When I was in southeastern Alaska tracking humpback whales, or running a whale research boat in the San Juan Islands following pods of Orcas, I discovered I had some special sense of where the whales would surface after long periods of time submerged. It was as if I was keeping pace with them on the surface while they were traveling deep below in a watery world unseen by us.
This experience extended into other ways of encountering cetaceans. I seemed to appear at the right spot at the right moment to view them passing when I was on shore, and I had consistent experiences of dolphins or whales appearing whenever I was on deck when at sea.
I now understand that during those years spent with marine mammals, I learned about my gift for sensing subtleties. I was also being trained to notice a place, or my experiences reinforced paying attention to a very subtle experience that called me to go someplace, or end up at a location with no known or apparent reason. This is the place of attending or listening where I work with highly gifted and sensitive people.
One of the first things I learned on the water was that I had an instinct for spotting discrepancy on the horizon, on the water’s surface. When you are trying to locate whales within a 20 mile radius- it is only a far off splash or a sudden glint of sunlight that hints at a whale’s location. When I began to chafe at our intrusion in the whales’ worlds- I woud withhold my awareness of where I noted the disturbances. It was often a full 20 or 30 minutes before the other scientists noticed anything that called their attention to a spot on the horizon that I had been scanning for a good half hour.
This is the core of my work with people. I spot discrepancies. I spot these discrepancies at the level of the field – I am sensing bumps or twists, or inconsistencies between words, feelings and some deeper fabric. Years of profound work with clients certainly established my confidence in what I do. However, it was 12 hour days on immense, seemingly empty oceans, spotting and tracking whales by employing some quality of sensing that I could not name that became the metaphor for how I work with gifted and sensitive people.