Wise Woman Ezine with herbalist Susun Weed
January 2010
Volume 10 Number 1

What's Inside Wise Woman Herbal Ezine this Month...


Wisdom Keeper...
The Perfection of a Moment
by Catherine Bastedo


The Perfection of a Moment
by Catherine Bastedo

author of Bird Vibes

Spiritual Insight Through Birds

There are moments in life when we know that everything is just perfect, in flow, in harmony, when there is a sense of happiness that goes beyond words. Photography by Catherine Bastedo These moments often happen to us in nature, when we feel that we are in a spiritual place, a landscape that feels like home.

For me, one of the best places is the seashore. The waves remind me of the rhythm of my own body and my life, the wind brings messages on its breath, and the gritty sand beneath my feet grounds me. Raucous calls of the gulls and terns, mixed with other shorebirds, only heighten the sense of peace.

The tide is coming in as I walk – beautiful greenish waves topped with white foam. A delicate Snowy Egret with his bright yellow feet steps delicately along the strand, watching for fish. The sky is a brilliant blue and the shell-covered shoreline glistens whitely. The sun warms my back as I wander along Tigertail Beach on Marco Island, the Gulf coast of Florida, in November.

As I admire the scene, the egret walks in a semi-circle around me and then back. Now it steps along the beach and I follow. When I pause, the egret pauses, when I move forward, it goes on too. We proceed slowly along in our own rhythm, he checking the water for food and I for pretty shells, both of us companionably halting here and there.

I muse on the notion of perfection, because a moment like this, when time stops, is magical, and I cannot help wishing that it would last. I ask the universe for a symbol of this moment, and then my eye is caught by a one-inch long tiny whelk shell, a cream-coloured Lightning Whelk, with brown lightning-bolt streaks and twelve tiny knobs on its upper body.

It is the only shell of this kind I have found over several long walks on the beach,Photography by Catherine Bastedo and this one is lying on the shore amidst innumerable other sorts of pale orange, purple, pink and yellow-hued shells. The whelk stands out, even though it is not as showy as some. Beauty does not require brilliant colours.

I am reminded of a conversation with a fellow beach walker and sheller, who told me she was looking for a perfect shell. When her small granddaughter brought over an old sun-bleached shell that had a hole in it, the woman told her granddaughter that it was broken, and no good – she should look for another. “No, Grandma, the little girl said, this one is perfect.”

How quickly our idea of perfection is “corrected.” In our day-to-day life, reminders of perfection surround us – perfect teeth smile at us, perfect bodies advertise the life we should have. Every time we buy groceries, magazine covers remind us of all the things we must do – overcome our weight problems, improve our sex life, host the perfect parties. Even our gifts seem to require the bow that is artistically displayed with just the right amount of creativity and artistry.

No wonder we struggle to accept our bodies, our wrinkles, our lives.

I stoop again and see that in the same cluster of shells as the one with the lightning whelk is the large, gnarled core of a shell, the outside gone and the inside twisted around and around. This old piece of shell radiates wisdom, knowing, wear, loss, and compassion. It will be here a long, long time, until it disintegrates into tiny specks of sand. It too is lovely.

Age and difference add beauty to natural objects. Can we accept that our own true essence is also magnificent? Photography by Catherine BastedoWe have no personal control over the weather, the scenery, the colours of the water, the shape of the land, the feel of the shell, or the perfection of the moment. Can we see that our lack of control over certain aspects of our lives may also be a divine gift? Perhaps there is a perfection of the moment that we cannot control or even see? Perhaps the only real control we have is our decision to trust or not to trust.

I leave the ancient twisted shell on the beach and bring the little whelk home with me – a reminder of a moment when harmony flowed through everything, touching, blessing, giving faith. The little white shell, placed inside a much larger cockle shell, seems to lie there content, protected, trusting. Can I truly absorb its message?


2009 © Catherine Bastedo
Vision Reiki

Catherine Bastedo is the author of Bird Vibes, a meditation deck to provide insight into current life situations by connecting with nature and the universal energy in us and around us. She offers Holographic-Usui Reiki sessions and classes, and holds Inner Guidance Nature Workshops and Retreats in Ottawa, Toronto, Muskoka, and other locations.


She teaches Chakra Basics at Wise Woman University. This class provides you with a basic knowledge of 7 chakras, from Crown to Root; facilitates your connection to your chakras and understanding of your chakras’ health; provides suggestions for ways of chakra clearing.

Sign Up NOW!

Bird Vibes
Spiritual Insight Through Birds
by Catherine Bastedo

Treat yourself to this new meditation deck!
• Receive positive, uplifting messages about current life situations and meditation paths
• Gain spiritual insight from the text on each card
• Learn more about the 8 chakras
• Discover interesting facts about 50 birds of North America
• Enjoy the 54 beautiful and unique paintings of birds and the four seasons

Price: $29.95

“Bird Vibes has become my deck of choice with my
readings lately and I find people are so empowered by them. Thanks for
your double creativity!”

Julie Desmarais, Holographic Energy Master, Reiki Master Teacher Trainer

Order Bird Vibes in our Bookshop



new Chakra Basics Class
taught by Mentor: Catherine Bastedo

This class provides you with a basic knowledge of 7 chakras, from Crown to Root; facilitates your connection to your chakras and understanding of your chakras’ health; provides suggestions for ways of chakra clearing.

This class will help you learn the location of your seven major chakras and their attributes, as well as the state of health of your own chakras and how they affect your emotional and physical health. You will learn how to sense your chakras, connect with them and techniques for clearing them, through quick exercises and assignments. Since this is a “Basics” class, it emphasizes the attributes of the chakras, and ideas for clearing them and aligning them, without going into specialized therapies such as crystals or aromatherapy.

Sign up for this Class

About the Mentor:  Catherine Bastedo teaches Usui-Holographic Reiki at all levels, facilitates healing through energy sessions, and holds spiritual nature workshops and retreats. She is the author of Bird Vibes, a meditation deck based on the chakras and our spiritual connections to birds.  This deck helps to understand daily life situations and deepen our connection with the universal energy in us and around us.  Catherine is a Reiki Master and Holographic Energy Master, and has a M.A. in Canadian Studies (Carleton University). 

Catherine held leadership roles as an executive in the Canadian Public Service and then as the Executive Director of the International Council for Canadian Studies for a number of years. Catherine Bastedo uses archetypes, myth and nature totems to help people reduce stress, release and transmute old patterns, restore balance on the physical, mental, and emotional levels and develop new ways of looking at life and the patterns in their lives.  Her clients appreciate the wisdom, experience and love of nature she brings to her work.




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