Bayo Akomolafe, “retired and recovering” (lol) Nigerian clinical psychologist, got my attention with his bold call to action, “Times are urgent, so let’s slow down.
He explained that this paradoxical worldview and era (which he coined “post-activism”) refers to the practices of a growing number of people longing to connect on a deeper level and touch sacred, everyday magic within the “thin” spaces of modern-day, chaotic life.
While it may be easy to draw this assumption, they’re not motivated by an escapist need to repress, deny, indulge or distract.
In his brief interview, Bayo claims that there is an evolutionary and pro-social drive behind this movement that’s most akin to Albert Einstein’s famous quote:
”We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”
I love and deeply get this quote. As a matter of fact, I used it 20 years ago in an annual report that I co-wrote with two colleagues while a post-doc fellow at the UC Davis counseling center. In it, we delineated what this higher level of thinking and consciousness entailed and how effective it was in resolving overwhelming feelings and intense conflict during our year-long Multicultural Immersion Program and campus-wide diversity workshops with students, dorm RA’s, faculty, administrators, as well as community members, such as the police, church congregations, etc.
It may seem counterintuive to slow down during times of urgency, but a “less is more” approach truly is optimal when intentionally attempting to create more space, bring in and integrate higher level thinking, problem solving, and consciousness into our daily lives and routines.
At our current pace or at a faster pace, we’re likely to remain trapped in our ruts, hamster wheels, and frantic rat races. Aside from work demands, we (and our inboxes and social media feeds) are bombarded and overloaded with so much stimuli and information, we need to discard most of what we receive to remain sane.
The core message in this one: leave just a sliver of extra space for a magical invitation or sign, big or small, to drop into your lap and stop you in your tracks.
This is exactly what happened to me. My whole being came to a screeching halt and screamed, “Yes Yes Yes!” when I first saw this image and read the words, “Want to Swim with Whales?” in my FB feed.
I had the biggest cognitive dissonance moment I ever experienced. My soul was going full throttle to the right, diving head first into the Yes-es while my mind and body leaned with all their might to their usual left, in fear, screaming, “No No No, are you insane???”
My mind immediately wanted to shoot the idea down and I almost crumbled underneath all the practical and limiting No’s. “No, you can’t afford it. No, how indulgent. Selfish. Privileged. What do you need to do this for? Why do you want to bother these majestic animals for your own pleasure and curiosity? Do you want to die? Get swallowed whole?”
I even questioned if my deep longing to experience this amazing adventure was an escape tactic. Was I losing my mind, overwhelmed and burned out and didn’t even know it?
I let all the chatter settle down a bit, and the moment I began to seriously consider this seemingly ludicrous idea, the more the Universe dropped more signs that encouraged me to go for it. Meaningful signs and guides synchronistically appeared in my life and in my meditations and in their own symbolic way, communicated that Whale was challenging me to do some big time limit-busting that would amplify growth and courage in all areas of my life. And many would benefit from this expansion.
My Leatherback Sea Turtle and Dolphin guides reminded me of the lifechanging personal and professional impact that only one encounter with them continues to have on me and my soul’s purpose, recorded in my article, the Daring Planet-Saving Dreams of our Last Living Dinosaur, the Leatherback Sea Turtle.
Just my family and me, swimming with a pod of 50+ dolphins in the Big Island of Hawaii
(and yes, they were curious and sought us out, and yes, that's me, hyperventilating, and almost having a heart attack from excitement).
I’m still excavating and integrating the teachings and expansion that resulted from these extraordinary blessings and direct transmissions. It felt the closest to being kissed by divine light, divine joy, divine purity, and there was for sure a connection. There were at least 6 dolphin mommas with babies that approached us, and my sense was they sensed a similarity and wanted to know about me and my "baby."
Dolphins were btw my daughter's spirit guides during her birth (may explain the already fearless swimming like a dolphin in the open ocean at 12), healed the impact of my previous traumatic birth and rebirthed me into a shamanic practitioner. Yeah, this dolphin encounter was meaningful and special on so many levels.
As I tuned into the longing to now swim with Whale, I sensed my Sea Turtle guide nudging me to ask if
I could be the shamanic guide on this trip. I almost flipped out. I’d felt a deep sistarly connection with Kole Whitty, one of the main guides on this trip and bad-ass host of Warrior Women with a Purpose podcast, but I normally would never DREAM of doing something so bold (being on her show was our only connection!).
