Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Giving thanks in Hawaii

We are Canadians on a Hawaiian holiday and didn't notice that our trip overlaps the US Thanksgiving holiday.   Canada celebrates Thanksgiving in early October without any reference to Pilgrims, yet we discovered so much here to be thankful for.

First, of course, are the sunsets.  World class, filled with wonder sunsets.

Then there is Mother Ocean in all her many guises.

The green lushness of everything continually amazes.  Yet we have discovered another dimension of giving thanks here on the Big Island.  It is quiet and intimate but no less profound, maybe even more so.

  There is the joy of having so many places to go and fish to see.

There is permission to do--well--nothing at all. Very rare for an oyster farmer and artist from Cortes Island. 

There is the almost perfect lack of energy to do any work. although a new series of paintings traveled all the way to Kona to tempt me. 

There is the simple blessing of eating in.  And what could be more celebratory than a real pineapple?

Even when the sunset comes with a Tiki torch.

And last night the moon returned.  I can not imagine a greater light by which to give thanks.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Why go on a pilgrimage?

Bali 2018, A Journey into Self-Mastery, has been cancelled because of uncertainty regarding the ongoing volcanic activity of Mt. Agung.  Our sincere apology to those who anticipated joining Ann Mortifee and me on this extraordinary journey.   

Ajahn Sona, the abbot of Birken Forest Monastery--when speaking about my intention to lead a journey to Bali with Ann Mortifee from August 18 to September 4, 2018--called it a pilgrimage to the inner holy land.  I am finding myself asking, What is a pilgrimage, and why go on one?

The images illustrating my reflections are from the photographs of Alex Arbess-Joy, a 20 year resident of Bali who will be guiding us to many vibrant communities where we will have the opportunity to learn the way of Balinese prayer, dance, theatre, cooking, music, ceremonial practices, painting, mask-making and other arts.

I read that a "pilgrimage is a meaningful journey to a sacred place." How significant this becomes when I think about Ajahn Sona's comment, and that Ann and I have called our trip to Bali a journey toward self-mastery.  This is a pilgrimage to re-energize inner clarity and spiritual purpose while enjoying the company of other like-minded seekers.

Our immersion in the cultural, artistic and spiritual practices of  Bali will give us a new sense of awareness and wonder regarding our own life choices and directions.

We learn to be adaptable on a pilgrimage.  Coping skillfully with adversity, as well as experiencing joy and serenity, are the hallmark, not of a tourist, but of a seeker of emotional and spiritual growth.

We mark our journey in significant ways while on a pilgrimage.  We may journal,  take photographs, draw, write poetry, create work with our hands that opens us to a deeper connection with the mystery and magic we experience.

Those on a pilgrimage don't just visit a place, they come away inspired and changed by it in some way.   I know my paintings and drums and use of the Journey Oracle divination cards will expand in ways I cannot now imagine, by being able to absorb experiences in a culture that deeply feeds Spirit.  

We discover and celebrate "what really matters" as we travel both inward to self-mastery and outward to the ancient wisdom of Bali.  Come with us.  It will be an outrageously marvelous time.

Contact Alex at  for more information and to reserve your space.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Spiritual self-mastery in Bali

Bali 2018, A Journey into Self-Mastery, has been cancelled because of uncertainty regarding the ongoing volcanic activity of Mt. Agung.  Our sincere apology to those who anticipated joining Ann Mortifee and me on this extraordinary journey.   

Come on a spiritual adventure in August 2018.   Ann Mortifee and  myself. Kristen Scholfield-Sweet, are leading a journey into artistic and spiritual self-mastery in Bali, Indonesia.  Begin this journey with us to Bali by enjoying my thoughts about "What is spiritual self-mastery?"  Thanks to Alex Joy for his images of Bali.

 These images illustrating spiritual self-mastery are from my painted and natural shamanic drums.

One purpose of spiritual self-mastery is being fed by found treasure.  When we go beyond what we think we know of something as simple as the necessity of water, we discover the mystery of  the Holy.

In Bali these participants in procession carry containers of holy water on their heads.

One mission of spiritual self-mastery is going here to be healed.  The here in this healing is our openness of spirit; our reaching out from our usual experiences to touch the unknown.

And when we make this intention to understand or change a view, we are met by another's openness.

One strategy of spiritual self-mastery is being fed by falling asleep, and then waking up to honouring.  When we let go of the analytical mind, the spiritual intuition can grow, as a child grows in the safety of a mother's love.

One gift of spiritual self-mastery is awareness of spirit skills and limits. When we pause to absorb and integrate new experiences, we find we can literally see a situation with new eyes.

This extraordinary opportunity to experience the spiritual and artistic mastery of Bali is fully detailed in our itinerary: Mystic Traveller in Bali 2018.   Please join Ann and I for a journey into self-mastery when we explore the magic and mystery of the ancient Balinese culture.

For more information and to reserve your place email Alex Joy at