Archive for marine life

Tasting Octopus vs Tasting Like One

I LOVE to eat. Some people eat for sustenance. Its a means to an end (nutrients = life). I have even heard someone go as far as to refer to it as “pre-digested poo” (this is unforgivable if you ask me). I guess there are just two kinds of people in this world. There are those who eat to live and there are those who live to eat. I live in the latter camp and I do so unapologetically.There is something amazing about the sense of taste. It is one that has the potential to simultaneously engage a handful of senses at the same time in a wonderfully overwhelming way.

I am a self-proclaimed foodie but I know I flirt with the line between foodie and food addict and my drug of choice is seafood. There are few things that put me in a deeper  state of euphoria than some great crab. But the joy of eating is the indulgence that begins long before the first bite. It starts with the savory aroma of the sea salt in the air. It continues as my eyes begin to taste the sweet juices of the crustacean woven between the white and red of the flesh. And when I’m really lucky, I can be in the vicinity while my meal is being cooked so I can hear the sizzle of the oil as my crab shakes hands with its destiny. I’m getting hot just thinking about it. Sensory overload and loving it!

My love affair with taste has had me fascinated with the eating habits of the octopus. Did you know the suction cups on the  tentacles of the octopus aid it with its sense of taste? Each of those cups are jammed packed with taste sensors. With each move, the octopus is tasting its environment…taking it all in, literally. Imagine what it would be like to taste everything beneath your feet. You would be intensely aware of the life around you. You would have the opportunity to savor or spit out your environment with every strut.

I dare you to take a day or even an hour to taste your environment with the intensity of an octopus. What would it be like for you to fully engage your senses where you find yourself, to figuratively taste your moments? What new things would you notice? What things would you savor that you are currently spitting out with your apathy? It might mean noticing how the wind hugs your ears or how the barren trees still reach towards the sky. It could be seeing the pollution that is creeping more abundantly into the landscape. Or it could be to listen to your loved one with intention, not just hearing the words they are sharing  but listening for the words they are silently speaking through their tone, pauses, and gestures.

Life offers us a feast with each breath but it is our choice to dine.

How are you contributing to the taste of your world?

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I want to live like a fearless mama octopus

Let me tell you the story of an extraordinary mother. Yes she is an octopus. But her life is both profound and inspiring. O’ Mama’s life is short but produces life long after her death. She is known for her intelligence. Her heart defines her. In fact, she has three. But perhaps her greatest gift is her sacrificial pursuit of her purpose even in the face of failure.

O’ Mama has a unique reproduction process. After her brief encounter with her lover boy, she finds a lair and lays her eggs. Hundreds of thousands of eggs will carry on her legacy. For a month, her soul is poured into nurturing and protecting her eggs, blowing water over them to give them oxygen and guarding them against predators. She hunts nothing, starving herself so that she  never has to leave her young’s sides. Finally, their birthday arrives. Too weak to move, she uses her last ounces of energy to push them from their cases so they can swim off into the world. And then…she dies.You can watch this beautiful sacrificial birthday here from a dive right in Seattle: A mothers ultimate sacrifice from Koos du Preez on Vimeo.

It would be wonderful if these hundreds of thousands of baby octopuses went off and lived happy lives. But the truth is, of 200,000 eggs, just 3 or 5 will actually live long enough to repeat the process. The rest will be eaten up by predators. Well that was a BIG FAILURE. So much for happy endings, huh?

While the ending might not be the happiest for the yummy little babies, the reality is they are feeding generations of critical species. They are the lifelines for eels, turtles, sharks, dolphins, cods and well…me (marinaded please :)). What may seem like a failed mission by O’ Mama actually changes and strengthens her environment long after she is gone.

There have been so many times where I have done everything in my power NOT to be Mama O’, trying not to invest my soul into seemingly failing missions. Why try out for that singing group when I know I am not going to get in? Why apply for that job when I am not qualified? Why look to lead when there is someone much more equipped? But O’ Mama teaches a much more fruitful perspective—that even our failed attempts produce fruit in our lives and the lives of others. Our fleeting ideas, our dead ends, our dreams deferred are not wasted but live lives well beyond what we might be able to fathom. History gives us many human examples of O’ Mama’s faith:

  • Vincent Van Gogh sold ONE PAINTING in his lifetime just a few weeks before his death. This did not stop him from finishing more than 800 paintings.
  • 27 publishers turned down Dr. Seus’ first book.
  • R.H. Macy failed seven times before business started picking up in a little store in New York.

Are you like O’ Mama, pouring your soul  into your ideas, protecting and nurturing them until their birth, irregardless of the  outcome? Or are you killing them off yourself before their birth? What are you doing now simply because it is safe? How could you be feeding your environment with your simple but profound relentless pursuit of your God given fruit?

Now.. Lets go make some babies!

“The birthday of your possibilities is today.” -The one and only Sean D. Goode


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A Whole New World

The other day I was walking down memory lane, singing one of my favorite Disney songs “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid. Classic.  There is something timelessly beautiful about Ariel’s curiosity about worlds beyond her eyes.

Then it occurred to me. Why the CRAP was Ariel’s home so polluted???? She lived under the sea, not in the town garbage dump! Sure, there was the occasional shipwreck that she and Flounder might have rummaged through but this chick had a whole cavern of gadgets and gizmos aplenty…whozits and whatzits galore! I wonder if we had the same curiosity about Ariel’s world as she had about ours if she would even have all that trash at her disposal to sing about.

When you look out onto the ocean, what is it you see? Colors? Waves? Seagulls? Perhaps. But what we see is nothing compared to what is. Those waves cover the world’s largest mountains ranges. The blues hide its deepest canyons. Marine plants provide half the oxygen you are breathing. Sebastian and Flounder are among more than 1 million plants and animal species living there…and because much of the ocean is still unexplored, there are likely 9 million species waiting to be discovered.

