Tag Archives: world travel

Hart Quill Blog | Rainbow Warriors Legend | HartHaiku.com

Rainbow Warriors Legend

The Maori of New Zealand have many ancient legends and stories to explain their beginnings, their ancestors, their deep connection with Papataanuku (Mother Earth), and their relationship with Io, the supreme spiritual power.

The Three Baskets of Knowledge is the story of Tane, who was called to make the journey and ascend through the many realms to the uppermost realm, occupied only by Io-Matua-Kore, God-the-Parentless, to obtain from Io the three baskets of knowledge and bring the wisdom back to Earth for the benefit of all humankind.

Archetypal journey of the mystic

Looked at simply, it is a story that explains how humankind gained knowledge of things both earthly and spiritual. However, at a deeper level, it is a metaphor for the archetypal inner journey of the mystic, as he or she travels inwards, seeking always to find unity with the universe, and to become one with his or her concept or knowing of Io or God or the Supreme Being or the Way.

The Maori song  about Tane’s journey, “He oriori mo Tuteremoana”, speaks of the incredible gift we are endowed with as part of the Source of all spiritual energy, and that is the power to create whatever we desire with our minds.

“Listen O son. There was only one spiritual energy that transported Tane to the Uppermost realm; it was the spiritual power of the mind.”

Rainbow bridge between worlds

The rainbow as a bridge between realms and as a sign of hope and inspiration for the world is found in countless legends and stories of the indigenous cultures. For instance, the Maori legend of Uenuku and the Mist Maiden is a testimony to the power of love, and the rainbow represents love in all its shades. The rainbow is a reminder of the covenant between land and sky, mortal and immortal, earthbound and celestial.

Tiwhana mai i e rangi a Uenuku-rangi! Span the skies, great rainbow of Uenuku!

Coming of the Golden Age

Many indigenous cultures believe that under the symbol of the rainbow, humanity will come into balance with one another and the Earth to experience the Golden Age. However, first an alignment with spiritual values, a healing between brothers and sisters, and a renewed reverence and appreciation for the Earth must take place.

The legends promise that when the devastation (especially as it was wrought upon the native peoples and upon the land itself) is at its worst, spiritually aligned souls among peoples of all colors, peoples of the rainbow, will feel a calling of Spirit and come together to bring things back to proper balance. These souls, who would do no violence and would work to end violence, would be called the Rainbow Warriors.

Let’s take a good look around us… It would appear that the time of the Rainbow Warriors has come.

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Photos courtesy Alex and James Wheeler, Pexels

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Rainbow Warriors Legend” © Susan L Hart 2019

Quotation from “He oriori mo Tuteremoana” is by Tuhotoariki, grand-uncle of Tuteremoana, the most famous descendant ot Tara, eponymous ancestor of the Maori Ngai Tara tribe. He lived nineteen or twenty generations ago. At his birth Tuhotoariki composed a well known oriori or song chant, “He oriori mo Tuteremoana”, which has survived to this day. Tohotoariki was a famous tohunga or priest of his time, and his oriori contains many spiritual teachings for his high born grand-nephew.

Building your Courage Arsenal

Courage has many faces. As with beauty, so is fear in the eye of the beholder. Something that requires a degree of courage for me, may in fact be effortless for you. For example, several of my friends have lately raved about zip lining. However, in spite of their enthusiasm and reassurances that it is quite risk free, I am resistant. Zip lining is considered a pretty tame activity for outdoor enthusiasts, but… Still I am I fearful. Why?

I have a fear of physical exposure engendered by an accident. When my partner and I lived in Thailand, we had a serious motorcycle mishap. A careless driver drove his bike into us at fairly high speed while we were making a legal right turn on ours. I was catapulted off the bike for some feet, planting my face squarely on the pavement.

Luckily I was wearing a helmet with a brim, which kept most of my face damage free. When I picked myself up, I realized I had broken one of my front teeth from the impact. My right leg was also quite badly hurt. Thankfully it was not broken, but there was significant soft tissue damage. This took months to heal completely so that I could walk 100% pain-free.

The challenge of ingrained fears

We bought a larger motorcycle (and better helmets!) and traveled that way for the duration of our years in Thailand. It was simply the most suitable transportation choice for various reasons. But every single time I rode on the bike, I had to overcome the fear of having another accident. Riding a motorcycle became an exercise in courage. Life had presented me with a situation that forced me to push my internal boundaries.

