Tag Archives: wellness

One Wave

Jim Welch loves waves! This free spirit traveler chases his muse around the world, to ride the surf and capture the ocean’s hidden beauty on camera.

Jim’s luminous photographs sparkle with color and energy. Rainbows, fantasy landscapes, and cosmic swirls all unfold in a gorgeous microcosm of nature and the very essence of life. The photos reveal the intimate world of an artist who is deeply connected to the heartbeat of the ocean.


Jim grew up surfing the waves of the Hawaiian Islands, so he knows well the nuances and moods of the ocean. It is customary for a surfer to tune into the rhythm of the wave sets before diving in. As Jim puts it, “Each wave has its own name tag”. Surfers pleasure in the feeling of being at one with the water, and in the big waves their very life can depend on achieving this synergy.

In 1989, the search for new surf experiences and a desire for freedom led Jim away from Hawaii and on the road. He hung out in a California beach house for a while and found some fun and liberation. Right about that time, he bought a camera and shot his first roll of film with the guidance of a professional photographer. Jim was immediately hooked, and traveling soon became about capturing the world and his experiences in photographs.

Jim explored around Asia and he witnessed the rawness of poverty in the third world and the very real disparity between the rich and the poor. He also made the fleeting acquaintance of people in Costa Rica and Indonesia who owned next to nothing, yet they generously invited him into their homes to share what little they had to offer. It was in these experiences that he found the golden secret of where happiness may be found, at least in part. He has been amazed at the kindnesses extended to him by complete strangers. There was also a realization of the value of simplicity, and “the commonality we all share. In the end we are all humans having experiences and just trying to have a good life.”


Why does Jim think that everyone should travel?

“The new sensory experiences give you a reborn appreciation for everything, and most of all for life. You feel alive! You discover the magic and richness of living in the moment. There is the fascination of discovering new things and you expand.”

There came a point in the ongoing saga of Jim’s travels when he felt the call to go to Africa. This trip was not about chasing the surf, but rather it was an irresistible attraction to the exotic. Through a synchronistic set of circumstances, he was invited to visit the village of the Pondo tribe, who as it happened was hosting a meeting of chiefs to determine solutions to some ecological problems.

During the meeting there were about seventy people crammed into one hut, and they were all working together towards a common good. There was a strong feeling of community in that African village and a sense that “if we are going to succeed, we are going to do it together.” When the business at hand had been accomplished, everyone gathered to celebrate. Music began and the children started to dance. Jim was struck by their innate rhythm, some of them very young, as they danced to the hypnotic chanting of male and female voices. The throbbing beat of the drums intensified, and as the adults joined the dance it gradually escalated into a frenzied, rhythmic merging of energies. In the midst of it all, Jim felt the deep connection of the people to one another and to the spirit world. He experienced “One”.

Profound experiences have a way of changing a person’s direction, and Jim’s enthusiasm for photographing surfers and landscapes dried up. But as the saying goes, when one door closes another opens. Jim was shown the way by his old friend the ocean. One day at the beach while idly observing two wave sets crashing together, inspiration hit Jim like lightning. His passion turned to wave photography.


Jim’s new fascination with the intimate world of waves quickly took hold and he fully embraced the challenge of taking wave photographs. Jim works with an underwater camera inside potentially dangerous waves up to twelve feet high. Immediacy and a crucial sense of timing are definitely involved. He reveals, “I am in rhythm with the ocean’s pulse. I sit and watch the waves first and I mesh with the rhythm of the natural elements of the ocean.”

At the heart of the photography lies a deep desire on Jim’s part to awaken those around him. He is aware of a general lack of connection to nature, although he does believe that many people crave to find it again. He says, “I have always felt a deep sorrow for the decline and decimation of the natural world. I hold an appreciation for nature close to my heart. I try to capture it through the lens in such a way that people will take another look and really appreciate the beauty.”

In every photograph you see his love of nature, his connection with the ocean, and that feeling of “One.” Each wave is splendidly unique, but also part of a beautiful whole. And as Jim says, “Waves are unpredictable, and that is what I love most about life!”


