“Without giving up hope—that there’s somewhere better to be, that there’s someone better to be—we will never relax with where we are or who we are.” ~ Pema Chodron
The cold Pacific surf is pounding outside our oceanfront room in Tofino, British Columbia.
This is surfer’s paradise—those surfers who love cold water and the wild, west coast of Vancouver Island.
I am here on a four day getaway with my lover, celebrating 23 years of togetherness, and a future we have been manifesting together. Five hours drive from home, we are being infused with tranquility.
Between visiting our daughter, yoga and meditation classes, meals shared and walks taken, it is still easy for me to get lost in my work, which comes with me wherever I go. Being a creative—in my case, a writer—carries the danger of becoming lost within the mind, exploring all those caverns where ideas are born and gestated.
I am always engaged in a balancing act of filling and emptying my creative vessel.
This weekend, I have brought my computer to stay on top of my social media, which is how I connect with my readers. It is how I am able to find my tribe. It is my joy to exchange daily anecdotes with people from all over the world who read my elephant journal posts and the novels I have penned. But sometimes, for my partner, the business of writing becomes exactly that—too much work and not enough play. He is supportive without end, but I see those moments in his eyes when he wonders if I will ever be done with the stories, the poems, the connection to the numinous that keeps my inspiration fed.
This morning, as the frost lifted from the shrubbery and trees, I stood facing the wildness before me asking for wisdom. I asked for peace in the midst of turmoil as the waves crashed and the water frothed, and my mind churned with possibilities. I wanted so badly to turn away and write out the flood of words in my heart and brain. But stillness called and spirit spoke.
Stand still and see how I am at once turbulence and peace.
Watch as I am myself wave after wave, never attempting to please anyone but myself. I am perfect as I am.
See how I roll into the shore then leave it, both without expectation, what will be, will be.
Checking in with myself, deep in my belly, down to the marrow of my bones, I asked for guidance. Where are those lost pieces of myself that somehow fall away when I stop being present?
When was the moment that I lost touch with the flow of my breath, the simple in and out of my life force?
Why do I run from the absolute bliss of doing nothing but being?
The surfers paddle and paddle, they seek that wave that will host their ride, their effort often thwarted, yet joyful in all of what they do. The perfect wave may remain elusive, but the joy is in the journey.
“Wake up, wake up,” whispers the ocean. “Stay here, stay with me, stay with yourself. Open to wonder. Open to the stillness. Stay! Stay! No, it is not time yet to go. Find my heartbeat. Feel your own. Put your ear to the wet sand and hear your mother’s sigh. There, right there, you will find all that you seek.”
I pay attention, humbled and grateful. I close my eyes. The waves make me dizzy with their loudness. I hear the crows, the tourists, the dogs barking and feel the sun on my face.
A few more breaths and I am alone. All alone. Soon I hear only my heartbeat and the heartbeat of the ocean. In and out, the waves crash my soul. Soon there is only me on the earth, soon there is no sound, and then I find myself, whole, a pulsating beam of light in a vast universe.
Here, there is nothing to write, or think or plan. Here the ocean has swallowed me and is bathing me in salty womb water.
Here, I am home. I breathe. One breath in, one breath out. This is life, in its completeness.
Staying present is the gift I can give to myself each and every day.
Author: Monika Carless
Photo: Author’s own
Editor: Lieselle Davidson