Kauai, Vacation Destination for Nature Lovers

Kauai, the Garden Island, is a wonderful vacation destination for nature lovers. As absolute lovers of nature, my wife Mary and I had contemplated a trip to Kauai for years. Somehow, we managed to visit all the other major islands first (Maui, the Big Island and Oahu) due to cheaper airfares and/or more direct routes. We finally splurged and spent eight glorious days in Kauai. I’m very glad we did.

My idea of a tropical vacation includes secluded beaches, waves, snorkeling, and beautiful scenery. We found all of those in Kauai, and more. On beaches, people reach meditative states effortlessly, and we did, soothed by the sun, sand and sound of waves. If you don’t have the opportunity for a tropical vacation, try this Beach Visualization Meditation.

Rather than rambling on about each day of our trip, I’m going to share some highlights, in hopes they’ll inspire and inform.

Nightlife

There probably is one, but I’m not sure. Our nightlife consisted of having a glass of wine on our lanai and going to bed early, so we could get up before sunrise the next morning. I may have this backwards. Maybe we went to bed early, because we were so tired from getting up before sunrise in order to fit in as much hiking, snorkeling and exploring as we could.

Our second floor lanai actually sat directly above the poolside bar, at Islander on the Beach. We never even got around to having a drink at that bar, but it did sound like a few people were having fun there. They were quiet enough to be drowned out by waves crashing on the beach. If nightlife is a big priority, you should probably go to a different island. There is an article covering the 10 Best Bars on Kauai, none of which we made it to.

View from our condo at Islander on the Beach, Kauai

View from our condo at Islander on the Beach

Restaurants and Food

I don’t know much about restaurants on Kauai either. As budget travelers, our first stop was Costco and a grocery store, where we bought enough food to take us through most of the week. Farmer’s markets are popular on Kauai, so we picked up some fresh produce at one. We did have a few meals at the Island Country Market deli, across the street from our condo project. That doesn’t really count as a restaurant, but they had good, reasonably priced food. Actually, we also had a nice Italian dinner at Bobbie V’s and delicious coconut shrimp at the Shrimp Station in Kapaa. Now that I’ve covered the stuff that I don’t know much about, I’ll dig into the important stuff, like hiking trails and beaches.

Hiking Trails

Now this is where Kauai excels. There are many fine trails with some spectacular scenery. If you want an idea of the kind of scenery you might encounter, consider some of the countless movies that were filmed on Kauai, including: the Jurassic Park movies, Donovan’s Reef, South Pacific, Blue Hawaii, Pirate of the Caribbean, Lord of the Flies, Tropic Thunder, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Fantasy Island, George of the Jungle, King Kong, and many more. If you recall these movies, you might have surmised that there is lots of lush tropical jungle on Kauai. There is, along with miles of sandy beaches, rocky shorelines, craggy inland cliffs and a vast variety of plants and birds.

Speaking of birds, there is no avoiding the thousands of roosters and chickens on Kauai. They’re everywhere. Apparently, hurricanes destroyed chicken coops in 1992. The chickens bred with red junglefowl, brought over by the Polynesians. Now, you encounter chickens in the jungle, in parking lots, and on the beach. While sleeping on Poipu Beach, Mary had a chicken and her little chicks running around by her legs, then over to a neighboring beach chair, where they hid under the person sitting in it. They are quite entertaining to watch, and since we were up before dawn most days, the rooster crowing didn’t bother us. They’re actually quite entertaining to watch.

Hikes we did:

Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Waimea Canyon, Kauai

Waimea Canyon Trail

On our first full day, we planned to drive to the end of Waimea Canyon Road and hike the Pihea Trail, with stunning views looking down on Kalalau Valley and the blue waters of the Pacific. When we reached the trailhead, we found ourselves inside a misting rain cloud, with a wet, slippery red clay trail. So much for that. We headed six or so miles back down the road to the Waimea Canyon Lookout. The Waimea Canyon Trail took us to waterfalls deep in Waimea Canyon, a 3000’ deep gorge known as Grand Canyon of the Pacific, carved out by the Waimea River.

Mahaulepu Beach Trail, Poipu, Kauai

Mahaulepu Beach Trail, Poipu, Kauai

Mahaulepu Heritage Trail

The trail starts at Shipwreck Beach, tucked between the Grand Hyatt Hotel and Poipu Bay Golf Course. The beach is popular with surfers, boogie boarders, and cliff jumpers. The trail itself climbs from the sandy beach up onto cliff tops, following a spectacular rocky shoreline. Part of the trail collapsed into the sea, so the hike took us along a fairway of the golf course, with mountain views over the golf course one side and waves crashing into cliffs on the other.

Sleeping Giant Trail

This trail was a mere six minute drive from our condo in Kapaa. It climbs to a mountain top with panoramic views of the whole east side of Kauai, along with miles of the Pacific. Near the top, there a hole through a cliff, known as the eye, a great natural frame for photos.

Kalalau Trail

Curt on Kalalau Trail, Kauia

Curt on Kalalau Trail, Kauia

One of our goals, in going to Kauai, was to hike the famous Kalalau Trail, along the Napali Coast. According to the Huffington Post, it’s “hands down the most incredible hike in America.” Unfortunately, I had no idea how difficult it is to get a permit to hike more than the first two miles of this trail. We never got one.

The trail starts at the end of the road, in the northwest corner of the island. On the short part of the trail we covered, we did reach the very scenic viewpoint featured in the Huffington Post article.

Kuilau Ridge Trail

This trail is a real jungle hike, following a ridge and looking down into lush valleys. We did this hike on the rainiest day of the trip, slogging through mud. The weather did seem to add to the jungle feel.

Smith Family Garden

This really is more of a relaxing stroll through a botanical garden setting, with mountain views, all sorts of plants, and possibly even more birds. I bought a couple bags of cracked corn and held some out in my hand. Zebra doves swooped down and literally piled up on my arm, trying to get at the corn. For some strange reason, I had a hard time convincing Mary to try it. All the birds following us reminded me of that old Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Birds.

