Wisdom from the Ocean

Looking for answers at the beach

In doing research for a book I’m writing, I’ve been reading some old journals. This is a very meaningful entry from June of 2005, just before I quit my high falutin’ CFO job and started massage school.

At the end of my morning walk on the beach, I felt an almost religious affinity with the ocean. Just watching, hearing, feeling it was like worshipping. It seemed to share with me its wisdom and energy with the waves coming in, and take away my confusion and self-doubt with the waves going out. It told me how its destiny and path are not set by the boats that float along it. It doesn’t need them, or the shore, to set its course. Its course is set, and the rest conform, fight against, or go with, the tides. But the ocean doesn’t care. It is concerned only with its own ebb and flow; moving what it can, flowing around what it cannot. But always setting its own direction. As I finished my walk, I thanked the ocean for sharing its secrets with me. I feel more grounded and whole than I ever have before. Life is good.

In life, you are the boat on the ocean. Just a small speck in the great Universe. Sometimes the ocean is stormy, and you hang on for dear life, waiting out the storm. If you’re going with the tides of the ocean, it carries you along peacefully. If your journey takes you against the tide, it bashes against you, catapulting your boat into the air and feeling as if it will tear your boat apart. If you are a seasoned captain, this can be exhilarating. When you get out far enough from the shore and the ocean is quiet, then you feel in tune with the Universe. The ocean is lapping at the sides of your boat and allowing you to make good progress along your journey. You have weathered the storms and gained the knowledge you need to find your way.

Once you’ve made it through the tides; through the storms; through the tough times, you arrive at the still sea where you have complete control over your boat. This is nice and you want to stay in this place forever. You make such amazing headway, and you think you’ve got it all figured out.

Then you see the dark clouds on the horizon and know that you are heading for another storm. There’s no escaping the storm. If you turn and go the other direction, it will eventually catch up with you, and you will have lost advancement on your journey. So you forge on, bracing yourself for the worst. When you hit this storm, you may feel like you’ve done something wrong. You were just in the sweet spot, where everything was going wonderfully, and now you’re in for such difficulty.

I believe these “storms” are part of your life for a reason, but the reason is not that you did anything wrong. You didn’t earn cancer or a stroke or the loss of a loved one. But it is a part of your journey. And maybe, one day, you’ll look back and see that you learned something you needed later, you got stronger for other storms that led you to peaceful waters. But in some cases, you look back, and all you see is an awful storm that you somehow made it through. You don’t feel like you learned anything; you feel weaker instead of stronger; it just plain sucked. Don’t allow yourself to wonder what you did to deserve it. When a storm strikes, it’s no one’s fault. There is no blame assessed—it just happened. Sometimes the only thing you can take from it is that you did make it through, and there is a reason that you are still sailing along. Now it’s time to set sail for smoother waters.

In all of these circumstances, however, you must steer your boat, and make the best of the movement of the ocean you are on. You cannot let yourself try to control the ocean or the storms. Not only are the rough seas and storms not your fault, they are not in your control. All you can do is be alert, make whatever adjustments seem positive, and make the best of the situations in which you find yourself. And take time to enjoy the beautiful sunsets and calm seas when they come along.

Ahoy, friends!

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