I’m a water baby. We lived in Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan, but it turns out the ocean is my beloved. One of my finest early memories is of going with family friends to Rehoboth Beach. I was three. There were sand dunes with sprigs of grasses waving in the breeze. Then there was a beach to cross and then the ocean. My mom filled in the details of the memory. When the car stopped and the door opened, I was over the dunes, across the beach and in the ocean before any of the adults could stop me. In the ocean; even at three I knew that’s where I belong. When I was seven we moved to a little island in the Chesapeake Bay, and I had my heart’s deelpest desire, water all around, many months of the year warmly welcoming. The island felt safe enough to my parents that I was allowed to roam and explore without supervision. I dammed up streams, slid my feet and then the rest of me into the river and the bay, swam in the pond in front of our house. It was this growing up time that called me to Hawaii many years later. I had done The Artist’s Way program of Julia Cameron. I did it on my own sitting at a picnic table in the redwoods in Northern California. One exercise asked me to write about my Ideal Day from waking until I went to bed at night. Many things on that Ideal Day were easy where I lived, but one called me to Hawaii: I wanted to swim in natural warm water every day, 365 days a year. Where to do that? Our Northern California beaches were lovely, but the ocean was always cold. For warm waters, Hawaii seemed the obvious choice. It took me a few years to get there, but I’ve lived in Hawaii off and on for the past 25 years. What is it about the ocean that calls me to it’s heart? I think that’s it: The heart of the ocean calls my heart to itself. When I’m in the ocean, my boundaries dissolve and I find myself just eyes, watching myself swimming in myself. Liquid has to do with flow. with fluidity. I have a sense that life is much like a river, flowing were it’s headed, and I’m along for the ride. As with a river which is certainly about change, the water from one moment to the split-second next is never the same. Yet it always remains water—never the same, always the same. As time goes on, I find myself happier going with the river rather than trying to swim upstrea. I suspect it has to do with trust. Trust comes from Old Norse, traustra, meaning ‘strong,’ relying on the strength of life’s flow. It still surprises me, that I find myself trusting the process of life, being interested in where the river is taking me but trusting that where I’m heading is good.
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