One of my very favorite places is the beach. Sure, the three
Sís are an attraction: sun, sand, and seafood. But the main
draw is the ocean. The ocean symbolizes all of life,
carrying many analogies that help me stay in tune with the
meaning of life.
Reason One: The ocean calms. It infuses with the peace and
tranquility of understanding and insight. Subconsciously we
say, "Oh, this is what life is all about. It isnít so
mysterious after all." Someone recently said to me, "Itís
natural to be at the ocean." What that means to me is that
the ocean is one of the places my soul wants me to be--
because there I can more easily see my truths about life.
Reason Two: The ocean is vast, mysterious, and multifaceted.
It can be peaceful one moment and terrifying the next. The
ocean is deep, unexplored at its deepest reaches. Filled
with an incomprehensible array of life, it is simultaneously
complex and simple. Our lives are also vast, mysterious, and
multifaceted--weíre peaceful one moment, terrified the next.
Seeing a reflection of life outside of me helps me to accept
the many unknowns about life.
Reason Three: The ocean reminds me that life is eternal. The
ocean is relentless, ever changing yet always the same. Each
moment of the ocean is different from the moment before.
Colors change with the shifting light. Waves change with the
shifting wind. Water temperatures fluctuate, sometimes
abruptly. Yet with the constant change there is also a
familiar continuity. This reminds me that life goes on.
Though a wave may crash upon the beach and appear destroyed,
the inherent life force of the wave silently retreats to
eventually form a new wave.
Reason Four: I remember that to co-exist successfully in
life I must join an oncoming force at just the right time.
Waves can batter or propel, as can lifeís new circumstances.
Standing firm in the face of a wave requires me to be rigid,
muscles tensed, and body braced against the battering
onslaught. I can stand firm against each wave, but the
energy required eventually takes its toll. Or I can catch a
wave at its peak, join with it, and ride it out. The ride
can be exhilarating and joyous. Such is life. Accept and
join with the force of a new life circumstance--the ride can
be exhilarating and joyous.
Reason Five: Being with the ocean is satisfying in itself.
At home, Iím doing things most of the time. Yet at the ocean
I can just sit and be with it for hours on end. I donít have
to accomplish anything to feel the day is successful--
success is simply being there. Absorbing the sights, sounds,
smells, and feel of the ocean environment satisfies my inner
desires for accomplishment. Each day of life can bring the
same inner satisfaction--just by absorbing my surroundings.
Reason Six: The ocean supports a near endless variety of
life forms. No one form seems favored, none is chosen. There
is no single way to succeed within the oceanís depths. Life
forms take different approaches to feeding and reproducing.
And the ocean accepts them all. We tend to search for the
one right way to succeed in our lives. Self proclaimed
experts tell us their way is favored, their way is right.
But observing the ocean reminds me that any way that works
for us is right--weíre all right.
Reason Seven: I feel connected in and around the ocean--not
only to other people, but also to all of nature. We remove
our protective barriers, exposing more of who we are. We
shed our clothing and spread our bodies to the elements and
each other. Contrast the body posture of people at a beach
with those on a subway or city bus. On the bus, people turn
inward with shoulders hunched, eyes down or set upon some
distant place to avoid contact with others. Arms are folded
and legs are crossed. On a beach people turn outward, arms
spread wide, legs wide apart, and eyes easily making contact
with other people.
Perhaps Iím closer to God at the ocean--or Iím paying more
attention there, being more open to her communications.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Copywrite 2003, all rights reserved. Jerry Lopper is an
author, personal coach, and consultant. His workshops,
ebooks, articles, and coaching are available through
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