Twenty three and a half degrees


Today is Summer Solstice – the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. This is significant not only because it signifies summer for us northerners, but because that 23.5 degree tilt is why life is robust on Earth. It is a scientific fact that without the 23 1/2° tilt on our axis we would not have seasons, we would not have the rhythm or the regularity of night and day, or life as we know it.

This particular fact and the consequential implications, excite and inspire me, especially around the solstice. I feel respect and gratitude for whatever we want to name – the intelligent creator of this masterful universe. A universe so accurate and exquisite that fractions of degrees are why we exist. This truth alone makes me want to be the best I can be. To refine myself to that degree, it is what we are made of: will-power.

I was in Costa Rica years ago, before my injury, and I had the opportunity to witness the huge leatherback turtles hatching their eggs under the liquid light of the full moon. After birthing all night long, the mother would cover the 50 or so eggs in the hole she had painstakingly prepared to incubate. One month later we came to watch the eggs hatch and tiny little newborn turtles attempt to dig their way out of the deep sand they were buried in.

Besides being ridiculously difficult to dig out of a deep wet sandy hole that keeps caving in, these babes had to watch out for predators, including young men who steal them and horde them for fertility rituals; however these determined turtles did not stop. Giving their all until they got up over the edge of the hole wasn’t the end, they would have to run for their lives to the ocean and if they escaped the humans and water fowl there would be a crashing wave that might wash it back up to attempt to do all over again. But they wouldn’t give up, none of them.

But We do. We give up on ourselves, we give up on each other, on our dreams, and we even give up on our connection to the magic and wonder of life and the Life-force. Things happen and we get sceptical and afraid and begin to doubt our unique nature and will- power that drives us. Often we can feel like our life is caving in, because like the turtles – we will be tested, that is the nature of reality. And like the turtles we have overcome tremendous challenge just getting ourselves here and then learning to walk! Don’t forget that strength, it is you. Don’t give up on yourself, try harder or smarter. And don’t loose respect for the life force and this miracle of existence after all it is you and your power, and our most significant relationship.

So as the sun sets on this longest day of the year, bless that radiant light that feeds and sustains all life on this planet, and spins us on a perfect axis that keeps all nature in balance. And bless yourself, your radiant light, for that is your true nature, even if you can’t see it, if your caught in the sand.

Published by Mary-Jo

I am passionate about diversity, inclusion, sustainability and community. Having raised my children in a small B.C. town as a single parent, I relied on the community, my resourcefulness and the land to sustain us. We developed a market farm,built a cafe and catering business that utilized the produce, local farmers and families to thrive. As a Waldorf school parent I became experienced in biodiversity, edible landscapes and community engagement. I gained substantial skills in leadership, facilitation, project management, communication through teaching yoga and running various business's. My role as a facilitator and trainer to individuals seeking to become a yoga teacher- whom never thought that they could stand in front of a room and speak in public, gave me insight into human nature and coaching. In addition to designing and building businesses - cafés, yoga studios and national training programs, I am a student of Social Development & Social Psychology and understand the complexity and importance of social engagement. I can handle with grace most any situation, having encountered a disability later in life. Consequent to becoming disabled and through advocacy and providing peer support I have trained and acquired extensive exposure and understanding of UN principles on disability, The Human Rights objectives, theories and principles of Universal Design and the various challenges and obstacles for those affected and the relationship to various stakeholders. After 30 years of teaching yoga, my spinal cord injury and subsequent sabbatical has allowed for the integration of my yoga and more in-depth study of the Healing Arts. I have had the fortune of working with some of the best in the field of rehabilitation, Somatic Experiencing and manual therapy including Emilie Conrad, Mark Finch, Judy Russel, Rod Stryker, Carolyn Myss, Ana Forest, & Tim Miller, Susan Harper, Mariah Moser, Herta Buller and Nature.