It seems fitting, at the end of one year and on the eve of the next momentous one; the much heralded 2012, to grant myself the indulgence of glancing back over my shoulder to peek at the events in my personal life over the last year.
This miraculous phase of my life actually began somewhat earlier in July 2010 when I ended my previous career of performing, choreographing and teaching contemporary dance, to intuitively set off in new directions. I never expected to find myself behind a desk in an office but the day I walked into Planet Whale’s office to meet Ian Rowlands and Dylan Walker, everything just felt right.
Seven months later, having completed compiling and editing a first ever Global Directory of Cetacean Conservation Organisations for Planet Whale, my plans were laid. I began this website and blog in February 2011 having decided, in a flowing-with-the-river kind of way, on a course of action.
With no set outcome in mind, but simply trusting in a step-by-step approach that felt right even though I could not analytically pinpoint why, I approached three wonderful cetacean conservationists to enquire about assisting them in their endeavours and, while doing so, document their lives and work. Amazingly, they agreed.
In mid-April 2011, I embarked on this venture. There followed three and a half months of the most incredible experiences with Peggy Stap of Marine Life Studies in USA, Stefan Austermühle and Nina Pardo of Mundo Azul in Peru, and Laurie Murison of Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station in Canada. I was honoured to meet the most kind, generous, caring, passionate, pro-active people, be given a uniquely personal window into their world, and permitted to write in intimate detail about their lives and work. On top of this, I had beautiful, jaw-dropping encounters with whales, dolphins, birds and other ocean dwellers, which have enriched both my understanding of them and of how we humans affect their lives.
And what was the result of such a venture? Did it lead, as I hoped it would, towards a new career in writing? Did it open any new doors through which I could walk to find the next step on my path? Well yes, it did indeed lead to the next chapter in my life, albeit in a completely unforeseen way. It led to something which I was not expecting to find on this venture. It led to a meeting of heart, mind, soul, spirit and head. It led to my husband Bruno.
We met in Peru in June, both of us there under unusual circumstances and both of us pulled to an event at a bar in Lima by others; Bruno by a friend and me accompanying the conservationists I was working for. In the two weeks we shared in Lima we met every evening and took a weekend trip to the beautiful wonders of Peru’s mountains. And then I left for Canada; it could have ended there; it didn’t. We stayed in touch until August when Bruno flew to England to meet me as I returned from Canada. By the end of another two weeks we had decided that our future paths lay together. We married in England on 6th October, and since then have been in the process of relocating to California to begin our life there together.
It is a fairytale-like story which I would find hard to believe myself if I did not have the proof of waking up next to my wonderful husband every day. Nevertheless it is still mind-boggling for me to look back over the last year. In the last twelve months I have lived in or visited four countries, slept in over twenty beds, seen over ten species of whales and dolphins, and met countless life-affirming people. In the last ten months I have written: one first draft of Lilanthro’s Story; twenty five blog posts about three inspiring conservationists; nine articles for three websites; one article for Caduceus Magazine; and one first draft of a second magazine article in the pipeline for 2012. In the last seven months I have met, fallen in love with, got engaged to, married and moved countries with one man, (roughly in that order). In the last four months I have performed in two dance films. In the last three months I have laid plans to further my writing and develop a harmonising movement practice for adults. And in the last month Bruno and I have returned to England to celebrate Christmas, New Year and our marriage blessing.
And now it is New Year’s Eve; a gateway between one year and the next, when individually and collectively we look reflectively backwards, look expectantly forwards and gather together our energies for the next step. 2012 is a momentous year which some people are gladly awaiting, others fearfully so, and others seeing it as just another year. Who knows what 2012 will bring for Bruno and I, for the collective human race and for this sparklingly beautiful blue planet called Earth. Maybe not every year can feel as fate-filled, love-filled and action-filled as 2011, but Bruno and I are aligning ourselves with those who are welcoming the coming year and we have faith that it will bring all that it needs to bring and be exactly as it needs to be. We feel ourselves to be in the keeping of Destiny, God and Life, and trust whatever path they intend for us to tread. I believe this to be true for all of humanity and the world itself.
So, with that, Happy New Year one and all, and I wish us all a soul-awakening, spirit-nourishing, heart-expanding year ahead.