Pt. Reyes National Seashore has captured my heart and attention this winter in so many ways. It is always a pleasure to venture out onto the beach to picnic and play in the ocean but some seasons have an added bonus of being able to view creatures from the sea who also come to rest and play. The elephant seals are here on their annual rest, birth, wean, mate cycle and what a sight they are. I had the pleasure of spending some days with them. They are magnificent creatures. As I sat with them at Drakes Beach I wondered if their was something in their seasonal life cycles that offered a message to me. Here are a few thoughts:
ADAPT – Elephant seals have maintained their tribe over thousands of years. Once being land based mammals they were forced into the sea and re-established themselves in the sea as a result of catastrophic natural events that destroyed parts of the earth. Later man hunted them to near extinction. As forces of nature or even the forces from my fellow mankind may try to bring me down, finding ways to adapt and move forward with my life drive and purpose is a challenge but doable. It’s about being true to your life purpose and not looking back.
BALANCE LIFE ACTIVITIES – The elephant seals have a predictable pattern of spending 80% of their life in the open sea eating, sleeping, digesting and traveling from Mexico to Alaska. They spend a small period of time on-shore each winter to give birth, rest, and molt before they head back out to sea. Their inner compass brings them to safe and secure beaches such as at Pt. Reyes where their cycle of life can be protected and their tribe can thrive. A balance of forging for food and time for rest is a must to regain energy and strength and to not push the boundaries of what our bodies and stamina can maintain. My winter beach break with the elephant seals brought me into a place of peace and contentment. I sat there hearing and feeling the rhythm of the ocean along with the quiet stillness of the seals as they lounged on the beach. Understanding that there is a time for action and a time for quietness. Balance. The elephant seals follow a pattern that works. There is a lesson there to find one’s own pattern of surviving and thriving that works and then honor it. One pattern does not fit all.
DIVE DEEP FOR INNER NOURISHMENT – An amazing feature of the elephant seals is their ability to dive deep up to 1,000 to 2,000 feet for up to half an hour to find their nutritious food. At those depths it’s dark and there are no other competing seals or other factors to get in the way of finding food. In spite of their big eyes, the ocean at those depths is dark and they must depend on instinct and trust that what they are looking for is there. What a symbol for me to dive deep within myself into the darkness of the unknowns in life, deep into my heart and soul to find that which will nourish and support me. In some circles of Shamanism the seal is a symbol of the inner voice and the internal compass that gives support and direction. Going to the depths away from competing forces is a reminder to connect to our deep inner rhythms, feelings and all-knowing self. During this time of feeding, the female seals are carrying a new life that will come forth in the winter months. It’s a reminder that I too carry the seeds of my life purpose, dreams and creative endeavors. I forget about these things sometimes because of too many distractions of daily life especially with modern technology.
When I do take that time to follow my instincts and trust that the time in darkness will provide the necessary nutrients and support to bring my creations to a place to be birthed – then I know I am on the right track toward a life worth living. Elephant seals have adapted over time to slow their heart beats, maintain oxygen in alternative ways, and most of all to flow with the currents of the ocean. All to keep their tribe thriving, create new life, adapt to the changes brought on by nature or man and all with the internal compass that guides. So many lessons right before my very eyes.
Spring is on the horizon now. The elephant seals have moved on into the ocean and onto a new cycle of life. So much to learn from what nature has to offer.
Look deep into Nature and then you will understand everything better.