North Pole Journey, Part 1: The Night Before We Leave
I have just returned from a trip to the North Pole to help raise awareness of the melting polar ice caps. The message with which I return was voiced unanimously by everyone I met: the ice is melting; there are fewer animals; the people are suffering; please tell the south to stop polluting.
It is timely to post my first blog about this trip on Thanksgiving weekend, as I feel thankful for so very much: I return safely; I feel supported; the journey was a success at so many levels. I am still inwardly processing the depth and breadth of the trip. Luckily, during the trip I took notes of my experiences. So over the next few weeks, I will be posting my journals and video blogs as a way to share the richness of the experiences I had.
When I left for the North Pole, though it was my body that was physically going, I felt that we were all somehow going together. I hope that through these journals you feel a closeness with me as the journey unfolds. The essential message I brought to the North, one that runs through all my creative work, is that we are not isolated islands but one family, all from the same mother, our Earth. Any decision I make affects myself, others and the planet. We are all connected.
May you feel that closeness and inner richness over this wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and always.
A NORTH POLE JOURNEY TO HELP HEAL THE EARTH
THE NIGHT BEFORE WE LEAVE
DEEP WAVES OF EMOTION
How do you pack for a journey you have never taken, to a landscape that is dangerous, inhospitable and very, very cold? Thankfully, many people have come together to donate warm woolies, down sleeping bags, snowsuits and technical gear. Value Village had some used snowmobile boots that fit. Luckily we were able to get some expert advice from videographers who have shot in the kind of conditions we are expecting, anywhere between -15C to -25C. We need to be prepared for things like battery life depleting very quickly in the cold and gear freezing. Even our video camera needs a special Arctic snowsuit. We have had to come up with a new costume for Natamba (the character I play in my show Yoga In the Nightclub), one that will be good for -25C and also allow me to move freely. We met with Velcrow Ripper who is doing a new documentary called “Evolve Love: Love in a Time of Climate Crisis” for some shooting and interviewing tips and to connect about the synergies of our work. JVC Canada donated a flip camera, a boom box and lent us a professional video camera. Mountain Equipment Coop donated a tent. Emergen-C vitamin C drink gave us some vitamin packs. Various friends from all over generously pitched in all they could to make this trip financially possible. I feel very supported and blessed.
It seems we are almost packed. We are all moving to complete the task lists we each have so that we can get some sleep before our long day of travel tomorrow. As I complete the last few audio tweaks on the demo of my new song “Hear This Prayer”, my list is near complete. This feels good. Over the past three days, I have felt immersed in the arising of this new tune that would not let me rest until it was recorded in a format that I could bring with me. The song expresses some of what I have been feeling in the call to this journey. In it, I speak to our mother Earth then pray, asking for help to heal our planet. Now I have a backing track to perform this new song along the journey and at the North Pole. I feel very charged about this.
Two friends drop by for last minute support. I play the new song for them and they say: “This is so Natamba!” I feel a certain success already. I know I can do the rest of the production work to complete the song for release once I am back. It has been challenging to find the time to be with this new song creation amidst the need to tend to all the other practical details of getting ready for the trip. With Grace, this has come together smoothly.
Shutting down my computer for the last time before we go and with the chorus of “Hear This Prayer” going around in my head, I walk upstairs from my music studio to I see if I can help either my husband Rishi or my friend Sunanda with their work load. Our yoga-meditation room is covered in gear. With the winter tent, heavy sleeping bags, arctic clothes and boots, extra food provisions and all the video and audio equipment, there are lots of bags. Sunanda and Rishi are moving quickly. Sunanda has already done a stellar job at packing and Rishi at preparing the gear. I join in to help when suddenly I feel overwhelmed by deep, unpredictable and raw emotions in my heart and chest. These feelings have come over me in increasing waves over the last week. I spontaneously start to sob.
I have experienced unexpected emotions like these before, but only when I have been traveling through the countryside in different locations all over the world. For no apparent reason, I would start to cry; my breathing would quicken, like I was hyperventilating. Sometimes I would feel pain in my internal organs, like I was being squeezed on the inside from a heavy pressure force. In the midst of this, I would hear a voice within tell me that this was because I was passing through an area where Nature was in particular distress. Through the emotional waves, my intuitive connection to Nature was speaking loudly.
A bit like a canary in a coalmine, I have always had a keen sense of perception and intuition to things that others may not perceive. But the emotions I am experiencing through the trip preparations connected to Nature’s distress are happening for the first time while moving about my life in my own home. It is true that I have felt over the last few weeks a deeper connection to Nature than ever, like She is within me, not separate, guiding this journey. I feel I am being shown the depth of healing that needs to take place for our mother Earth. In this, I feel overwhelmed. She is feverish, burdened, overloaded. Faced with the immensity of that knowing, I feel a deep grieving beyond words. These emotions are an expression of the depth of this journey, an expression of the pain of the planet, the way our mother is suffering. I find a quiet place to be present with this passing through me, watching in stillness. Eventually, the emotional intensity passes, my breath returns to a relaxed rhythm. I return to the work at hand, preparing our luggage.
OUR SOIL-LESS GARDEN
As I pitch in to help pack the rest of our belongings, I reflect on the various preparations we have undertaken for the past three weeks. Yes, there has been the gathering of gear, finding sponsors, booking meetings, finding hotels and airline tickets and writing a song. We also have been preparing spiritually, at the level of the unseen.
A group of ten volunteers I call The Earth Team and myself have created a soilless garden in which we can actively co-create with Nature to set the stage to assist with the intended healing work at the North Pole. I have been working in co-creation with Nature for years. Working consciously with Nature has amplified my creative connection within myself and to the world around me. The possibility of being able to plug into the vast source of life-energy is so very exhilarating and even necessary to build a healthy future for all.
