I am as enthralled and enchanted with the American Water Dipper as John Muir once was. Indeed it was his favorite bird.
This demure brown bird about the size of a robin lives in cold mountain streams and near waterfalls. It is so incredibly at home in the water – more so than even ducks which often come back to land. Their very complex and always unique song is akin to a parrot in its language. But unlike other birds, it seems the Water Dipper sings to the river itself or simply because it cannot contain its ecstastic love for the flowing water. You can’t even hear its song that well because it is so interwoven with the gurgles and crash of rapids and waterfalls. It can usually be heard from above the stream bank a little easier.
John Muir was enraptured with the bird because it seems to retain its joyous happiness even in the darkest and coldest winters when all other animals are hunkered down wishing for spring. The Water Dipper reminds us that we can be at home anywhere – even the harshest environments. To be happy and live in joy no matter how damp, grey and “dreary” that others bemoan. To be one with your environment. To be in love with the elements.
It’s understandable when animals love each other within the same species. It’s precious when animals love other species, such as when a dog mothers a fawn. But it is downright profound to behold animals in love with elements within Nature. I’ve seen this by the way a dying bee clings to a clover flower such that I was overcome by the realization of how much love the bee had towards the flower. How much comfort and joy flowers brings to this insect. I’ve seen cows and horses leap with glee upon being put out to pasture. In love with open spaces and green grasses. I’ve seen my crow, Keiko, appreciate the colors of the setting sun. I’ve seen birds of all kind do the “rain dance” when misted by rain. A dance of wild ecstasy. But the greatest love, comfort and joy I’ve seen in an animal is the Water Ouzel with water.
So at home in the water, I wondered if perhaps it originated from water itself. Perhaps the droplets of water congealed with divinity to give rise to the Water Dipper. But when I considered this more I realized perhaps the Water Ouzel manifested from the river stones instead.
Indeed when searching for the Water Ouzel, it is hard to differentiate between the rocks. It is the same color, same size, same shape as the stones they hop upon.
Besides the beautiful voice, another notable feature of the Water Ouzel is how it bobs its body up and down. Bouncing in a motion like a child excited to begin. I’m reminded of the shaking motion we do in Qi Gong to move energy and break up stagnation.
Perhaps – I wonder – the water dipper manifested from the river rocks. Animated by the love they have for its flowing companion of water. Perhaps it can only remain in bird form for as long as it sings its song and dips its body up and down. For if they forget to sing and dance they’re sure to transform back into the rocks they came from.
Maybe we can take note from the water ouzel. Maybe we loose our vitality when we forget to sing and dance. Maybe we loose our magic when we fail to see the joy of our life and environment.
Give love to the elements. Dance in the rain. Let the sunsets move you to tears. Let wind whisper sweetness to your ears. Let the smell of forest and desert remind you of something which will never be explained. Be held by nature as you behold its timeless splendor.
Today is 2022-02-22. An alignment
of this many numbers is uncommon.
I began today with my usual
leaning into work where I did some plasma cutting and shop clean up.
But the most auspicious time of 2:22 2/2/2022 was fast approaching.
In 2019, my Prius was about to
turn 222,222 miles. Curious where I would end up, I kept driving till
it turned over. I found myself at a place called “Friday Creek”.
From here I found and crawled into a large hollowed tree and read the
words “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” written on the inside. A
potent message that was important to me during that time. I live for
these magical happenings.
Certainly this looming time today
had potential for similar discovery of magic.
I decided to head North in order to get away from the more busy Columbia Gorge. I could “smell” the scent of magic in that direction. I knew it would be in a place I had never been before.
Onward I went. Past Troutlake.
Then right onto road 88. I went as far as I could till the road was
no longer plowed. This happened to be a snow park. I ventured over
the giant burm of plowed ice and scurried into the unmarked wintry
forest. At this point I only had several minutes to find my magic
place. So I walked through the forest while keeping track of time. At
2:22 I was in front of a tree which a sign stapled to it stating:
“Boundary. Cutting Unit. Lipo.
I walked past this tree at 2:22
and during that same minute found a wellspring coming from a old
I marveled at how I found an
unmarked spring on my auspicious hunt. I went quite a bit further and
sat on a stump in the sun and
video recorded the meaning of what I had found.
Here is a summary of the meaning
that I found.
I often ask the
universe/source/spirit/god to give me magical signs that guide my
life to be clear. So often magic can be so exceedingly obscure that
it is difficult to get a clear answer. So I have requested universe
to give me signs written in plain English. These signs have
manifested in the example of finding the painting and note on the
barbed wire fence which matched the poem that came to mind while
playing piano a few days prior. Has manifested with a medicine woman
telling me to be a hollow bone, then being magically led to a hollow
tree the next day. Has manifested with finding a quote from a Rumi
tarot type card in the weeds randomly. Has manifested with the quote
I found inside the hollow tree when my prius turned 222,222.