But guess what? This is how the expansive power of Whale ever so gently already started to stretch my mind and melt away limitations.
I stopped myself from overthinking, surprisingly felt much more in tune with the call to serve than my need to shrink in fear (look forward to more of this!), explained how I could help with interpreting and integrating Whale teachings, and included my Sea Turtle article, as my guide suggested I do.
Then calmly waited for a response. Deep down, I already knew what it would be. Sure enough, she and her partner, Tah Whitty, ER nurse of 25 years, leading expert in biointegration and trauma healing, and co-author of the book, the Naked Truth, were just as excited to have me on board.
Bucket list EPIC and such a WILD and aligned opportunity! I feel an urge to cry when that happens and I cried BIG GRATITUDE and THIS FEELS SO RIGHT AND AMAZING tears.
No question about it that Whale starts to work on you the moment you commit and surrender to the process.
Not only is Whale expanding my notion of future professional endeavors and similar retreats, Whale is already teaching me how to expand on a bodymind level. In a recent meditation, Whale showed me how to alleviate a headache and allow more flow of energy through my mind by breathing through and blowing water and air through my blow hole –– my crown chakra.
Who knew how well regular brain farts could get me out of the confines of my coconut skull! It was so cool and effective!
On a personal level, regular “Whale practice swims” in the pool with my partner have not only improved our physical fitness, mental focus and emotional calm and health, but it has also deepened our soul connection and devotion to something bigger than ourselves, together. We are invited to stretch and explore (we’re both life path 11’s) how we can join forces and do soul work together in the post-50 phase of our lives.
Super exciting where that’s taking us (stay tuned)!
The people who are already signed up are all consciousness leaders and change-makers in their own right. They too feel deeply honored to serve as a human bridge and vessel to hold, embody, and spread Whale wisdom and consciousness in benefit of the greater good. They will for sure add to the quality of the experience, as will Tah, Kole, our excellent guides, and me!
We will be crying, laughing, hugging, and doing silly dances, probably not able to contain ourselves after one of these encounters. I can only draw from my dolphin and sea turtle past encounters, and it was mindblowing and ecstatic to say the least.
And if swimming with Whales is not in the stars for you anytime soon or ever, still support this "crazy" call. Let it give you permission to do that wild thing that pulls on your heart strings, dares you to venture out of the box, and do what you've longed for and are no longer willing to ignore. You'll be surprised how much it will clear your mind and energize you to embark on other soul journeys and meaningful callings.
DATES: Oct 3-14, 2020 - A week and a half, 8 days on the ocean, count on at least 3 quality 10 minute swims in small groups and boats. Healing integration sessions on site and afterward via zoom are included. This is BTW the only place in the world where intimate swims with whales are still possible.
ALL THE DETAILS ARE HERE (ethics, why these momma humpbacks are at the surface for so long, evidence that they nudge and enjoy watching their calves make contact with humans, and more): SWIMMING WITH WHALES IN TONGA
ONLY 3 spots left. DEADLINE TO PUT IN A DEPOSIT - END of SEPT 2019
Yes, that's this year.
It's a meaningful investment, but the gains are just as big and all pervasive. We all think about what we signed up for on a daily basis and are stretching and growing to prepare as best as we can for this encounter.
Weird how that alone backlights areas where you can expand in terms of courage, freedom, possibilities in life, what you think you deserve or can ask for, the amount of joy, magic, and adventure you are "entitled" to, can enjoy and hold, how much you can/should spend on your fulfillment and spiritual development, what the reciprocal quality of your relationship with nature, animals, and earth is, etc. etc.
I am Loraine Van Tuyl, PhD, CHT – award-winning psychologist, author,
Depth Hypnosis, shamanic practitioner, and founder of the Sacred Healing Well.
I believe that the quickest & most effective way to heal and re-nature our de-natured, patriarchal world is by excavating and nourishing women's deep wells of wisdom, bold dreams, and soulful missions.
My two-decade devotion to supporting highly sensitive women has led to the empowerment of hundreds of fierce transformation trailblazers in psychology, holistic health, academia, the arts, social justice & entrepeneurship.
My work has appeared Elephant Journal and Birdie, and I'm a regular contributor of Thrive Global and Rebelle Society. I have presented and provided trainings to master- and doctorate level therapists and healers at the UC Berkeley Counseling Center, the American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, and the Native American Health Center, and have enjoyed providing expert guidance for numerous podcasts, radio shows, and women’s groups nationwide.