It’s Monday morning at 6:00 am as I sit down to write this. I just came in from sitting out on the balcony. Last night was a terrible night. It was so hot in my condo that I had to spend most of the night outside. But because of the fires out west, and in Saskatchewan, our sky was filled with smoke.
For about a week during high school, I smoked cigarettes to try and fit in with my friends who all were smokers. It wasn’t bad – until I actually inhaled the cigarette. I’ll never forget the taste of ashtray in my mouth. I’m also heavily allergic to smoke and with my asthma now, I can’t be around it. I struggle to breathe. I feel lethargic. My ankles swell. And the wheezing – that’s not even the worst part.
The worst part is feeling like I’ve swallowed that first smoke that I had over twenty years ago. And yet, I have this bad after taste in my mouth. Like I’ve swallowed an entire ashtray.
And I’m in Alberta.
I’ve seen videos and pictures all over TikTok and Instagram from Kelowna, Vernon and Kamloops. My sister and her family are supposed to drive back today from Kelowna. They are surrounded by raging wildfires. A good friend of mine is driving out to Victoria today, and I’m worried as the driving conditions are awful.
I finally gave up on sleep at 5:00 am and sat outside for a while again. I’m spending more and more time out on my balcony. The wind is starting to pick up. I had watched the sunrise, but now the clouds have returned. We just might get that rain after all.
But the smell of burnt ashtray – it’s finally gone and I can breathe a little easier today.
Instead of writing a “woe is me” Monday morning mood post, I thought instead — I would start the day off with a little prayer.
A prayer to Mother Earth for rain.
Not just for us here in Alberta where our crops are so dry. The grass is brown. All my plants and flowers have died because of the heat and smoke.
I sat outside this morning and was still. I listened to the Earth and what she had to say. The leaves were rustling and the gulls were fighting over some food in the parking lot across the street. But now all is silent. All I hear is the wind. The leaves brushing against each other in the darkness.
The birds are quiet. There is no traffic. Everything for the moment, is still.
I can hear rumbling in the distance. The clouds have covered the sun. It’s dark again. I smell rain in the air. And so, I’ll leave you with this morning prayer.
Thinking of all my friends and family out west.
Meditative music for prayer
So, I don’t want to say I have magical powers or anything but yeah. It poured for a good couple of hours. The smoke is back with a vengeance and my friends/family are struggling to get to their destinations today. Be safe everyone.
It’s Thursday afternoon as I write this and my day is just getting started. A restless night and a migraine kept me in bed again until noon. I woke up and my condo was pitch black – I had no idea what time of day it was. It’s still pitch black and kind of eerie. But it’s a good sign. That means we’re getting some much needed rain. Even with all the large windows I have in my place, and with facing the sun, I had to turn a light on midday. Creepy.
Last night around 9:30 pm, I finally went outside. First time in a few days. The smoke has been so bad from the wildfires seemingly coming from all directions – that I couldn’t go outside. I’ve been wheezing and coughing from it. It was such a relief to be able to head outside and enjoy the evening. I even got a few pictures of the red moon which was crazy to see. And just in time too – because a wild thunderstorm with pouring rains started within just minutes of me coming inside.
I think all the time I spent outside these past few months has helped me get back in tune with nature. I seem to be more in sync and somehow able to know when to go inside. Because as soon as I went inside, the lightning started. And it was a wild show too.
So, I did what I always do. I moved my chair closer to the window, opened the balcony door and enjoyed the show. I also recorded a few minutes of the rain so I can use it in a music video later. There’s something so peaceful about listening to the rain as it hits the grass or pavement.
The smoke is a little less today and I have all the windows wide open to let in some fresh air. Though those clouds are a bit worrisome. We’re supposed to get another wicked thunderstorm. I just hope it doesn’t turn into flooding or tornadoes. We’ve been seeing a lot of those pop up all over Canada. The weather has just been bad everywhere.
There’s still flooding in China, Europe and it seems that daily, more videos are popping up extreme weather.
If I learned anything from our Indigenous Elders and grandmothers – it’s this.
Mother Earth is hurting. She is in pain. She has been angry for some time. She is a ticking time bomb. The planet has reset herself many times in the past. I think honestly, she is working on this again. Reclaiming what is hers.We may not see this in our lifetime. But I do worry for future generations.
I think this is why I’ve spent so much time outside, meditating and reconnecting. I can’t travel still due to health and COVID restrictions. But I hope next year, if the weather is more stable, to be able to get back into travel and visit the mountains again. I’ve really missed that.
If you’d like to learn more about the Indigenous teachings, I recommend listening to this wonderful meditation by Michael Looking Coyote. This album has helped me in many ways. You don’t need to be Indigenous to respect their teachings and beliefs. And what I learned from my time with the Elders, is to respect them. For their knowledge of the earth has been passed down from many generations. They want us to learn and to hear what they have to say.
And as they say in the Cree language,
Update: the rain is finally here. It’s pouring. There’s a fantastic breeze coming through and making everything smell fresh and clean. Nothing better than rain – as long as it doesn’t turn into torrential rains!
Another good one to listen to –
We are all connected with Nixiwaka Yawanawa
To learn more of my experiences with the Elders, visit my spiritual page.