Rudderfish, Poipu Beach, Kauai

Rudderfish, Poipu Beach, Kauai

Beaches and Snorkeling

There are a lot to choose from. We managed to arrive during an unusually cool and cloudy stretch of weather, with plenty of sporadic rain, so we checked weather forecasts and often based our destination for the day on seeking sunshine. Weather varies a lot on Kauai. Polihale Beach (southwest) seems to get the most sun, followed by Poipu (South). Our location on the east side of island is reasonably dry, and the lush north shore gets more rain, but it doesn’t come close to Mt Wai’ale’ale, one of the wettest places on earth with an average of 374 inches of rain per year.

Like I mentioned under “Restaurants and Food,” Costco was one of our first stop. The local Costco also carries a variety of beach gear at very reasonable prices. They have boogie boards, snorkeling sets, Tommy Bahama chairs, and Hawaiian shirts.

East Side

Islander on the Beach

There are miles of beaches along the east side, including the beach directly in front of our condo, Islander on the beach. We found this to be a very quiet and relaxing place to kick back and relax. Other than at the military base on the west side, beaches are public. If you can find access, there are lots of places to find your own little patch of sand to hang out for the day.

Lydgate Park

When we arrived to snorkel, we put in alongside a beachside wedding that was taking place. Lydgate can be one of the few protected places to snorkel, during rough weather, with a wall of boulders to protect it from surf. After some underwater searching, I found a lot of fish gathered together along the boulder wall, but the water clarity was close to terrible that day.

South Shore

Poipu Beach Park is popular, and for good reason. It had sun, good snorkeling, and an endangered Hawaiian monk seal, hanging out on the beach, one of the most endangered marine mammals in the world and the rarest seal in US waters.

Our condo came with two very versatile Tommy Bahama Backpack Beach Chairs, which seemed to be all around us at Poipu Beach. As we went to leave the beach, we realized that we had no idea how to fold the chairs. There’s a trick to it. None of the people sitting in the same chairs offered to help, as we wrestled with our chairs. I began to feel increasingly foolish and soon gave up, leaving it to Mary. She enlisted the help of an elderly woman near us who flipped our chair on its back and pushed in the right place. It made a click sound then folded right up. Now that I know how to do it, I’m going to buy a couple of those chairs for our neighborhood beach in Washington.

Of the four Kauai beaches we snorkeled at, Poipu was the best; however this changes with the season. Some of the north shore beaches are reportedly better, but the surf was really pounding the north shore beaches while we were there.

West Side

Polihale Beach, Kauai

Polihale Beach

Polihale Beach Park

Just getting here was an adventure in itself, bouncing five miles down one of the worst roads I’ve ever been on.  The state park recommends four wheel drives, one of the reasons we rented a Jeep, although I did see a couple of conventional cars here. I have to admit that I’ve always wanted to try a little Jeep Wrangler, so I didn’t need much of an excuse to upgrade from our planned compact car. The Jeep was fun, but by the end of the week, it made me really appreciate the space, comfort and mileage of our Subaru Outback.

Polihale State Park’s enormous and remote beach reminded me of the vast beaches of the Oregon Coast, except it’s actually warm in Kauai. Here’s another Oregon Coast blog. Views to the north of Polihale look up at the rugged cliffs of the Napali Coast.

Salt Pond Park

This has a very local feel, like the place you’d go to if you lived in Kauai. We found a nice stretch of protected sand and reasonably good snorkeling. The park gets its name from salt ponds that have been used to harvest sea salt for generations.

North Shore

Kilalauea Lighthouse

Kilalauea Lighthouse

The North Shore has so many beautiful beaches, however we arrived during rough surf. At Kilauea Point and Lighthouse, waves smashed into the cliffs then bounced back, colliding with the next wave and sending enormous plumes of spray into the air.

At Tunnels Beach, we watched a pair of brave surfers venture out into huge waves, at the beach where Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a tiger shark.

Hanalei Bay, the setting for South Pacific, seemed reasonably protected, with small enough waves for boogie boards and beginning surfers. The scenery from the pier is great.

Ke’e Beach is at the end of the road, the trailhead for the Kalalau Trail. The outer reef provided enough protection for snorkeling, although currents were strong, and fish were relatively few.

Kayaking (Not Really)

Catamaran in Rough Seas

Catamaran in Rough Seas

As a serious kayak enthusiast, I really wanted to paddle 18 miles along the Napali Coast, which is listed in a book in a book I have, 50 Places to Paddle Before You Die. After booking our March flights, we found that they don’t start the kayak trips until April. Instead, we booked a dinner cruise, on a 65’ powered catamaran, with Holo Holo Charters. The seas turned out to be too rough, even for the 65’ boat, so we only saw part of the Napali Coast. I guess it’s a good thing we weren’t out in kayaks. As we got farther up the coast, the waves got bigger and two foolish passengers on the bow got wetter and wetter. A few other passengers in the cabin got sicker and sicker. Once the captain turned the boat around and ran with the waves, the motion settled down, so we could enjoy Maui Beer and fish tacos. We finished the cruise on the protected south side, watching humpback whales surface while the sun dropped into the Pacific.

Sunset over the Pacific

Sunset over the Pacific

Next Time

Of the Hawaiian Islands, Kauai is the last one we visited and the first one we’d return to. For an outdoor enthusiast, there is so much to see and do. For our next visit, we plan to go later in the year to make sure we can kayak the Napali Coast, snorkel at Tunnels, and hike the Kalalau Trail. Even without those highlights, Kauai is a wonderful vacation destination for those that enjoy hiking, quiet beaches, and stunning scenery.

In the speech below, I share some of our mishaps in trying the reach the Kalalau Valley on the Napali Coast.

Kayaking Desolation Sound

For a profoundly satisfying experience, venture deep into nature and immerse yourself in her solitude. ~Curt Remington

The above words came to me while writing a speech about our trip to Desolation Sound. In this blog, my goal is to share our trip with you and to encourage you to venture into nature for your own profound experience.

Kayaking into Desolation Sound

Kayaking into Desolation Sound

Our kayaking adventure actually started with a very scenic drive and two ferries, bringing us to the northern end of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. In fact, we spent our first night in the historic Lund Hotel, across the street from a marker for the northernmost end of Highway 101, the longest highway in the world. The other end is 9312 miles south, in Castro Chile. Lund may be the end of the road, it is also the “gateway to Desolation Sound,” and a rest stop for boaters headed up the Inside Passage.

