The idea for The POD first emerged in the early 1990's, fuelled by a series of 'coincidences', dreams and a dose or two of good dolphin luck. Founder Jason Cressey explains...
The first time I saw a dolphin was in a terrible place called Marineland, long since closed, in my native Yorkshire, UK. I remember watching these dolphins towing children around a concrete pool in an inflatable boat. I was even invited to participate, but (shy as I was) there was something inside me which made me feel so very sad and angry to see the dolphins imprisoned in this lifeless pool that I defiantly refused. Dolphins and whales belong in one place and one place only - the ocean.
It was to be many years until I saw another dolphin, though the image of that day stayed firmly with me. When, after a series of coincidences, I found myself in a wonderful place called Monkey Mia, Western Australia, in late 1993 I had the immense privilege to look a wild bottlenose dolphin in the eye. This dolphin (now, sadly, no longer with us) was called 'Holey Fin', and those few seconds (or was it minutes?) of her looking into my eyes changed my life. She not only looked at me, she looked into me - and accepted everything unconditionally.
At that time I was finishing a rigorously scientific PhD in psychology at Oxford University in Britain. I am grateful for the objective, scientific approach this gave me - yet I made a very conscious decision when the PhD was completed that I would not dedicate my life to worshipping at the altar of science. There are simply some things that can't, maybe shouldn't, be explained...and, for me, dolphins and whales provide a wonderful combination of the mystical and the scientifically astonishing (well, who else can hold their breath for 2 hours, or weigh as much as 2000 people? And we know their brains are enormous, but we have no idea why!). In other words, these wonderful, graceful, gentle beings satisfy and stimulate both the left brain and right brain, and much more besides...
Being with dolphins and whales elicits tremendous joy in people - and, personally, I don't feel the need to try and completely explain that or use technical equipment to prove anything. Everyone needs a little magic in their lives, and if dolphins and whales instill that magic in a person - be it through video, the internet, meditation or a physical encounter - that's wonderful. As long as we see dolphins and whales as sentient, living beings with whom we share this planet, and not as gods or oceanic 'teddy bears' to whom we bestow all the responsibility that we should each assume ourselves for our own lives, we have much to learn about and from them.
I have learned much in the company of whales and dolphins and - above all - I feel deeply privileged that a lot of study, energy, dedication and support from the dearest people in my life allows me to do something I honestly love. I am able to share my passion and enthusiasm through lectures, workshops, written and spoken words and, in particular, arranging and leading trips for people to encounter their own little piece of magic. I'm also delighted to have completed 'Deep Voices: The Wisdom of Whales and Dolphin Tales' - a book you can order through this website all about dolphins and whales in world mythology and the sacred beliefs of indigenous peoples.
My work involves a certain degree of 'glamour', yes, though also entails a lot of hard work, organisational issues, business administration and tremendous resourcefulness - but I wouldn't want to be doing anything else! Each day I try to follow perhaps the simplest abiding principle that dolphins and whales have inspired in me, and which is sound advice for anyone wishing to follow their passion and realise their dreams...
Check out Jason's other site at Motivation In Mind
Questions or comments? E-Mail The POD!
© The POD - People, Oceans, Dolphins 2002