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As a kid, I remember the house being so hot and humid because my mother liked a warm house – even in summer months. With hormones developing at an early age, I found the heat unbearable. I still do at my age now.
I would sneak outside after everyone had gone to bed and would lie under the stars with a blanket or a good book. I think that’s what started my obsession with star gazing and space exploration.
Hours would go by and I would just stare up at the sky. It’s one of the things I miss now about living in downtown.
I remember staying up most of the night enjoying the cool summer air. Some nights were just too hot to handle. I’d put on some jeans and a hoodie and I would wander down the street to the local park. I’d sit on the swings and just stare up – at least until I saw something weird like a shooting star or something I couldn’t explain.
I became obsessed with star gazing and sky watching from an early age and it’s something I miss deeply now.
Tonight reminded me of those nights. It’s been such a hot and humid couple of days that I’m sweltering. But then something happened tonight that I can’t explain. Maybe it’s the heat getting to me or maybe it’s isolation. Or a combination of both. Or maybe someone slipped some good drugs into my drink when I wasn’t looking.
I was watching one of my all time favorite movies, Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers – it’s epic – when a giant moth flew into my living room and nearly landed on my face. I of course, screamed, jumped up and ran into the kitchen looking for something to arm myself with. I found a roll of paper towel.
I ran around my condo trying to find this giant moth wondering how the hell it got into my condo. I only had one window open. I finally struck it when it landed near my lamp, nearly knocking over everything on top of my desk with it – including my picture of me playing the piano a few years ago. I stood there for a moment dumbstruck – wondering if this was some kind of sign.
And then, a flash of lightning outside caught my attention. I turned off the computer, all the lights and sat near my kitchen window in the dark. All the feelings as a kid suddenly returned. It was like I was twelve years old again staying up way past my bedtime – watching the night sky, waiting for some kind of sign from above.
The symbolism of weather
Weather is a huge part of Native American Shamanism representing the four elements – air, earth, water and fire. And with tonight’s storm, I think we saw all four elements.
Storms give off this magical energy – it’s so powerful that you can sense when a storm is coming.
Watching an intense storm, you can also sense this intense magnetic energy- as the high winds and the thunder clouds roll in – you can’t help but feel a sense of awe. The energy is almost contagious. You can feel the anger of the earth rising.
The power of the earth. Mother Nature. Mother Earth.
Mother Earth is the goddess of all creations in the practice of Shamanism – one of the oldest forms of healing known to mankind.
“The thunder sounds like the planet itself is being torn apart, the noise makes humans fumble” – author unknown
Have you ever noticed the smell of ozone in the morning after a rain storm? Storms are a way of cleansing the earth from pollution, toxins and harmful energy we may not see or feel.
The smell is the fresh aroma of oxygen that comes with the rainfall. You can smell it before the storm hits – on a hot and humid day. It’s a powerful smell and one it’s one of the most beautiful smells to me.
Not everyone can pick up on the smell of ozone. Just like not everyone can sense a storm is coming. Those who can, feel a strong connection to nature.
To the earth.
It’s as if the earth is talking to you. And if you sit very still and listen, you can almost hear her crying out to you.
The sound of the rain hitting the pavement. The sound of the wind crushing trees against each other. The booming sound of thunder. Even lightning can make a noise – especially if it strikes which it does often in nature.
Storms are magical. Beautiful. Powerful.
Have you ever notice how quiet the world seems when a storm hits? I once got trapped by rain while hiking in Hinton at the base of a mountain. I pulled out my tarp from my backpack and sat under the protection of a large tree. I just sat there, closed my eyes and listened to everything happening around me.
I didn’t feel scared or worried. I’ve never felt more serene, or calm. I felt at peace. Connected. It was an amazing experience.
Everything around me – suddenly grew quiet as the storm rolled in.
Have you ever noticed that the animals get real quiet during storms? The birds stop singing. Even the magpies take cover. The world falls silent – as if they are all listening to Mother Earth.
As the storm grew more intense tonight, I couldn’t help but feel this nagging feeling like something was wrong. Something had happened. Or something was going to happen. I zoned out while watching the lightning. For a good five minutes – I just lost time.
The storm finally subsided and I turned my computer back on. I decided to look up the meaning of the moth and what it means when a moth appears in your life during troubled times.
What does it mean to see a moth in your dreams, or appear to you in your life during troubled times?
You have a strong sense of faith, but are not blind to your faith. Even if other people don’t approve of what you do or who you are – be true to yourself. Be your authentic self.
“Let the world know your real self – your genuine self because this is how you will know the people who will be there for you until the end.”
Okay universe, you win.
And so, I took in all of this – everything that happened tonight as a sign. The universe is speaking to me. I should listen to it. I think the message is that I should just be myself. Write about the things that I want to write about and not care what others think.
I should be true to myself, true to this blog. Accept the things I can’t change about life – and just be the best version of me that I can.
As I type this, that electric and charged energy I felt during the storm has faded. I feel once more at peace. The negative feelings, the anxiety – has been washed away with the now gentle rain I can hear outside my window.
I’ll be writing more articles like this on totem animals, spirit animals, and other things I’ve learned and experienced over the years during my studies. It was my original intent with this blog, and I’m going to continue with it – in addition to fitness posts as I continue my challenge.
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