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!

Spiritually on Safari.

Playtime by the watering hole.

Tracking side by side on Safari with a remarkable diversity of animals, including the the “Big Five”, is truly a Spiritual experience. As the trivia and noise of western society subsides into oblivion, One’s senses are instantly ignited. Initially  self preservation kicks in; then you realize, they’re watching you watch them and they really don’t give a dam how many “likes” you’ll get on instagram!

The African “Big Five” include; Lions, Leopards , Buffalo, Rhinos and Elephants, named so by hunters from the colonial era as they were deemed the most difficult and dangerous to kill. However, I’m officially going on record and upping the number to the “Big Seven”, as Giraffes are certainly the tallest of all animals and Cheetahs the fastest!

Don't mess with me!

Don’t mess with me!

Watching them watch me, I’m  reminded that we are all the same, living, breathing creatures of the animal kingdom.We just prefer to adorn ourselves with fancy clothing, or in my case for this trip, sparkling leopard toes! Mothers protect, guide and nurture the young, while territorial males dominate their prey, as they go in or out for the kill!

 

clothes, toes all inspired by the beauty of a Lopeard

Clothes, toes & accesories all inspired by the beauty of a Leopard. Courtesy of  Terri Silacci

Survival of the fittest is the law of the land, or so I thought. In the wildeness, it’s not only survival of the fittest, but survival of the PRESENT;  those who are best in tune with nature and all that surrounds their own being.

The pair of cheetahs we tracked with had gone days without food, yet they moved with calculated precision and patience as they surveyed the distance to their prey. Their  bodies intuitively knew how much energy they would need to secure their next meal.  They listened and trusted their  internal compass as they knew to make a wrong move would weaken their  own chances of survival.

Deep stretch before the hunt!

Deep stretch before the hunt!

No more photos today!

No more photos today!

There is nothing that can quite prepare you for  the seduction and splendor of an African preserve, for the playfulness, intensity and innocence of the animals and game which through conservation programs can roam free.

The trappings of our everyday life became so insignificant and such nonsense as we embraced the quietness of the rising sun and the rich fulfillment of it’s setting each evening. Being on Safari truly is an spiritual experience ….as being PRESENT becomes the norm… there’s no rush for tomorrow…only the connection with the moment, the land and the animals that inhabit it.

sunset and a G&T to celebrate the end of a perfect day …

Sunset and a G&T to celebrate the end of a perfect day …

 

 

His Legacy illuminates the World … make a difference in 67 minutes

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Today, on his birthday we celebrate “Nelson Mandela International Day”. A day created to honor him and keep his legacy alive. A day to remind people to be the change they want to be, the change they want to  see, and a day to encourage people to be an active participant in making the World a better place for all.

On this commemorative day in South Africa, his legacy is brought to life by each and every citizen through the Nelson Mandela Foundation and it’s “67 minutes for Mandela” campaign, a campaign that encourages people to devote 67 minutes of their time to a charity .

Few campaigns and Countries can boast a day where all of it’s citizens unite and step up to take on the responsibility of making a difference in their country. Millions of people do something big or small that will make a positive difference to others. This year for example , “Stop Hunger ZA” will rally thousands of volunteers to pack 67,000 meals for pre- school kids by each working 67 minute shifts. Another group will knit 67 blankets to donate to those less fortunate. In Port Elizabeth a 67 minute walk will draw attention to muscular diseases. These are just a few examples, but ultimately there are so many ways people can take 67 minutes out of their day to impact someone else’s life. This simple yet powerful idea  parallels  the 67 years Mandela served his country.

Today, July 18th, the whole World recognizes a fearless warrior of change. But one has to also recognize and respect how the people of South Africa maintain his legacy by working together and endeavoring to bring to life his values, vision and dedication to helping others.

I  have just returned from South Africa, a country of immense beauty, soul and hope. A country which has suffered, but a country that strives to move forward, where the spirit of Mandela touches each and every soul. I have a deep respect and feel immense gratitude towards the gracious people I met and the stories they shared with me on my recent journey.

We can all learn something from Nelson Mandela and his country, we can all donate 67 minutes of our time to a cause that is meaningful to us … Just imagine …As the great man said;

“It is in your hands to create a better world for all who live in it” …

Own it, Feel it, and go out and Live it! … DDS

The Gift of a Child…Feel it !

 

“THERE ARE TWO GIFTS                                                                                                                                                                                WE  SHOULD GIVE OUR CHILDREN;                                                                                                                                                  ONE IS ROOTS, AND                                                                                                                                                                                        THE OTHER IS WINGS.”….

These simple gifts of love empower our children to  go out into the World and LIVE IT, with confidence, passion and the freedom to explore the beauty of all of life’s possibilities.

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Today, we celebrate the 21st birthday of my beautiful daughter, Natalie, whose wings continue to carry her to far off lands and many an adventure!….right now in South Africa!