Risk to push your fear boundaries

This little story is just part of a larger one. Some years ago, we sold all of our material possessions to travel and see some of the world. This is highly unusual; there are not many examples or mentors for this life path. And, in the North American culture it went against the model of what is expected in a person’s midlife. We were “supposed to be” accumulating the material signs of success, not throwing them away. We did not conform to the required formula for life.

Before we left, someone said to me, “You are brave, Susan.” I remember shrugging it off as nothing. But, now in retrospect I would respond, “Yes, I am”. For are we not all, when we push the boundaries of our comfort level? And, particularly when it does not conform to the dictates of society?

Facing fears builds moxie and grit

Life is full of choices. Some are small, others large. And the big ones inevitably present us with trials that embody one fear or another. Based on my experiences, I believe that facing our fears and moving through them does in fact help us to build a “courage arsenal”. As with love, our moxie and grit expand the more we use them. I’ve discovered new worlds, as well as abilities in myself, that I never would have without taking some risk. In the final analysis, that has been the great reward.

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Photo courtesy Quang Nguyen Vinh, Pexels

Related Hart Haiku post here.

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Building your Courage Arsenal © Susan L Hart 2019

Hart Quill Blog | Love in the Galapagos Islands | HartHaiku.com

Love in the Galapagos Islands

Sometimes we discover love in the most unexpected places. And so it was on that scorching April day along a dusty trail on North Seymour Island, Galapagos.

It was not my first visit to the Galapagos, and it surely will not be my last. I love the untamed ancient beauty of the islands. On this particular outing I had joined a group to hike and primarily bird watch. There was also other wildlife to enjoy, such as majestic giant sea lions basking in the sun on the giant shore rocks. Sea lion pups nestled in nearby crevices and I was able to get within several feet of them. The amazing thing about the birds and animals on the Galapagos Islands is that they have no fear of man. Close encounters with the wildlife are very usual. I was in my heaven that April day.

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It was mating season on North Seymour and love was definitely in the air. Magnificent male frigate birds crouched in barren bushes, with red breasts puffed out to attract the females. Several times I saw females approach the males, and a somewhat awkward tango with gangly flailing limbs would ensue atop the low lying shrubbery.

The other avian species profuse on the island were the quirky blue-footed boobies. The booby males exhibited their elaborate courting dance, lifting one bright blue webbed foot then the other while strutting around their potential mates. Their distinctive whistling enhanced the exuberant posturing. The guide pointed out that the brighter blue the male’s feet, the more desirable he is to the duller females. Brightness is apparently an attractive sign of youthful male virility.

Boobies breed and nest only when conditions are right, and they scout out several nesting sites to choose the one most perfect just before the eggs are laid. In other words, boobies are not at all careless where they put their progeny. Some of the females had already laid eggs in nests under bushes along the edge of the trail, and crouching birds watched us carefully as we passed by.

As we curved around the far side of the island, I became somewhat separated from the group. I lingered near one large nesting area, as I found the bird population to be extremely colorful and interesting. I had just circled back to take a few last photographs when I heard a little grunt from the ground near my feet. I looked down and to my surprise discovered that I had almost tripped over a booby right in my path. I was focused on taking photos, and, she was squatting in a most unusual open area.

As startled as she likely was, she did not budge an inch from her spot. I crouched down right in front of her and spoke softly, “I did not see you there little one. I’m sorry if I scared you.”

She calmly looked me in the eye and then slowly stood up. Looking down at the ground between her feet, she revealed to me a large beautiful egg. There was no nest built around her or her treasure. It was as though she’d been walking along the path and got caught by surprise, much as human ladies sometimes have babies in improbable places. What are you going to do? Babies wait for no one once they decide.

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The blue-footed booby moved her gaze from her prized egg back to my face for an instant. Then she looked back down and a second time back at me, transmitting great pride. The moment was frozen in time.

She clearly was saying, “Look at the lovely thing I have made. Isn’t it wonderful?”

I exclaimed over the beauty of her egg, and told her soon she would have a cute little chick to protect. I was awestruck in this simple encounter, so pure in its innocent love it was. In that moment two females of very different species acknowledged between them the magic of all creation. I was acutely aware of the web of love that connects all of life here on Earth.