Lund Hotel in Lund, British Columbia

Lund Hotel in Lund, British Columbia

Leaving Civilization Behind

For us, Lund is where we left civilization behind, first thing the next morning. We stuffed containers filled with gear, food, and water into our kayak hatches, donned drysuits, sprayskirts and pfds, then paddled out past docks and boats. Lund is open to Georgia Strait and is fairly exposed to a westerly wind, and we definitely had a westerly wind that morning. The bow of my heavily loaded kayak occasionally plowed deep into a wave, sending a good deal of water up the deck and into my midsection, making me glad I had a drysuit.

My real concern was Mary. She is not a fan of big waves and wind, and she had been worried about what kind of conditions we might run into. This didn’t seem like a good way to start. I nervously kept an eye on her as she kept paddling onward, wide eyed and looking tense but handling her kayak well. She’s a much more competent kayaker than she gives herself credit for. After a few miles of hard work, we reached shelter behind the first of the Copeland Islands. What a difference!

Through the Copeland Islands, we hugged the shoreline, minimizing wind and getting an up-close view of the rocky shoreline, the evergreen forests, and the fascinating scenery below the water’s surface, where schools of minnows darted and jellyfish slowly swam in pulsating contractions.

By the time we reached the north end of the Copeland Islands, the wind had dropped significantly, and we’d only seen a few boats speed by. We started paddling more direct routes, crossing large expanses of open water as we made our way around Sarah Point, stopping for lunch at Feather Cove, and continued the last nine miles to the Curme Islands. Our direct route shaved off miles but also put us a considerable distance from the nearest shoreline. By the time we reached the Curme Islands, we’d covered about 15 miles, more than enough paddling for Mary in one day. I was so anxious to explore, that I set out and kayaked more, once we got camp set up, while Mary took a much-needed nap on the deck.

Curme Islands

As to our camp, we arrived on a Thursday, expecting serious competition for one of the nine campsites (deck platforms) on West Curme Island. Instead, the only other people on the island were one other couple and a very quiet and private single woman, in her own campsite. After the first night, the other couple left, leaving just three of us on the island. Eventually, the very solitary woman warmed up to us, at least a bit. I would bet she didn’t appreciate that we’d picked the campsite next to hers. We had chosen it based on the view, expecting the other campsites to fill up too. If we’d known it would just be the three of us, we would’ve gladly camped farther away from her. Oh well. We were quiet. She was quiet, and there was roughly 100 feet of trees and bushes between us. We really didn’t notice each other much.

One of the Curme Islands, across from our camp

One of the Curme Islands, across from our camp

By the way, the Curme Islands are beautiful. I have no idea why George Vancouver named the area Desolation Sound, unless he arrived at the most depressing point of a long winter. We had beautiful weather, stunning scenery, and apparently we’d arrived (late June) just before the crowds showed up.

Exploring Desolation Sound

On our trips, we often rush from place to place, trying to see as much as possible. In the Curme Islands, we stayed in one place for a few days and really started to relax, meditating and connecting with the beauty around us. We sat and watched the changing light on distant mountains and islands. We walked and kayaked around the nearby islands, encountering some of the wildlife, like eagles, seals, hummingbirds, red mergansers and seals.  The water clarity was so good that we focused more on undersea life, including shiners, minnows, starfish, more jellyfish, crabs and lots of oysters. We had passed an area where humpback whales had been breaching, but they didn’t cooperate for us. When I did spot creatures underwater, I just set my waterproof camera on video and held it under my kayak, aimed in the right direction. While on the island, Mary took the camera and sat along the shore, watching and filming crabs and fish scurrying about in the shallows.

On day four, we paddled along Bold Head, into Tenedos Bay, lined with steep cliffs. At the end of the bay, we hiked up to Unwin Lake for a freshwater dip, rinsing a few days’ worth of salt off. We also restocked our fresh water, ending up with more than we needed.

With much more to explore, I set out alone that evening and paddled up a narrow channel between Bold Head and Otter Island, east of the Curme Islands. As I emerged from the channel, I looked beyond more islands to the east, up at the Canadian Coastal Mountains. The vastness and rugged beauty, with many inlets and passages to explore, beckoned me.  We simply didn’t have time on this trip, and I knew Mary was probably watching for me anxiously. I turned my kayak back towards the Curme Islands and took gentle paddle strokes as I skirted Otter Island, watching for fish in the shallows.

Connecting with Nature

Our time in nature was truly rejuvenating, reminding me of a quote in my book, Simple Meditation.

In nature, we’re more aware of and are connected to our surroundings in an expansive way. Our senses open up to the damp smell of the forest, the cool breeze on our skin, the layer of pine needles beneath our feet and the orange and pink clouds of the sunset. Spending time in the outdoors connects you with the more primal you, the one that understands without analyzing. By making this connection, you can return to your usual environment more at peace and aware.

Copeland Islands

After a few days in the Curme Islands, it was time to leave. We broke camp early and started back towards Lund, however we decided to camp in the Copelands, breaking up the return paddle. Mary had no interest in another 15 mile day, and we both looked forward to a more relaxed pace. On North Copeland Island we pitched our tent on a south facing deck with spectacular island views and views of the distant mountains of Vancouver Island, to the west. Of the ten campsites, only one other was occupied, giving us a great deal of solitude. We felt incredibly blessed to have so much beauty to ourselves. After dinner, we hiked to the north end of the island to watch the changing water, as the tide filled channels and the stunning sunset painted the sky in shades of blue, turning to golds and shades of orange.

Sunset in the Copeland Islands, BC

Sunset in the Copeland Islands, BC

Time to Go Home

On our drive home, we camped at Porpoise Bay Provincial Park, feeling reluctant to end our vacation.  During the drive, I contemplated the many kayak destinations along the British Columbia coast. Desolation Sound is on the sheltered side of Vancouver Island, providing for calmer conditions, warmer water, and sunnier weather than the exposed west side of Vancouver Island. I definitely planned to return to Desolation Sound, to explore more of those areas we didn’t have time for. On our next BC kayak trip, I’d like to visit the wide open Pacific, like we did on our Oregon Coast trip.

We found our time in nature to be profoundly satisfying. If you plan to do some venturing too, the BC coast and Desolation Sound is a wonderful place to do it.

