A Journey of Gratitude
A message from Jane Bradshaw, the General Secretary of the ASinA
Nature knows nothing of the coronavirus crisis. The mineral, plant and animal kingdoms continue the cycles of life according to their archetypes and the seasonal changes.
Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to take a boat trip along some of the rugged coasts of Tasmania. We departed from the white sandy beach at Stewart’s Bay on the Tasman Peninsula/Turrakana, near the infamous Port Arthur where the ruins of 19th-century penal settlement tell their tale of its history of human hardship and endurance.
Journey through the kingdoms of nature
I could see a true expression of the mineral world on the journey along the coast in the prismatic hexagon pillars of the massive dolerite towers that reared up above us, protruding at times 300 metres above the water. What came into my imaginative mind’s eye was the earth’s past – these cliffs were likely formed in what is known as the ‘Jurassic period’ – but, at that moment, I saw perhaps a glimpse of the evolving planetary future.
By contrast, the etheric world was dramatically expressed in the constant ocean swell and in the swaying of the bull kelp which is anchored to rock at the tide line. As we hugged the southern coastline, the colours of varied shades of blues and greens of the ancient living plants, swirling with the ocean, evoked feelings of healing, so restful to the senses.
In the astral world, in the air, was palpable tension. There was excitement and anticipation in the soul mood of the group travelling with us. We were all braced against cold spring air, but the freshness of the elements awakened and enlivened us. I noted the automatic and natural trust we had in the skipper and his crew to navigate and keep us safe.
At Cape Pillar, we crossed the oftentimes treacherous threshold from the deep waters of the Southern Ocean into the Tasman Sea. Before the lighthouse was built in 1906, over 100 registered vessels disappeared below these immense black cliffs.
The openness of wonder
A lone albatross circled and swooped around us, its liberation from the force of gravity apparent. Kept aloft with its wingspan of over three metres, this could be the first time the bird has returned to land in many years.
Then a whooshing sound and white splash nearby alerted us to two sets of female humpback whales and their calves. These magnificent animals were heading south to Antarctic waters. As if to greet us, they exposed their white underbellies and lifted their long pectoral fins, waving and repeatedly splashing the ocean’s surface. Beaching and tail slapping as a farewell, the whales continued their annual migration south, hungry to feed on the abundant krill and small fish in polar waters.
We responded with squeals of delight and wide-open hearts. For one moment, we became completely childlike. In wonder and joy, we were one with nature, in a shared experience of gratitude.
At that moment, we forgot the worries of daily life, the pressure of constant decision making. Our feelings of isolation suspended, along with the fear concerning freedom of choice. Gone were all thoughts of the threat of the coronavirus or of mandatory vaccination.
Polarisation is not apparent in the living experience in nature. In such moments, we feel closer to nature and to each other, not separate from them.
So let’s not let this fearful spectre penetrate our souls. May we come to know ourselves and recognise our connections to each other and to nature and be a calm presence of those around us.
Jane Bradshaw, November 2021
Strengthening verse / Michaelic verse
In the morning
O, Michael, I commend myself to thy protection,
With all the forces of my heart, I place myself
under thy leadership, that so the day that is
now beginning may be indeed a picture of
the right ordering of destiny that belongs to thy Being.
In the evening
I carry my sorrow into the setting Sun,
I lay all my cares in its shining lap
These my cares come back to me filled with
glowing light, warmed through and through with love,
come back to me as helping thoughts, as power to carry out deeds
that are filled with the joy of sacrifice.
Photos credits: courtesy of Jane Bradshaw