Thoughts from the ocean

Back at the ocean editing Lone Dog Road.

I love this book and I Iove this place. Saying one is “blessed” sounds mawkish to me, but it is so true about being able to sit at the edge of the ocean.

Last night my son, Nik, and I were walking along the beach and I said, “I think the reason I love the ocean and the prairies so much is that you move from observation, which implies an observer as well as something observed, to pure apprehension, which makes you the passive receiver of the presence of what is coming in to you.”

Big thoughts, but true, I believe, and honestly earned. Facing something too big too think is a healing experience. All you can do is take it in and allow yourself to be expanded. Light, color, rhythm, sound — they don’t settle into the mind as objects, but as presences. They feel like the true origin of art to me.

16 thoughts on “Thoughts from the ocean”

  1. Shawn O'Rourke Gilbert

    Beautiful insight. Thank you. Just a thought: You suggest that “blessed” might be mawkish. I suggest that “lucky” is trite. Soooo, what word could we use to explain that elusively rare feeling? Is it as elusively profound as the word “God” itself?

  2. Lake Superior at Grand Marais, Michigan, boating on the cold blue water of the St. Mary’s River, Lake Michigan at Sleeping Bear, an old growth stand of wise White Pine. These are a few of the sacred places where I have experienced exactly what you describe. Places where the sacred and powerful enter my mind. It was on the shore of Lake Superior one night when a majestic bear came to me in the middle of the night and taught me how to endure the remaining months of 2013 and my husbands life. To this day I carry a small tiger eye quartz bear to remind me of that transformative encounter.

  3. Shawn O'Rourke Gilbert

    Kent, please do not share this online unless you really care to. I asked my question re blessed/lucky in earnestness, not merely as rhetoric. I myself have been troubled for many years about the meaning of “blessed.” It feels selfish to claim it for myself, unfair. But putting myself in your position as a participant in a beautiful experience on the planet, it occurs to me that “blessed” means feeling the existential experience of connection with the essence of the whole of humankind and the Earth that has welcomed us.

  4. Thank you for this honest comment. I, too, struggle with the phrase, if not the idea, of “being blessed.” On one level, we are all blessed to even be able to take another breath. On another, there is something cheapening about using it as a catch phrase for every bit of success a person has in life. For example, I do not consider it a blessing to have become a millionaire by selling things made by twelve year olds in a third world country. Good fortune, perhaps? A blessing, no. “Blessing” implies a touch by some greater benevolence. I would be much happier finding a phrase that has less implied theological import.

  5. Indeed, there are gifts from the sea, if one can be still enough to sense the majesty and mystery.

    Thank You Always Kent, for taking us to places in the heart, whether experiencing the beauty of nature and sacred ground, or especially the darkness of suffering in silence, where the light of understanding is needed most, living in a stolen land.

    It helps us to be better human beings and ease the suffering of others with care and compassion.

    In so doing, it eases our own suffering. And so, I feel grateful and blessed for all you’ve shared.

    But to God goes all the thanks and praise, helping us thru this world of darkness in many ways.

    The Golden Rule has always been The Golden Path to the Deities and Heaven, as well as feelings of well-being until then.

    A Lakota Sioux I met last summer said it helps him knowing that people remember and care about what Native people suffer.

    Connor Ryan lives here in Boulder like many of us. It’s a gateway to the wilderness year ’round, silence and solitude. We still talk about when you visited us in September 2019. I’m glad your cold got better. I assume the meds I gave you helped.

    This is their land that Connor has helped us remember, like you:,and%20Ute%20Native%20American%20tribes.

    There are blessings to cherish. How they may come about can be seen our dreams, visions or voices.

    For those who believe it is “mawkish” or feeble sentimentality to say one is blessed, take such blessings for granted.

    Worse, it is a judgement about oneself and others, when they could know where such blessings emanate.

    How could one not humble themselves and give rightful thanks and praise upon meeting their maker?

    Why wait until then when one can know now, and not take a chance with being ungrateful?

    The Pueblo Chief Mountain Lake once said of the white man, “They don’t know their God.”
    (from Memories, Dreams, Reflections by Carl Jung, when he visited and stayed with them)

    Jung I know God exists (I no longer have to believe)

    The Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious are the Deities of Mt. Olympus everywhere, especially in nature.

    They also reside in us, mainly our solar plexus and along our chakras, even as one reads this. Notice a difference?

    Dreams, visions and voices are a portal to our Soul, with all we feel and experience as human beings.

    One can then know, or have gnosis, rather than think one must simply believe it to be so.

