"Once in a while a story comes along that captures everything — what our lives are about, what we strive for, why we do what we do, where we hope we are headed. I recently heard such a story, one that in its simple detail has touched my heart and become rooted in my psyche. As I continue to integrate its images, the story settles my energy and holds my intention. In its simplicity it encapsulates other narratives that define me, and in its power expresses what I believe humankind is to be about at this time in our history — transformation. Here is the story:

"One of the responsibilities of Nate Sears, a landscaper working at a housing complex on Cape Cod, is to check the piers at the adjacent beach for storm damage. One morning he was doing just that when he spotted a ten-foot pilot whale coming toward shore. He watched for a moment. He then saw a second whale, then a third, each one heading for land. Stunned at first, Nate watched the approach of the whales with awe. Then his concern took over. Since it is not unusual for whales to beach themselves on Cape Cod, Nate knew that this was the probable intent of these large, gentle mammals. He summoned a neighbor, who ran to call the National Sea Shore Service. Knowing that the whales were coming so fast that they would be on the beach before help could arrive, Nate quickly threw off his shoes and socks, rolled up his pant legs, and waded out in the direction of the first whale. He caught up with it in waist-deep water on a sand bar. The whale was thrashing about, and he could see cuts on its body from its batter with the sand. Moved solely by instinct, Nate placed his hands on the whale and held them there. The thrashing stopped. The whale became completely still. Nate said in that moment he became aware that this was the whale's first encounter with the human species. It seems that both human and whale were operating on instinct, each trusting the other in an encounter that neither had experienced before.

"After the whale had grown calm, Nate gently turned it around and pointed it away from shore. The whale began to swim back out to sea. Losing no time, Nate approached the second whale. Again, he simply placed his hands on the creature and its thrashing stopped. Once this second whale grew still, Nate turned it away from shore. It, too, began to swim out. By this time members of the National Sea Shore Service arrived, and they helped Nate turn the third whale back.

"Frequently, whales that threaten to beach themselves and are rescued come ashore in another location. That does not seem to be the case here. For whatever reason, the whales returned to their natural habitat without further incident. Although there is no proof, I think it was their encounter with Nate's energy and his willingness to simply hold them in their travail that made the difference.

"Nate's actions — simply holding each whale until it was still, then gently turning the creatures until they were reoriented and able to navigate on their own once again — saved three whales that day. But to me, his actions are far more significant than he likely imagines. What he did on the beach is instructive for all of us, providing an image that is significant for the intentional process of transformation to which we are called."