present journeys alec davis shell

Magical & Mystical Ikaria

Even prior to my stepping foot on the sacred island that is called Ikaria I could feel it's power and magic.

Since arriving one of my daily rituals has been to get up for each sunrise.  It has been a beautiful as well as a powerful experience, which I have thoroughly loved.

You might have already had an awareness of Ikaria without even knowing it.  Think of the tales of Icarus and flying to close to the sun.  Or the Greek mythology about Dionysus (Bacchus to the Romans) who was the son of Zeus & Semele.  Ikaria was the birthplace of Dionysus.  It is said that he gave red wine as a gift to the people of Ikaria.  There is much more written about the mythology of Icarus & Dionysus.Sunrise.ikaria.2

More recently Dan Buettner of "Blue Zone" notaritiy has helped make many people aware of this wonderful island.  Ikaria is one of the five Blue Zones that Dan and his team have extensively researched. If you're unfamiliar with the Blue Zones; this research has documented that people live very long and healthy lives in these five specific places.  

Much of what brought me to Ikaria was not from my conscious thinking, it was a feeling, a pull at my heart. Now having the experience of actually being here it not only feels right, but it makes complete sense to me why I would choose to make the journey.

Ikaria is a place that is mountainous, with the tallest being about 3,400 feet.  Much of the island is covered with beautiful large rocks.  I have spent a significant amount of time looking at the mountains and rocks.  Noticing the sun rising and setting on both.  

Which brings me back to my ritual of getting up early each morning; stepping out onto my deck and taking in the beauty of the sun rising over the nearest mountain as it brings illumination to the rocks.  Each moment here is precious (to me), and I have profound gratitude for having the opportunity to spend some time in this very special part of the world.


Imagination versus Reality, or are they somehow connected?

The times when I have taught children five years old and younger I have never told them, or had to encourage them to use their imaginations.  It is just something that they intuitively knew/know how to do.  It comes naturally to them, it actually is natural for all of us.  But as we grow older what is taught and modeled is to let go of this part of ourselves.  How many times have any of us been told something like; that's just your imagination you need to be logical/practical?  Or, have you heard children being told to stop talking about their "imaginary" friend;  they're to old for that now, and besides their "friend" isn't real anyway.  What is real versus what is not is not my primary focus in writing this post.  My focus is on one of your biggest gifts, something that requires relearning (for most of us)...your imagination.  


One of my favorite quotes by Einstein is something along the lines of..."Logic will take you from A to Z; your imagination will take you everywhere."  One of the most brilliant and logical minds is saying that your imagination is far more powerful than anything you could do with logic alone.  (Or at least that's how I chose to understand it).  If you believe this even just a little, how does the life you've living compare to a life you might imagine?  Does your ego immediately say something like...get real, you have to be practical. Why does being practical somehow mean you can't work with or use your imagination? It doesn't, that's just a "story" you're telling yourself.  

Nothing is invented, and no art is created without first starting with the imagination.  We must first imagine something and then set about making it a reality.  So why would this somehow not work with every facet of our life?  What if we first used our imagination to envision the life that we would like?  Learn or relearned how to start with our imagination and then use our logic or egoic side to help manifest what we have envisioned.  It's not only possible but there may be people around you who are already doing exactly what I'm suggesting .  To start you need to believe that it's possible.  Why not take the first steps today to a life that your heart has been yearning for?  


Journey's to the island of Ikaria

How do you decide to go some place for a vacation or to visit?  Did you hear about It from friends, or maybe you read something about It.  Whatever the case might be you decide to go and then begin to plan your visit.  With my deciding to visit Ikaria it did start with seeing an article in the NY Times about a man from Ikaria.  He had been living in New Jersey and was diagnosed with terminal cancer and decided go back to Ikaria to die.  He ended up moving back "home" not to die but to rediscover his life and his health.  This might not have been his intention but this is what happened.   image

This was the inspiration for my visit.  When faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge what do we do?  What are our first thoughts or fears? Do we become unable to move forward due to those thoughts or feelings.  How do we find the way to move beyond the things that we allow to limit us?  

These are questions that each one of us face on a daily basis.  Sometimes our challenges seem small and other times they feel insurmountable.  But it always seems to come back to finding a way to move forward in spite of them, or possibly staying stuck because it might feel safer than stepping into some unknown place or thing.