Wave photographs © Jim Welch. All rights reserved. Photos by permission.

“One Wave” © Susan L Hart 2002. All rights reserved.
“One Wave” was first published by EscapeArtist.com in their September 2002 issue of Escape from America magazine.
A version of this story published August 2016 in Friends in Foreign Places: An Expat Anthology.

Words that Empower Us

Our words and stories are powerful. We must be very careful with them, because they create a positive or negative reality when we utter them.

Focusing on negative narrative keeps everyone’s minds confirming and expanding that reality. Have you noticed? Words used in the current COVID narrative too often leave us feeling weak, reliant, and disempowered. But, we’re not. This is just the story that has been thrust upon us, in this moment. We did not create it, but we are responsible if we choose to perpetuate it. We have the power to overcome this negativity with selective word and thought replacement.

Let’s Program Ourselves for the Positive

Start to create a positive narrative now, by actively using expansive and encouraging language. These words aren’t new; we all have them in our vocabularies. We’ve just been using them much less lately. How is this for a short list, just as a start?


When we use positive words, we raise our vibration and increase our power, as well as that of people around us. Positivity in our minds and hearts does affect the resiliency of our bodies. It keeps us in a healthier state holistically. We are then in a place of taking responsibility for our overall health, and, envisioning and creating a better future.

Taking responsibility for our words sounds simple, but it is not necessarily easy; it takes some practice and discipline, particularly when others around us try to engage us in the negative narrative. However, this is a fundamental way to exercise our own personal power to create positive change. We’ve got this!


Photos courtesy Brigitte Tohm and Cedric Lim Ah Tock, Pexels

Words that Empower Us © Susan L Hart 2020



How did humanity
arrive at this place?
Almost overnight,
viral war torn,
scarred, skeptical,
frazzled, frightened,
lonely isolation,
madly missing
the joy of life.

Humanity’s vitality
slowly but surely
leaking away,
drained by a
lurking thieving
shadow beast,
gluttonous gorger
swallowing whole
all who yield.

But the wheel of
fortune ever turns,
the black jar of
Pandora’s woes
morphs to womb
of fathomless
mother goddess
of a Golden Age,
a new humanity.

It’s time to birth
from destruction;
swimming upwards
to shimmering light,
gulping great drafts
of rarefied air,
reclaiming life and
eager to live it.


Photos courtesy Bencha Ouss and Rachel Carpentier, Pexels

Birthing © Susan L Hart 2020


It’s Time for Real Change

We see increasing pressure in society right now to conform to certain points of view. When I see shaming being used as a tool to force people to conform, personally I immediately lose respect for the shamer, as well as my willingness to listen. It speaks volumes about the low integrity of the person or group doing the shaming.

Shaming is a very low energy method of trying to control others. It is akin to taking one’s boot and kicking the “opposition”, trying to grind them into the dirt and eliminate them, rather than making a case for the merits of one’s own point of view, and then allow others the free will to make up their own minds.

That type of behavior is not going to help us build a better society. It is not a model for a more spiritual approach to life, or a cooperative lifting up of our fellow human beings. It is a form of bullying, and when we see a lot of that going on, as we do now, it is an indicator that our society is regressing, not progressing.

I am all for “voices for change”. There are many voices wanting to be heard right now. Our world and societies are in extreme flux. This is actually a positive thing, as I do believe it is causing more people to look inward and evaluate with their own moral compasses and value systems.

Respect for other points of view, and cooperation as well, are essential for us to get “from here to there”. It is essential that humanity lift itself up to a higher place of social behavior in order to create true change in the world.

Otherwise, we will once again simply find some temporary satisfaction in a “change” that is not real change. We will just keep circling around (as we have, many times throughout history) to find ourselves confronted once again with essentially the same set of conflicts, just in a different packaging.

Are we not ready, finally, for real change?


Photos courtesy Andre Furtado and Tobias Bjørkli, Pexels

It’s Time for Real Change © Susan L Hart 2020