I went whale watching yesterday, for work, as you do!
We were filming a ‘Great Gold Coast job’ video profile on a whale researcher from Griffith University – maybe you’re thinking my job sounds pretty darn great too!
And if you saw me getting up close and personal with amazing marine mammals you’d probably be jealous.
Last year, filming another career profile with a dolphin trainer at Seaworld, I got to ohh and ahh at these gorgeous creatures.
Yesterday, the crew and I were all excited to spot humpback whales, hopefully a mum and calf, returning to the southern oceans after the winter migration.
But sadly there was no traffic, or none we could find, on the ‘humpback highway’ off the Gold Coast.
Not a whale in sight.
Just this one, photographed on another day, to go with our souvenir photo.
We did see jellyfish, hundreds, maybe thousands of them, floating back out with the tide having been blown in by strong northerly winds over the last few days.
Quite an amazing sight, (just not quite the same as sighting a whale).
And those strong northerly winds, well they made for vomit-inducing conditions.
Half the boat (there were only about 20 people onboard so late in the whale-watching season) spent the morning huddled over paper bags and I saw at least five people hurl into them. While I didn’t actually spew up, I got seasick enough, that even hours later it still felt like my stomach was heaving with the swell.
So not quite the day I’d been expecting – still jealous?
Most of the time it feels like my job gives me jellyfish (and sometimes seasickness), rather than whales, which is why I’m transitioning (at least that’s what I’ll call my scaredy-cat plans for change) into new career opportunities.
Having taught my first yoga class last week (yeh), our teacher trainer group was lucky to visit a Buddhist monastery in the Gold Coast hinterland for a morning mini-retreat and yummy vegetarian lunch on Saturday to mark the end of our course, which concludes this weekend.
We did our yoga amidst nature, saluting the sun beaming down on us for our sun salutations, opening our hearts to the sky in twists and backbends, and trying to avoid the giant green ants and march flies!
It was peaceful and reflective as we walked in meditation around the garden, meeting new ‘friends’, each representing a different path to enlightenment – from changing the world to changing themselves and simply being content.
This guy had me intrigued, as from a distance he looked tortured or angry. On closer inspection he was simply yawning and stretching – the plaque said he was ‘easy and comfortable, in a state of omniscience, contented with his lot’.
The day wasn’t quite what I’d expected – I’d been hoping for some sort of transformative experience – not that I was expecting enlightenment, but I hoped to feel changed into a yoga teacher, with my new career path and life suddenly certain.
Then I read this post from Glennon Doyle of Momastry fame. She talks of her encounter with a ‘first grade teacher’ who felt stuck in her job and wanted to ‘live and love large’ – that is until she pointed out that being a first grade teacher is pretty much as amazing as it gets.
‘Don’t be so concerned with creating a life of meaning that you forget you already have one,” Glennon writes, urging us to get our ‘perspectables’ on!
It’s a pretty powerful message to realise and appreciate how much your contribution is worth, even as you strive for greater contribution. To find meaning in jellyfish, even as you seek out whales. To find gratitude in contentment, even as you seek enlightenment.
So that’s what I’m trying to do as I transition, finding the meaning in the moments (seasickness, not so much) – what about you?