And so here is a sign that says
“Boundary” and “Cutting”. What do these words mean to me?
Well let’s add more context,
recently I had a very meaningful and potent dream. I
will rewrite the dream here:I
was in some position of law enforcement and was going to a
neighborhood to check out a werewolf prop that someone had put up.
This werewolf head somehow landed on my windshield where I could
really see the details. It was like one of those gruesome wolf masks
you see at Halloween shops and was incredibly realistic. Very scary
but nonetheless fake. I thought the neighbors were overreacting with
what appeared to be a prank from some kid. But in hearing more of the
story from the neighbors, I found out this has been going on for some
time and the werewolf prop had been moved around strategically in a
way to intimidate people.
scene changed and I witnessed a group of vampires who would move this
werewolf prop. When they realized they were being watched, they
wrapped themselves in their black cloaks and disappeared back into
the forest. It is unknown whether they were real vampires or if they
were people pretending to be vampires.
The scene changed to my
Grandma’s land. Here I did energy work to protect the land from these
nefarious beings. I said words like “release, clarify, protection,
harmony” while physically using my hands to move unwanted energy
away from the land. I had a handful of long pine needles which I had
“charged” to be protective talismans – for lack of a better
word. I went to each corner of the land to plant one of these magic
pine needles to create an energetic protective fence around the
While I was working on energy clearing and protection, I
was also aware that I had a clone of myself sitting in the passenger
seat of my car out front of the house. This clone of myself was
deeply sleeping – or perhaps it was out of consciousness – or
perhaps it was dying. I was concerned about my clone self and cared
for it as if it was my child, however I couldn’t attend to it. I
couldn’t help him. Because I was doing energy clearing for others. I
also wasn’t able to plant the last corner with the last pine needle
before I woke up. I remember the feeling of moving energy. I
remember the concern and fear I had for the well-being of my clone
This dream can be summarized as
there are “vampires” in my life that take my attention away from
my primary path to the detriment of my well-being. This aligns with
my feeling that my attention has become so diluted away from the
things I was put here to do.
So what is the answer? The answer
is to have better boundaries and to cut the things
which are energy (blood) suckers. Let’s explore further…
The Rumi card I found in weeds a
few months ago has two meanings. It said “If you become a lion,
love will become a lion hunter.” This means if I become prideful
then love will predate me. Whereas if I embody the positive qualities
of a lion such as being courageous, then love will pleasantly seek
and befriend me. The phrase can be read in two opposing ways.
I need to have better boundaries
with what I say yes to. Better boundaries with what I invest my time
into. I need to have more boundaries.
Conversely I also need to
evaluate the walls that I hold around myself and my heart. I need to
cut the blockages that hold me back.
With the word “Cutting”. This
also has two meanings. It means I need to cut the things in my life
which do not serve towards the greatest harmony. This goes
hand-in-hand with boundaries.
Conversely how I am cutting
myself off from source authenticity. Just as I need to find and
dissolve the boundaries/blockages to flow, I must also find and
dissolve that which severs this flow. “Blockages” (boundaries)
are static things, whereas “severing” (cutting) are actions that
cut the flow.
There are always two sides to
every coin you find.
Let’s take this further and look
into numerology. The sign also said “Unit 19”.
The number 19 is both 1 and 9.
This number contains beginning cycle and ending cycle numbers. When
you add these two numbers it equals 10, which reduces (1+0) to 1.
Number 1 is the beginning of a cycle. The beginning of a new era. A
new way of being. A new way of being was born from the union of
beginnings and ends.
How relevant it is then that I
crossed an invisible boundary between this and that as marked by
number 19 during 2:22 2/22/2022. I am grateful my signs often come as
In this amplified time of “two”
there are two things which come to mind. That of relationship and
that of polarity. It is a time to reflect on relationships with
others and to observe how female and male create fertile
polarity/dichotomy just as winter begets summer. Night informs the
day. Death defines birth. And visa versa.
It is incredible to find an
unmarked secret spring in the middle of the forest by chance. And it
is especially potent for it to be revealed at such a powerful
alignment of two’s. What does the spring mean?
