Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Reflections on the Ocean

Our new spiritual book, Reflections: Journey to God, will be a collection of essays that you can read at your leisure. You don't  have to read the book cover to cover. Just select an essay that sparks your interest: ponder it for awhile; mediate a little; even read it out loud. Then see if the light from the word pictures helps you on your journey to God like they do for us. Here is an example of one of these essays entitled, "Letting Go."  It's all about the ocean, nature, and feeling connected to the beauty around us, which can help us let go of all stressful thoughts and emotions.



Crescent City, California

 I am worrying about getting my retirement pension finalized through the National Guard. Negative thoughts are challenging me.  I needed to gain freedom from my oppressive thoughts and obsessive thinking.

 I am parked in my Hyundai with the windows down and the sunroof  open, looking at the ocean from a roadside turn-off in Crescent City, California. I just had a marvelous lunch at the Harbor View Grotto.

The ocean is calm on this early afternoon. Small whitecap waves roll in over the cream colored sandy beach, which kisses the crescent shaped, green peninsula framing the bay area.  Some people are walking along the surf line. A few are flying multi-colored kites. Others are playing with their dogs. Several couples lovingly stroll hand in hand.

I turn my eyes and thoughts back from the beach to focus on the power of letting go. This process isn't as easy. I'm worried and obsessed because the paper work for my twenty year military retirement has not been cleared by National Guard Headquarters in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They have acknowledged receiving the forms I mailed to them, but they haven't returned my last four phone calls to confirm the status or progress of my pension.

Can you relate to obsessing about a person, place, or thing that seemingly doesn't have a resolution? 
Presently, sunlight is beaming through the top of my roof of my car. Soon I will need to join the beach walkers. For a few more minutes, I ponder the lunch at the Grotto: fresh baked, beer-battered cod fish and chips, nippy coleslaw, sour dough bread and the best clam chowder I have ever experienced.

I get out of the Hyundai and follow my first step, which is to realize there is a problem; that I don't feel quite right, that my mind feels full of negativity and anxiety, that I'm not quite comfortable in my skin. 

Many times we try to mask these uncomfortable feelings with other things.  We push away our true feelings, not wanting to deal with them, sometimes turning to drugs, alcohol, food or other negative coping skills.  We need to push through these addictions to begin to realize what's really going on is we're not facing our uncomfortable situations and turning them over to God.

To let go is to get my mind off the problem for a while. What I need, once I have identified the issue, is to let God start approaching me with solutions to the problems I am facing.  There are many ways to do this, and on this day, for me, I turned to nature.

The trip to Crescent City beach is about an hour and a half drive from Grants Pass, Oregon, on Highway 199 that eventually merges into 101 South.  During this drive, I paid particular attention to the scenery surrounding  me and the word-pictures they invoked. In this way I was able to turn to my inner, higher self, letting go of my more human nature of worry and frustration.

During the drive on the two lane highway, which wound like an enormous African Python encircling an ancient spectacle, I saw brown and black lava mountains stretched beside the shallow, clear, stony waters of the Smith River.  It all culminated through an almost endless forest canopy populated by majestic Redwood trees.  It was easy to pretend I had entered a land of enchantment, complete with, fairies, giants, hobbits, and wizards.

This experience of the natural world illustrates a releasing of all that is negative. I allow myself to embrace a form of meditation in motion, which comforts my spirit and releases my mind to embrace a blissful now.  I start to feel my body relax as I contentedly slipped into that place where all answers are found - within, with God.

As I concentrated on breathing slowly in and out, I  stayed with the comforting, life affirming, mind- pictures, and  found myself merging with the nature around and in me. 

I hold onto these thoughts with me to my parked car, knowing  it is time to walk the hundred feet forward. I know it's time to get personal with the mesmerizing sea waves.  This mind-picture is not over yet.

I set up my little carry on beach chair, admiring for a moment the names people have etched in the sand. The waves drum a staccato beat.  The rise and fall of white, foamy, turquoise water begins to mesmerize me.  A little, dirty-white miniature poodle (the size of my foot) causes me to laugh as it runs through to me, trying to get in my lap. His master nervously apologizes by waving the empty dog leash in his hand. I let him know it's okay.

Feeling calm, I challenge the negativity with a mighty denial, "I AM a child of GOD, all GOOD, and ALWAYS present!"  I lift my head up high and scan the sky.

Sitting in my chair I spot five hawks circling above. What do they represent?  Perhaps peace, serenity, joy, love and prosperity? There is a slight, cool breeze in the air, the temperature is about 68 degrees. I have on my jeans, and my jogging sweat-shirt, which keep me quite cozy. I notice a sea gull standing in the surf, at absolute peace despite my own personal challenges and anxieties.
I ultimately turn to my source of faith, my Higher Power, to handle all fears, doubts, concerns, and obsessions.  I clench my fists hard and then slowly release them and in doing so I feel all problems melt away.

Consequently, now physically and metaphysically free, I take up my folding chair and put it in the carrying case. With the case slung over my shoulder, I comb the beach in Crescent City, California.
There is still one hawk circling above. The ocean symphony hugs my soul and lifts my spirit. Dogs chase after sticks and balls thrown by their human guardians in the surf. Lovers walk hand and hand at the water's edge.

The problems with the National Guard will get worked out. Today, I choose to be at peace.
 Today, you have a right to let go.  Fear and negativity have no power over neither you, nor I, for we are, at last, One with the Source.

If you enjoyed this piece about nature and spirituality, here is a link to our first essay, The Chetco River

In Light, Joy, and Peace:
Gary and Susan Eby


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