    More importantly, the Hero has a thousand faces in every mythology and culture.

    They may very well be different aspects of the same Deity.

    Like the numerous solar systems and galaxies.

    Simple prayer and meditation helps us there.

    Wordsworth spoke of our immortality. (just as dreams etc, reveal the spirits in us, so does our body) (what we feel and experience is the key) (I was fortunate to work with Arny Mindell. This little man and his little wife are great of heart) (Joseph Campbell learned this from Jung)

    “Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
    The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
    Hath had elsewhere its setting,
    And cometh from afar:”

    Does one need the erudite insight of Plato, Cicero, Kierkegaard, Eckhart et al, to know we need to be grateful?

    More importantly, to whom? Who can be like children again with the mystery and awe of our universe?

    Chief White Eagle encourages us to know where blessings emanate from:

    “Happiness is the realization of God in the heart. Happiness is the result of praise and thanksgiving, of faith, of acceptance; a quiet tranquil realization of the love of God.”

    How do we feel when taken for granted? It was Yahweh’s chief complaint.

    Meister Eckhart helps us open the door with simple thanks:

    “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”

    Garrison Keillor has a good way of bringing us down to earth like you Kent, keeping us from being full of ourselves and uknowhat.

    “Thank you, dear God, for this good life and forgive us if we do not love it enough. Thank you for the rain. And for the chance to wake up in three hours and go fishing: I thank you for that now, because I won’t feel so thankful then.”

    Many Blessings Always too, Meister Kent, especially this sad anniversary day.

    The prophecies of Wovoka are coming true.

    You’re helping to us to be spared.

  6. December 29, 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre

    History Pod

    The body of Medicine Man Yellow Bird can be seen at 2:25 with arms frozen upright.

    It was reported that he was throwing dust in the air when he was shot.

    The 7th Cavalry had made no effort to meet and negotiate.

    They arrived and set up Hotchkiss machine guns.

    They wanted to avenge Custer.
    (James Welch gives the first Native American account of treaty violations and massacres)

    Russel Means on Wounded Knee (the un-sanitized account based on eyewitnesses)

  7. Thoughts from the North Atlantic in August 2015.

    “It was my first ocean sail trip; I was 1700 miles from my home in NW Minnesota. There was no land visible for 360 degrees as the bow disappeared from view down one wave and the stern ascended upon another. Dolphins broke the surface of the ocean on the port side. Seagulls swept over the boat and glided to land on waves, where vast islands of orange seaweed floated. Other birds took flight.

    “The lapping of the water against the steel hull of the Bruce Roberts designed boat; the chatter of pulleys of the main sheet; the occasional luffing of the edge of the sails as we sailed southeasterly toward Hull; were the sounds around me on those North Atlantic ocean swells.

    “I didn’t feel as doomed on the ocean as I had imagined I would. The seas were calm in contrast to stormy seas that send huge ships to the bottom or terrorize small craft and crew. The adjective ‘mild’ would be accurate, placid even more so, yet I realized what a minuscule atom I was floating upon its surface, for the moment safe, high and dry, steering a 38-foot sailboat under the sun or stars. It was so surreal.

    “As part of a three-man crew, including the captain, the boat’s builder, I steered at night off the coast of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. I was dressed warmly against the chill of the night with my tight-fitting vest collar up to my bearded chin. The moon, so prominent in the sky, was in its waning stages and its brilliance across the ever-changing surface of the ocean was strangely comforting even as no man-made light, nor craft, nor sight of land could I see. But there I was as a helmsman on the Gulf of Maine, alone on deck with the others asleep below. Wow. I so felt the weight of my responsibilities despite the assurances from the captain, who likely slept with his ears open on the edge of his bunk.

    “I couldn’t see where I was going distinctly, despite the light from the moon. I could see 270-degrees around me from where I was sitting, but could only see moonlit waves. Ahead, there might be a gigantic brick wall in our path, but unless the bow descended just before we got there, to allow me enough time to veer to port or starboard, we were going to collide with it. “

  8. Many Blessings Kent and Everyone for 2022!

    I feel very blessed and grateful for all of you.

    I know your books are priority, but please blog, too.

    When possible.

    Many Blessings

  9. Love this. Love your writing whether in books or blogs. I’ll take your thoughts, ideas, and insights in any form they come. I have shared your books with so many friends and acquaintances over the many years that I’ve lost count. All I can say is, “Thank you.” You’ve blessed me (mawkish is fine with me) and so many others. As for the sea, I cry every time at the sight of it.

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