If It Is All Truly One

I swam with dolphins… and I got stung by a jellyfish. If I move past my rational mind of Ouch! one hurt and therfore, it’s wrong, then both equally are magical and Divine. Funny, how powerful our minds are at shaping our reality. We hear, “Swim with dolphins…” and most of us are, “Ooohhhh, ohhhhh, ahhhhh…” We hear, “Stung by jellyfish…” and most of are, “Ouch! That sucks!” (Insert, “Bad, wrong, not good” here.)

How easily we go into judgment and kill off the magic in our lives. And I say, “We” on purpose. I include myself. How many places in my life do I make something wonderful and something evil with just my thoughts? Yet, if I move past my judgment, a jellyfish is a wild, magical, crazy phenomenon that astounds me and humbles me to my core. Well, that is until it stings me, right?

Why is the jellyfish, one moment, something that blows my mind and the next minute, something that I deem awful? The jellyfish has not changed one bit. Only my thoughts have. Oh, crap. Right. I am the maker of my reality.

Not that I want to go throw myself in the path of jellyfishes all the time, mind you. I am not looking for punishment, despite the fact that some of my actions might seem to point otherwise. I recognize that pain hurts, and I am not looking to sign up for that (well, at least most of the time.) But, anyway, you get what I am saying.

I am so often bored with how predictable I am. No matter how much I know, and how much work I have done and undone, I seem to still fall into the same traps every so often. Moments like swimming with dolphins while being stung by jellyfish are reminders of this.

For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with being born human. I have tried all different kinds of things, from various religions to suicide to being an alcoholic and drug addict to tools and practices from spiritual to science of the mind. I have done more in my almost 36 years on this planet, than I could have imagined doing in a lifetime. And yet, with all of it, I very rarely feel like I am able to transcend the experience of being ever-so-boringly and obnoxiously human. And then, there are all the ideas like, “I am not meant to ‘transcend’ the human experience, but embrace it,” and, “But the human experience is the opportunity to experience transformation,” and blah, blah, blah, blah… I know people rely and count on me to be ever-so-enlightened, but this is the reality of how I often feel and experience life. And those that know me best, know to expect whatever is coming through me to be what I talk about honestly.

One of the things I do in my life is life-coaching, which when reading this, seems laughable. The reality is that often times in a coaching session, I start laughing at times, that if the people I work with didn’t know better, they would take it personally. But what I tell everyone I work with is that I laugh because of how similar we all are. Our “stuff” is all so very similar–it wears different masks (often times in our very own lives) but at the end of the day it is just similar themes pretending to be otherwise. We like to think we are oh so unique, and at the end of the day, as individual as we all are, the saying, “We are all One,” applies to more than just the feel-good, enlightened, transformed things. If it is a truth that we accept, then it can not have an asterik after it– it applies to All Life, Everywhere, Everyone, and Everything. Damn! Not nearly as pretty that way.

So, I return to the dolphins and jellyfish of my mind and how I shape my reality. And at the same time, how often I feel like it is all pointless. So I look to create a meaning inspiring enough to keep me here… even as I know that I am 100% responsible for creating whatever meaning I create. Life does not happen for a reason. Life happens, and then the reason is what we make of it.

I have been spending time in Hawaii for the last week. One would think I would just be all blissed out–especially considering how much I LOVE being in the warmth and swimming in the warm ocean. And yet, for me, life doesn’t just pause and quit being intense just because I am in a beautiful place. I think maybe I am just not designed that way.

I have been longing for a home, and for the first time in my life, I have been longing for a relationship. I seem to have hit that point of wanting to root and nest and explore the areas of my heart that I have kept off limits for as long as I can remember. In some ways, being here in Hawaii, and some other things going on in my life, have been poignant reminders of how far I feel from fulfilling these longings.

And, trust me, I know, I know, longing for what isn’t versus being grateful for what is, is a perfect set-up for dissapointment. I don’t need that teaching. I have had it a thousand times over. I think, maybe, I am just tired of doing the work of being grateful for what is, even though it is not what I would like. I am tired of being “enlightened” and “transformed.” I am just in the space of being oh, so very human. And I am very present to how profoundly boring and obnoxious that experience can be.

And there is nothing to “fix” here. There is just the experience. I am both dolphin and jellyfish. I am both sand (stuck in my bathing suit) and gentle, calm ocean. I am both swimming with turtles and choking on salt water as the waves get rough. I am both sun and sunburn. I am everything and nothing. I am the space that exists beyond any of these definitions. I am the being, known as “Julia Butterfly Hill” who in one moment revels in the experience of lime covered papaya and in the next moment wishes I could disappear and leave this human plane of existance.

