Today was the last day of sunrise sea turtle patrol for me but I was fortunate in that I got to sub for another team member on Friday so two sunrises on the beach this week. And that’s when it started…two days ago…a nagging question.
Six o’clock found me struggling through soft, white sand as I walked the mile and a half route. It was a lovely morning with the Gulf of Mexico sending small, sweet waves onto the shore but I felt nothing. And I noticed that nothingness. It surprised me. Usually I’m in tune with the salt water and happy vibes are pouring out from my heart and mind but that day it felt like a vacuum where my heart was. I couldn’t connect.
It bothered me and as I walked I pondered that feeling of the ‘booooinnng’…like the beauty and light and delight bouncing off a closed door. Why am I closed? What’s happening, I wondered. So I journeyed inward and explored a bit.
I felt the sea reaching out with her watery fingers, trying to find an answering response from me but I remained shut down, distracted. My mind wandered and found a question: Am I closed down because of fear? Do I fear losing this beauty and so I’m acting like it’s already gone?
And then I wondered if we do that with each other. Do we allow fear to close our hearts and minds rather than remain open? Is this what keeps us from connecting with friends, lovers, partners? Are we so afraid of getting hurt that we refuse to open our hearts?
Today’s walk was better but if felt like I was in quick sand. The fluffy sand seemed to suck my feet so I stopped several times and just stared out over the water. What’s happening? I’m strong and fit so why is this so difficult?
During one of my pauses I thought of the list of sad things happening to and on our planet: Hurricanes in the Pacific, tropical storm in the Atlantic, earthquake in California, volcano erupting in Iceland, ebola in Africa, Russia invading a sister country, Israel bombing apartments and schools in the Gaza strip, the Middle East about to go up in flames, fracking by the fossil fuel industry, oil spill fallout in wildlife species, police officers shooting unarmed kids, people fighting each other over other violence…..dear God…how are any of us sane? And I don’t watch the news….this list is simply from an occasional view of NPR news.
I realized that part of my not connecting to nature is a deep concern that we’re basically going to reach a tipping point from which we cannot recover. The emotional toll of the BP oil spill was gruesome in my life yet I clearly see what can happen if we stay closed and refuse to work together for solutions…for the environment, social ills, violence. Closing myself off is a protection. But it does nothing to make positive change.
It’s difficult keeping an open heart and mind when it appears as if everything is failing; yet, there is no more important time to be open and allowing of the connection between myself and nature, myself and others than now. The challenge we all face is staying open when nothing is scarier. Now is the time for courage. It is the time for love and open hearts…and minds. How can we create a safe place to be open?