Changing Aspects of Married Life, Family and Self
Welcome to Healing From Within with your host Sheryl Glick Reiki energy practitioner medium and author of A New Life Awaits Spirit Guided Insights to Support Global Awakening which shares the wisdom of creating life anew in each experience each day and each challenge as we begin to know ourselves in both our total energetic and physical aspects as spiritual beings enjoying a physical life experience so we may refine and rethink our relationships and find love and joy in the process. Sheryl is delighted to welcome Kim Brown Seely, author of Uncharted, a journey across the water in a maritime adventure and a time in search of a new chapter in their relationship and life journey, as a couple facing the dreaded empty nest syndrome realize they need to rediscover who they are.
As listeners of Healing From Within are well aware Sheryl and her guests share intimate insights allowing us to recognize that we are all indeed more than we appear to be and life is a journey to find an inner awareness of the great potential we have to evolve spiritually and expand our human and divine talents and gifts. It is in understanding the duality of life and in moving beyond fear and doubt that begins to explain the great opportunity we have in a physical reality to love and explore ourselves and the universe in its infinite potential.
In today’s episode of Healing From Within Kim Brown Seely in a most beautifully articulate and detailed written story expressing the beauty of what she and her husband saw and experienced on a somewhat challenging two month boat trip exploring the remote islands off the coast of Seattle Washington and the adventure of her voyage from one life chapter to another involving this too-big sailboat, a narrow and unknown sea and an appetite to witness a mythical blonde bear that inhabits a remote rainforest opens her mind and heart to much more than the physical journey and goes within to discover some of the most meaningful recognitions of gratitude and love.
When asked to think back to her childhood and remember a person, place or event that might have shown her or others the lifestyle she would choose as an adult Kim immediately tells us of a happy family life and parents especially her mother encouraging her and her sister to explore their own interests and the world with courage and curiosity. She also mentions two aunts who were great travelers and who may have captured her attention and wanted to follow in their footsteps.
Kim tells us something of her family life with her husband Jeff and their two sons off to college and her fears as their youngest son was about to move across the country.
Kim says that the economy was in freefall and their jobs stagnant so they impulsively decided to buy a big broken sailboat learn how to sail it and head up through the Salish Sea and the Inside Passage to an expanse of untamed wilderness in search of the the elusive blond Kermode bear that lives in a secluded Northwest forest.
Kim writes, “Theirs was a journey of discovery into who they were as individuals and as a couple at an axial moment in their lives. It was a time of transience: one son in college, another on his way; our small family, after years of intense and close living, was dispersing. Also, my husband had survived a recent cancer scare. We were suddenly acutely aware of the impermanence of things and imagined a sailing adventure would create space in which to share something true and lasting together. After a decade of the roller coaster of working hard and raising a family, my husband and I hoped we’d come to rest for a few weeks at sea. (How little did we know.)
Sheryl says that it is clear to her that Kim and her husband were both seekers of the truth of who we are as a life force and soul being and had the courage to venture out of our comfort zone. I think it is extraordinary to become a soul seeker in such an adventuresome way. I myself did much the same these past twenty five years but in the mind and heart journey rather than the physical, although in seeking for the truth of our being I did travel to many fabulous places such as Greece Italy Spain England Alaska Canada many islands and many awe inspiring beautiful or historical places In the United States.
Kim tells us of a story she wrote of a sailor she had met at a dinner; he was ferrying a well-known National Geographic photographer to a rarely visited part of British Columbia’s coast to shoot wildlife photos came out a year later, you were slayed: on the cover of National Geographic there was an image of a white bear. There was something strange about the bear: it had fur the color of a yellow Lab. Even though it was a white bear or so-called spirit bear, it wasn’t Arctic white like a polar bear, nor was it cinnamon brown like a grizzly. It was some weird vanilla-white in between.
“What’s that?” “A spirit bear,” Kim told her husband, she would love to see this mystical animal in the wilds where it lived.