We are not isolated islands as our egos may wish us to believe. We are in constant co-creation with Nature and the Cosmic Intelligence, whether we are conscious of it or not.
The Earth Team and myself have been preparing to support the healing work I am to facilitate there. This has asked each of us to go deeper into ourselves, lighten our load and release patterns that do not serve. Every day, we have been individually doing the necessary preparatory energy work. Even in the rush of this day before we head out in the early morning, Sunanda, Rishi and myself understand the power of the work in the unseen and make time to set the stage for the work to come at the North Pole.
DEATH OF THE EGO: LETTING GO OF EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE
As I look around the room to continue packing, the amount of bags I see already feels heavy, and there is more gear yet to include. It is unlike me to travel this way. Usually I am a one-light-bag kind of traveler. But that has changed since touring my show with its technical requirements. Now a trip to the North Pole requires other specialty gear that takes up space. As I move quickly around the room to find places for the rest of the pieces, I contemplate baggage of all kinds. What am I bringing to the North Pole? Yes, these are physical bags, but what about emotional or energetic baggage?
I am experiencing this trip as a deep call to faith. It is clear that it is important to lighten any emotional baggage that could hinder or weigh down the success of this journey. I feel I am going deeper within than ever before to look at my fears, face small-mindedness or illusions of grandeur and release resistance of any kind to the goal of this journey: to selflessly serve the healing of our planet. This is not a trip but a calling. It is not a rational decision to do something strategically to amplify the ego. If anything, I feel it calls for the death of the ego. I am called to follow a voice in the dark that feels totally right. I feel it is the mother calling. So I go.
I was two weeks away from touring my show Yoga In the Nightclub when the voice within became unavoidably clear that I needed to go to the North Pole to sing, do healing work and help bring awareness to the urgent consequences of the melting polar ice caps. This summer, during a few very hot days, something about the heat was unnatural. High temperatures do not bother me but this heat was different. There was a feeling in the air that signaled distress. The winds did not feel right. The sky looked agitated. Nature was very restless. In response to this, this voice within arose. Now I find myself the night before we depart on a journey that feels much bigger than me. In some ways, things are quickly coming together, and yet I can feel that much, at some level, is yet to be dissolved. I sense that I will soon speak of my life in reference to “before” and “after” the North Pole journey.
The thought of emotional baggage brings to mind the discussions Sunanda, Rishi and I have had about physical death. I am very blessed to be making this journey with sincere spiritual seekers who understand the breadth and sincerity of the call.
I remember that during my daily meditation practice, I had a vision a week ago of the real danger of this journey, specifically that our plane could crash. At that time, I paused to consider what I saw. Was I dreaming, imagining or was this real insight? I knew in my gut it was correct. I looked at the image of my guru Amma in front of me and went deeper inside. This was a real possibility and yet I needed to go. I sat with this for a couple of days, making peace with the possibility of death on this journey. I know that there are energies that do not want this trip to succeed, trickiness attached to the ailing planet and the short term economic profiteering gained from the melting polar caps.
When I saw the vision, I did not want to upset Sunanda and Rishi, so I shared its essential message by starting a dialogue about the dangers of this trip and candidly speaking about the possibility of death. What followed was an open and healthy sharing between the three of us about how we feel about the possibility of dying through this journey. In order to go, we each must be at peace with death. The possibility of physical death is ultimately imminent and can happen at any time. Of this, we have no control. But being receptive to the death of the ego is a choice, a direction one must invoke and welcome as a spiritual seeker. We spoke openly about that kind of death as well. As we now pack, the speed of our bodies in action reflects a certain release to the ego’s identity that “I” am the one doing. Amidst the sea of bags and seeming chaos, there is a deeper feeling of order, one of surrender and service to a greater good. There is a feeling of flow in the room.
TO LOVE AND SERVE
As the last pieces of our luggage seem to be coming together, I look up at the image of my guru on the meditation room wall. I see Her smiling and I feel that smile in my heart. I think to myself, “What is this life, if it is not to serve? What am I serving? Is it not a wonderfully expansive, rooting, vital, life-affirming, enriching feeling to feel connected to the very source of life, to allow it to flow through, unencumbered? What is this ‘I’ that keeps me feeling separate? Listening to that for guidance just brings ‘me’ suffering, more division and separation.” I feel a rich connection to this voice that calls us on this journey. It unites. It creates. It draws us all closer to each other, to what is essential, to love, to serve. This journey feels so much bigger than me, than Sunanda, than Rishi, than the Earth Team. It gives voice to something to which I feel I am in service, to which I have dedicated my life. I feel the voice of Nature, of the mother calling.
Despite waves of emotions and the vision of a plane crash, I have been feeling inspired, integrated and aligned going on this journey. Even when we contacted the government and were told that this was an unsafe time to go to the North Pole, I did not feel concerned. I know we are protected. We must stay true in our hearts. We are dedicated to this vision. We must pray. We are guided. I trust this unfolding totally. I feel that my body is the very stuff of which the planet is made. Literally I am her daughter, as we are all her children. In that connection, there is fierce direction and profound love. This will guide this pending journey.
We zip up the last suitcase and stack the bags, ready to grab, at the front door. It seems we can now rest for a few hours of sleep. We look at each other and are clearly exhausted by the preparations and also adrenaline-charged about what lies ahead. How we will sleep with this excitement and anticipation is yet to be seen, but we need every bit of rest for the days ahead. Each day leading up to this journey has been action packed and full of surprises and so are the days coming. It is already 1:30am and we wake up at 4am to get ourselves out the door to the plane. As I lay myself down on my soft, comfortable bed, I visualize that I am completely supported by love and grace, so that with the few hours of sleep I now have I can rejuvenate as much as possible. Tomorrow morning before dawn, the North Pole journey begins.