11 Feb Yearning to Get back to the Sea
All summer long I have been anxious and yearning to get back to the sea – not the busy, garish Jersey shore with lights and rides and thousands of people – but the quiet autumn and winter beaches of my childhood and early adulthood. I feel the need to smell the sea, be soothed by the sound of the waves lapping on the beach, and feel the stones and unevenness of the beach beneath my feet. I need to walk and absorb this environment until my heart rate slows down to match the rate of the sea lapping onto the shore. If you have ever lived close enough to the beach to visit it in all its moods, you will also have experienced the peace being there can bring.
Yesterday as I was once again trying to puzzle out my current need for being by the sea, it came to me. Just as the waves rush up over the beach, they also retreat, taking with them the sand, flotsam and jetsam, leaving only the deeply buried stones and materials that have becomes embedded in the beach, so does life rush over us. It urges us to let go of all the facades and emotional protection that we have built up, and washes us back to who we really are. Who we need to be as we start our next step in life, what is really important to us, and how we can bring that to the world.
Magazine articles would have us believe that a few sitting minutes quietly will calm our anxiety and reveal our deepest desires, that we will then instantly turn into a wildly popular blog – or a business. Sadly, like most of life, it takes rather more than a few minutes. For the past few months I have been delving into what I am really intended to bring to the world for the next 20-30 years. I get glimpses, I find elements of passions that feel authentic, but which don’t alone make much sense. All that is clear is that I need to teach and create, but that is still a rather broad brief!
All of this brings me back to my desire to be by the sea. When I was anxious, the sound thundering of the sea and crashing waves would temporarily carry the emotional load for me, when I tried to be too clever and swim beyond my capabilities, the sea would try to consume me – we have a relationship, though I am well aware who is the boss! Right now as I try to understand the many jigsaw puzzle parts I am finding in my life, I feel drawn back to the sea to walk and think and let the pieces fall into place – and let the anxiety of having to make everything perfect fall away.
Much as I love lakes and rivers, they don’t hold me in thrall in the same way. I was born by the sea, had my greatest freedoms – and frustrations – by the sea, and learned from my equally sea-led father that the sea is where you go to “sort things out”. A good, gusty, walk on the beach, slithering and clambering over rocks and cliffs, and you gain a new perspective on what drove you to the sea. So I need to get back to the sea, both physically and metaphorically, to find out how I am going to move forwards, calm my anxiety, and understand how to turn my passions into my purpose.