Remind Yourself That You Are Small
Sit next to the ocean
Until adulthood I could count on one hand the number of times I’d been to the ocean. I now live on the coast and see the ocean every day. It’s become a constant familiar friend, a friend who always seems to know the right thing to say. I’ve lived near the ocean and I’ve lived on it. I’ve walked along its rocky North Atlantic coastline, I’ve gotten sunburn on the soft golden sand of northern Oahu, I’ve watched the sunrise over craggy icebergs on the Labrador Sea. I’ve been at its mercy. I’ve seen it happy, and angry, and sad. I’ve seen it filled with vengeance and with passion. Every time I sit and watch the ocean waves crashing and bubbling, every time I watch the sun rise and set over the horizon, swells of thoughts and emotions flow through me, carrying comfort, joy, peace, and calm. This piece is a stream-of-consciousness-style flow of those thoughts from my brain and onto paper one day while watching the waves roll in.
The Ocean: the ultimate equalizer.
We are all small and insignificant in the vastness of the ocean. We come to its edge and we walk in, vulnerable in our swimsuits, in our innumerable shapes and sizes and colors and ages. Across time and location, across cultures and ethnicities, we all flock to it. But why? For the pleasure and the joy, to feel cool and refreshed, and for a moment, to be at the mercy of greatness. We’re drawn to at, as if by primal instinct.
It is life and death.
It feeds us, it fuels us, it takes us.
One day, glistening, glassy, calm. The next, smooth and dark and ominous. The next, white-capped and angry and full of energy waiting to be unleashed on our tiny houses and bodies precariously positioned on the withering sand.
It was here on this Earth before we even knew we were here, and it will persist indefinitely long after we are gone and after our children’s children’s children and grandchildren are all gone and forgotten — dust.
It makes us small. It puts my own tiny life in perspective. My problems, my stress, my anger, fears, depression, tears… they all fade in the everlasting ocean of water crashing upon me.
The ebbing, flowing, sinking, growing ocean.
In it, I am minute.
I am small.
And everything is suddenly okay.
Everything is suddenly perfect.
I’ve met no dilemma the ocean cannot soothe. There’s no pain the ocean doesn’t ease. It washes all away. Does any matter really matter anyway? Our jobs, our cars, our loves and loves lost, our pain, our bills, our stuff, money, things, material — none of it will last. All of it will pass and fade and drown.
The ocean, though, it will remain.
It will be vast and I will be small and that’s just how it should be.
A reminder that there’s always something bigger than our selves and our lives. We are not our stuff. We are small. We will fade. The ocean will absorb us and recycle us and put us back into the world anew to again grow and age and dissolve. A small, small part of a bigger, giant, evolving world. I am small. And that’s perfect.
I am okay.
And I will be okay.
I’ll be gone but the ocean will be here. It will continue to be peaceful and angry and life giving and life taking beyond any length of time I can imagine.
We are a temporary blip on the time line of the planet.
And, to me, that is comforting.
Swallow us up, spit us out.
If you like what you just read, please recommend it and then check out more of my ramblings, which are quite different than this piece, at https://medium.com/@writingsolo or tweet me @writingsolo.