Trusting Psychic Information

Psychics, Channelers, Mediums, and You

According to a June 2005 Gallup poll, 41% of people believe in extrasensory perception (ESP), and only 9% believe in channeling. To me, it’s amazing those numbers are so low, when I’ve had many experiences myself and seen ample evidence in favor of psychic abilities. At one time, I was skeptical took, but a series of events led me to visit a psychic, Jill Miller with Simply Spirit. I was so wowed by her reading that I ended up training with her for over a year. In the process, I became absolutely convinced that psychic phenomenon is real. I also opened to the possibility that plenty of other things I had been skeptical about may be true too. In the course of psychic work, it became clear that we do reincarnate and spend time in heaven between lives, that there are a vast variety of spiritual beings (angels, spirit guides, deceased loved ones, and many more), and that there is life on many planets throughout our universe.

If all of this is true, does that mean we should trust everything we hear from psychics and believe all channeled information?  Of course not! One of the wonderful things about developing your psychic abilities is that you can access your own information regarding what to believe and what not to believe. I’ve read many fascinating books and blogs by a variety of psychics and channelers. Often, when I’m done, I’ll do my own psychic reading regarding the validity of the information. Sometimes what I get is that, “yes, that amazing information is almost all true.” Sometimes, the message I receive is that there is an awful lot of inaccuracies amongst what I read.

Does that mean these people are liars? Most of the time, I think these people have good intentions, but they may let their own biases or desires get in the way. I’m quite sure that I’m guilty of that at times too. Accuracy can vary, depending on the person and on whether or not they’re really connecting that day. For most of us, accessing psychic abilities isn’t like having someone hand you a typed page of paper in easy to read 12 point font. It’s more like carrying on a conversation on a windy beach, from 10 feet away. Sometimes you clearly hear what the other person is saying. Other times, you may have heard they said one thing, when actually, they said something else. If it’s regarding an issue that is important to you, you might decide to believe they said whatever it is you wish they had said.

Does this mean you should quit having conversations on the beach or that you should ignore psychic information? Of course not! Even though it’s not perfect, I have found psychic abilities to be the best source of information for many decisions. It’s a wonderful way to gain insight in personal situations, to get spiritual direction, and it’s a way to stay in contact with loved ones on the other side. I generally find psychic information to be more accurate than economists and meteorologists, and I still listen to them.

Psychic Example

A friend and I recently hiked up Sourdough Mountain (10 miles and 4870 feet of elevation gain) and descended what felt to me like a torturous pace. My male ego made me hesitant to complain. By the time we were half way down, my left knee was in agony, and my pace slowed to a crawl. I started to wonder if I could make it back to the car. We came across two young women in their 20’s with a husky puppy. One of the girls wore a knee brace and noticed how badly I was limping. She insisted that I needed the brace more than she did. The brace made the rest of the descent much more tolerable. The two women reached their car shortly after we did, and their car turned out to be parked right behind ours. When I went to return the brace, she offered me some Tylenol, which also helped immensely.

On the way home, my friend commented that she must be some kind of “trail angel.” He may not have been referring to anything spiritual, but his comment got me thinking in that direction. While meditating, a few days later, I asked one of my spirit guides if he had sent that young women to help with my knee. He let me know it was Wolf, my totem animal, and mentioned the wolf-like husky puppy was intended to be a clue. It hadn’t occurred to me at the time, but it made perfect sense. Psychic reading often gives you “ah ha” moments. Next, I contacted Wolf. He confirmed that he had sent her and let me know that he’s always there to support me. This very reassuring message was accompanied by an image of me leaning on him as I made my way down the trail.

Who Do You Trust?

First off, I’ll tell you who not to trust. There are people in positions of power that would like to keep us in the dark regarding psychic abilities and a whole variety of other subjects. If we all used our psychic abilities, we’d see right through their lies. They’ve helped to establish an atmosphere of denial and ridicule regarding topics like psychic abilities, aliens, the spirit world, etc. So, don’t trust the people that tell you there is no such thing as psychic abilities. Psychic abilities are very real, and someday I think we’ll conclude that we spent far too much time in the dark.

As to psychics, channelers, and the wealth of information that is too “out there” for many people. My opinion and experience is that some of it’s true, some of it is inaccurate, and much of it is quite fascinating. I read a lot of interesting stuff, like these books, Stillness in the Storm, and Messages from Matthew. As for how much you should believe, the best decision is one you make yourself. Developing and relying on your own psychic abilities is one of the best ways to make better decisions. If you care to develop your psychic abilities, here is a simple place to start or consider my book, Simple Meditation.

Running Your Energies

Energies

Like grounding, running your energies is a very powerful meditation technique that can have spiritual, emotional and health related benefits. Reading the title, you may have thought I meant “Your Running Energies,” and had an article on power bars and drinking enough water. I think you’ll find this article to be even more beneficial and fascinating. Before reading this article, you should really read my article on “Meditation & Grounding.”

In my “Science & Heaven” article, I mentioned energy, which pretty much everything is made of. That includes you, your brother, and everyone else too. For maximum health and well being, your energy should be flowing and renewing itself, constantly replacing your old energy with new energy. If your energy is slow or stuck, it can lead to feeling sluggish and to having health and emotional problems. Imagine how healthy a clean mountain stream is compared to a stagnant, polluted backwater.

Keeping your energy flowing enhances your immune system and releases those blocks that can lead to negative emotions and health problems. Releasing these blocks and moving energy is also among the most important steps to becoming more psychic and more connected to your spiritual/higher self. Clearing blocks and moving energy is basically the same theory behind yoga, acupuncture, tai chi, reiki and other practices.

Exercise also gets your energy moving, so maybe “Your Running Energies” wasn’t that far-fetched. This energy seems to run better outdoors, and exercising outdoors can really get it going. For years, I’d start feeling really lethargic, if I went too long without getting out to kayak, hike or ski. Now, I can run my energies by meditating. I still love to get outdoors, and one of my favorite experiences is hiking up a mountain, finding a scenic spot to meditate near the top. I didn’t start getting noticeably more psychic until I started meditating regularly and intentionally running my energies, so exercise alone is probably not enough to clear all blocks.


BasicEnergyHealing_clip_image006Earth and Cosmic Energies

The energy I’m speaking of actually consists of earth energy and cosmic energy. That’s why the title refers to energies, rather than energy. Cosmic energy comes from the air, sky and heavens, entering your body through the top of your head. It works best in your upper chakras. Earth energy comes from the earth. You probably already guessed that one. The earth energy is denser and comes through chakras in your feet and travels up through your legs. Yes, you have more than the seven main chakras, and the earth energy works best in your lower ones.