Our curiosity about worlds beyond our eyes creates the largeness of our lives. In many cases, it is our questions that preserve the future that allows for their answers. Languages and species do not become extinct when we care enough to discover them. Cultures and traditions live in the sharing and understanding of them. What worlds are you interested in or currently discovering? So often we get caught up in the routines of our lives and forget there are whole new worlds waiting for us to find them and love them. Ariel’s discoveries of small knick-knacks set the stage for dreams fulfilled. What unexplored questions about the world around you will set the stage for yours?

 

Need inspiration? Here is how one family’s curiosity about worlds beyond their eyes is feeding and educating nations living in extreme poverty around the globe.

The Movement of One Day’s Wages from One Day’s Wages on Vimeo.

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The Ride of A Lifetime

During one of the many “not really news” segments of the Today Show, I came across this fascinating photograph of a whale. The segment led with “ A Whale of a Tale: 40-ton mammal lands on yacht.” From the headline and the photo, its safe for you to assume the obvious. The picture was snapped moments before the whale hurled itself through the mast of the ship, destroying the boat, an act that entitled the couple sailing the ship the 15 minutes of fame I was now participating in.

Interesting enough, the part of the story that caught my attention was not the 80,000 lbs soaring through the air. It was what soared with those 40 tons: barnacles. Look closely and you will see the clumps of white crustiness that are at the center of my fascination.

Have you ever thought about the life of a barnacle?  Barnacles are tiny crustaceans that attach themselves to hard surfaces and perch there indefinitely. Once stable, a barnacle kicks its feathery feet out of its shell and collects nutrients from the surrounding water. Many barnacles find rocks to hug.  Some attach themselves to the remains of dead animals or the shells of animals who have outgrown their skin. And some, like the ones of the photograph, find huge whales to tag along with and hold on tight for the ride.  Though this photograph paints an unfortunate scene from the sailors’ points of view, the barnacles are likely having the ride of their lives. It is the substance that the barnacles decide to cling to that determine the course of their lives.

In many ways we are like barnacles…and not just because some of us are crusty. The course of our lives is largely illustrated by what we cling to. The relationships we hold close, the values we stand firm in, the mindsets we are attached to, the jobs we hold, the faith we lean on each play a role in the direction of our lives. Some attachments keep us standing firm, while others keep us standing still. And some of our wisest attachments keep us hurling from adventure to adventure.

What are you attaching yourself to and where is it taking you? Are you holding on to things that are taking you to new levels of living or clinging to dead ideas and mindsets that keep you in the same place?

You are where you are for a reason
What You Did Yesterday Got You Here
What You Do Today Will Get You
Where You Will Be Tomorrow
~Jack Egener~

“Bloom where you are planted.”

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The Power is YOURS!

 

This one is for all my 80s babies….

 

As news of the BP oil spill has covered the airwaves and headlines, I have found myself wondering on more than one occasion, “ What would Captain Planet say?”

 

(Queue cliché memory lane graphics now…)

“EARTH!        FIRE!              WIND!            WATER!         HEART!”

“Captain Planet—He’s Our HERO. Gonna take pollution down to zero. He’s our powers MAGNIFIED and he’s fighting on the planet’s side.”



 

Now I know there are a few former Planeteers out there. Many of us 80s babies who found ourselves glued to the tv screen at the sound of that obnoxiously catchy theme song have considered which element ring we would want to have.

 

Well Planeteers, the earth needs our help! Right now, there are millions of gallons of oil gushing into the Gulf and we haven’t figured out how to stop the leak. Shame on BP.  There has been much talk about how those evil villains need us to teach them a lesson. But simultaneously we, the assumed Planeteers, are killing wildlife in other areas of our oceans at a competitive rate and, for this one, the POWER IS OURS!

 

Feast your eyes on The Great Pacific Garbage Patch…

 

This, my fellow toxic crusaders, is the environmental marine catastrophe WE are responsible for.  This floating garbage dump is a result of ocean currents trapping plastic and chemical sludge that have found their way into our waters in the North Pacific. Some estimates put this massive ocean garbage dump at somewhere between the size of Texas and the size of the entire continental United States.

 

This is how it works. Basically, our plastic debris makes it  into the ocean one way or another. After floating for a bit, it is carried into the North Pacific Gyre. Because this plastic is not biodegradable it simply sits there and breaks into smaller and smaller pieces, absorbing toxins in the water as it sits. Innocent fish and birds mistake these floating pieces of trash for plankton and other types of food. Once they digest it, it sits in their stomachs indefinitely until it kills them. Many chicks have been found dead offshore because their mothers have mistakenly fed their young plastic bottle caps and filled their stomachs with our toxic plastic poisons.

This poor birdie didn’t stand a chance with all that plastic in its belly.

 

 

In addition to death from ingestion, our plastics are having impact in other unfortunate ways as well.

 

Take my friend Mr. Turtle, for example.

This sea turtle found himself caught in a piece of plastic as a young chap and was forced to grow up around it. Isn’t adolescence tough enough already?

 

The easy thing to say is,” its not my garbage.” Well Planeteers, I would have to disagree. It is small negligence that leads to massive issues. BP is in a whole heap of trouble because of a few itty bitty oversights. All it takes is a few itty bitty oversights—like not throwing that water bottle in the right container, forgetting the reusable grocery bag AGAIN, or leaving a few wrappers at the beach—before we are splitting Mr. Turtle in two or making ol’ man Row Row Row his boat gently down the…..floating garbage dump in the Pacific!

 

PLANETEERS, the earth needs our help. Lets combine our powers from across the globe to fight on the planet’s side. We are our own heroes…taking pollution down to zero.

THE POWER IS YOURS.

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