The spirit bear, she later learned, was, in fact, a black bear born with a double-recessive gene causing white fur. It was a walking contradiction: a white black bear. Also known as the Kermode bear, it was rare—more rare than the giant panda. She pictured fur and forest, rain and sea; bold explorers sailing off to distant wilderness islands and hiking through giant trees; Paul Nicklen, the National Geographic photographer, waiting in the woods for days and then weeks until the singular moment when he came upon this strange creature climbing a cedar.
Kim actually got an endorsement for her book from Paul Nicklen who she admired and actually got to meet him
“Uncharted is a voyage of adventure but at it’s heart a meditation on the changing nature of love.’ Tell us something of that thought that Leslie T. Sharpe wrote in the review she wrote for your book
Sheryl thinks the passage below that Kim wrote shows much about the changing nature and continuing nature of love and family from her own childhood and family to the family she created as an adult.
Kim wrote, “My family wasn’t religious, but I had a hunch about God. The mountains seemed created for our worship. There were high granite peaks, an expansive sky, and cottony white clouds. Each day was long and hard and grand. Stitched together, the hiking days made a sort of pilgrimage. Even during the drive to a distant trailhead, I felt like I was exactly where I wanted to be: perched between my young parents and gazing out the window to take everything in, my strong-willed little sister played on the bench in the back. The road stretched endlessly ahead of us and behind us, so we were suspended in time and place as well. I liked moving through that expansive landscape. I liked the feeling of being between one place and another. As the towns spread farther apart, the sense of time diminished, and we each became lost in a mythical landscape that was as much internal as it was external. We were a family. When you are a child learning the world, your parents help shape your perceptions. When you are a parent introducing your own children to the world, you discover those perceptions—things you had almost forgotten—resurfacing, as if hardwired to your DNA. These memories in me of our family’s wandering through the West were so deep that as soon as my own boys were old enough, all I wanted to do was take them exploring. Luckily, my husband was willing to come along.”
Kim having worked on both coasts and as a senior editor at Travel and Leisure magazine and contributing editor at National Geographic Adventure you have traveled to more than thirty countries tells us what she may have learned of human nature and the spirit of the soul that gives it a life force capacity to survive all challenges.
Perhaps part of the harrowing experiences surrounding the empty nest syndrome began as she observed what was happening to other people you knew. Kim wrote,” Ever since our friends’ kids had begun heading off, I’d been noticing the ways many of those friends’ lives shape-shifted. It seemed to be a time when fierce, almost biological empty-nesting patterns emerged. Downsizing—putting the family home on the market and moving into a simpler, smaller place—was a familiar refrain. Another common trend was getting a new dog to fill the void. But that wasn’t always a shared project; the wives seemed to do most of the dog walking. As I watched my friends downsize, simplifying their nests; or stay in their homes but spend the next years refinishing the floors; or troll rescue-dog sites, looking for abandoned canines to love and be loved by and fill those empty rooms, I began to wonder if unknown to ourselves, we each had an image buried somewhere deep inside that was a new chapter, an image that outwardly was of a place or a thing but was actually of ourselves. Maybe it was ourselves, our new selves, that we were attempting to define as we cleaned out our drawers, and repainted our children’s rooms, and adopted yellow Labs and bigeared collies and mixed retrievers.
After the journey Kim and Jeff’s appreciation of each other and life in general was definitely altered. Perhaps the following passage shows some of the challenges you and Jeff were dealing with, “Jeff shot up, released a line, and we slammed the boat hard to windward, coming about. I let out my breath, stunned. We were alone together and had courted this chaos. We were grown-ups and people’s parents. We’d raised two sons together, battled cancer together, and lived on both coasts of North America together. When our sons left home, we’d found ourselves on one of those coasts with a window of time, and so we’d launched ourselves into it. But now, with a boat whose moods changed as mercurially as our own, we were wrestling with forces larger than ourselves, and sometimes, paying a price.”
