An unprecedented wave of shock spread through our small town of Kyogle in the Northern Rivers, Australia.
Two of the boys, Jesse and Eamonn, were brothers. A mother had lost two of her sons. The youngest, Levi, had 3 older sisters just like I do.
We all lost brothers that day.
~ Breathe in // Breath out ~
***If you are choosing to read this article, please take a moment to tune into your breath. ***
The deeper reality of death and the impermanence of our lives became an overnight reality.
The revelation that we are only here for a short time - that we will all die. And that it literally could happen at any given moment.
I saw 2 of their bodies at the wake, it felt like that scene from Brave Heart when young Wallace sees his dead father.
This was at a point in my life where I was already deeply confused and searching for answers. There was an angst and anger rising in my being. School felt like a mind-control camp.
I used drugs as both an escape and as a tool for exploration and expansion. A double-edged sword that paradoxically expanded my awareness and held me back from the full flowering of my potential.
The culture I was raised in had long since lost touch with the power of 'rites of passage' and the importance of how to guide a young boy into manhood. In an increasingly individualistic and consumer oriented society - the narrative was go to school, get job, getting married, have kids, work for retirement, die.
A few days after this event - still in complete shock at having lost 3 friends - I developed symptoms where one of my eyelids began to shut down and go droopy.
It all happened so quickly. No one had any idea what was going on.
After what felt like an endless merry-go-round visiting doctors and 'eye' specialists (who, ironically, were not able to look me directly in the eye) - I was diagnosed with an 'auto-immune disease' which they labelled as myasthenia gravis.
The doctors gave me the wonderful opportunity to try out a new range of pharmaceutical drugs to treat my 'symptoms'.
**Disclaimer: A couple of years before this my appendix burst and I was saved by the incredible work of emergency doctors who operated on me. Western medicine has its place - it has just been corrupted by a mechanistic worldview and the buying power of 'big pharmaceutical companies' with little to no understanding of how to treat the underlying dis-ease.***
So this new fancy drug gave me some very strange side effects and felt wrong on every level of my being. I had inadvertently become a guinea pig for a new pharmaceutical product. We trusted the system, because at the time we didn't know any better - and listening to my intuition was not something I had fully understood, yet.
With the love and support of my family on a mission for answers, we exhausted nearly all our options in the mainstream medical system - nothing was working and my eyes were increasingly sensitive to light exposure. The overwhelming focus was aimed at treating the symptom rather than the underlying cause.
After an exhausting and fruitless search, my mother sat and prayed and asked for guidance for her son (me!). Over the following days a close family friend suggested we explore some alternative options, and they told us about a place called 'Mauri Natural Therapy' in Lismore, run by Paul and Phoebe Hoogendyk.
Unlike all my doctor visits - this was a completely different experience.
It absolutely changed my life... and I remain anchored in the deepest sense of gratitude for having been guided into the lives of these two incredible beings.
Phoebe and Paul Hoogendyk of 'Ancient Pathways'
I felt seen - and this was both comforting and somehow confronting.
Although I didn't fully understand it at the time, he was reading my subtle energy field to see where the imbalance was presenting in my body.
After some mention of spleen and liver imbalances, We had a chat and Paul asked me 'so what are you doing to express your creativity?
No medical practitioner had ever asked such a question. This in itself was a massive paradigm shift.
I let him know I had been exploring photography as a way of connecting deeper with nature and making mandala art on my computer. He wanted to see my work.
It was the beginning of a long friendship - and they told me things openly about their incredible journey around the world connecting with ancient indigenous earth wisdom keepers.
Paul looked at me with a smile and knowing glint in his eye. 'you have to express
yourself creatively Paul - this is how you get your energy'
He placed some acupuncture needles along specific meridians on my back and played some deeply nurturing relaxation music - I drifted off and 'came to' as Paul returned into the room what felt like 15 minutes later.
I could never remember what happens - and where I go - during these treatments.
Artwork by Autumn Skye Morrison.
It feels like waking from a dream.
A spacious and pervading sense of peace and clarity. It's as if you have been taken back to the source of everything and returned to your body energetically re-aligned.
There was never any focus on the eye itself - this was just a symptom. The Focus was directed towards putting the whole body back into alignment and allowing the healing to happen naturally from within.
After talking a bit more I told Paul about the recent loss of my 3 friends - it became clear that the physical manifestation of this imbalance in my body was directly connected to unexpressed emotion triggered by this major life event.
It was a trigger.
I returned every 2 weeks for many months as my energy came into balance and over time the symptoms disappeared. The eye became my bodies barometer to indicate if my energy was getting low or out of balance.
It was actually another hidden gift. A way to stay energetically balanced and prevent depletion.
Although I was hyper sensitive to my surroundings and energy - I was learning how to 'stay grounded' (gardening, earthcare, time in nature, finding my 'power spots').
I returned over the years for energetic tune-ups as needed.
Around this time my dad was guided through his own higher self connection to introduce me to the Dalai Lama's latest book, 'The Art of Happiness', and with his guidance and encouragement I began my conscious spiritual journey; exploring meditation and reading books that helped me to remember again how we create our own realities, the power of our thoughts and setting a clear intent in our lives - having a vision and trusting in something greater than ourselves to guide us.
I also began experimenting with psychedelics and 'plant medicines' gaining downloads of new awareness. I struggled, like most do initially, to 'ground' the new energy and at some point along the journey I began to lose touch with this awareness, based on some very limiting hidden agreements I had told myself.
