Fifteen years ago, God knocked on my door and unconsciously, I opened it and Love entered and penetrated me, if only for a brief moment in time.
This happened at a time when I was feeling lost, alone, afraid, and without any direction or passion for life itself.
The Universe, Love, God, Goddess (call it what you will) lifted me up into what I now refer to as the Grace Stream – living life in the mystery of the Oneness of All That Is.
The first significant encounter I experienced with this mysterious and miraculous stream of Grace is with a lone seagull on a deserted beach early one spring morning.
The Silent Seagull…
In a small beachside community east of the City of Bundaberg in Queensland, Australia, this sleepy coastal village is a quiet haven for active retirees attracting more golfers and lawn bowlers than surfers. The year is 1998 and it is just some months after the passing of my husband.
I love living right on the beach front and waking early to catch the first rays of morning light. Dawn greets me with a colourful sunrise radiating through the low lying clouds kissing the horizon; the sky is a brilliant shade of red and orange hues.
A thought arises gazing at this beautiful vista. ‘How perfect this morning is for the Buddhist Monk to take a swim in the ocean’.
She is visiting our small seaside community to speak on the philosophies of Buddhism, at the local hall and had mentioned her desire to body surf before returning to her secluded hinterland sanctuary at Chenrezig Institute on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.
The woman she is staying with goes daily for an early morning dip in the ocean and mentioned she often swims with the resident dolphins, who like to surface nearby and ride the small waves.
I slip into my swimmers and tie a sarong around my waist, noticing the mind is wondering ‘what style of swimwear will a Monk wear?’
Smiling and shaking my head at this silly thought, I look at the clock, nearly 7 A.M. – the agreed meeting time. I grab a bottle of water and a towel, lock the security door to my unit and head down the two flights of stairs to the beach.
After soaking up the brilliant morning sunshine in a secluded spot in the sand dunes (and waiting for their arrival), I decide to walk the deserted beach to cool the body. Not wanting to leave the security door key on the towel in fear of it becoming lost or stolen, I head down to the shore clutching the green plastic key sleeve tightly in my hand. The sunlight is shimmering diamond sparkles of light across the calm ocean, the waves lapping gently onto the golden sandy shore.
Speaking to myself I mumble softly, “Nobody will be surfing today! Maybe we will see the dolphins instead.”
I stroll up the beach becoming again like a little girl, paddling and splashing about light-heartedly on the wet sand; skipping and dancing with the incoming tide. The waves catch me every so often and splatter about my legs, wetting the bottom of my sarong making it look a much deeper red.
A lone seagull stands directly in my path and doesn’t move when I approach, so I walk around it, feeling the warm, soft dry sand sticking to my wet feet. I turn every once in a while to see if the others have arrived and I am surprised that on such an exquisite morning the beach is totally deserted.
I continue to stroll playfully along the wet sand and notice again a seagull is directly in my path! This happens again and again and again.
‘This is so weird and out of the ordinary’ but I let this thought go and keep walking.
At the far end of the beach where a small lagoon is used for safe swimming, an unusual coloured shell catches my attention. I bend down to pick it up and I am startled by the shriek of my own voice shouting out loudly into the stillness of the moment.
Looking down I discover that my key has slipped out of the green plastic sleeve. It’s gone. Lost!
Lost somewhere along this long stretch of beach.
Negative thoughts quickly swirl around in the mind and a familiar feeling of panic is already churning in the body; my nervous system is on alert, I feel a gripping in the belly, the breath is shallow and constricted, but before this sickly contracted feeling takes control, I feel a peacefulness wash over me, a calmness envelopes me, a softness is melting all tension and worry away.
The mind feels as if it has been `switched off’ and there is just a calm spaciousness present. This feeling of freedom from all worry and tension is a whole new experience for me. I start to laugh out loud and I am so shocked at myself for laughing. I laugh even more.
Through the laughter I start to sing the words to a golden oldie Billy Thorpe song, “Just like trying to find a needle in a haystack, yeah-yeah-yeah!” rings out and I laugh again.
“Good luck!” The familiar negative inner voice shouts to be heard.
For a brief moment seriousness creeps into my thoughts to remind me of what is actually happening here. My normal reaction would be of total panic, confusion and numbness, but here I am, standing motionless in disbelief, astounded by the calmness I am feeling in my body. I look at the long stretch of beach in front of me as I begin to retrace my steps, which are now being washed away by the incoming tide.
In the distance, way down the other end of the beach, I see the faint outline of a lone seagull. ‘Could the seagull have been prompting me to stop each time he stood in my path?’
The mind quickly responds, `Oh, get real! That is utterly ridiculous’ but – unlike me – I hear it but don’t dutifully agree, resting in innocent curiosity.
The eyes are searching the shoreline as I walk back up the beach and the song Needle in a Haystack is still humming around in my head. The beach is still deserted, the seagull has not moved and as I come closer, a gut feeling, an inner knowingness that I will find the key grows stronger and stronger.
This time I stop when I reach the seagull; to the left of where he is standing (very statue like) there is an unearthly glow – a circle of golden light is glowing from, and within the wet sand. I approach this mirage-like light and just under the surface of a small shallow pool of water, lightly covered in sand, glistening in an aura of sunlight is the security key!
I quickly bend down and pick it up before it disappears with the gentle pull of the undercurrent, as the next wave rolls into shore, threading the key through the strap of my swimmers I knot it securely, to keep it safe.
This is so surreal! I wonder, ‘Am I in a dream?’
With the thought of being stupid, I turn to look at the seagull (to thank him) and he has completely vanished! Not a seagull in sight…
Feeling overwhelmed, I stand stunned in ankle deep water on this deserted beach as if suspended in time, not quite believing what has just happened.