Sheryl says… I would gather you had discovered that while we have no control over the events or challenges in our life as they present themselves, one after another, but we do have the power to choose what will help us deal to the best of our ability and in the best way so we may grow and have greater compassion for each other and the cycles of life
Kim shares hand drawn maps of the area they explored. Our plan was to head north, threading through Washington State’s San Juan Islands and British Columbia’s Gulf Islands up the Inside Passage through the many archipelagos, then sail past the northern tip of Vancouver Island, and on up around Cape Caution to the wild, exposed Spider Islands. We would sail farther still to the seldom-visited native settlements of Bella Bella and Klemtu, then continue to the native village of Hartley Bay and neighboring Gribbell Island. The latter was one of the homes of the elusive spirit bear. We’d circumnavigate Gribbell Island, about a hundred miles south of the Alaska border, then point Heron south and head home again, another five hundred nautical miles, in mid-September. We’d be one of the last cruising boats that far north come fall. The days would be turning colder and growing shorter, the Pacific Northwest Coast’s fog settling into the long sinuous fjords, making navigation in an area notorious for challenging navigation even trickier.
It seems that the family you and your children and parents benefited from this adventurous trip you embarked on.
Sheryl thinks it may have helped Kim refocus on what her mother went through when life changed for her and your family when you left the nest all those years before and Kim wrote, “ We were having lunch near my office in midtown Manhattan, where I’d worked for a decade. My mother was visiting from California. I was suddenly flooded with guilt: I’d never even thought about how it had been for my parents once I’d left for college. “You were away at school, and we missed you but didn’t want to bother you—you were a freshman!” my mom said, as if that explained everything. She took a sip of water, refolded her napkin. “But by the time your sister left for college, I realized I’d fallen into a kind of depression.” “You did? Why didn’t you ever say anything?!” Kim learned more about her mother’s experience and it helped her understand her own more fully.
“Well, that’s why I’m telling you now . . . in case you ever feel like you might be dealing with depression,” she said, smiling brightly. “Well, how are you? Are you okay now?” I was stunned. I had a hundred questions . . . Like many young girls growing up in the 1960s and ’70s, my sister and I had been encouraged to follow our dreams—to be whatever we wanted to be. Our parents had always pushed us to excel, to be independent, to venture as far from home as possible. Also, our parents were young. They were hip. I was proud of them, and it had never occurred to me, even remotely, that in pleasing them we were hurting them—and that my mom, especially, would so fiercely, deeply miss us.
Another thing Kim had noticed, watching her parents’ generation, was divorce. It was as if kids had been magnets holding these couples together—almost like they’d mostly stayed together because of their kids. But once children no longer factored into the equation, legions of seventies parents woke up and discovered they didn’t have that much in common. You could count the couples splitting up along the Southern California cul-de-sacs where we’d grown up. Spring! Spring! Spring! They bounced apart like atoms released from ionic bonds; without those kid-fusing electrons, there wasn’t much to fuse them in place. But my parents stayed together, supportive of each other. I suppose it was with this in mind then—wary of depression, watching divorces still springing up, as rampant as gray hairs, hearing girlfriends say, “I feel like everyone’s leaving! Our kids are leaving, our parents are leaving!”—that I’d hit on the vague idea of some kind of shared project, something my husband and I could take up together as novice empty nesters.
Kim tells how after a harrowing day on the sea she felt very emotional and like she could do nothing right and her son took a picture after Jeff and she had been screaming at each other and she wrote,” It stuns me now to see this portrait: the image, in fact, that graces the leather-bound cover of the book we made in the months after that first trip. You see a smiling couple in a postcard setting. What you don’t see are the invisible currents and blustery seas we’d just waded into. It’s strange, how we capture so many family moments this way: squeeze people into a frame and click the photo. It’s our way of making memories. But what you rarely see in so many family portraits is what’s actually happening. And what a shame! The stuff we lash down—the painful parts, messy as sea slime and scary as eels—is, in retrospect, more real.