Exercise for Running Your Energies

To put this energy movement into practice, you can use the following exercise. This is the part where reading the grounding article would be helpful. Like in that article, find a chair in a quiet room. Close your eyes and relax, taking a few deep breaths. Connect your grounding cord to your first chakra, at the base of your spine, and let any negative thoughts or issues run down the cord.
Now let your attention turn towards the chakras in the balls of your feet. Allow them to open up, bringing in clean energy, from deep in the earth. Feel the energy’s warmth or tingling as it travels up through your ankles, calves and thighs, cleansing everything on its way. You may pick a color, for this energy and imagine you watch it, as it makes its way up. I use green, but use whatever seems natural for you. If the flow seems to be blocked along the way, imagine the energy as warm water, melting a block of sugar. Reaching the base of your spine, the energy causes your first chakra to spin and glow. Most of the energy travels from there down your grounding cord, carrying with it any of blocks that were in its path.

The smaller amount of earth energy your upper body needs continues up through your torso and out the top of your head. From there, it runs down your aura, cleansing along the way to your grounding cord.

Now that you’ve got your earth energy running, the next step is to add lighter cosmic energy. Form a ball of it over your head, drawing energy down from high in the sky. Blue or gold are strong healing choices for this energy. Let it pour into the top of your head through your seventh chakra. Feel its warmth, as it makes its way down channels in your back, alongside your spine. Reaching your first chakra, let it mix with your earth energy. A little of the cosmic energy will travel down your grounding, along with most of the earth energy. Feel the rest of the cosmic energy, mixed with a little earth energy, traveling up channels in the front of your body.

When this mixture reaches your throat chakras, some splits off and travels down your arms, cleansing them and releasing their blocks. Let the rest of this energy travel up to the top or your head and cascade down your aura. Relax and let this flow continue for ten or more minutes.

I realize that putting this all together is fairly complicated, but the more you practice this, the easier it will become and the stronger your energy flow will be. At first, you might want to start with just your earth energy. You may also find that some variation of this works better for you. Be sure to let things flow without trying forcing it. Relax and breathe deeply, letting any effort go down your grounding.


Meditation Summary

By increasing your energy flow, you will be releasing blocks that could be related to emotional or health issues. You may find yourself remembering old, unpleasant experiences or you may go through days of feeling emotional or out-of-sorts. These are due to old issues coming to the surface, so you can examine them then let them go. This is a normal part of the process and is very healing.

Whatever you’re releasing will pass, and you’ll likely find yourself feeling happier, healthier and more at peace. As you let go of blocks in your energy system, you increase your vibrational frequency, becoming more like the loving spirits of heaven. You may also start to notice an increase in psychic experiences, which can be very useful for making decisions and understanding other people. The more and the longer you do this, the greater your benefit will be, so please stick with it.

Islands and Beaches for Relaxation and Meditation

IslandsBeachesVisualizationMeditationIslands, Beaches & Visualization Meditations

by Curt Remington

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Oceans, Lakes, Beaches & Islands

Since ancient times, people have flocked to islands and beaches as a place to escape and relax. A beach combines the sun’s warm rays, the sand’s connection to the Earth, the soothing sound of waves and vast expanse of ocean, with its constantly changing surface and endless mysterious treasures. Islands, off on their own, surrounded by water, provide a sense of truly getting away from our daily routines.

Living just outside Bellingham Washington, my day-to-day errands regularly bring me within view of the San Juan Islands. Actually, I sometimes take detours to put them into view, so I can imagine myself out boating or kayaking, exploring and relaxing in the many coves and bays.

After my North Cascades trip, I decided that I needed more material for my book, Simple Meditation. I’m still working on a chapter covering walkabouts and vision quests, so I decided to get out and do more of the stuff you do on vision quests. What a great excuse for escaping to the islands for three days, huh?

islandCypress Island in the San Juan Islands, Washington

I debated loading my gear into a kayak and paddling to a quiet beach on Cypress Island. Upon further reflection, I concluded that with my Mirage 232 powerboat, I could get there faster, plug my laptop in, and get more writing done. Didn’t I mention in that earlier article, that you can be flexible on a vision quest? For some reason, my wife, Mary, questioned my new concept of a vision quest.

“You’re bringing food? A laptop? A powerboat? And your going to sleep in the boat instead of on hard ground?”

If I was going out to the San Juan Islands without her, I should be suffering. Actually, considering that she had to stay home and work, she was pretty supportive. The trip would largely be some quiet time to concentrate on writing. Besides, in some semblance of roughing it, I brought a bunch of old backpacking food for dinners.

With my gear loaded, including a whitewater kayak strapped on the back, I set out for Cypress during a small-craft advisory, driving into pounding seas for most of the twenty miles. The winds were 15-25 knots, so it wasn’t really that bad, just a tad on the rough side for a 23′ boat. At a place called Viti Rocks, strong tidal currents created a powerful rapids, with standing waves, whirlpools and water converging in weird and mysterious ways. As a fan of whitewater, I couldn’t resist stopping to feel the way the surges pushed the boat from side to side and tried to spin it around. In my little kayak, the surges and edd-lines would have been downright nerve-wracking.

After a little fun bobbing around in the rapids, I continued on to Cypress and tied to a moorage buoy. The island is secluded, with only 40 residents and 5,500 acres, most of which is steep evergreen forest. That night, the wind occasionally howled and swung the boat in a wide arc around the buoy, while small rolling waves rocked it. With doubled-up lines to a very solid buoy, I felt confident in my safety. The wind and waves was just enough to remind me that I wasn’t on dry land anymore.

