Allow the Ebb & Go with the Flow in these challenging times
Summer 2019, By Ariana Strozzi Mazzucchi, © 8/9/19
We were driving up the coast today and I was imagining the coastline as it may have been two hundred years ago. I remembered a talk I heard that said this shoreline used to be hundreds of feet further out in the ocean. And now I look out and see cliffs being eroded by the intense waters of change. We drive past Salmon Creek where Coastal Highway 1 has become a one lane road and the houses that used to rest at the cliff’s edge are gone, swept into the ocean returning the cement foundations to their origins. There’s one house left and it’s for sale. Is it a sign of the times, an elegant Sotheby’s sign on what once was an amazing house now doomed to be swept off of its foundation and to disappear forever? Who would buy it? What is actually for sale?
And the ocean keeps changing. The tide comes in and the tide goes out. I see people standing on the edge of the cliff looking down at the sea lions sunbathing below. The sun glistens on the deep waters finding its way through the sheets of clouds. Are the clouds trying to hide the sea? Or are the rays of sun trying to pierce through? Which story matters?
I see a sad man in his car. I sense his loneliness. I imagine he has come to the world’s edge to ask the ocean to wash away the pain. The salty air knows how to take those tears out to sea and feed the turtles on the other side of the world.
Meanwhile the surfers get naked in the parking lot, donning their wet suits so they can try to conquer the next wave, only to return to the sea over and over again.
My grandson and I pick Nori seaweed off the rocks before the tide comes in. We’re lucky today. Everything and nothing happens on the water’s edge. Pain felt, sorrow spent, love inspired, colors seen, mist sensed, and always life and death. Life and death. The silent drum of the earth keeps beating its regular beat. Breathing in, breathing out. The tide comes in, the tide goes out. Sad man leaves, tears returning to the beginning of nowhere. Sea lion born nestles with mom.
For perhaps the thousandth time, I ask the salty sky, “What is the meaning of life anyway?” Silence. Maybe I’m not supposed to know. Why do I keep asking? Maybe there is no answer. For sure I can make up any myriad of stories to create meaning. When I feel the pain of injustice and inequity overcome me, I return to the sea that transports all of the emotions into pure energy. I watch the tide go in and the tide goes out. I allow the ebb and I go with the flow.
Joseph Campbell said in his later years, “People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think that what we are seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences will have resonances within our innermost being and reality.”
Wow. I’ve read this line hundreds of times. I still say wow. After a lifetime of revealing the hero’s journey to live into our life’s meaning, he comes to this possibility. So, why then are we humans in such a deep need for meaning? Why do we have to try to make sense of everything? Do these times make any sense? How much time are you spending trying to make sense of it all? How much time are you letting the presence of the moment, the little delights, the small pleasures fill your empty cup? How deep or shallow is your breath? Are you being swept away as the tide goes out, or are you returning to ground as the tide comes in? The tide goes in and the tide goes out. How do you allow the ebb and go with the flow?