I think Kim might like us to remember after reading Uncharted I not merely the boat journey but how her understanding and spirit matured during the many moves and changes in her life and she wrote something very wise, “Decades later my understanding would shift, part of growing into adulthood, and I’d remember the farm as a key chapter, but an odd chapter for someone who craved a less settled existence. I’d think of all the choices that go into making a life—the decisions people make, individual and combined. Drops of water, incalculable, collecting in a pool. It takes years sometimes to recognize when it’s time to make a few ripples. My husband loved the house. But we were also trapped by it and could never afford to do the things needed to maintain it. When a job opportunity in Seattle offered to move us all west in the dot-com 1990s, we packed up our apartment, sold the farm, and threw a massive goodbye party for our friends. We knew almost no one in Seattle but started a new chapter there. One of the art directors at the magazine where I worked in Midtown Manhattan said to me on my way out the door: “It’s a healthy thing to repot yourself every few years.” I prayed he was right.
I want to thank Kim Brown Seely, author of Uncharted an adventure story of physical spiritual and emotional substance that shares the beauty of love nature and spirit as we grow in amazing recognition of our capacity to explore life in an open hearted and loving way and if it is in your nature an adventuresome way. Please read this well written and delightfully descriptive journey of a trip into forever. go to www.kimbrownseely.com
In summarizing today’s episode of Healing From Within with Kim Brown Seely we have enjoyed delightful views of life from the beginning within our parents homes then college friendships marriage children careers building homes and friendships exploring the terrain and our dreams in mind and body but ultimately realizing that the greatest adventure lies within the courageous soul journey that leads us through coincidence synchronicity and perhaps the whispers of those above who lead us to our greatest moments of self-awareness and higher consciousness. We remember as Kim and Jeff did that we have free will and as has been afforded to many of us in this country we have the means to discover what brings us joy and happiness in our journeys within our thoughts and dreams and also in the physical world of beauty and change—eternal change. If we move past fears and restrictions and allow opportunities to appear we can have amazing lives and experiences and live beginning to be grateful for the time we have and the oddities or protection from unseen places that can even save lives. Kim wrote of an amazing event she observed in regard to how sometimes things seem wrong but in the end are just as they should be.
Kim wrote, “But we did have luck. Jeff worked on the sixty-second floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. And on the day of the first bombing, the 1993 truck bombing, he was not in the tower because he was in Vermont. We’d snuck away for a long winter weekend. He was on a pay phone, checking in with his boss, when a twelve-hundred-pound truck-bomb detonated in the parking garage beneath the towers. His boss, who’d been headed down to the garage when Jeff called, heard a muffled thud and said, “Hang on a minute.” No one knew yet what had happened. The call ran late, which spared Jeff’s boss from being in his SUV at that exact moment, as planned. Months later, when they identified pieces of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, they determined it had been less than a hundred feet from the blast.
Often I tell my clients as a medium I am aware we have a time to be born and a time to reach beyond this physical life to rejoin life beyond this physical plane in an energetic and eternal life. Often, if it is for the journey of a soul to avoid a certain event, they are in one way or another divinely helped to be safe. My own son was offered a job in a business with offices in Twin Towers but declined and was in his jeep traveling across the country to California when 9/11 happened. So many stories of people who should have been there that day but were not for that was not their time nor destiny.
Kim and I would love our guests to know the precious nature of each life and each adventure we are called to experience. Say “Yes” to life and say “Yes” to Love and no matter what challenge any of us must go through if we remember we are spiritual beings having a physical life and never alone, but guided by the majestic voice of the universe that encourages each of us to find a path to exploring our inner soul wisdom through following our dreams as we walk through the experiences of daily life with a smile and a hope for finding our true nature joy and love.