The Dalai Lama and The Green Flash

2nd June, 2016

Distributed Wisdom

We were in California recently enjoying a few days in the area between Monterey and Big Sur. What a beautiful coastline it is and very much like North Cornwall with periodic sea mist rolling in to punctuate the sunshine. Enjoying a beach walk on 17 mile drive we saw sea otters, sealions, seals, pelicans, cormorants and even whales (out in the distance.) The perfect environment to restore and relax and gain all the proven health and wellbeing benefits of being near water.  We spent some time near the Lone Cyprus a peaceful location, which for some reason encourages deep reflection (despite the number of visitors), perhaps it is the solitude the tree evokes, strongly standing alone at the edge of the coast.

lone cy

We stopped on our way back to Monterey at another beach (Bird Rock) and sat on some rocks admiring the Pacific. As we were about to leave my attention was drawn to three monks walking along the beach, their vibrant orange and red robes contrasting beautifully against the blue sky and white sand – a vivid image that is still crystal clear in my mind. One of the monks looked distinctly like the Dalai Lama and there was a peaceful quality that surrounded them.

I jokingly said to my husband that the DL was out on the beach getting his Blue Mind on!

Every cell within my wanted to approach them convinced that a profound question or comment of gratitude and compassion would miraculously arise within me on my way toward them… but Julian provided a pretty convincing argument for how it couldn’t possibly be him.

And here is the lesson… You see I didn’t approach them on that day and was surprised when a few days later Laurie a friend of mine shared that she had come across these same monks in Pebble Beach (pictured below)… and we realized it was in fact the Dalai Lama!

Dalai Lama Lone Cyprus

First of all I was hugely disappointed and went through a classic transition curve of shock, denial, blaming Julian, then myself, confusion, acceptance – you know the drill!

I guess my sadness centered around the idea of an opportunity missed… But, I wondered, what was the opportunity I felt that I had lost…?

Was it that… I’d have loved to capture an iconic photograph of them walking on the beach, a hugely powerful image… Yes indeed I would have… but in reality I have that image… it simply exists in my mind… the sadness comes that I cannot share it with you.

Maybe it was that… I would have loved to give DL a blue marble and share gratitude with him for the peace and compassion he brings and encourages within others… also true… but in reality the blue marble symbolizes connection with our blue planet and to see these monks enjoying the coast, I am guessing they already feel a sense of being part of their environment.


It is of course possible I’d have liked to meet him, just for the kudos, so that I could say “I met the DL, him and me are like mates n’all!”… but as a collector of random tales and experiences, I am not sure meeting him versus seeing him rate any differently on the “interesting scale”.

What I do know is that, I would quite have liked to say hi, or thankyou and if anything, the fact that “I didn’t meet the DL”, provides me with a truly valuable lesson… I chose to ignore all the evidence my nervous system was giving me in favour of false logic… trusting my intuition is something I am usually pretty good and it is a habit I encourage in others. Ironically gut wisdom is also something that we discussed often during the next few days of the conference we were in the bay to attend.

So: It just goes to show even an advocate of paying attention to your distributed (mind/body) wisdom can be caught off guard and on occasions ignore the information…

A really useful lesson… Note to self… In future trust my instincts…!

Have you ever opted not to listen to your less conscious energetic “sense of knowing” and later realized there was useful insight there? Please share your examples…

Hope versus Cynicism

The flipside is that for every perceived missed experience there are those moments that take our breath away catching us by surprise!

At the end of the #BlueMind 6 summit a few of us enjoyed a beautiful home cooked dinner in Carmel. We shared stories and laughter in a perfectly relaxed environment, gently beginning to process the last two days insights. We went to the beach to watch the sunset and discussions arose relating to the greenflash. There was a pretty general consensus that it was at most an urban myth or perhaps retina burn and certainly none of us (as regular sunset watchers) had seen it before.

But an odd thing followed… we all began to view the horizon possibly more intently than ever before, not taking our eyes off the dipping sun as it moved toward the sea… I say “odd” because without communicating it directly to one another we were all looking to see if we could see the greenflash.

Remember this is the same greenflash we had moments before all pretty much agreed didn’t exist!

As the last light dipped below the horizon there was a very definite green hue… and then a momentary pause… maybe disbelief/confusion… Teresa was the first to break the silence, yelling… “I saw green, I saw green”… “me too” others shouted and “we saw it, we saw it… it exists”.

All hell broke loose… much of this captured on the video link below since J had noticed our studious postures and snuck up behind us to see what would happen.


We were elated that we had seen it! All of us now knew the Greenflash existed! A distortion in time – a shift in what we knew to be true about the world and a shared memory that will last forever and be present with every viewing of a sunset.

So, what is the relevance? It struck me that this was a great example of shared hope, not faith since none of us had faith that it would appear. In fact we had convinced ourselves of the opposite… and yet we all stood there for those 5 minutes in pure hope of being proven wrong.

Hope is a powerful thing.

The moment we open our mind to possibility we might just be rewarded… Sometimes living hopefully we will not get exactly what we want… but we will certainly gain insight and wisdom in the process. I wouldn’t say we willed the greenflash to happen, but I certainly would prefer to live hopefully than not…

And there is a second part to this tale…

The very next night at another beach a few of us watched the sun go down… in my mind I reminded myself not to be greedy, we had seen one greenflash it would be rude to expect another… (I later found out that my friend Julie too had been saying this to herself)… But we watched in hope… and guess what?

We saw green as the sun disappeared. Not once but twice in a row we had seen the green flash! We heard shrieks from some girls on the beach who had seen their first greenflash and felt immediately connected with them. I ran over and recorded their post greenflash joy!


It fills my heart with gratitude that the world is even more beautiful than we can imagine and can still surprise us. This is exactly why we need to protect this blue marble we inhabit and a reminder for us all to stay hopeful.

Have you ever had your deepest hopes rewarded or really enjoyed being proven wrong? How did you experience this and what did you learn?  Please share your insights.

About Lizzi Larbalestier

Professional Blue Health Coach, mBIT and NLP trainer specialising in coastal coaching. Creating meaningful conversations, facilitating action and change for the results that you deserve. #bluehealthcoach #oceanempathy #bluemind