The man from Ikaria made a choice.  A choice to return to the place of his birth.  Assuming but not truly knowing what lay ahead.  

So I read some of his story and felt a call to visit the island of Ikaria.  It was my intuition that was clearly telling me to go without knowing logically why.  So I began to plan my visit.


What guides you?

One of the more challenging things to learn is how not to undermine what it is that your heart really wants.  Everything that we see, everthing that surrounds us teaches us to listen to our head.  For most of us our logic is what leads us and guides us with every major & minor decision that we make.  How do we make the shift from our head to our heart?  Fear is most likely the thing that holds us back from making that change.  Fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of not knowing what it is that we truly want.  What if we fail?  crow.1.CA

One of the things that can help in making this change is learning how to inhabit the present moment.  I'm sure that you are familiar with "Be here now".  But most of us are not here now.  We are angry or mourning the past, or worrying about the futrue and completely missing the gift of the "now".

How can you learn to take care of whatever it is that you feel needs to be taken care of and then let go of any attachment to a specific outcome?  Challenging isn't it?  That's because we're listening to the logical dialogue that "is" our never ending self talk.  This dialogue masquerades as something that is always urgently important.

One of the most difficult things to learn is how to listen to our heart/intuition and not our fears.  The part of us that is addicted to worrring about anything and everything.  This is what is being played out for us constantly by our heads.   Making a shift away from this chatter takes practice.

Now ask yourself what is it that you really want.  Then close your eyes and breath deeply.  What do you feel?  I'm guessing that your self talk will be right there with some kind of story.

Will you listen to that or will you try and hear the whispers of your heart?

When we let go of our stories even for a moment or heart is there speaking to us.  Pulling us towards our "real" self.

Ask yourself what is it that guides you? 

Who or what answers that question?




Awakening Our Inner Longing


What gets any of us to let go of things that are no longer serving us? The summer solstice is a great time to refocus our energies. You could take an inner inventory of how things are going for you. Recognize what's not working and what is. It could big or small. Then take the action or steps needed to release what is not supporting your growth.

I had a yearning to get back into the studio for several years. There seemed to be many obstacles in the way. (or maybe just my stories of why it was not possible) But I had a real longing to shift and let go of the things that were holding me back from where I really wanted to be.

So about a year ago I made a commitment to find some way back. It took persistence. It did not unfold in the way I had thought it would. But somewhere along my journey I began to be more open to getting clarity around what is was that I truly wanted, and then focusing on taking the steps needed to move me in that direction. In the past I’ve found myself getting side tracked by my attachment to a certain outcome or result. This time felt different, I was unwilling to repeat this previous habit. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Often times not knowing where it would lead but trusting my inner compass.

This week I stepped through the door and into a literal studio. Yesterday was my second day in that studio. Most of the time I was alone with my tools, clay, and the joy of finding my way back to something that so strongly resonates with me. It’s a part of how I express myself…It’s something that’s hard for me to describe, I just know it vibrates in me on some very deep level…that feeling is clearly there, even when I'm just writing about it.

What is it that gives you goose bumps, or makes the hair on your arm stand up?

When we have those tangible signs...that is your “inner” guidance system trying to make you/me aware of what might be hidden deep inside of ourselves.

What will it take to get us to listen? Why not seize the energy that the solstice offers us and take the first steps?

A Visit From Some Slugs

Last night I was teaching a group of students. They were each working with an ancestor of theirs as well as their helping guides or spirits. This is work that resonates very strongly with me. So it was wonderful to be able to share it with others. We finished around 9pm and then had some banana bread before leaving. banana.slug1424579

As I walked out the front door of the house we had been meeting in I found the front porch, walkway, driveway, yard, and sidewalk covered with many "banana" slugs. I then looked to the house and yard to the right, no slugs in sight, I looked to the left, none that I could see, then I looked at the yards across the street, still none...they seemed to have only found their way to the house where we had just spent the previous two hours connecting shamanically with the our ancestors.

Not being an expert in animal totems I knew that I wanted to get home so I could look up what meaning or messages could be there. If you're not familiar with Animal Totems there is much written about them. An easy place to get a quick overview would be a web search.

Here's just a little of what I found at one link on the web thanks to...Slug's Medicine A Slimey Spirit Animal

"Slug is a very "mystical" sort of Spirit Animal... Slug Medicine is in its most primal basic form that of a healer... Slug's wisdom includes that of healing body, mind, and spirit, and represents the connections that must be healthy between these for overall well-being..."