This is what I am experiencing, feeling, and thinking of in these moments. And it feels so pathetically uninteresting and blah, blah, blah, that I hesitate to post it. And yet, at the end of the day, “We are ALL One…”

So I post it anyway.

Here is to the jellyfish and dolphin in us all!



Published in: on December 28, 2009 at 9:48 am  Comments (22)  

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  1. the best post ever 🙂 it’s so you…wuv

  2. It seems as some of the recent blogs that I have read of yours go deeper into some of the things in your past, as well as relationship preferences and such. I am sure that many of us that respect you find this cool, as I always was intrigued. I think those things which are part of your nature as a human being make you more accessible to everyone.

  3. Some people have probably heard this many times and others not at all. There’s a Zen saying, “Before enlightenment: chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment: chop wood, carry water.” These can be interpreted literally, as if living in the woods, OR as applying to whatever routines one has to do in order to survive and live ‘comfortably.’ I take it as: learn to be so immersed in the doing/being that by truly loving to “carry water” or by becoming One with it, the promise of or even the experience of enlightenment won’t distract from ‘the work,’ carrying water, serving the higher purpose. Though inner awareness may change over time, there are still the daily, human tasks to attend to. And, to help the current “We are ALL One” global situation, the saying could be expanded: Before enlightenment: don’t cut down a tree, plant a tree; don’t pollute water, caretake water…!

  4. Although I am a novice activist, which means I think about acting more than I actually do, I’m curious as to why I’m only hearing about you now. On christmas day sitting in my apartment, contemplating another year of family gatherings with nonsensicle talk about issues and complaints, I came across your story. It uplifted me, it made me wide eyed with enthusiasm for the strenght of people and how far they will go for what’s right. I quickly came home from my family functions and began going over all my songs of peace and non-violence that I have written over the past few years with a new vigorance. Recieved more ideas for new songs from places I am not fond of, and then I find your blog. I see you are yearning for a more stable life and am tired. I guess I cannot blame you for all you’ve done. I just wish I would have heard of you earlier when the fire was still burning inside of you to carry on your mission. I hope if you do settle down, even if it’s not with me, hehe, you continue to inspire people to carry the torch for humanity. Remember even if one person has been changed by your thoughts and actions then the world is a better place. Stay real and good luck.

  5. Sounds like the start of loving and accepting oneself unconditionally.

  6. This reminds me of Jung’s “both-and” approach (and I am here stealing from someone else, but it kind of sums the whole thing up):

    “Jung and his magnificent both-and!” In these words Swedish author Claes Janssen summarizes a central story line in C. G. Jung’s work, his insistence that we not only accept the opposites [in ourselves, as well as others] but connect them, even welcome them. Male and female, body and soul, ego and shadow, joy and pain, east and west. If we want to be whole, sound, grown up and become what we already are, we have to connect.”

    (And I might add, we have to “own” those opposites as well.)

  7. It doesn’t get any better than this, and it doesn’t get any worse than this are all contained in the same instants. Just focus, awareness, and viewpoints differ. What an incredibly beautiful and unfathomable madhouse we inhabit.

  8. unos versos desde chile:

    Amiga mariposa la pelea la diste
    Te has ganado el cielo
    Con tu gesto al universo
    Hasta los astros han despertado

    Yo contigo despierto
    Con tu despierto, a otros
    He por fin descubierto
    Me alegro por ti, por ello


  9. Thanks for your honesty julia. wishing you lots of strength and clarity on the way forward.

  10. Words seem to get us into so much trouble. Language was developed as a communication tool and as far as trying to convey one perspective to another person it seems to be very effective. I guess the problem is we self-talk to ourselves using words and therefore labels. We are applying a label to something as soon as weve experienced it and filing it away. So beyond just delving into the world of duality… Any word or label that’s applied to an experience is an attempt to describe a feeling that is indescribable isn’t it? You could say that it was a magical experience but does that even begin to actually describe the emotion that you felt as it was happening. Then there is the argument that there is no time but now, so your still swimming with the dolphins even now but your also not.. Ahhh, WHEN DOES ALL THE CRAZYNESS STOP?. But I guess going back to my point is that we have a learning tool in that is made for our survival. Lets call it animal instinct. (aka EGO) We have a basic drive that wants to preserve our life. So maybe thousands of years ago , we knew that being alive was ideal and to take a risk by say , walking out in front of a loaded rhino meant potential physical death. These days we don’t really face that need for basic survival in our day to day life. So rather than our animal instinct trying to protect us from death , it busies itself trying to protect our emotions from being hurt. So we waste precious years trying to apply a system that works in life or death to a system that doesn’t work so well in an emotional context. We learn to start applying labels as kids. Anything that happens to us gets an emotional value added to it.. We start to try and re-create things that we’ve applied a nice emotional value (living) and avoid things that we’ve applied a negative emotional value too (dying)

    Our ego doesn’t know what to do with itself. Its basic function over keeping us alive is now to keep our emotions in check. Which it tries to do , tries to preserve feelings of elation over fear.. but doesn’t really do an effective job in that area.