A spring represents yet another
dichotomy. It is the point where water (symbolic of consciousness)
goes from its etheric, dark, dream realm into the manifested,
above-ground realm of sunlight. It is the source of a cycle because
it is where it both ends and starts (19 = 1+9 = 10 = 1+0 = 1). It
reminds me of the importance to have a foot in both realms
simultaneously. The dream world and the get-er-done world. As a
creative, it is important for me to pull from the realm of ideas and
make them into reality. Poems, sculpture, music, dance, events,
structures and methods. I imagine mountain springs are where the
creative muses live. I am quite fond of collaborating with the
fleeting creative muses that come to me.
And so the wisdom I received on
Evaluate my life for blockages
while enacting healthy boundaries.
Evaluate my life for how I cut
myself from source, while also severing the things which do not help
A reminder to manifest my dreams
in flow state just as the mountain springs do.
That everything has two
A confirmation that magic can be found if you are willing to look for it.
Walking down an animal path from which there are no signs or parking,
I unexpectedly find myself in a field of diverse wildflowers. I know
which one to look for … the pungent Sagittarian colored one. There
were many to choose from, but when you are going to take life it is
important to have discretion.
The first discretion is to make sure whatever you are taking is in
abundance; which it certainly was here.
The second discretion is to never take the strongest, healthiest
But the main thing is to spiritually ask for which plant to take. To
be organically guided to the plant of which you are about to create
Walking further and further, I finally see the one. It is glowing in
the sunlight and was in abundance.
I knelt down to gently touch this plant … “is it ok if I take
I feel that it is.
And with tentative tears, with my trowel I begin to carefully remove
the top layer of grass and moss to replace when I am done. Then I dig
through the precious fertile soil to volcanic rock. This beautiful
plant is tenacious with it’s fleshy roots growing between the rocks
and expanding these spaces over the course of decades.
Like an archaeologist carefully peeling back layers of time never
seen with human eyes I slowly move the ancient rocks as I forage for
As soon as I remove one rock, there is another. I use my fingers to
trace the direction of roots and feel I am touching the muscles,
veins and sinew of the Earth. As I go deeper, I pull the stones out
of the cool soil as if delivering a baby from a womb. I can only
place rocks gently after such an experience.
Finally I have retrieved all the medicinal aromatic roots with dirt
embedded in fragrant sap on my hands. I smell just like the plant of
which I was searching. Now before me is a hole just large enough for
me with rocks stacked around the edges. I can sit in this cool nest
of rock and dirt where there was once another being.
As I dig roots I am taken back to an embodied memory of what our
ancestors did daily. I connect to the wisdom of plant medicine and
nourishment derived from nature. My mind quiets and I am present with
my environment as the crow teases me upward. Naturally I chew on the
bitter root as I dig with its alkaloid medicine evident upon my
tongue. My conscious perception begins to change. My movement slows
down. My peripheral vision expands and colors brighten. The animals
stare me in the eye. I see things for how they truly are. Things I
don’t usually see. I became different after digging and eating the
roots of our ancestors. The altered state of consciousness was
heightened beyond placebo such that it made me wonder if I had
poisoned myself; this was not a plant known to have any psychoactive
properties. I quickly realized that when you put your hands in the
Earth, you become attuned to the subtleties around and within. All
elements of Nature will change your awareness if you allow it. The
wind, rain, snow, lichen, moss, soil, rivers, smoke, trees, animals,
insects, fungi and of course plants. We owe our life to these people.
Before I leave my rock nest, I tell the plant of which I dug and the
Earth of which I dug from:
Some people think saving the world is futile. Some think the world doesn’t need saving. Others doubt their ability to do any real change and resign themselves into impotence. While others think that mere positive thoughts is enough. And some think that other people will save the world
In my mind, I would rather die trying to help the Earth than to reflect on a life lived without that purpose.
We cannot assume someone else will protect our wild lands and make sure that our Earth with soil, water, air, biodiversity and genetic integrity will remain pure and unadulterated.
I know my purpose in life is to be a spokesperson for nature, to give voice to that which cannot speak for itself; as well as to be a protector for nature and fight for what cannot fight for itself.
For years humanity has been trying to define intelligence. Perhaps that is a mark of intelligence … trying to define intelligence?
We have epistemology which is a branch of philosophy concerning the theory of knowledge. We have IQ tests and EQ tests (Emotional Intelligence). We have the theory of multiple intelligences which is very close to giving a better picture of what intelligence is where it splits intelligence into the following categories:
Musical and Rhythmic
Visual and spatial
Verbal and Linguistic
Logical and Mathematical
Bodily and Kinesthetic
While categorizing different forms of intelligence is wise to accommodate the diversity of human experience, it still doesn’t address the core elemental building blocks of intelligence.
