“I can’t think of anything I regret. Everything I’ve done, I’ve enjoyed doing. I’ve had five husbands, four children. I’ve done it all, but mainly I’ve enjoyed studying fish and being underwater with them, being in their natural habitat, looking at the fish and the fish looking at me.” Eugenie Clark
I always wanted to be a marine biologist. Since the moment I could string more than two words together in my strangely overdeveloped baby words I was telling everyone I met my dream to become a scientist who studies life in the ocean. Which is strange because until I was in my mid 20s I had never been anywhere near a salty body of water.
To my absolute delight, for my sixth birthday my parents got me a real microscope. For my eighth, a literal zoology textbook. I
horrified thrilled my third grade teacher by writing a(n excellently written) report on the hermaphroditic mating habits of the common earthworm, including hand-drawn diagrams. My most prized possessions growing up were the binders full of Animal Fact File leaflets that I collected with all the fervour of any serious philatelist. My first hero was Eugenie Clark, a famous Japanese-American marine biologist; when we would visit the zoo most weekends, I would sometimes correct the zookeepers after presentations. I can still tell you the names and distinguishing characteristics of most of the sharks, cetaceans (whales), and assorted creatures that swim, float, crawl, and ooze through our planet’s oceans. My wife often sits agape while we watch nature shows as I name the creatures prior to the narrator and proceed to bombard her with fascinating factoids (she’s very patient). If there is anything I have ever known without a shadow of a doubt in my entire life, it is that I belong to the ocean.
When I laid down on my Reiki practitioner’s table for the first time, she immediately asked what my astrological sign is. I told her I’m a Taurus, which is the strongest Earth sign. She was surprised, because when she put her hands on me she said all she could see/feel was water. I told her I was not shocked by that. It’s in me, it’s in the core of my being. I was born with the ocean in my soul. And on the subject of being born already knowing things, this is where I get really interested. Heads up, this is going to get metaphysical!
A great deal of the world’s major religions/spiritual systems of belief/faith groups believe that our souls aren’t just one-and-done flukes, but rather sentient beings of divine/interplanar matter that regularly return to inhabit physical form to continue their purpose. Our souls are the essence of what imbibes us with life and individuality, and they are not new. Many Indigenous cultures believe that our souls are the piece of us that is connected to the Creator (my choice of word, though others include Essence, Spirit, lifeforce, God, universe, or any other terms used to describe the great unknowable force/entity/collective that somehow connects us all together). This connection to our environment, our families, and indeed to every single thing on this planet (and beyond!) has been studied scientifically, proving that science and soul are not mutually exclusive. Under sterile scientific conditions, plants grow better when we speak kindly to them. Twins are often able to feel or sense their wombmate’s feelings or pain even from a great distance. We are all made of the same carbon atoms that were formed at the beginnings of our universe. And there are countless records of very young children giving detailed accounts of their past lives. So maybe the answer to my connection to the ocean lies not in my head, but truly in my soul.
I have pondered these things for a very long time. When I came out as transgender to my parents, my mom reminded me of the time she visited a medium shortly after I was born. The medium told my mom that our souls were connected through a past life; I was her brother at one point in time. Somehow, that seemed to make a lot of sense. My soul’s work in this lifetime is obviously tied to finding peace during a transition into a new physical form. I’ve accepted that my connection to the ocean is a lot like this. I was born this way. My soul’s connection is most likely something that has followed me from the past into my present life, and is something I need to honour and find out how to incorporate it in a way that brings my present life purpose and fulfilment.
So what’s the point? Where does all this rambling meet up at some purposeful crossroad of sense? What does any of this have to do with the geeky kid who obsessed over the Ampullae of Lorenzini and the fact that humpback whales have distinct languages, including dialects specific to their close family groups (you can’t tell me that’s not cool)? The point of all this is that just as you should not ignore your gender, your sexuality, your passion for baking (or writing, or music, or carpentry, or fashion, or finance, etc. ad infinitum), your innate desire to become a parent, or your call to serve in a certain profession, you shouldn’t ignore your soul connections. Pushing these yearnings or callings away is akin to applying a tourniquet to a vital appendage on your body; you are killing a part of yourself that is meant to be honoured and celebrated and embodied in your soul’s journey this time around our beautiful blue marble. Those callings are undoubtedly linked to our life’s purpose; they could very well be why we were shoved into these human meatsuits in the first place.
For years Jaimie and I have been trying to formulate a realistic, fiscally responsible plan to move out to BC to be near the ocean. I will always be grateful for the opportunities that living in Saskatchewan has afforded me, but it’s not where I need to be anymore. My soul longs for the sea.
And I need to follow it there.