    The answer? I wish I could say. I believe it has a lot to do with re-programming our minds and finding a way to become present in now. EFT seems to help but I think cognitive behaviour therapy,NLP or any system that involves removing a negative emotional label to an experience weve gone through. Most of us have done that since little children , and we have so many stored programs that its easy to execute them. Ive read somewhere that our unconscious mind tends to block out emotions that we dont know how to handle at the time the are happening. Then waits for a time we are happy to bring the thoughts of sadness back to our awareness in hopes that our new happy way of looking a things will dispel them. So were thinking “Wow life is great” and so our thoughts bring back thoughts of a time when it wasn’t so great…. and we can either be brought down by these thoughts or blast them away. I believe its ok to feel joy…. to feel love. But as soon as we try to pick and choose when we feel then we run into trouble. Who wants to feel joy when taking a crap. But through removing duality and becoming present in now, I believe we can do it….

  11. one is often forced to endure the calm in the eye of a storm. One must remember and watch without a false sense of security. there is a season for all things and we are smart enough to know when to enter those seasons. choices are tough to make but harder to stick with we know you can stick now pick. You’r in our prayers stay honest remember our father in heaven only wishes the best for us. =) oh and is it warm there i’m at minus 20 with snow, diversity is nice too

  12. Nice post!!! I know what you mean… Las august I went to swim with the whale sharks, it was at very open sea like at 1 hour and a half of sailing from Cancun into the sea. Once I was swimming with these amazing creatures I start to feel in many parts of my body some burning sensation… and then I saw them, but they look so pretty and fragile. I did not care about the incident with the jellyfish; the experience with the whale sharks in that moment was the focus in my mind. At the end was a wonderful adventure even with that incident.

    I have swum with the dolphins too, but this was a different program, not like other one. It is call Dolphin trek or Delphinus Trek, and I had the opportunity of going underwater with this very safety equipment and I’m not any professional scuba diver.. no need to. Let me share with you.

    If you have the opportunity I definitively recommend it to you, and also because you do it in a beautiful place at the Mayan Riviera, Mexico.

    Take care!

  13. Many suggest that the depths to which we can feel its pain, is the depths to which we can feel its pleasure. And that an avoidance of one, is the avoidance of the other… Long ago when I was only 20 years old and I wrote a poem in a poetry writing class at Cabrillo College.

    I wonder where that poem went? I’ll have to dig it up! I remember the first lines of the poem:

    The taste of a
    lover’s tongue
    Is like the sting
    of a jellyfish

  14. obnoxiously..:) how would you respond to someone who mirrored these thoughts as well?

  15. i would laugh. Because yes, sometimes we are obnoxious, just as sometimes we are wonderful and everything in between, around, under, above, beyond, etc…

  16. Makes me smile. I read “Legacy…” years ago and loved it. Glad to find you again.

  17. ese es el problema, y algún día lo entenderás: no somos todos UNO, eso no es verdad.

  18. we are not human beings trying to be spiritual- we are spiritual beings trying to be human- now you go on and try it all out young’n- it’s all ok ! Give yourself permission. Blessings !

  19. I remember you as a baby…I used to change your diapers. I watched you grow up. I am amazed by you but not surprised. I know your parents very well. You seem so lost…just as I am. I don’t know if you remember me…or my kids…Celeste, Billy, and Lizzy. It has been a long hard road. So much pain…pain that I sense you understand. I wish you the best Julia.

  20. It seems like yesterday that you were just a baby. Your mother was expecting your brother Daniel. I came over to help her clean from the Bible College. Then I lived with your family that summer. We all moved to Hbg. Pa to start a church. A church that I now look back on as a ‘cult.’

  21. Snowmelt pond warm granite
    we make camp,
    no thought of finding more.
    and nap
    and leave our minds to the wind.

    on the bedrock,gently tilting,
    sky and stone,

    teach me to be tender.

    the touch that nearly misses-
    brush of glances-
    tiny steps-
    that finally cover worlds
    of hard terrain.
    cloud wisps and mists
    gathered into slate blue
    bolts of summer rain.

    tea together in the purple starry eve;
    new moon soon to set,
    why does it take so
    long to learn to
    we laugh
    and grieve.

    G.Snyder – Turtle Island.

  22. julia, as I was reading this post, I thought how brave of you to share…what might seem vulnerability… that is actual ‘truth’….you are truly the ‘isness’ of life without judgement.

    i understand boredom, which to me is just a life experienced or a thought already had….

    thank you for being a beautiful and true ambassador of life. wishing you peace….in all ways.

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