In my experience with a variety of intelligent animals such as squirrels, crows and border collies, as well as with young children, I have found that the number one determiner of intelligence is the level of curiosity. Curiosity is usually manifested in playfulness. Or sometimes … how much trouble they get into! How much do you engage with your environment? Do you listen for the faintest sounds? How about looking at things and really observing the details? Do you smell things? Do you touch things? When was the last time you tasted something that wasn’t food?
Who does these things every second of their wakeful consciousness? Babies and toddlers. It is also at this time that we grow the most in intelligence. We are most genius when we are young children.
But in thinking of all the manifestations of curiosity, it alone means nothing without memory. Indeed when we discover something about our world or ourselves through play and then forget what we learned, it doesn’t help our useful intelligence. The intelligence of border collies is obvious when they remember complex verbal commands. The intelligence of crows and ravens is evident when they remember to use tools. Having a powerful memory is an important tool for the next element of creativity. Of course remembering language and how to use tools doesn’t happen without first a curiosity to observe of experience it.
The last leg of our stable tri-pod of intelligence is creativity. When seen in conjunction with curiosity and memory, creativity is expressed by relating divergent subjects in the mind. By creating theories and inferences. When reading someone’s body language (a Bodily and Kinesthetic category of intelligence) we can make a connection that when people cross their arms and have wandering eyes they are likely disinterested in what your talking about because of distraction, disagreeance or disrespect. We make this connection by joining the visual cue with past experience. When learning about the physical structure of mushrooms and the symbiotic relationship between mycelium and roots through the subject of botany we can also creatively ponder the potential parallels with what we know about our own brain through the subject of psychology. From there we might infer the mycelium web in the soil — which looks strikingly like the neuronal connections in our brain — acts as a brain for the botanical world. Through further research (as outlined in the book “The Hidden Life of Trees”), science has discovered this to be true; trees warn other trees to build their defenses for threats such as pests and disease. Whereas our electrical impulses travel many inches per millisecond, the electrical impulses between trees via the mycelium web travels around a third of an inch per second.
Creativity cannot happen without memory and curiousity.
These three critical elements of intelligence can be seen in their relationship to the three parts of time: past, present and future.
Curiosity is only experienced through the present moment. We cannot play or gather new information in any other part of time except the infinitely small point called now.
Memory is obviously a mental construct of the past which does not actually exist in reality except for what we recall in our mind (and the unconscious collective library [reference Carl Jung]). It is nonetheless an important element to use what we have experienced in previous present states to evolve.
Creativity is analogous to the future. It it is a powerful tool to transform multiple memories of what we have experienced into new methods / ideas / actions.
The past is about what happened, the present is what exists in experience, and the future is infinite potential. Creativity lies in the realm of infinite potential.
Through the act of creativity we are existing in a state of presence and indeed being playfully curious and thereby creating new memories of which will spawn new creativity to be experienced through presence which will create new memories and so on and so forth is the cycle of intelligence.
How children learn language through mere osmosis illustrates their genius. The next question is why does our intelligence — as defined by my three foundational elements — seem to fade as we transition out of young childhood? Many people would say it is because our brain becomes less plastic. But I contend that it is our societal paradigms that shut down curiosity … the first step of intelligence. Sometimes when children ask questions their inquiry is not honored and as this happens they begin to ask less questions. Children who explore are often told that it is too dangerous to venture that far. Climb a tree then be told to get down. Draw on the wall then be told to stop that. Dig a hole in the yard for it to be filled. Acting weird then told to be normal. Singing and told they can’t sing. Playing piano and told to play it quieter. Dancing and told they look foolish. The antidote to the erosion of curiosity is the encouragement of playfulness and exploration. To give them a non-judgemental sounding board to tell their story and cement in their memory the powerful experiences of curiosity to serve as the stemcells of creativity.
The Unification Of The Three Elements of Intelligence
Meditation serves as a reset to our intellectual system. What often happen is we get bogged down with cyclic unnecessary thought patterns and paradigms. It is rigid programming which cripple curiosity by trivializing introspection, play and meditation. It disables creativity because we tell ourselves that we are not creative or good enough. And it doesn’t make room for new memoirs that could prove old biases wrong. Through meditation we can observe and deal with these harmful thoughts and paradigms by focusing on being the observer and consciously shedding light on the parts of our mind which are normally obscured.
An exercise to get in touch with your inner genius is to envision yourself as a child. What do you as a child do? Look up and look down. Look near and look far. Observe the functions of your body starting with your breath and heart rhythms. Touch … everything. Listen as if a dog waiting for it’s beloved human to come back home. Taste the leaves on trees, the grass, your hair, the air. Smell the scents and aromas seeing if you can directionally locate the source. Approach life with full sensuality as if reality itself is your lover.
