By Jennifer Miller
The beauty in nature can teach us so much about life and our place in it. I have been kayaking in the ocean on Saturday mornings for the past few weeks and have come to marvel at the simple wonders that abound off the coast.
We launched through the surf and were immediately “skimming” through a unique world, where sea lions frolicked in the water and shared a large rock with pelicans and other birds. These creatures were clearly “in the moment”, present within themselves as they swam, searched for food and basked in the sun. I could watch (and learn from them) for hours!
Landing at Laguna’s Main Beach, I met a homeless woman on a bench reading a Bible. She agreed to watch the kayak and paddles, which we had parked next to her sleeping bag and worldly possessions, for us while we walked over to a local cafe for breakfast. She asked if we could bring her back a cup of ice water but we included a bagel. She was very grateful for the little surprise. The beauty of simple moments in life.
The trip back north along the coastline was remarkable for the different activities of people “sharing” the sea: snorkelers, scuba divers, paddle boarders, kayakers, and swimmers.
We encountered over thirty outdoor enthusiasts on our five-mile paddle, yet the only sounds were that of the waves, birds and barking sea lions. The quote by Gandhi was never more appropriate:
“Speak only if it improves upon the silence.”
Approaching the completion of our journey, the final landing reminded me of an episode of Hawaii 50 and riding a wave in through the surf. All went according to plan until two waves first spun the kayak sideways and then dumped us unceremoniously on the sand and foaming water. The shock of first being in silent partnership with nature and then being “roughed up” by its power and unpredictability, is truly a metaphor for life.
Our lives can proceed in planned and simple harmony and then “wham”, we are knocked off our feet and must struggle with disruption and crisis. But picking ourselves up, drying off, and re-establishing order is a necessity for a happy life. We must find the humor in painful moments which will keep us grounded, and not over-reacting to circumstances.
Just like the flow of the ocean, we must “go with the flow” of our lives. The only absolute constant in life, is change. It is how we react to and handle this change, that determines our happiness. I choose to be at peace in life, and staying in the moment.
Namaste, Jennifer Miller