“Never turn your back on the ocean.” A teaching offered to me as a youngster. Living close to the Oregon Coast where sleeper waves can heave logs on to shore or wash an unsuspecting walker out to sea in an eye-blink, it is a sound piece of wisdom. Even as I connect in my being to the sea as “Mother Ocean,” I was reminded of this on a recent visit when I was knee deep in water seconds after noting the waves were a good 20 feet out and seemed to be biding their time, lapping more than galloping. She wanted my attention—“Daughter, something is stirring.” Something is stirring.
I invite you to visit a farmers’ market this time of year. The abundance flows from the stalls. I fill my bags with local produce even though I know, I mean I KNOW, I won’t get through everything. I am only feeding one person after all. But the fruits and veggies looked so delicious and autumn is underfoot as the first leaves begin to fall. It won’t be much longer and Sweet Sue peaches, Brandywine tomatoes, and Brooks prunes (reminiscent of my childhood) will disappear until next year.
My body moves in water more like thick, embroidery floss through a needlepoint canvas than a dolphin crossing oceans. I am not a proficient swimmer but water feels familiar and lap swimming is as much a spiritual practice for me as exercise. Only after completing a restless hour swimming on Monday the 15th did I become aware that day, July 15th, marked three months since I took my first steps on the shores of Scotland. I couldn’t settle into the present moment of water flowing over my shoulders, spilling down my spine, and splashing behind my kicking feet, but I didn’t know why. Instead I was distracted by the pain in my left leg that lingers since I fell hiking over two weeks ago; frustrated I can’t walk this land and reacquaint myself with these trees and hills. Distracted by strands of past conversations that dropped into my head, following them into thickets of brambles that poked and scratched me and serve no purpose but to hurt. Back and forth I swam, trying to release the distractions.
As I hear my story, I see it is only one perspective, one small journey. Yes, it is important. Important for my own healing and growth. But I also need to step away from my story so I don’t become self-focused forgetting there is a larger narrative. If I lose sight of the larger narrative, then I am not willing to reflect on my own prejudices, see that alongside my own indignities there is also privilege.