Like many other beach lovers, I realize that the ocean is home for me. So now I make sure that I get to the ocean as often as possible. I’ve traveled to many beaches at different times of the year and have begun to learn the many nuances of the sea. In early spring the water is brisk and refreshing, while in summertime the ocean is cool and fairly calm and the waves bounce around playfully. In September, everyone rushes to the beach for Labor Day weekend to say the final goodbyes to summer. The water is very warm and inviting, but waves are crashing high in anticipation of the imminent winds of the autumn season.
This weekend the waves were especially tall and intense, coming in fast and cresting over into foamy bubbles at the shore. And like any homecoming visit, I couldn’t wait to get out there and frolic around with my “friends.” So I played with the waves, crashing and splashing and jumping around. I probably looked about five, rather than thirty-five years old! It was so exhilarating that I briefly pondered becoming a surfer to become more at one with the waves and stand straight on top of them. So there I was jumping and floating like those around me, some with boogie boards, and one or two kids with actual surf boards. These waves were really extraordinary, some one or two feet above my head. It was just amazing. I swallowed more than a little bit of salt water and got knocked down a few times. One wipeout flipped me complete upside down under the water and it was just wonderful! When I first entered the water I had on a pair of hoops that are usually secure in the water and beach friendly during other times in the year; but not this time. After the first two or three waves with I came up one earring missing, so I gave the other one up and counted the gold-colored circles as an offering to Yemoja, goddess of the sea.
Unlike past beach visits, I was experiencing a spiritual block so my first day at the beach didn’t yield much inspiration or deep reflection. I tried to focus but came up with nothing. I didn’t have any rituals to do, things I wanted to cleanse, or divine aspirations and dreams to affirm. I was experiencing soul congestion I guess. At present I am grappling with and needing to heal some upheavals that occurred in my professional life and with my mental health, both of which began about a year and a half ago. Though some time has passed, those two areas are sites of recurring issues and difficulties that seem to keep coming up in my life.
I was reading a novel and got the idea to think of these pains as storms that continually wear away at a lighthouse. The author implied that storms would keep coming across the seasons and that after so many storms lighthouse might need to be rebuilt a time or two after sustaining significant damage. Acceptance. Restoration. I like this metaphor; I like storms… and I like thinking of myself as lighthouse (guess myself esteem is still intact). But the waves that came crashing my way ever 20 to 30 seconds today, made so much more sense. They occurred because they were supposed to; they were fast and full of power and force. But they were so much fun if you weren’t afraid and dared to enjoy them. The ocean water wasn’t deep at all, the sun was shining and there were lots of people around. Like in life, you didn’t know when the next wave was coming or how soon it would crest or how high it would be. You didn’t know if they next one coming might knock you on your ass, but if it did you enjoyed it, got up and got ready to see what the next wave would be like. Some of the waves weren’t as forceful, but their height seemed scary until you realized you could float right on top of it. These high and crashing waves don’t trouble the sea all the time, just in certain seasons. You don’t have to be an expert swimmer, or really know how to swim at all. You just need to be able to jump as high as you can and be able to float a little bit.
If you’ve never been wave jumping then none of this will make sense. But I left the beach today with some peace about the rapid rearrangements that seem to be occurring everyday when I go to work, the disappointment of dreams deferred, and the ebbing highs and lows of my mental health and wellness. What if, as I did in the ocean, I had fun as these forceful waves seemingly slapped me around and tossed me about? What if I realized that the general conditions of my surroundings hadn’t changed or become life threatening and instead decided to jump and play in the ups and downs? That seems pretty unconventional to me, but I think I’ll try it. Summer is over, the fall winds are approaching and eventually winter will follow. I’m deciding that winter blues can’t be my story this year so I will need to try new things. This time I’m gonna try splashing around in the waves, floating and squealing and having fun even if I’m feeling knocked around a bit. At the end of this life I want my story to be that I loved well, gave freely, and enjoyed myself. The first two I do alright right with, but its time that I practice pleasure as a principle. It’s time that I commit to living and having fun along the way.