Yesterday I took a day off from work.  I jumped into the car with a group of international friends and family, and headed off to the Yarra Valley, a truly beautiful part of the world,  to share some of the wonders of the Australian bush at the Healesville Sanctuary.


Th sun was shining, our international guests were full of excitement, the food and wine we had during the day was amazing .. and at the Healesville Sanctuary we spent a couple of hours just wandering through the natural bush setting.  We spent time photographing and observing the kangaroos, koalas and emu’s .. and ages watching the Platypus who are so unique and really only observed in Sanctuary environments.  They are my favourite!

I found myself recounting a personal experience I had many years ago … when I was an enthusiastic snow skier and nearly every winter weekend would make the eight-hour (one way) journey into the mountains with a group of University friends.

One weekend we decided to stay off the mountain.  We found a small hotel that sat right on the edge of a huge lake. We arrival late that first night, and all I saw was the moon reflected on the vast lake .. stillness and expansiveness.

The next morning, in the early, early hours, I woke for my meditation and was drawn to the soft lapping of the water outside.  I decided to take my meditation outside despite the freezing temperature .. because the sky was a mesmerizing, vivid blue and the lake shimmered like a mirror.  It was so still.

I took a huge blanket with me and sat wrapped up on the rocky outcrop at the edge of the lake.  I closed my eyes and faced the icy chill on my face and at my nostrils. I let go.  I didn’t have a timer with me but suspect that I meditated for my usual 20 minutes, before giving thanks for my meditation practice and just resting with my eyes closed for a few minutes before engaging again with the day, the mountains and the broad sky above me.

And then I heard a sound. Just at my feet.

As I slowly opened my eyes, still embraced by that grounded stillness from my meditation, I found myself looking directly at a PLATYPUS floating at the water’s edge.  Just in front of me.


Now these are notoriously private and illusive creatures.  They usually live alone, unless breeding, and are usually found only when they softly call other platypi with their quiet, puppy-like growls.

I remember being stunned.  Frozen in amazement.  Just sitting.  Just watching. Just holding space with the Platypus for untold moments .. until he/she paused, flipped and dived back into the lake.  Gone as quickly as he/she appeared.

Yesterday while sharing this experience, a discussion started about Animal Totems .. the Webster’s Dictionary defines a totem as: “A natural object, usually an animal that serves as a distinctive, often venerated emblem or symbol. A means of personal or spiritual identity.”

platypusThis morning I researched the Platypus as an Animal Totem and found this:

If Platypus swims across your path;

Dare to be yourself! No matter what others think of you, you must always express who you are without hesitation in any circumstance. Real friends will always except you for who you are and family will love you as you are. When we pretend to be something we are not we lose sight of our heart and our purpose. Part of being ourselves is the continuous self discovery of going inward and taking the time to nurture the things that make us happy.

This is a profound and happy memory of meditation in nature.