Then tell your story to a compassionate loved one. Perhaps a good friend or mate. If you don’t have someone you trust enough to expound on your sensualization of life then write it down at length describing all the details leaving no stone un-turned. Telling your story helps commit experience to memory.
Then enter a state of no-mind. Go for a walk, sit in silence, pick up a musical instrument, hold a pen on paper, dip a brush in paint … without expectation observantly exist. Creative insight will organically spring forth as does the emergence of migratory birds acting as one or as rippled patterns on the beach. The key to creative success is to not force, doubt or expect anything. Intention is good though. Intention to prioritize time for creativity. Intention to solve a problem. Intention to make music. But no expectation.
What Is Wisdom?
Wisdom comes from intuition; a deeper part of consciousness. Something so deep that is drops out the bottom of our consciousness and joins all other consciousnesses. It is what Carl Jung refers to as the collective unconscious, what I call the collective library of experience, and what some people call the Akaishic record or some other variant of the term. Wisdom is instinct. It is not learned but rather accessed. The level of access is dependent on how clear the channel or strong the connection is. When we get out of our mind and understand that our essence of existence is as the observer (something that exists even without thought or action), then we can more easily access wisdom.
Creativity is a beautiful third element or equinox between intelligence and wisdom. Creativity pulls from both our personal intelligence (curiosity, memory, creativity) as well as the deep wisdom that transcends our separateness. When doing improvisational music, it is true that I am using a certain amount of memory and curiosity, but I feel there is also an element of pulling from something that is beyond me.
If intelligence is a three-sided pyramid, wisdom is the space around the pyramid. Or perhaps the bedrock under the structure.
Wisdom transcends all elements of intelligence. For example, divining with a dousing rod for water in the ground is something which does not entail memory, creativity or curiosity. Having a gut feeling about someone transcends intelligence. The way animals intuitively know what plants heal is wisdom. Having a synchronistic feeling at the same time as a distant friend across the world transcends intelligence.
What do we do with this understanding of intelligence and wisdom?
Once we begin observing and understanding these things we can grow our intelligence and expand our channel to wisdom leading to a more effective and harmonious life. We can remove the blocks to curiosity, utilize tools to increase memory and allow ourselves to be creative. We can learn to identify the states the are more conducive to wisdom flow and prioritize those states more often.
Knowledge is not understanding and words are not the truth.
Understanding happens when you feel the bulldozers rip sacred soil as you feel your own flesh being torn apart. When you shed tears as you witness a dying bee cling to a clover flower with such true and authentic Love. When you take your shoes off and feel the roots growing from your feet into the earth. When you witness a beautiful sunset. When you see the clouds as your own thoughts. When you have seen the soul of a rock and consciousness of a tree. When you see all plants, animals, streams and mountains as your equals; as your brothers and sisters. When you encounter a rattlesnake on your path and tell it “I am sorry for what we have done, please forgive me.” When you nod in acknowledgment to the bird in the sky. When you smell the freshness of rain as the plants smile with glee. When you caress the delicate lace of ferns and grass as if gently touching a lover. When you melt into oneness and nothingness with nature. When you let down your ego. When you surrender. When you save worms from sidewalks. When you sway with a tree in the wind and marvel at lighting storms. When you no longer fear nature but accept her. When you realize how loving nature is. How kind plants are to give us fruits and berries.
Only when you shed tears and tremble with pain as you witness clearcutting, dams, mutagenic-pollution, tainting of purity. Where you long with all your heart the chatter of coyotes instead of barking dogs, the whisper of wind instead of zooming cars, the smell of fresh rain instead of dryer sheets, the sight of stars on a dark night sky instead of streetlights, the rolling sensual hills instead of terraced development, soft fertile soil colored with lichen and moss instead of concrete and asphalt
There is a better way.
There is a better way.
And it does not involve intellect. It involves wisdom. It was our intellect that got us here and it will be our wisdom that will save us.
I deeply enjoy volunteering. But of all my volunteer work, leading young people through the forest was one of the most fulfilling experiences.
I don’t often have opportunities to interact with young people, but when I do, I revel in their geniusness, lack of societal programming and how open their minds are. I showed them edible / medicinal plants, various animals, the importance of tree snags and nurse logs, talked about mycelium being the brain of the forest, did an observation / awareness exercise silently using their eyes and ears, talked about earthing, guided them on visualizing the perspective of a tree, a bird, a cloud, a mountain, talked about nature stewardship, forest succession, the dangers of smart phones etc etc etc. We went for a several mile hike in the Columbia Gorge. I learned just as much as they did.