Sometimes the infiniteness of the ocean can be seen in a single drop of water. The encounter between the blue-footed booby and I was one brief small exchange, and yet it had immense depth.

As unpredictable as love between humans may sometimes feel, in actual fact it is a universal law as constant as gravity. They are one and the same. This invisible, powerful force draws us magically and inexorably together into the One. We are bound and challenged by it. And ultimately that is why we came here…

To learn and get better at Love.

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Love in the Galapagos Islands © Susan L Hart  2017-2019

First published as A Little Love Story, in Seven Degrees of Wisdom, Welcome to our Circle

Seeing Beauty in Australia | HartQuill.com

Seeing Beauty in Australia

The beloved poet Rumi wrote about beauty, and a favorite quote has been, “Beauty surrounds us”. But much to my surprise, I discovered just lately that the full quote is actually, “Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be in a garden to know it”. Yes! He was making the point that we tend to tune in on a narrow bandwidth for seeing beauty. This was really driven home to me personally when I began to travel.

My old lens sought landscapes lush and green

I started my travels almost 20 years ago in paradise: Hawaii. When I close my eyes and picture the plumeria trees, the heavenly scent floats back to me, and with it all of my memories of Hawaii. You might imagine that this would be my epitome of landscape beauty, but that is not true.

I grew up immersed in rugged, expansive and stunning landscapes, with lush green summers and glorious fall color. Art was my passion, and my goal was to show people the beauty that surrounds them, every day. My eyes became used to seeing the Earth in a certain way, that of the landscapes I painted. And when I began traveling, that was the lens that I took with me.

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Suffice to say, Hawaii was a delight. But, being as lush as it is, it did not challenge my idea of beauty one whit. In fact, it only helped to “raise the bar”. Australia, on the other hand, significantly challenged my viewpoint.

Australian summer started to stretch me

We arrived in Australia in December, the beginning of their summer. To say that Aussie summers are harsh is an understatement. The intense sun and heat are severe and unforgiving. In extremely short order, the grass is fried to a crisp, and the eucalyptus trees take on a dull drabness. In my eyes the landscape was colorless; as Mom would say, “nothing to write home about”.

Eventually, we arrived at a point near Adelaide, South Australia, where we decided to stay put for awhile. Daily I tramped up and down, again and again, a dusty little dirt road for my exercise. Usually I walked an hour a day, so that meant many laps of the same short road. For personal safety I did not venture off my route, as the area was somewhat remote from town.

I learned a broader way of seeing beauty

Day after day there was seemingly nothing new to look at. I was therefore forced to examine every detail and nuance of that road to relieve the boredom. And little-by-little, the beauty blossomed before my eyes.

Like Monet, I love the play of light on a landscape. I have tried to capture that often in my own paintings. I started to schedule my walks for dusk. At that time of day, the sky was softening from hard azure to soft pinks and apricot. The sunlight turned deep golden, burnishing the rough trunks and dry leaves of the eucalyptus trees that rimmed the road.

And the birds came out to play

And, perhaps best of all, the pink galahs and cockatoos came out to play. The respite from the torrid heat was their invitation to soar and cavort. The distinctive calling of the birds in unison echoed over the valley. Previously I had only ever seen a cockatoo imprisoned in a pet cage back home. Something about those birds playing together unleashed a feeling of freedom in my soul. It was if they were calling out to me, “Open your eyes, open your eyes; come play with us!”

The brown, dry grassland receded, and I was surrounded by beauty that I could not see at first glance. That was because I had been looking through the same old lens, using it as a measuring stick to judge and reject.

There are many lessons on the big road of travel

All these years since, I have very fond memories of that little dirt road. I can picture it clearly to this day. It opened my eyes wider, and I saw deeper. I spent many a walk along that road, whispering “show me the magic”,  for I was also struggling with loneliness. And it did reveal itself to me, as told in my story Miracle in the Park.

Being a landscape artist, I believed I knew this already. And to a certain degree, I did. But throughout my travels, I am still learning it in a deeper and deeper way. I am falling in love with the world. Thank you, Australia, for showing me a different way of looking.

It’s a big world out there. Seeing beauty everywhere takes desire and a broader point of view. But, it’s always there to be found, for eyes that want to see.

Seeing Beauty in Australia

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Seeing Beauty in Australia © Susan L Hart 2019

Forest photo courtesy Pixabay, Pexels
Australia photo courtesy Sabel Blanco, Pexels