In this MEETING series we meet up with Sea Shepherd supporting artists.
Our guest of today is Limerick-born singer, songwriter, and musician Susan Quirke.
“The health of our oceans determines the health of humanity and vice versa. I knew I wanted to donate 10% of my album sales to an organisation that was taking care of the oceans. I did plenty of research, connected with marine biologists, watched documentaries, read everything I could get my hands on. I had no doubt when choosing Sea Shepherd which has been blazing a trail globally for decades, well ahead of its time. Our oceans and the sentient beings who live in these waters are in vast danger. The balance of life is hanging on by a thread. Direct action is needed. Sea Shepherd is showing up.”
Over the past decade I’ve written many songs. Without fail, before putting pen to paper, I used to get this strange humming feeling in my belly. I’d hear inside my mind, ‘Susan, sit down, there is a song coming.’ Every song I have written has come through me in this way. It’s almost like I’m catching them from the wind, hearing them as whole entities already formed. It’s my job to make them real and give them life.
When a feeling rumbled up inside me asking me to gather some of these songs to make an album, I followed the call. I felt I had no choice. I knew a bitterness would arise inside my soul if I did not make it, though I had to alchemise the terror lodged deep inside my gut to feel safe to express myself. The truth is I was afraid to share my voice, my art. So many artists are. It seems to be part of the process. A gift in and of itself, nudging humans to work through their shit, move through the fire and express our truth.
It was only when in the process of choosing the 11 songs for my album, sitting with all these pages of songs scribbled with lyrics, hooks, and chords, did I realise many of them had a connection with oceans and rivers. This is not surprising as during that decade I had lived on the west coast of Ireland, the east coast of Ireland, and by the sea in Melbourne and in Northern California. Gorgeous big bodies of water surrounded me, danced through me, inspiring me to write and sing.
I titled my album ‘Into the Sea’. This has multiple layered meanings for me as the sea is also representative of our interconnectedness, oneness, a unified field of consciousness. Human beings are like drops in the ocean, believing we are separate beings, not realising we are one whole thing. We are water. We are nature.
In my work as a meditation teacher, I often refer to an analogy used in ancient wisdom texts, which describes how humans are like the ocean. The top level of the ocean is the busiest layer, where there is the most movement. Waves undulate up and down crashing back into the water. This top layer of the ocean and busy movement can be determined by the external weather, be it wild storms or a calm bright day. This is very much like the human mind, where thoughts can race and crash like waves, dependent upon what is happening in the external environment around us. As we travel down through deeper layers of the ocean it starts to become quieter. Yes, there is still movement and currents are flowing, but it is not as wild or busy as the top layer of the ocean.
Humans are like the ocean, the deeper we travel into our being, the more stillness we can gain access to. As we hit the bed of the ocean this is the place of greatest stillness, like our own deepest nature. All these levels and layers of the ocean are operating simultaneously within us, yet we mostly hang out at the top layer of our mind identifying with our thoughts constantly. Yet, inside of us is a place of depth, peace, and being. Our own deepest nature, the essence of who we are, is always calling us inwards to come home to our innate knowing of our interconnectedness with all life.
Until all of humanity, including those who work in corporations, industries, governments, and education, awaken to the truth of our interconnectedness, we will continue to co-create waves of mass extinction and kill our oceans by our ignorant actions. Ignorant simply means to ignore the truth of our humanity, to ignore that we all belong to each other. Short term profit, greed, capitalist ways of being entrenched in patriarchal ideologies are killing our Mother Earth, our oceans, and all who are blessed to live upon and within her.
As individual drops in the ocean, if a large percentage of us come together and do what needs to be done, we have the power to make great change together. We can shift the tide to nurture the balance of life once again like indigenous peoples have been doing for aeons. This way of being is programmed into the bones, DNA, and hearts of all human beings. We just need to re-member who we are.