On Bringing the Sea to the Self


                      “We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface                                  but connected in the deep.”

-William James


“The sea” for me is truly about connecting with nature. (Click here if you haven't already read how the sea helped me transform my greatest fears when I was facing breast cancer.)  We can watch water journey over time: droplets of vapor in the air gather in clouds and come pouring back down as life-giving rain to replenish the source and then disperse once again. Water very powerfully conveys wisdom about the cycles of life. The more time we spend outdoors, the better able we are to see how deeply entwined these cycles are with our own lives. We come to see that we are not separate from, but are very much a part of the organic world around us.

Someone once asked me, “What if I cannot get to the sea?” Perhaps there is another body of water that is more readily accessible to you. Any source of water will do. You may find that you live quite near to a pond, lake, swamp, marsh, bay, trickling stream, or rushing river. Each source of water has its own qualities, even its own “personality.” Each supports its own unique ecosystem, and provides nourishment for different types of animals and plants. Sitting beside the water can help to quiet our mind. Observing the natural world offers us valuable insights about our own inner wilderness. Soon you will find that even if you live in the desert, you can still visualize and meditate upon your own personal “sea.”

If you cannot journey to a body of water, you can at least get to the water from your own bathtub or shower. Perhaps a bowl of water can be placed somewhere in your home reserved for quiet daily reflection or meditation.   Water (particularly from a natural, flowing source) is a living entity. It has the ability to change us. It can help to transform our emotions. If we’re upset, and we’re open to the healing power of water, we can allow it to cleanse us. It can help take some of our pain away. The change is subtle, especially at first. There is a degree of imagination involved here, which can strengthen in time. Yet the feeling of release is quite tangible. The element of water can be a profound way of helping us transform our personal energy.

Pay attention to what you are drawn to. The positive things you feel pulled toward can be tremendous resources in your life. It matters less what these things specifically are. The importance lies in identifying what is rewarding to you and making regular space in your routine for these activities. Some people find their quiet inner space while repairing cars or making people laugh. For others, it is yoga or gardening. Some find teaching children, sewing, or home improvement projects incredibly enjoyable. There are as many ways of finding and connecting with our deeper inner Self as there are people. That is what “the sea” is for me. What resonates with one may not resonate with another. We each have our own way, and that’s a beautiful thing!

Truly, “the sea” lies within us—and is all around. It is something different for each of us. We are collectively drawn to rewarding activities of one kind or another; we each have something meaningful in our lives that calls to us. Whether it’s dancing, photography, parenting, serving meals at the soup kitchen, or running—it doesn’t much matter what it is—it’s about the space we reach within ourselves during that activity. Where our thoughts and breathing slow, and we feel a sense of wholeness and purpose inside—that is “the sea,” for me. It might be something different for you.

How do you cultivate a deeper sense of purpose? If you feel incomplete or feel that your daily routine no longer leaves you satisfied, look closely at what Life is telling you. It is essential to do what you feel called to do because this will empower you. Take the time to find something that is enjoyable to you, that brings you pleasure and helps you feel truly alive. This doesn’t mean that you need to quit your job—it’s often enough to embrace a new hobby or attitude that carries over into your day-to-day roles and responsibilities.

Click here to learn more about how to find the "sea" in your own personal life!