I wish I lived near the beach. It’s interesting because years ago I had my natal chart read. I found an astrologer and sent her the date and time of my birth and she in turn sent me a map of the alignments of the planets and stars at the exact moment of my birth. Fascinating. One of the things my chart told me was that I am deficient in Water, of the four elements, Earth, Fire, Water and Air. It advised that I should either live near water or drink a lot of water everyday. Even before this information was shared with me, I have always felt very drawn to the sea. So, someday, I would like to live by the beach so I could walk at the water’s edge every morning as I did when I was on vacation. It is at the top of my list of “well fillers”.
As long as I’ve been visiting the beach, I’ve listened to my Dad’s stories about his passion for fishing. Fishing is one of his well fillers, I think, and it really doesn’t have all that much to do with the fish or actually catching them, if that makes any sense. It is the whole experience of being at the water’s edge or out on the sea in a boat and interacting with it. My Dad’s passion, even though it is much different from my own, has inspired my passions for nature and art and photography.
As we look to our parents and those venerable elders who have influenced our lives, it is there that we can learn more about ourselves. I am grateful for so much my Dad has taught me about life.
I was sad to leave this wonderful place and week of Being but have come home with its wisdom of connecting, with myself, with my family and with Nature.
A week ago last Sunday, I let go of my regular day-to-day life and journeyed down to the shore again. Once I exited the Garden State Parkway, I opened my car windows wide to welcome the ocean breeze that greeted me as I got closer to the sea. As I turned down the road that would lead me to the beach, I felt all of the tension melt away as I inhaled the cool salty air. Once again, I was taken back to my origins and my inner self as I experienced a week of just “Being”.
Even though I had the perfect opportunity to sleep in, I rose every morning around 6am and had my tea out on the balcony. I listened to the songbirds greet the day and watched the terns and gulls as they wheeled across the sky. Constant was the gentle roar of the surf, a sound that spoke to the deepest parts of me as I watched the waves rise and fall.
I walked the beach every morning for about an hour before the beachgoers started to stake their claim on the sand. I passed fishermen sitting patiently next to their rows of poles and wide-eyed small children splash and dart at the water’s edge. I felt such a sense of calm envelop me as I placed one foot in front of the other and moved along the beach. As Eckhardt Tolle suggests in his books “A New Earth” and “The Power of Now”, I emptied my mind as best I could and immersed myself completely in that moment. It was challenging at first because my mind wanted to think about all of the issues in my life and what was going on. I pushed past those thoughts and kept bringing myself back to the feel of my feet against the sand and the rhythm of my breathing. I came to understand what Thich Nhat Hanh refers to when he suggests “walking meditation” as a good way to connect with yourself. Not only was I able to connect with myself but I also felt connected to everything else. This gave me such a great comfort.
I’m fascinated by waves and always have been since I was very young. There is something magical about the way they are created , how they rise and peak and then crash onto the shore. Studying the movement of waves has taught me of life cycles – gestation and birth: the rising up and creation of the wave, the period of a life: the wave at its full height and crest, and death: the falling down to earth and dissolution. The wave is absorbed back into the water to create another wave and this cycle keeps repeating itself. Just like our lives.