I park next to the ocean, and by “next to” I mean, “beside the ten foot stack of lobster traps.” My car gets a better view than my office does, but that means that every morning and every evening that I go to the office I get a tangy-salty-lungful of reminders that there is more to life than work.
I love my work. That makes everything work better. But it’s easy to forget that there are other things in life.
Or it would be easy, if the ocean didn’t remind me.
There’s an image going around Facebook right now, with a quote: “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.”
When I first saw that, I didn’t believe the sweat part, but the other two made sense.
Since then I have learned how my body needs to be hydrated and had the pleasure of spending a number of evenings in a wood-fired sauna. Indeed. Sweat, tears, or the sea.
And when all else fails, just the sea. Go to the ocean, go on it, get into it if you can. Let it surround you. It is visceral and immersive in the most complete and literal of ways. It will indeed wash you clean, draw out the toxins of your blood, body, and soul, lull you, cradle you, make you laugh despite yourself, and force you to stay on your toes.
One of the most embodied people I know was almost killed in it. One minute she was wild, alive, in her element. The next she was fighting rocks and salt for her life.
She made it. Just.
We all have times when we make it. Just.
And we all have times when if not for magical timing and incredible, beautiful human intervention, we wouldn’t have had that extra fraction of a toehold that made the difference between life and death.
But if you want to remember that you are alive, if you want something big enough to hold everything, all of it, even the feelings you think you will drown in, the sea is your answer. Go to the sea. Not a giant lake, not the rivers; for this you need the biggest thing there is. Go to the sea and let it hold you.
The answers will seep into your bones as you float, leave your toes wrinkled, drop sand on your carpets when you go home.
The answers are in the salt water.
Go and find them.