Spin Round the Sun

By Ayla Nereo

In some ways, a birthday is just another day. But it also feels special, a return to that placement of angle and direction we were born into, our relationship with the shining sun. And it feels like a special opportunity to listen. To see where the life-force is moving, and where it wants to direct itself.

This year I was lucky enough to be on the garden island of mama Kaua’i, amidst her rich life and untouched wildness, her slower pace and heart-centered culture. Reminding me how to deepen into a whole new level of grounded living, connected to Nature and her rhythms and life more than the ever-running human pace of mind and doing. Shifting the priorities. Walking my talk more deeply. Barefoot and listening.

My only wish for my birthday this year was to be offline, connected to the earth, and in sunshine. So David and I drove to the Waimea Valley, where we were welcomed by the vast expanse of cavern and forest and river-valley and open wide sky. Being greeted by a rainbow, it only felt right to sing back.


Heading to the lookout over the Kalalau valley, we then began a steep hike out across the thin arm of earth, the rising valley wall. We were two tiny ants walking along the spine of her great body. The winds were blowing something fierce that day, and as tiny ants, we felt it was entirely possible we might be blown right off the cliffside into the great valley. But something kept enticing us onward… and with little word-offerings on our lips, singing praises to the wind to blow gently and keep alive our precious little bodies, we kept walking. Finally, when the winds had blown every last strand of hair into a tangle, we stopped and admired the meeting of wide valley into vast ocean. It went on forever, that sea of peace and storm where no land exists for thousands of miles.


After scrambling back up the spine of land and bundling into the car, we drove to one last spot, where the river ran through red earth, bubbling a water song to the last setting rays of sun.


There, drinking in those final beams of light, I felt my heart speed up. No matter how many sunsets I see, I almost always feel that five-year-old awe and glee, like I’m seeing a sunset for the first time, like that one is the most beautiful one.   

And then, as the sun dipped down into darkness, Venus appeared.

I watched her face shining, more brightly than I’d ever seen her. And I waited, not sure for what, just sensing I needed to pause and keep looking up. I had been joyfully snapping photos this whole time too — but even that needed to pause. Just letting that quiet place inside me get even quieter. Listening, in these last moments of birthday light.


As we drove back down the mountain, wordless in peace, I felt how deep is my love for the sky.

I am infatuated by each cloud, those roaming ever-changing warriors, and by the face of every star-ancestor, shining their wisdom to us as a pin-point of light each night. Always, looking up, I feel that desire to listen more often, and longer. To give more time to the canopy of colors. To give more of my awareness to the grandmothers of root and bark-branching sureness, more breath to that great rising face of morninglight, beaming us with information and warmth and consciousness each dawn and eve. To give this ear to the songs of the rushing creeks, the staccato over pebbles and even-tempo of the waves. To give my limbs to the dancing of the breezes as they court the graceful green skirts of the willow leaves.

Most of all, to give my attention to that which feeds Love.

And to make offerings of beauty, word and voice, handwoven and danced and spoken and sung, to that which feeds us Life.


Ending one day, beginning the next.

Always a new opportunity, to choose our way, our walk, our thoughts, and where we direct them. To keep offering our beauty-ways to the many ones who give us breath and bones and sight and taste and touch, all around us.

In these times that can feel like chaos, perhaps the greatest revolution will happen in our own minds, when we choose to stay centered, to stay grounded in our hearts, alert and awakening, with our thoughts pointed surely at what is possible in our lives, in our evolution as humans. Keeping our visions strong, and clear, and knowing that that is where we are going.

The arrow goes where we aim it.

So, Great Spirit and Holy Life, may I aim with awareness, and fly with Love.


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