I took a lllooonnnnggg walk on the beach this morning, with my son’s trusty yellow bucket in hand.
As I strolled, I gathered things that caught my eye along the way.
Somewhere near a tide pool, I realized I was not merely gathering things.
I was actually collecting pieces. Of me. Of you. Of us.
I picked up shells as smooth as glass to remind us that sometimes life is really, really good, and things flow our way. To remind us that it’s ok for us to expect miracles and not wait for the other shoe to drop.
I picked up shells as rough and gritty as sandpaper to remind us that sometimes life is really, really hard. Try as we might, we may feel like we are going against the grain and nothing we do is working. We are swimming upstream. Yet, we are still swimming.
I picked up shells with huge cracks down the middle to remind us that we are not perfect. Nor do we have to be. And that there is exquisite beauty in our imperfection. And in letting other people see the hot mess that lives inside all of us.
I picked up shells of different sizes, shapes and colors to remind us that we each bring a special and unique gift to the world. Others may do the same thing we do, but they will not do it in the same way. And to remind us that there are people out there who need what we do in only the way we can do it. Nobody else will fit the bill. Not even close.
I picked up seagull feathers to remind us of our resilience and resourcefulness. Bird feathers can adapt to changing environments and so can we. I also picked them up to remind us that we can be strong and flexible- whatever the moment calls for. And it may call for us to be both at the same time. And something else entirely the next moment.
I picked up seaweed to remind us to have an anchor or holdfast in life so we don’t get swept away by outside forces beyond our control. And to let that anchor start with the core of who we are. When we are tethered to ourselves, the currents of other people’s moods, opinions, decisions and behaviors hold much less sway over us.
I picked up a flower that did not grow on the beach, and that several people walked right by, to remind us that beauty can often come in unexpected places. And to remind us that when the right people come along, they will notice us and create a space for us in their lives.
At some point, I looked down and there were thousands of shells spread out before me. I could not have sorted through all of them if I’d had a week. This is to remind us that there is abundance everywhere if we pay attention. There is more than enough love, time, money, jobs, clients, whatever the thing is to go around. More. Than. Enough.
Everything I gathered went into the yellow bucket. This is to remind us how important is is to collect the parts of ourselves that get scattered far and wide in the course of 24 hours. Our energy goes out into the world. Our time goes out into the world, as does our devotion, nourishment, and care. Let the yellow bucket remind you to gather all these things back to yourself at day’s end. Return them all to your heart and feed them to your soul.
I came home and lovingly washed the shells to remind us that we are meant to sparkle and shine. That the luminesence of our true spirit may have gotten covered over by life’s shit, and that a cleansing is available to us anytime.
I arranged the shells and feathers carefully in a beautiful glass vase and put them on a shelf in my office. This is to remind me that people like us exist in the world. I look at them and smile. Every time.