I had shut down a part of my awareness and the direct link to my higher self and this neglect of my true nature meant a long journey off the path where many of my gifts and intuitive powers were either neglected or used in the negative - causing all sorts of havoc and sabotage.
Another little micro-cosm of the larger human journey unfolding.
Of course I was guided all along, but my direct access to that deeper awareness and intuitive connection had gathered dust and these blocks prevented me from 'going within' and 'connecting daily'.
All along I was learning so much - there is no 'right or wrong path' - all rivers lead to the ocean, yet there is a long path home - and there are eddy's in every river. We have to gently guide ourselves back onto the path.
Remembering all along that the journey itself is the destination.
Mistakes and 'failures' can teach us so much. If we don't fully learn the lesson, it will keep coming back in new forms - until we learn the lesson and evolve or have a crisis or breakdown in our lives which ultimately leads to a personal evolutionary breakthrough.
Through my perceived failures I was constantly learning and being guided to fine tune my skills and passion for earth care - whilst understanding the crucial importance of people care - and how the stories we tell ourselves - and others - have incredible power.
Now I'm being called to master radical self-care and self-love.
I've been on this planet for 30 years and it has become as clear as the morning sun.
We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
This is no longer some kind of 'gut feeling' or intuitive sense.
It's an absolute living reality.
The stories we tell ourselves hold incredible power. How do you connect to the larger story of humanity and life on Earth?
Do we harbour a self-fulfilling ecocidal worldview (that human beings are seperate from nature and a parasitic force on the planet?)
Do we hold onto a monotheistic religious worldview that allows access to the love and the light through a 'middle-man' (Jesus, Mohamad, etc!) but has shutdown the direct connection to your higher self and this beautiful planet Earth is neglected because it is not as sacred as the afterlife.
Do we have a 'new age spiritual worldview' and its all love and light - whilst spiritual bypassing our shadow and the work of facing our soul and transcending our egoic agenda.
Or are we simply 'between stories' and surrendering to the ever-unfolding universal evolutionary forces.
Many of us have been operating almost completely in our heads - from a place of fear, lack, scarcity, shame, guilt, etc - our ego is in the drivers seat and because of this we have neglected the deeper stirring of our hearts infinite wisdom.
We've forgotten how to listen to our hearts and how to connect the two.
Heart and Head combined.
It's the year of the Monkey - whats old stories have the monkey mind been telling over, and over..?
Like a record on repeat - are these stories holding us back from our full potent potential?
Have we allowed the inner monkey to play? to explore, to climb, to enjoy community, to make deep, passionate love to life and be intimate with each other?
So if you've read this far, where to from here?
The breath is the portal - so take a big breath now.
And receive all that you need and release all that no longer serves you.
The Earth is the sacred temple - what we are doing to the Earth is but a reflection of our own inner turmoil.
'Time' is running out on planet Earth; deforestation, climate change, soil depletion - and yet it has never been more important to slow down. To actually stop, surrender and let go. To release a sense of urgency. To fully trust our intuitive guidance system. Our inner tuition.
Artwork by Eduardo Rodriguez Calzado
Right now is the time to Step into radical self-empowerment and release the old limiting stories of being a victim or being held back by external factors.
Own your life completely.
Get out of your own way.
With yourself, with nature, with your inner-most being.
Listen. Listen so deeply you can feel answers to questions you never knew you had.
Connect every single day to your higher self, that part of yourself that guides you. Face the parts of yourself that frighten you the most - that you have most neglected - that scare the living daylights out of you.
What triggers you? (activates a reaction in you / makes your body squirm).
What turns you on, activates you and get's you in the flow zone?
What is it you most repress?
Perhaps your sexuality?
Perhaps your relationship to money or power?
Have you been playing small because at some point in your ancestral lineage you were taught to hide your gorgeous, beautiful, powerful truth?
Perhaps this served a purpose at an earlier stage of your evolution, but now it no longer serves you or the world. It is time to transcend these old outdated stories.
Make friends with your ego, let the mask become a play - rather than being played by the mask.
What triggers you? How is your relationship to your mother? to your father? Your siblings? To the Earth? What patterns keep playing out?
Can you find self-forgiveness? Can you dig deep and release attachment to old wounds? Do you hold a grudge with anyone? Can you find and release that inside yourself?
In the crevasses of where the old wounds lived - where the old patterns played out like a record on repeat - Dig deep into this fertile space and plant a new seed - a new vision - of the life your heart most desires.
Make this vision as clear as the morning sun.
Write it down or make a vision board.
Be very specific.
And then step back. Surrender and be guided by your intuition.
Completely release attachment to an outcome or agenda.
Nurture this connection every single day from a place of love, passion and flow.
Meditate for twenty minutes every day - unless you're too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.
New Moon Affirmation/Statement:
"I have so much to gift this world, so much love to share and connections to nurture, creations to create, people to share with.
I have so much to give, like a spring bud bursting with new life and new energy...
I'll have no choice but to spend twice as long doing no-thing, just 'be-ing' and 'breathing' - listening deeply.
I'll spend thrice as long meditating, drawing, writing, wandering gently through the forest looking at all life from a beginners mind - observing and interacting - exploring the rivers - making love in the forest - getting smoke in my eyes as the fire crackles and the stars above twinkle.
I'll have to spend twice as a long listening. deep listening.
Listening to the wind, to the sound of the morning mist clearing, to the frogs and the birds and the bees"