I’m writing this to you from our sailboat, appropriately named Abundance, in the British Virgin Islands, to share a lesson I learned today from the ocean. This afternoon I spent about two hours walking alone on my favorite beach, Flash of Beauty beach, on the remote island of Anegada.
I was walking a deserted stretch of beach looking for treasures- seashells. This specific beach holds great magic for me each time I visit. Not only is the beauty unparalleled, but there is a special energy I feel when I visit here, almost as if this beach talks to me.
I figured if I could find a tangible thing from that beach to bring back home with me, perhaps I could harness just a bit of the energy that I feel when I’m here and recreate it in my home.
As I headed east, my search brought me a lot of pieces of large broken shells and I found myself wishing that they were whole. Then my friend Brian appeared out of nowhere for just a few minutes and talked about Wabi Sabi, the art of things being incomplete but still complete. Then he quickly disappeared again, just as fast as he appeared, leaving me to wonder if he was ever really there.
His message was a beautiful reminder to me not only of the perfection in the seashells, but in my life. In that simple exchange between us, I was able to remember that even if something appears to be imperfect, in that too, there lies perfection.
At various points throughout our lives I think we all have something that we’re working on, whether it’s the perfect relationship, financial abundance, glowing health, etc. Today, I was dealing with some financial issues in my mind as I walked, talking with God about some uncertainty and maybe even a bit of fear that I was feeling.
After walking for about half an hour, the beach was covered with shells and very few footprints, with no one else in sight. I was alone with just my thoughts. I started collecting very small but perfect seashells, none more than ½ ” in size. They were like tiny worlds all unto themselves. I found myself quickly lost in another time and space, simply by changing my thoughts. It was a beautiful walk, the fear was left behind and I experienced an almost surreal feeling wishing that that very moment of connection could continue forever!
I started to focus on the abundance of the seashells all around me, and instead of wishing for bigger, better ones, I was profoundly grateful for the perfection in what I was finding. I must have spent 30 minutes kneeling in the sand in one spot on the beach, just combing through the beauty around me with my fingers, selecting the tiny shells I wanted to bring back home.
I was filled with gratitude, not only for the day, but for my amazing husband, the friends that joined us on this trip and this beautiful beach. It was the perfect day. I left my spot feeling like I was overflowing with gratitude. With each new wave crashing onto the beach, I felt more gratitude washing over me, cleansing me and chasing away any cares that I had.
My thoughts turned inward to the core of who I am. In this world where we are surrounded by so much outside of ourselves, it was good to have that time with the essence of who I am. I walked to the water’s edge, looked out to the ocean with appreciation, felt a strong urge to look down at my feet and spotted a beautiful spiral inner core of what once was a stellar seashell. I was struck by the strength and exquisite beauty of the core, even without the rest of the shell.
As I bent to pick it up, I was already thinking of giving it to Brian for his comment that helped me get clear in my thoughts, but then I decided on my friend Arielle who was waiting for me on the beach. But then I thought of Darryl, my beloved and how he is the core of my life. Then I thought, “What about me?” This could help me remember the core of who I am on days that life tries to make me forget.
As I was pondering my options of who to share this with, I thanked the sea for the gift and my question was immediately answered. Within seconds four almost identical core shells came to my feet with the next wave. Now I had one for Arielle, Brian, Darryl and one for me. ☺
I started laughing at how easy this is when I go inside and get out of the way. Suddenly I noticed the sounds around me…. Of shells moving across the sand in the tide.
I looked down and there were about a dozen perfect large shells at my feet!
Each wave brought another one to me. When I set the intention for my walk, these shells were exactly what I was looking for! When I let go and practiced gratitude, I was surrounded by abundance.
I chased the shells around in the moving waves as they came in and raced out, as if playing a game with the ocean. I splashed around the water’s edge as I picked them up, laughing, filled with a childlike glee. Where did they come from and why all at once?
They were perfect, unbroken, shiny shells that I could have found in a seashell store! None of them were beaten, battered or encrusted with the usual coral that I find on seashells- just pure perfection.
I gathered a dozen or so and realized there were still so many; I could have stayed there all day. I felt like I’d been panning for gold all day and just hit the mother lode. Yet part of me felt almost guilty for scooping them up as I did, thinking that I should leave some for others yet to come.
Then I realized that this stream of abundance was coming right to me, for me, and it was okay. I stayed in that spot for only a minute or two just receiving.
Later as I walked the hour-long walk along the beach back to Darryl, Arielle and Brian, I wondered why I hadn’t stayed in the flow of that stream just a little bit longer. Already I doubted the reality of what had just happened. How could I have created this incredible experience?
Funny thing was, just as I went on that walk to talk to God about abundance and the uncertainty I was feeling, I was given the greatest tangible lesson, in the form of an abundance of seashells. When abundance comes to you, accept it. Be grateful for it, and more will come. There is always enough for everyone. My breathing air doesn’t leave less for someone else, just as my taking a seashell doesn’t diminishes someone else’s experience. My success in life financially doesn’t leave less for others, but instead, creates a greater benefit for all. And in what may initially seem to be imperfection, there too lies perfection.
My hope is that when I get back to the mountains of Colorado, just looking at these shells will keep this memory and most importantly, this lesson alive in my heart. I’m filled with joy and with a profound sense of gratitude. Thank you Brian and Arielle for sharing Wabi Sabi with me. Thank you beach for always being the magical place that I remember and yearn for when I’m away from you.
Au revior for now, for with this beach, it’s never goodbye.