I think everyone has a place or places that make their soul come alive, more than it is anywhere else. For some people it is the dessert with all the warm colours and sparseness or the prairies with their crops blowing and never ending horizons or a restorative and warm lake that is contained by soft sandy hills.
The Canadian Rockies are like this for me, with their peaks that reach way into the sky but root you down into the ground, settled. The water that flows or is nestled between them, turquoise and ice cold in how it wakes you up, makes you pay attention. They make my soul hold still, which is fortunate for an Alberta girl as I can head there sometimes relatively easily when everything is blowing apart.
But then there is the ocean, especially the Canadian west coast. My soul has been singing here in the summers since I was a wee babe and there is nowhere else that I have been where I feel so myself, where my vibrations steady into an expansive and free song. My intuition tells me no matter where else I may wander in the rest of my days: this is it.
The west coast is brine and seaweed and seacreatures and abundance. It’s the essence of seafood but only the kind that has just been caught that afternoon and cooked that evening on an open grill, tasting like salt and a day well spent that ends in happy fatigue. The west coast is the deep smell of decaying old cedar and the bright chartruse of new things growing right straight up out of it. The west coast is sunlight on water and peace and goodness. The west coast is seeing God and knowing.
I got sick this winter, when we were on vacation in Hawaii with something that no one I have been to is still quite sure about. Since all their ideas have been ruled out I wait to see a specialist while, so, so thankfully as the months pass I also continue to feel better. Being forced to slow down and worry about long term things is not very comfortable for me, or anyone. It challenged my work ethic and perfectionist tendencies and spirit but I will say this: God was with me and so were other people who love me and turns out that is all I really need.
As I continue to feel more like my healthy self I’m more grateful for the ability to move and swim and explore and have some energy than I ever have been before. So is true of all things we have faced the fear of losing.
This was one of our family’s year’s hard things. We all have these hard things if we live long enough. Hard things tie us into humanity and give us understanding that just as we all have joy, we all have our struggles. Even when our hard things aren’t as clear as the ones we see on the news; of refugees and violence and hate, they are there for everyone and they are all valid.
Hardness isn’t a contest where you aren’t allowed to struggle or get upset or seek compassion if your hard isn’t the hardest there is. We all are allowed those feelings, there is no scarcity or absolutes here. Remember there is more than enough to go around, there is only abundance.
One of the simple yet so complex lessons of my thirties is this: it is okay to be happy and it is okay to be sad. I’m allowed to be content and I’m allowed to have hard times in my very blessed and privileged, yet imperfect middle class life.
Maybe you need to hear that you are too.
Now I’m at the ocean and I’m healing inside and out because I’m not sure I ever will not be again. After all I’ve got a lot of growing left to do and I believe in things dying to make room and in a God of new life.
But also – I’m happy and grateful and safe right now and that is okay too.
I hope wherever you are with your happy and your sad or your sad and your happy there is space for compassion, being held. I hope there is room for love and hope and healing. I hope you can be somewhere where your heart beats like nowhere else and you feel peace and surity. And when you are ready I hope there will be room for something new to grow and one day you see something really beautiful come up from all that dirt and decay.