When I was a UCSD college student, my dorm was on the Muir campus. This was walking distance to the shortcut that took you to the cliffs leading down to Blacks Beach. I found this out the first weekend I was there when I was invited to a party where everyone watched the sunset from this vantage point (amongst other things). I had just returned from living in Indonesia for a year as a very cloistered exchange student; looking out at the Pacific filled me not only with awe but with an overwhelming sense of freedom, expansion and relief.
I was not necessarily a party girl but that party initiated me to the wonder that was my backyard during those formative years. College was a wonderful experience but both my parents were losing their bearings then; to keep mine, I trekked down to Blacks Beach almost daily. I had no formal religion anymore but one look at the beach and I knew there was something vastly Greater than me and that as long as I went to the beach and remembered that, I would be okay.
The ocean was a regular part of my life from then on until I moved to New York and was promptly told at work that even though I was from California, it wasn’t okay to take my shoes off during staff meetings. I didn’t really think about the beach or home during those five years until something bizarre occurred. While in an intensive meditation training, I began to see images of the Pacific practically haunting me every time I closed my eyes. This lasted a week and every time I meditated and saw flashes of blue, I cried. I knew the ocean was calling me home but it made no sense. My life was in New York. Six months later, I moved back to San Diego.
Once back, I made a point to live by the sea and vowed I would NEVER take living by the water for granted. I lived in Carlsbad and was pretty good to my promise. I went almost daily to the beach, even if it was to simply drive by it. I knew the water intimately in all its variations of colors and moods, depending on the season and weather. But like someone who has strayed from God, once I moved further inland, I stopped going to the beach.
Thanks to the crazy idea to try surfing, the prodigal daughter is coming Home. In the water, I am finding myself Born Again; in touch with God in a way that I had forgotten about. In the water, I am tossed about but get to feel the Force of something beyond me; pushing me, working me, caressing me that is different than the static water of a pool. Prone to mental neurosis, the ocean casts this out like Jesus did demons.When I’m done spending time in the ocean, my mind is reset and my body completed expanded. It is an experience of unity; communion; perhaps the integration of spirit and matter – heaven and earth – that we get every now and then while stumbling along our journeys.