From this place of Oneness, I faintly hear the sound of voices. The voices become louder and as I look around I see two figures approaching, waving to me. It’s the Buddhist monk in her robe of deep maroon and orange and with her is her friend dressed in a brightly floral sun dress.
We greet each other with warm smiles and a brief hug and I share my experience with them. They just laugh in disbelief, change the conversation to the weather and I feel the magic of the moment slip quietly away.
Stripping down to our swimmers (yes she has a deep maroon one-piece with orange trim) we enter the crystal clear, cool calm sea and frolic, laugh, play, calling to the dolphins yet without one in sight.
We are about to leave when set-after-set of perfect body surfing waves start to roll in right where we are floating and splashing about. We shriek in delight allowing our bodies to be carried by the waves into shore and then swim back out to do it all over again. We surf in complete awe and oneness with the ocean until it is time to go.
I drive the Buddhist monk and her friend to the train station in Bundaberg and we reflect on the magical and mysterious blessings we experienced this morning. Driving home through the sugar cane fields I wonder ‘maybe this all happened because there is a Buddhist monk visiting us, or maybe it is something even more far-fetched: could it be my late husband’s spirit connecting with me?’
This is way too scary for me to contemplate. Or even more frightening to share with anyone! What will people think? This is definitely not the regular dinner conversation to be had at the Golf Club on a Friday night.
The conceptual mind cannot figure it out so it is dismissed as something bizarre, and not to be talked about! Fear is present: I might be labelled ‘odd’ or worse still: be singled out as a weirdo, not being accepted or liked by my new friends.
I slammed the door in God’s face after this experience, and many other times over the next fifteen year period, only to realize now, with great humility, that Grace has never ceased in loving me, never ceased supporting me and has never ceased guiding me back home into the Oneness of Love Itself.
That time on the beach is much, much more than a miraculous find of a security door key on a lonely stretch of beach early one sunny morning; fifteen years on and I can feel it all as if it is happening right now. I can smell the salt spray of the ocean. I can hear and feel the waves lapping around my ankles, the sand sticking to my feet. My eyes are squinting in the bright sunlight, I feel its warmth, and the coolness of the soft breeze against my skin. I am breathing in the air, the salt sea spray and the beauty of the morning. I am in awe of nature and I am in playfulness with the innocence and wonder of a child.
Not consciously aware of it at that time, I was in full presence with everything around me. I was feeling it all! I was One with it all, there was just me and Nature, surrounded and embraced by the Divine Mother’s Presence.
And it has nothing to do with any Buddhist monk being there that morning or my late husband’s Spirit. I was being held in the Arms of Grace and did not recognize it!
During the next seven years, there are many changes in my life; courses I do (healing modalities, self-help development programs), change of living locations, joining a network marketing company, taking a course in real estate. I meet new friends, yet all the while I do not feel at peace. I feel a subtle disturbance, like I have lost something, but do not know what it is.
The mind seems to be in a thick fog with no vision, stumbling about, going around in circles continually searching. `Searching for what?… I don’t know!’ Whatever it is that is missing in my life. Deep within I feel frustrated, annoyed and angry for not knowing what it is I am looking for, so I bury these feelings thinking that it has to be out there somewhere in the worldly world.
Then, nine years ago, with miraculous circumstances I am introduced to The Way of Mastery. I feel a very deep resonance with these Teachings, an inner knowing that I have finally found The Way home. For me, it is the Pathway back to Wholeness, a journey of remembering the Truth of who I Truly Am.
I did not have the foggiest idea where this journey was taking me; all I know is that it feels so right, just like finally coming home to a peaceful loving Sanctuary.
Now, I am definitely not the same person who started on this pathway, so much healing and awakening has occurred.
LovesBreath, awareness of feelings, forgiveness, (especially of oneself) turning the mind back upon itself in total self-honesty, accepting 100% full responsibility for everything I have ever experienced – everything!
Constant gratitude, being in full presence, conscious awareness in all moments, especially in the relational plane are many of the key teachings of The Way – the Christ path to awakening.
Grace is always knocking gently on the door of the Heart, waiting patiently for us to open it; sometimes we take a peek thru the crack and say `not today thank you’ and on other occasions we may open it fully, take a long hard look and quickly slam it shut, not quite ready to step into the unknown, to look deeply into the darkness of the ego and take 100% full ownership for every experience we have ever created, born out of fear.
The key to Peace, Love, Joy and Happiness has been lovingly placed on the altar in the silent centre of the Heart – like a homing beacon – welcoming us back Home, when we finally tire of playing out all the dramas and trivial games made up in our insane minds creating our illusory world.
I experienced a luscious taste of Grace that magical morning on the deserted beach, living in the Divine Present moment, holding the Key in the palm of my hand and said, “No. Not yet!”
Fortunately, we have an all Loving God who just waits on our welcome.
I now say `Yes’ to Grace – surrendering, opening, and allowing Love and Life to live fully through me; living in the continuous flow of the Grace Stream, being a witness for miracles to unfold effortlessly from a place of constant Gratitude and deep Humility. God just wants us to be Happy!
I remind myself daily to get out of seriousness; I remember the Sacredness in all things as I sing, laugh, dance and play and I definitely do something outrageous every day, all in the presence of Love.
Now, with every moment born anew, set free from that old, worrying mind, Living Life Truly has only just begun! Perhaps that seagull was showing me the way to move from time, and into eternity, right here, right now!
* * * * * *
I never knew what my given birth name meant. Up until a few years ago I was known as Lorraine and my family and friends in Australia still insist on calling me that. Being curious as to the meaning, I Google Lorraine and I am totally disbelieving in what I discover. The web site I look up for name meanings has written; `the Latin meaning for Lorraine is Seagull`!
I am gobsmacked and have a good laugh out loud belly laugh at the amazement of this mystery called Life!