Thursday, August 19, 2010

Clear, Peaceful, Present.

Torrey Pines Gliderport

A quiet peaceful day.

This afternoon I took some time out for myself. I drove north about 20 miles to La Jolla, where there is a clothing optional beach, Black's Beach. It was a beautiful beach, of which only the not so faint of heart could get to. You have to navigate down a very steep and winding cliff. Never having been there before I didn't count on the cliff being so steep, and so slippery. This was clearly a serious hike, and I was wearing a pair of very flimsy flip flops. I was also carrying a beach bag with a few things that I wanted to have down at the beach. As I looked around me, the other visitors were wearing tennis shoes, or hiking boots, and carried any beach wear in backpacks. How stupid was I?

Once down on the beach I found it was well worth the risk of falling, or sliding quickly down a rugged hill. The ocean was so alive, with big and proud waves crashing along the shore. I laid out my things, disrobed, and laid down on a blanket. The sun was sitting high, and quite warm. Up to the south of the cliff is what is known as Gliderport. It is the take off point for hang gliding and paragliding enthusiasts. These beautiful and graceful paragliders were slowly weaving across the cliffs just above me. They were like angels sent down to watch over me and the other sun worshipers. I thought to myself that Michael should be here. This is exactly how we liked to spend a warm, or hot, summer afternoon.

I just laid there breathing deep, and taking in all the natural beauty around me. It wasn't long before that the ocean began beckoning. I love an aggressive tide, and enjoy giving up control, allowing it to move me where ever it wishes. When the waves would come in bigger than life, I would just sink down to the oceans floor, and wait for the powerful wave to pass over head. While being pushed, and swaying to the oceans might, I realized that I was feeling soothed and comforted. It's as if some great powerful being was taking hold of me. It's the closest I have felt like being held in someones arms in a very long time. I haven't had that feeling since Michael died.

Later after arriving home, I quickly showered and went back out with my youngest son to pick up something for dinner. We were both very hungry, and I ended up eating more than I should have. Soon I realized that it was time for my yoga class, and here I was feeling overly stuffed. I sat there comfortably on the couch, and wondered if I had the strength, or desire, to get myself up and out the door. In the end I knew that I would regret it if I didn't go to my class.

Tonight's class was much smaller than usual. There were just six of us, and our mats were arranged in a circular formation around the room. Our instructor turned down the lights, and placed flickering candles throughout the room. At the sides were fans to help cool us down, as the room was quite warm from the day's sun. Having the added space around me gave me the feeling of being back on the large expansive beach. We went through our regular routine, and also learned a few new stretches and poses. At least they were new to me. Near the end our instructor had us laying quietly on our backs. At that point he turned the lights completely off, and the room was now lit solely by the soft candles.

As I lay there looking up at the ceiling, the flickering candles created an illusion of water reflected upon the ceiling. I imagined myself floating quietly, and peacefully, in the water. At that moment I felt so connected to Michael. This is the peacefulness he most loved. To be calm, to be one with the ocean, to be uninhibited, and to feel free. I laid there taking in deep breaths. Part of my wanted to cry, and I tried to not completely give in to this desire, but didn't block it out either. It wasn't a sad feeling at all. It was a feeling of connectedness and love. It was a feeling of freeing myself from all my worries, letting go of all the chaos that can fill my mind, and just being.






  1. i've always felt this way when i was by the ocean, or in it. for some there is a pull to it and then a sense of comfort when you are near it. i am glad you live so close to the ocean and i am glad you had a peaceful day. sometimes these days are hard to come by. i am glad you embrace them when you can. peace.

  2. Oh, gosh, you wrote so well about that feeling of pushed and swaying in the ocean. I love that feeling - I have very long hair, so it always feels like my hair has come to life like swirling seaweed around my head - it feels just amazing!

    It wasn't a sad feeling at all. It was a feeling of connectedness and love. It was a feeling of freeing myself from all my worries, letting go of all the chaos that can fill my mind, and just being.

    A few years ago, about a year after my dad died, and I had been running his business and trying to help my mother through her grief, I reached a point where I was having trouble dealing with my own feelings. As I have written on my blog, my dad and I were extremely close as adults and I cared for him through end-stage cancer. Anyhow, I went out west in 2000 and spent some time on a river in southern Oregon. One afternoon, I had a total meltdown - just lying on a shoal of smoothly rounded stones at a bend in the river. It was as though two years of pent up sadness, chaos and frustration flowed out of me for about two hours, and was eventually replaced by a sense of peace that endured indefinitely. I don't know what I would have done without the relief that came at that particular time as I'd reached the point of giving up.

    During my travels since Don's death, I've found similar relief at times - to lie in the sun somewhere in the desert, drifting to a point where the only thing that exists is the warmth and the sound of birds moving about and occasionally singing in the cactus and other vegetation - or of sitting on the earth on one of the huge sea stacks along the Pacific coast, feeling all of the power of the ocean as it collides and booms through the rock formation beneath me. Peace may be found in many places if we open our minds and allow it to flow in.

  3. Reading this gave me a feeling of calm. Thank you, Dan, love you x

  4. Ditto Boo's comment. I am feeling much calmer just reading your words. Glad you had such a peaceful day.

    Love Deb

  5. ditto, too.

    I had to go back to the river where It happened - it was our spot. It's not the river's fault. I knew if I didn't go back soon after he drowned, I would never go. I went about a month after, and cried and cried and saw it all again, and swam. And floated. This is the place. The water and the woods hold such healing and goodness. Such peace.

    So glad you had this day.

  6. J and I used to go to Blacks Beach.. You're right about the hike, but it is definitely worth it. Watching the hang gliders is amazing, and the beach is beautiful. So glad you had a peaceful time.


  7. I just took a deep breath and felt so peaceful. Beautiful words.