Last night and this morning I find myself reflecting on the synchronistic of the events that happen in my life. Last night being one of them.

Life can be such an amazing adventure. Events happen and then we have complete control over how we respond or allow these events to impact us.

So I choose gratitude! Graditude for the gift of teaching, gratitude for nature, and gratitude for my interpretation of the synchronisity in my life...and lastly gratitude to visiting Banana Slugs.


How can we spend more time in the present moment

Each day I realize that I have a choice as to how to spend my time and energy. Do I choose to inhabit each moment, or do I find myself being led around by my thoughts and focused on my fears? dahlia.sept.2013

I continue to learn that it is always my choice. Regardless of the events in my life it is still up to me as to how I use the gift of each day that I’m given. I realize from my own life that it is much easier to live in the moment when things are going as I would like them to.

My understanding is beginning to shift, I am finding the real opportunity for learning or growth comes when things are different than what I would have chosen or preferred.

When things get really “interesting” do I stay present, or do I flee to hoping for a better future, or go back and live in; “how wonderful it used to be”? What I am finding is that by staying in the present even when that’s difficult there is much I can learn; mostly about myself.

One of the best tools that can help us stay more present is our breath. When we are stressed or in our fears, our focus is most certainly not on breathing. We often hold our breath when we get upset or angry.

One of the simplest things that you can do when you get angry or upset is just bring your attention or focus back to your breath. Something happens when you consciously bring your awareness to each and every breath. This has an amazing way of shifting our energy and bringing it into the present…even if that moment is very challenging. You may still feel your fear or whatever it is that took you out of the present, but somehow it loses the powerful hold it had on you just a few moments before.

Try it the next time you find yourself challenged with something going not how you had invisioned. You could start with something small, like your morning drink not being made the way you want, or maybe a disagreement with a friend or partner. Whatever it is, close your eyes and shift your attention to your inhale and exhale. Allow them both to lengthen. Keep your focus there for as little as 20 or 30 seconds and see how that changes your energy. As you work with your breath you can lenghten the amount of time you focus on it.

Photo Credit & Copyright Alec Davis

We always have a choice

For quite awhile now I've thought about what I choose to watch or read, as well as what I then choose to share. For me it is connected with how I have chosen to live my life. Much of what is offered in the form of news & information comes from a place of fear. It's often communicated with the intent, consiously or unconsicously of creating fear. It comes into our lives via TV, Radio, Newspapers, and Social Media, and often times by people we know & love. I make an effort (not always successfully) to not join in with this dissemination.

When I hear or see something that I find disturbing I will often think, is there something that I can do right in the moment to help in anyway. If the answer is yes than I will do it, or make a commitment to take some action at some point when it's possible. bee.flower full

Let me illustrate by using one example. The challenge that bee colonies are facing around the world is very real and there has been much reported on this issue. Most of what we hear is that bee colonies are collapsing and dying. What positive information do we hear or read about the work that is being done to bring about a better outcome? Almost none; the information is out there but you have to search far and wide to find any of it. I am using the difficulties that bee's face just as an example, it doesn't mean that I think that it is more or less important than any of the other challenges that we face living in today's world.

It's not the specific difficulites or challenges in our world or lives that I want to call your attention to, but how we choose to allow them to affect us. Almost every day we get make choices as to how we respond to real and imagined crises. We can tune into our fears and become afraid or fearful.

What this type of fear tends to do in many of our lives is to put us into a place of worrying about things that we have little or no control over. From my personal experience worrying does nothing to help or improve whatever we've choosen to worry about. It only creates stress with no positive outcome.

The title of this post is ... "we always have a choice". Difficult and disturbing, as well as the extraordianry and beautiful will happen to each of us during our lives. It is always our choice as to how we react. It is also our choice as to how we allow these events to affect us.

I have choosen to listen,read, and watch less "news". I am also actively seeking and learning more about the many wonderful and positive things that happen each and every day. It has also been a conscious choice on my part to let go of my fears, as well as my past habit of worrying about them. One of the simpliest practices that I've adopted is to radiate as much positive energy as I possibly can.

The most valuable thing that each of us possess is our time. How do you choose to spend yours? Do you believe that your life would change for the better if you stopped worrying about your fears?

The choice is always yours!