditation,which on one hand meant we were already in the zone, but on the other hand ( forgoing all of the good karma and Oms) the thought of doing yoga on a surf board was a little daunting!…This is the moment I questioned my sanity,but felt comforted by the the laughter that continuously flowed and the bond with my fellow angels as we practiced our maneuvers on the sand, totally oblivious to the stares of nearby spectators!

Ok …I'm done with all this listening ..let's go girls!

Ok …I’m done with all this listening ..let’s go girls!

 

Owning it, went to Fearing it, in an instant! After a few fearless strides, I did a 180 degree turn and began to peel my hard earned suit off my body…much to my own surprise, let alone my  personal instructors horror. His reaction was instantaneous, persistent and encouraging. He didn’t make me feel stupid and he didn’t let me give into my fear of being pummeled by the ocean or whacked unconscious by the surf board. Instead he promised to swim out with me and stay close by. Knowing he wasn’t  going to abandon me got me back on board … literally!

The excitement was building inside, warming my belly, as I lay on the board and began to paddle out into the unknown. I felt like a child being pushed high into the air on an endless swing, as the nose of the board rose up and crashed over the breaking waves.In that moment I let go of the fear and got lost in the thrill of the spill ,as I screamed with laughter while the ocean spray cooled my face.I wasn’t walking on water yet, but I was part of it. Time stood still,I was completely present, connected to my natural instincts and the strength of my own body in the ever-changing moment.

Here’s your wave…turn your board and start paddling !!”

Stay near by Julio !!” OMG, upward dog…lunge… warrior pose with arms spread eagle …’‘OMG, I’m up and alive, I’m being carried by the energy of the waves… I’m alive… You can go now Julio!”

the lunge….and I can fly to if I want!

the lunge….and I can fly to if I want!

As my feet touched the safety of the sand I was DONE!! I felt healthy and refreshed, plus my hair was styling with all the salt needed for a great beach look !

I have to say with humility… Thank god for my persistent guardian angel instructor, along with my sister surfer angels and the angel support team lead by Erica juicing on the sand ! We were in this together and  I needed to be able to stand tall, to fly free on the waves and to be able to say I CAN, instead of I could.

I went back out again and again, and each time was different. I felt exhilarated and energized as the waves washed away the stress’s of everyday life. I rose, I flew, I lunged ,I tumbled, yet ultimately I was flooded with euphoria, as I stood in disbelief and rode the magic wave all the way to shore!

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Anja gliding over the wave !

I now understand why surfers become addicted to the spirit of the surf.It is a spiritual experience to feel at one with mother nature, connected to the energy and power of the waves and wind, to feel part of something much bigger than yourself. What I realized in those moments is that riding a wave is not just about FEELING IT, it’s about being PRESENT and LIVING IT ! -it’s ultimate FREEDOM, CONNECTION, JOY, A EUPHORIC HIGH.

With all that said, No … I won’t be surfing back in the cold waters of Carmel, but I will surf again in warmer climates with a Guardian Angel instructor close at hand !

Feeling invisible…where to next surfer angels?

Feeling invisible…where to next surfer angels?

I’ll finish by saying, only one person can stop you and that’s you … so  never say never, Own it, by trusting yourself, step out your box and allow yourself to Feel it and most of all Live it, NOW. Trust yourself and shout out I CAN!

Thanks to fellow surfer Angels, Annie, Eva, Anja and of couse Ki Ki, you are all fearless and awesome! Special kudos and thanks go to Chris and Erica for  enthusiactically capturing our every emotion.

No makeup artists, hairdressers or wardrobe professionals were in sight. No photographic retouching… much to our chagrin. No surf instructors or wildlife were harmed on our surf adventure :) !

Look out for the next adventure, “Spirituality at the Sea of Cortez ” this coming Wednesday !

Own it, Feel it, Live It … and you’ll love it ! Diane x