During my second day at Cypress, I paddled my whitewater kayak to shore and hiked over eight miles, up and down forested hills, without encountering another person. Instead, I found a network of trails, small lakes and an old airstrip recently planted with seedlings. Returning to my boat, I found a sailboat moored next to me, with loud, fun-loving children. This just didn’t seem conducive to meditating and writing, so I moved to the north end of the island and moored next to a very quiet old sailboat. I spent most of the rest of the day writing in notebooks and on my laptop, occasionally stopping to watch a curious harbor seal or to listen to the waves lap at the hull. As evening approached, the clouds to the east cleared, making for spectacular views of Mt Baker and the Twin Sisters Mountains.boat

While working on the walkabout chapter for the book, I briefly meditated, tuning into the spirit world for advise on a visualization exercise about finding your life’s purpose. The following exercise is what came to me. When you get a chance, please give it a try, tuning into the symbolism of boatandislandwhatever you see. For example curves or logs in the path may represent obstacles in your life or a steep climb may represent working hard for your goals. If you see a cottage, it may represent that home and family are important, a skyscraper may represent work. If you gently use your intuition, without thinking too much, you may sense the significance of the images that come to you. Much of what clairvoyants do is interpreting the symbols that come to them.

Finding Your Path Visualization

Once you’re situated comfortably and are done grounding and running your energies, visualize yourself walking on a path which represents your life. You can pick the terrain, or just close your eyes and see what come to you. It might be woods or a meadow, along a beach or through a jungle. Soon, you come to an intersection, with three choices in front of you. Do you keep going straight, take the trail to the left or take the one to the right. Make a choice and follow that trail, taking note of what’s around you. Keep going until you feel you’ve reached what you came for. Where did the path take you? Is it a meaningful scene? Are there any buildings? Do you see people or animals? If so, why might they be there? Was the path straight or curved? Did it climb, descend, or was it flat?  How does this place relate to where you came from? What does it say about where you might like to go?  Use your intuition.  What is it telling you?

Sucia Island and Another Passengermary

Poking my head out the front hatch, I found another sunny day and an old two-masted wooden boat passing by, with eight rowers and a helmsman. After cold-cereal and coffee, I paddled to shore and found some comfortable driftwood on the beach to sit on while I meditated. The truly easiest form of meditation may be to sit on a beach and feel the sun on your face, smell the fresh breeze and listen to the waves as they roll up onto the sandy shore. The sensations are so captivating that it’s effortless to stay in the present moment. The San Juan Islands seem to have a special energy too, as if you’d feel it even without the sun, breeze and waves. I savored that spot until my conscience told me I should get back to the boat and start writing.

My wife called that morning, (yes, I brought a cell phone too) to let me know that she could sneak out of her clairvoyance class by early afternoon and join me for the last day in the islands. This was getting less and less like a vision quest experience, but I was getting a lot of writing done, and my wife definitely deserved some time off to go boating in the islands, besides I always enjoy her company.

I pulled into Bellingham’s Squalicum Harbor and tied to a dock. Soon, she showed up with her gear, more water and a bag of better-tasting groceries. We motored out of the harbor and made our way towards Sucia. It’s a smaller island, at only 677 acres, but it is very popular with boaters, and for good reason. The island is a state park and has at least six scenic bays, depending on how you count the little ones. There are nine surrounding smaller islands, hiking trails and beautiful views in almost every direction. Arriving on a sunny Saturday afternoon, we found the dock space and moorage buoys in our usual hangout (Fossil Bay) to be taken. Instead, we moored in Echo Bay, the most open and busiest of Sucia’s anchorages.

Looking out at the mixture of sailboats and powerboats brought back memories of the last time we stayed at Echo Bay. That night was four years earlier, in a chartered 36′ tri-cabin yacht. It was the largest vessel I had ever captained, so I felt a bit of stress over the responsibility. That night, an un-forecast wind (or we missed that forecast) decided to kick up from the southeast, the one direction we had no protection from. Waves built up to the four foot range, and the yacht started swinging widely around its anchor. I watched in horror as the sailboat next to us started to do the same thing. Both boats would careen towards each other at the same time, then pull up short at the end of their anchor lines. What the hell should I do?  I debated on letting out anchor line, but then we could swing farther. If I shortened the anchor line, we could start dragging anchor. If I tried to move in the dark, we could hit another boat or not get the anchor set. As I tried to decide, I watched and the two boats always stopped their swing a boat’s length apart. That was a good sign, that the distance stayed consistent. I decided not to complicate matters by messing with an anchor that seemed to be doing its job. Shortly after that, a knot pulled loose and our dinghy blew away. I didn’t have to debate what to do about that one. It was on its own until morning.

birdA friend, that had been anchored near us, was having even worse luck. His 38′ yacht started dragging anchor until he did run into another boat. At that point, he had no choice but to navigate in the dark between the other swinging yachts and try to reset his anchor. In the process, he accidentally ran over and cut a sailboat’s anchor line. The other boat managed to tie to his stern, while my friend got his anchor reset. I noticed a couple other yachts also scrambling through the dark to get their anchors reset. Echo Bay was quite exciting that night.

By morning, the bay returned to a peaceful calm. I started scanning with binoculars and noticed another dinghy towing ours across the bay. We flagged them down and got the dinghy back intact.

After reminiscing about our previous thrilling Echo Bay experience, I paddled to shore and watched a great blue heron fishing in the shallows along the beach. Echo Bay stayed calm that night, so  we had a peaceful sleep. The next morning, we motored over to Fossil Bay and found space at the dock. Anxious to stretch our legs, we set out on one of our favorite island hikes, a loop trail with clifftop views overlooking Fossil Bay, other nearby islands, Mt Baker and distant Canadian Mountains.  Back at the boat, we had lunch and set out to return to Bellingham, very grateful that the San Juan Island are so close to home.beach

You don’t have to live near the San Juan Islands to enjoy beaches and islands. Beaches and islands almost anywhere are a great escape and wonderful place to rejuvenate yourself. In Minnesota, the islands of the St Croix River were among our favorite haunts, and the local county park beach was a great way to spend the day. As you may have noted in my photo gallery, we’ve also enjoyed beautiful islands and beaches in other parts of the world, like the Mediterranean last summer.

Sierra Trading Post

Walkabout or Vision Quest in North Cascades National Park

by Curt Remington

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009


For thousands of years, spiritual seekers have ventured into the wilderness to find their greater purpose, define their goals, gain wisdom, have a spiritual encounter and to connect with what is truly important in life. These seekers include spiritual leaders like Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Moses, along with Australian aborigines, Native Americans and countless others people throughout history. Like them, you can go on a walkabout or vision quest and connect more deeply with nature, heal emotional issues, overcome fears along with all the other important things mentioned above.rainforestcreek

The term walkabout often refers to the break from routine of an Australian aborigine, as they head into the solitude of the outback on a spiritual quest. Native Americans had a similar rite-of-passage, venturing into the wilderness on a vision quest, in order to meet their totem animal (a spirit guide) and find direction in life.

