Recently on a trip to the beach with my family, I encountered a lesson on multiple levels that I would like to share with you in hopes that something about this story resonates with your Spirit. I shared it openly in a Reiki class Sunday and felt the joy and fun of storytelling. That feeling prompted to me to share with you here as well.
Each day on the beach I kept looking at the sandbar in the distance. The water was epicly gorgeous, so crystal clear and blue. We were on the gulf coast at Pensacola beach, a place we have loved since my children were little. We were fortunate this time around, as we had been so many times in past, the weather and the water was clear and beautiful. However, the sandbar in the distance taunted me, calling out to me daily. You could see the water get lighter out there with the sand underneath. I sat on the beach calculating how far it was, wondering if I could get there and stand up and wave back to my family on the beach. It became an obsession of some sorts, a challenge I had given myself. It is true that I love adventure. Perhaps the serenity of the beach wasn’t all I needed, I needed some excitement.
My daughter Emma, who is also adventurous, had the same idea. We enjoyed weighing the risks while sitting comfortably on the beach. Could we swim that far and then stand out there on the distance sandbar? As a mom, even though she is now 20, I wasn’t going to let her do it without making sure it was safe first. It is funny to me how I caution my children firmly about being careful yet take risks of my own. Invariably, they too will take risks, make mistakes, learn from those mistakes and shine in their own unique and glorious ways.
Well the day came. It was day day 4 of our trip. The sandbar was taunting me again. I noticed that a little further down the beach the distance to the sandbar seemed to be less. Announcing to my family that I was going to swim to the sandbar, I got up and starting walking down the beach. My goal, I told them, was to get out there, stand up, and wave back to them! My family is not surprised when I do things like this in the least. And because I do it with such self assuredness they don’t seem to worry or question me much. Or maybe they learned years ago I am a nut. You would have to ask them which is true I guess.
Here I am now, in the ocean, swimming out to the sandbar. It is a glorious day. The sun is bright and the water is clear and relatively calm. Everything is great. I am getting further out and the sandbar doesn’t seem to be getting that much closer. I see it. I keep swimming. At one point, I turn around and wave back to my family. They wave back. And I keep going. A look ahead to see the how much further until I make it to my destination, the sandbar! Honestly, it was very close, I may have even been in the lighter part of the water at this point. However, I couldn’t say for sure and I couldn’t stand up. It then became clear that continuing to swim further out to sea was not wise. I would need to forgo my goal of reaching the sandbar. I was disappointed yet clear. I even laughed at myself internally for being so determined. I am a decent swimmer but not at all conditioned to swim long distances by any means. Am I being adventurous or careless came to my mind.
The decision was clear, turn around Emily. When I looked back at the beach I realized just how far out I was at this point. A very visceral wave of fear washed over me. At this very moment a very clear and wise voice spoke to me in my head. She said “this is when people panic and drown. Do not panic, relax and breath and let the current help you.” I then had this thought- fear is a vibration and I do not want to signal to any predators in this deep water that I am a mammal in distress, aka food. Getting a bit tired at this point, I began floating on my back and doing a leisurely back stroke. Ah, the day became beautiful again, the sky was so blue. I recouped some energy and flipped over to swim with more fervor. As I looked towards the shore I noticed a dozen or so people lining the beach. At first, I wondered what they were looking at. What did they see? A Shark? No Ma’am, wipe that thought out. Oh wait, they are looking at me! Shit, am I that far out? I wasn’t panicked but I felt there concern and panic for me and to be honest it freaked me out a bit. I consciously tuned them out and kept swimming. I was ok. Dory sang to me, just keep swimming, just keep swimming. I was relaxed and happily swimming again. At this point, I now noticed a red truck on the beach. Next thing I see is a quintessential young beach blond life guard paddling out on a surfboard, TO ME! “Are you ok?” he said, I said to him “yeah I am fine but the people on the beach are freaking me out.” He told me he thought I was ok but he had to do his job because there was concern. I thanked him sincerely for checking on me. He then asked if I wanted a ride in which I declined keeping my pride intact and honestly I didn't need it. I was ok. I wanted to swim in to complete my epic journey.
As I made my way in closer I met my daughters in the water. They were very excited by the whole thing. Your Mom bringing about this kind of spectacle doesn’t happen everyday. I chose to stay in the water chatting with them and swimming rather than deal with any awkward attention from the onlookers on the beach. After all, I was fine. Everyone went back to lounging. The excitement of the 40 something year old woman swimming to her near death was over. I kid, I know the intention was good. Had I been in danger, I would be grateful for their concern. My daughters said they knew I was fine but somehow the lifeguard had been alerted. Perhaps it was by the helicopter that flies over the water all day long looking for swimmers in distress or sharks or both! My daughters even told my husband to tell the lifeguard I was ok. He refused, saying he wasn’t sure if I was and he wasn’t going to take a chance if I wasn’t. He was scared. I have given him a fright many times over the years with my adventurous Spirit.
I pondered this experience deeply. It felt like there was gold here to mine. And it all came in very clear. There is fear and panic all around us. We feel like we are drowning at times. There is also a current pulling us to some new potential. It is Spirit. Our ability to chose to drown or surrender has never been so critical. It isn’t easy to chose a faith in a loving presence guiding our lives when there seems to be such disconnection. I have often found myself weighted down by grief and pain, both personal and collective. The suffering so intense I have cried out for help/relief/release. It comes strongest in the release, when we just let go of holding it together and give ourselves permission to wale, growl, and moan with it. It is very primal and powerful to give yourself permission to FEEL. I am no stranger to deep, gut wrenching pain. And during these times a wise, sage voice has come to me speaking words of self love, self transformation, self compassion, self forgiveness and peace. A gentle yet fierce energy calling me home to my self, my center, my truth. This voice guides me to swim in waterfalls, walk barefoot on the Earth, sit and connect my energy with trees and speak to the stars. She doesn’t see me as anything other than Divine, even in my human frailty. This voice is ancient and eternal. We all have this voice, the inborn wise teacher and guardian. It is my aim to continue to listen more closely and assist others in doing the same. And to be very clear, hearing this voice is Divine. Following the wisdom of this voice is nothing short of transformational. And ignoring this voice is asking for more of the same. I have tested both theories out myself many times getting more clarity every time. The Great Upward Spiral!
Relax. Float on your back. Look at the blue sky. Take a breath. The current will take you home. Do not be dismayed by the masses. Follow your own true north.
We are healed, whole and complete.