North Pole Retrospective – Part 3
My reunion with Satish yesterday was fun. Sunanda and Rishi were also there and we laughed about meeting polar bears and the craziness of our adventure. It was great to see Satish again who continues his philanthropic work globally.
Today I think of how a year ago, I had arrived on this day for the first time in Resolute Bay, a remote Inuit town of about 200 people on the Arctic Ocean in Nunavut. There I had the most amazing experiences. Please join me as I remember them here.
Day Two, Part One – Resolute
I open my eyes and notice that the bed sheets don’t feel like my own. I am not at home. I am in Resolute Bay, Nunavut. I am on my way to the North Pole to sing and offer healing to help raise awareness of the melting polar ice caps.
I start to peel myself from the warmth of the bed, when I am overwhelmed with tears. What is this heaviness? Sitting myself up on the edge of the mattress, I allow myself to be present with the feelings. I feel grief, an overwhelming feeling of grief. My chest is heavy and my breathing tight. I feel puzzled. These emotions feel so deep, so burdened. Where are they coming from? What are they telling me? What am I grieving? Positioning myself into a cross-legged position, I allow my morning meditation practice to begin here, on this bed in a hotel in Resolute Bay with these raw, available feelings. The grief grips the edges of my lungs. My ribs feel tight. It is hard to breathe for the tears that have congested my head and throat. With my eyes closed and my mind inward listening, my awareness gently rides along the layers of emotion to hear more fully what they are saying. An image flashes before me…
Day Two, Part Two – With Satish Sikha
As Sunanda, Meghan and I struggle in the fierce, icy wind to outstretch this lengthy piece of silk so that Rishi can video tape it, I watch Satish from the corner of my eye as he walks pensively towards the water to pray. I can feel the sincerity of his heart as he quietly stands on the iceberg looking out at the vast ocean. The wind blows through his tussled, thin, black hair. He is sheltered from the elements only by his dark-grey parka and a soul full of mantras and prayers…
Day Two, Part Three – Arctic Nurses, Weathermen, Poutine and a Spiritual Encounter
Feeling fulfilled by the experience meeting the children at Resolute Bay’s Qarmartalik School, Rishi, Satish, Sunanda and I move to exit the building and face the Arctic frost. Suddenly out of nowhere, Rishi pulls out his back. We grab the nearest chair, sit him down and are immediately present for him. With a back in spasm, he cannot move much and his breathing feels laboured. Slumped over the chair and wincing, he quietly closes his eyes, tunes into himself, going within to find a healing space that may perhaps bring him some relief from the pain.
After a few silent moments, he says he feels that his pulled back is a reaction to shooting video in this deep cold. He is used to neither shooting video for such long periods nor to such extreme weather. We encourage him to take it easy for a bit. As I watch him relax and soften, I get a sense that Rishi’s back speaks volumes about the burden we see here on these Inuit children, the difficulties they face with broken families and a broken culture; the burden we put on our planet due to our ignorance; and the immensity of the global ecological problem that we are now seeing first hand on this journey to the North Pole…
Day Two, Part Four – Lisa and Louisa
Louisa, the elder of the two women, shifts her body weight in her seat and looks at me with her penetrating, deep, dark eyes. “I knew you were coming,” she says. Chills run all through me. “I had a vision that someone was coming to offer healing at the top of the world. This person, I know, is you.” The shivers continue to run through my whole body and seem to undulate into the entire room. Everything I see seems to shudder and ripple, like the world around me is a vibrating bell, struck by a resonant truth….