Looking toward Catalina I see its faint silhouette in the summer haze. I wonder if the French speaking tourists lounging on the sand nearby know there is an island in the distance. To the untrained eye it does resemble a long and low hanging cloud on the horizon. While the skies overhead are beautifully blue, a surer sign of clear skies is one in which the rough exterior of the island, its ridges and fissures, appear close enough to touch, a site generally seen in all seasons except summer. I love the mornings on those crystal clear days as the island seems to have emerged like magic, from nowhere. I smile thinking about the island’s picturesque return in fall.
Today, I sit on the beach alone for the sole purpose of relaxing, meditation and a little self-love. Resting on my elbows, I push my toes into the cool sand and look down at my toned and tanned legs, a gift of good genes, and serious power walking. Sure, they show signs of aging, gravity and too much sun, still not bad for a woman in her fifties. Long ago I traded in my iodine laced baby oil for sunscreen and a big hat, but I do allow my skin to brown. Funny, how we choose our vices. We are flooded with information, the dangers of smoking, the sun, poor eating and health habits, yet armed with this knowledge, we deliberately make unhealthy choices. It strikes me that the same is true of the health of our minds, our hearts, and our souls. We experience life, we learn, and we make choices, sometimes bad ones, and we repeat them, over and over again.
I roll on to my belly and search my canvas bag for my phone, finding it I blow off tiny bits of sand and then scan my email and social media for notes from a Chakra class I’ve been taking the last few weeks. The sun, ocean breeze and rolling waves provide the perfect back drop for reviewing the lessons and meditating for a while. An opportunity I won’t let pass as my desire to grow spiritually is strong. I yearn for a peaceful mind and heart, freedom from painful attachments and false perceptions, and the giving and receiving of unconditional love. I want it all so badly. Reading through the notes and homework assignments, certain words and phrases stick, pay attention to boundaries, get out of your comfort zone, be free, be playful, see the beauty in the world, let go of fear. . . let go of fear . . . let go of fear. Damn fear.
I rest my cheek on my folded arms and contemplate these teachings. In the last month I received several opportunities to practice my new learning, chances to respond differently to recurring challenges in my life. Each time a situation arose tempting my heart or pushing my boundaries, I was keenly aware of the choices I could make to stop my suffering. Still, I reverted to predictable reactions, leading to predictable results, and leaving me feeling hurt and powerless. Why do I insist on putting my poor psyche through the wringer? I lie under the warm sun and meditate, hoping an answer will emerge.
Reflecting, I realize I cannot unlearn what I have learned or lessen my awareness. Any behavior counter to the learning is really sabotage. I fight the urge to feel failure. And then it occurs to me . . . my heightened awareness is real, it’s progress. BUT, the Universe is testing me and asking . . . Hey you’ve learned a lot about yourself, your underlying fears, why you do the things you do, and what you can do to create the life you want. BUT, when old stories repeat themselves, when the teachers in your life return and challenge you, will you use all you have learned to reset those relationships, to forgive, to love unconditionally and keep your power as the creator of your destiny? Or will you do what you have always done and feel hopeless and disempowered when you get the same result? Will you remain stuck, living in fear?
Dang . . . spiritual growth is not for sissies. I push myself up and off my towel, brush the stubborn sand off my body, walk to the water’s edge and take a deep breath. I cannot disregard all that I have learned on my spiritual journey. At times I have been disappointed and dissatisfied with my life, frustrated as it is not exactly what I had planned. Amused, I know now it is exactly the life I have created.
So, I can ignore the truth of all I have learned, I can be fearful of change and remain stuck, accepting the life I have created as my fate. Or, I can listen to the wisdom of the Universe and use my knowledge and powerful inner strength to create something new, something better.
I take one last look toward Catalina and say these words; I choose something new . . . something better.