Although not as common, these practices are still performed today. Outward Bound, and many other organizations, include a vision quest, or solo, in their programs, finding it to have enormous rewards for the participants. Rachel, one of my teenage daughters, crossed the Olympic Mountains on a three-week backpacking trip with Rite of Passage Journeys. Her solo, on a beach in Olympic National Park was the most important and memorable part of her trip.

For some people, their experience is about facing fears and gaining confidence. For others, like the aborigines and Native Americans, it may be an intensely spiritual experience that motivates them to reexamine themselves and decide on a new course in life.

My own spiritual experiences, both in nature and in doing psychic readings, have motivated me to change my course. As my psychic abilities developed, my viewpoint changed. I came to fully grasp that we are eternal souls with a temporary body. Viewing life that way, my priorities also changed. Much of this came about by doing the things you might do on a walkabout: reviewing your life, redefining your goals and developing a deeper spiritual connection. Helping others became more important, while acquiring money and material possessions became less important. Worries and problems seemed less significant, when you look at them in the big, eternal picture. Without the worries, you can set about doing what you want to do or what’s important on your spiritual path. For me that meant writing a blog and a book that will help others find their path.

In doing psychic readings for others, my wife and I hear suggestions regularly from spirit guides, guardian angels and deceased loved ones. If you go on a vision quest looking for direction, the message your totem animal or spirit guide might have for you is likely to be something like:

  • Pursue a career that you enjoy and can put your heart into, then it really isn’t work.
  • Express your creativity through music, art, dance, writing or whatever your interests are.
  • Let go of fears.
  • Meditate
  • Have fun and enjoy life!
  • Help others. Relationships are what we’re here for.
  • Forgive others, and let go of grudges.
  • Love is the answer. To what? Everything

For many of us, life has become too routine: work, eat, TV then sleep, followed by more of the same the next day. A walkabout or vision quest is a great first step to breaking out of that routine. Maybe your life isn’t routine, but has been deeply shaken by a traumatic event, or maybe you’re a teen, going through all the enormous life changes that age brings about. These are also very appropriate times for examining your life, redefining goals and developing a deeper spiritual connection.


Embarking on a Walkabout

To embark on a walkabout, you don’t have to be a great spiritual leader, live near the Australian Outback or leave for six months. You can do what I did, decide on your goals and improvise. What’s important is that you get out in nature, have a greater purpose and are flexible. You may have a life-changing experience. Many others before you have.

Depending on your situation, your quest could range from a day spent in seclusion at a nearby pond to a summer spent on one of the major hiking trails, the Appalachian, the Continental Divide Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail. I suppose your walkabout could even consist of six months wandering Australia’s Outback.cascadepassLike others before me, I decided that I would venture into the wilderness. Six months in Australia may have been better, or even three weeks in the Olympics. Unfortunately, I just didn’t have the time or money. I settled for a few days of backpacking in North Cascades National Park (Washington), a few hour drive from home. The time suddenly become available, so I threw gear together the night before, then left mid-morning for the park. For your walkabout, I recommend planning well in advance, packing what you need, eliminating what you don’t need and making a list of your goals.

I managed to forget a few pieces of gear, but I did remember to list my goals anyway, which included reviewing my life and its direction, connecting with nature, healing a relationship and having a spiritual experience. Another of my goals was to get a taste of a walkabout to gather information for my blog, an eventual magazine article and for a chapter in Simple Meditation, the book I’m working on. The accompanying photos are all from the trip, in chronological order. If you’re short on gear, you can check out the link below.

Once I got to the park and left my car behind, I didn’t encounter another person all the way in. My route started in lush rainforest and climbed steadily to jagged snow-covered peaks, near Cascade Pass.  The mountains had received 20 inches of new snow in the past few days, causing a few complications, like wet feet. Just before my planned campsite, I found a large set of fresh bear tracks headed straight towards the footcamp. I suppose that like Yogi, this bear must visit campsites in search for food. After spotting the bear tracks, I also spotted a large stone outhouse. The stone exterior made a great solar collector and even radiated heat to the ground, creating an island of dryness around it. Being flexible, I decided to hang out on that patch of dry ground, instead of pitching my tent in wet snow. Spectacular views surrounded me, including Cascade Pass, Cascade Peak, Johannesburg Mountain and the valley I had just climbed from. Not only did the outhouse provide a very convenient restroom but also a handy bear escape, with a locking door.

curtremingtonSince this was a flexible walkabout, rather than a vision quest, I brought food with me, including my dinner of freeze-dried potatoes and beef chunks. I spent much of the rest of the day meditating, watching the changing sky and listening to the occasional avalanche on the mountains across from me. Other sounds I tuned into throughout the day included a small distant waterfall, the wind blowing through the trees and an almost constant whoop, whoop, whoop, from the woods above me, which I figured out was the mating call of a blue grouse. Be sure to look for the outhouse in the photo below, just to the right of center, near the bottom of the page.

 


Dreams

 

As darkness approached, I organized my pack and rolled out my pad and sleeping bag. The clear sky andmountain high altitude led to a night filled with stars and a temperature that dropped to downright cold, causing me to toss and turn for warmth. The next morning, I awakened from a strange dream about waking up with an anxious client just outside my bedroom door, looking for an appraisal. After he left, I looked in the bathroom mirror and found myself wearing a dark wig and fake eyebrows. The symbolism seemed to indicate that appraisals are still interfering with my real purpose. Until my book sells, they do seem to be helpful for paying the bills.

While on a walkabout or quest, important messages may come to you through your dreams, so wake slowly, replay your dream immediately, then write it down. Through dreams, I’ve received many important messages from the spiritual realm. Often, they were quite literal, or I’ve known what the symbolism meant. If you don’t know immediately, try meditating on it, and the meaning may come to you. During a vision quest, it is very likely for spirit guides, or deceased loved ones, to be contacting you through your dreams.


