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30 Day Sunrise Challenge Day 2: Life Force

All places have a life force! If you go back to the beginning. . .the beginning of well, any place, there’s a life force that originally attracted people to that space. . .any place's life force, was reason enough for people to settle, stay put, to receive, enjoy and simply subsist. These days, we’ve become so disconnected from nature and our surrounding environment, that it’s become hard for us to recognize the original life force of any particular locale. It’s hard to see through all of the hoopla and all of the layers that have grown over and around the main source of energy of any place. We are usually prematurely attracted to only fragmented remnants of the true life force of any place, not entirely understanding how these watered down vibrations connect back into the true source.

As a 16 year resident of Miami Beach and Miami native, this topic has more and more become a regular diatribe of mine; usually taking place on the sand while a group of beach goers “ooooh” and “aaaaaah” over how beautiful the sunset is or how wonderful the waves or the vibes are on the beach. My family and I have survived sixteen years in a place that sees a fast turnover rate. Miami beach is a transient spot and a hard place to survive, filled with distractions that lead to emptiness and no place in particular. We’ve witnessed thousands of folks come and go over the years. Why is that? It’s because the true life force and foundation of not only the beach, but Miami in general, is the water; hence you have the name “Miami" which means “Sweet Water” and is the only remaining Tequesta Indian word that we know of today. The Tequestas are the indigenous tribe of Miami, who, twenty years ago we thought had only lived here for a few hundred years, and now, we’re finding out, they were here before Christ. We’re talking an ancient culture. Yeah, so, what’s that got to do with the topic of life force and sweet water? Well, due to the nature of our eco-system we live in a very yang culture. Everything in Miami is hot and fiery, including the people. Unlike places that experience winter, we don’t live in an environment that directly puts it’s hands on us every year and says you need to put a lot of clothes, stay inside, reflect and develop the yin side of your existence. Instead, what we have, is water, a lot of it. It is the cooling factor; the balancing element to our fire that offers us the ever so needed yin part of our very existence.

So, what has today’s sunrise inspired? To make a long story short, in Miami, to stay balanced and healthy, it’s important to connect with water. It is the original life force; a powerful one at that. My homework assignment to you is this: connect with it; whether it be a canal, a lake, or the beach. Get in the water. If you’re feeling empty, tired, stressed, or simply down, find your dose that meets your needs. Some of you may need to get in the water everyday; others may need to get in once a month; and some may just need to be around it, or to look at it ever so often. Whatever your dose may be, figure it out and plug-in! Where ever you are, there's a life force, slow down, look for it, connect to it.

Here's a video my students and I produced about 10 years ago while learning about the Tequesta Indians; this was part of an incredible experiential education program at Shake-A-Leg Miami where we took the dade county school curriculum and brought it to life by using Biscayne Bay as a classroom. Over a 7 year period we produced hundreds of videos like this. My hopes at the time were that this would be the type of hands-on learning that would be happening in every elementary school classroom everywhere. These kids were fourth graders the same age as my son Ocean is today. It's sad to say, that the school system today, even though every kid has multimedia capabilities in their pocket, has yet to embrace these tools for learning and are still sending Dittos home for homework. Dittos? Oh well, that's another subject for another day!! Enjoy!