Mornings Meditations

I warmed up with hot mocha and explored the surroundings woods, to get my blood circulating. Another cold night at that elevation didn’t sound appealing, so I decided to spend the morning working on my goals and spend the afternoon hiking to a lower and warmer elevation. With pen and paper, I situated myself on a dry rock ledge nearby, ready to meditate. To reach a light, meditative trance, I used the grounding and running your energies exercises, which work especially well outdoors, where there is strong energy from the earth and the sky.


Life Review

hayhouseIn doing a life review, I just looked back to my childhood to see what thoughts or images would come up. I saw myself walking in the woods with my grandpa, at a very young age. This reminded me of my childhood love for forests and my desire for vision quest type experiences, starting from a very young age. When I was four, our Oregon backyard adjoined a creek and woods. I convinced my parents to leave me out in the yard for a night, with only a sleeping bag. In the middle of the night, it started to rain. Not only did I sleep through the rain, but I also slept through being carried into the house by my worried mother. Later in my childhood, and into my teens, I’d camp alone in the Minnesota woods, or on the islands of the St Croix River, spending hours or days practicing survival skills, communing with nature and reading Tarzan books.
While sitting in the mountains, it seemed natural that my early love for wild places would come up, but for you something completely different may come up. You might contemplate what your priorities are. Have you been satisfied with the course of your life? Your relationships? Your job? What would you want to change? Along with my lifelong love for nature, I did also review my career and how it relates to my current plans and goals.


Plans and Goals

If, in reviewing your life, you do have things you want to change, you might start making plans and goals to do just that. My plans and goals related to my book and a career shift towards freelance writing, rather than appraisal writing. Instead, your goals might be related to improving your relationships, your health or maybe your spirituality.


Relationships

In looking at relationships, the obvious one that I knew I’d like to change is my relationship with one of my teenage daughters. She has been a challenging case of teenage rebellion and apparently thinks that were overly strict parents. I meditated on the situation and psychically looked into her heart. What I saw deeply moved me. She loves her parents much more than she ever lets on. I also saw that she would benefit from more quality time with each of us. At the same time, she puts as much distance between us as she can, and she doesn’t realize how much we love her.
Do you have relationships in your life that also need work? If so, try looking at life from that person’s point of view. What’s motivating them to do what they do? Although I still don’t agree with my daughter’s perspective, it gave me a much better understanding of why she does what she does.


Spiritual Experience

Seeking a vision, and direction in life, is a compelling reason for striking out on such a quest. It’s what inspired countless young natives over thousands of years. As a trained clairvoyant, I seek and experience such visions regularly, but I find my experiences in nature to be even more powerful. Young Native Americans would also venture out in search of a psychic vision, in order to meet their totem or power animal. In doing readings, I’ve found that people do indeed still have totem animals, along with other spirit guides and guardian angels. They have been helping you all your life, usually staying in the background and contacting your subconscious, but they do appreciate it when you become aware of them. It’s easier for them to help, and they’d love to hear from you. Go ahead and talk to them, even if you can’t hear their response.

First conscious contact with your guides can be an incredibly moving experience. One day at home, before I started clairvoyant training, I tried a meditation exercise and asked for a vision. A sparkling light entered my room and flew around. I felt the presence of a loving spirit in the room, then I closed my eyes, and saw a stream of images flashing before my eyes, of people and places that I don’t remember ever seeing before. I felt in awe. Eventually, the images stopped, but I was left knowing that there is much more out there than I could see during my usual daily routine. I wanted to experience more and to be able to communicate with my guides and guardian angels. Shortly after that, I signed up for my first clairvoyant class.

Now, high in the mountains and close to heaven, I felt eager for another spiritual experience. Taking a deep breath of fresh air, I worked on a state of focused calm, closed my eyes, and I called for my totem animal. A gray wolf stopped in the snow in front of me. He let me know that he stays nearby, ready to protect me on the spiritual plane. He watches for dangers on the physical plane as well, sometimes sending a subtle warning of hazards ahead.

Next, I called for Stephanie, another of my guides. She appeared and mentioned the cold, rugged terrain.

“Are you actually cold?” I telepathically asked, wondering if spirits notice the temperature.

“No, not really,” but she added that she felt more at home in the lower-elevation rainforest my hike started from.
I also contacted Chief, a guide whom I’ve spent many past lives with, including one as Native American brothers. He appeared with long dark hair and buckskin pants.  My question for him related to what else I should write about regarding this trip. He reminded me to focus on and describe the details of nature. I do tend to get caught up in my thoughts, which distracts me from staying in the moment.

Always appreciative of their help, I thanked them for all they do. I also gave thanks to God, to the spiritual world and to nature for my health, my family, my life and for the fact that there is such a beautiful place only a two hour drive from my house. Not only do those you give thanks to appreciate it, but gratefulness can help change your feelings to positive ones, attracting more positive things into your life.

When seeking your own vision, what you experience might consist of a sign in nature. A deer or bird that acts unusual may be trying to give you a message. It might be that your dreams will hold your message, so pay close attention to them on your quest. It may be that you meditate, ask a question, quiet your thoughts and see what happens. Often, something that seems like a thought pops into your mind. This may actually be a message from the spirit world, rather than your own thought. This is how telepathy works. The messages may be accompanied by an image, like the spirit wolf I saw, or maybe you’ll just sense an answer to your question. The more you practice this technique, the easier it becomes.


Conclusionsubaru

During the hike down, I placed each step carefully, trying not to break through the hard frozen snow. As I made my way, I reflected on and reviewed what I had learned during my meditations.

For some people, their vision quest is such an intense experience, that coming back to the normality of civilization is a real adjustment. If so, give yourself time. You may need to rest or to contemplate how what you’ve learned will fit into your life. You may decide that there are changes to be made, in regards to your career, relationships or other aspects of your life.

There are many ways to embark on a walkabout or vision quest. However you do it can be a great experience, including a brief weekend trip to the North Cascades. If you have the time, a longer trip will probably have a greater impact. You may even consider connecting with one of the many organizations that conduct such trips. If you do it on your own, be sure to plan and prepare adequately, with safety in mind. Traveling alone in the wilderness has significant risks. A great option may be to have a friend accompany you to a vision quest spot then check on you regularly, until you’re ready to return home.

The rest of my weekend in the mountains, I spent gathering my thoughts and scribbling notes in a pad, so I could write this blog for you. On the way out of the park, I stopped at a massive tree and contemplated its history, which extends back a very long time. Over the years, many others may have passed by it on their own vision quests.