Lessons from the ocean…

What is it about the ocean that brings such peace? Is there anything that I could say that has not been said before, and more eloquently than others?

Even so, I’m going to try to capture some felt experiences of being at the beach this past week in Maine:

  • Things arise and they pass away. If you pay attention, you can just discern a wave crashing, even as another is rising…and it is a never ending cycle. Just like the breath. That is comforting. It also reminded me of a powerful realization that my breath will be with my until the moment I die! Literally. So, if I am ever terrified or scared, I just need to remember to breathe. I actually understood what Rumi meant by: ‘Don’t let your throat tighten with fear. Take sips of breath all day and night!’.
  • What wild abandon looks like. My daughter Anjali is a water lover and a good swimmer. At nine, she sits down on the sand and lets the waves crash over her. She jumps into waves. She runs a race with them. She lays down and allows the ocean to embrace her. I have never met anyone like her, with no fear, and no self-consciousness. And the water was ice-cold! It was inspiring and it pushed me to let go a little bit of control. To let go, and lean in. Into the unknown and the uncertainty of this moment!
  • Thoughts arise and pass. We don’t have to act on them. We can, if we choose to. But there is that moment of choice, and in that moment also abides the freedom. If only we can slow down. It is easy to slow down by the ocean, to be lulled into the state of being, witnessing and abiding in love.
  • When we relax into the moment, give up our plans and agendas, we actually have more energy! I found that I had boundless energy to go with the flow, and at the end of the day, I felt at peace. No resistance, no pushing away.
  • So much beauty surrounds us. We can so easily take it for granted. Especially now, more than ever, we see our surroundings with new eyes. ‘A feeling of fullness comes, but usually it takes some bread to bring it. Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it.’ (Rumi)
  • Appreciating the body. The body without which experience on this earth would not be possible. As Mary Oliver says in ‘Red bird explains himself’, “for truly the body needs a song, a spirit, a soul. And no less, to make this work, the soul has need of a body, and I am both of the earth and I am of the inexplicable beauty of heaven“.

So, let’s breathe. Feel the ocean within us. And ‘enjoy this being washed with a secret we sometimes know, and then not’ (Rumi)

With prayers and love,

Ocean blues…

It has been nearly two weeks since I wrote last! The days are flying by, and we are at the home stretch of summer vacation. Since I wrote last, we spent a few days in Ogunquit, Maine. I grew up in south India, about a ten minute walk from the beach, and I took this for granted! Now, living in picturesque and mountainous New England, I don’t make enough visits to the ocean. This time when we went, a mere couple of hours of driving, I realized how much I had missed the beach. There is something that happens when you are around the ocean. A slow letting go of all the worries and anxieties you didn’t even know you carried, and in its place, a deep wisdom growing its roots within you. I slept so well, and woke up the next morning feeling alert and clearer than I had in days. Everything made sense and everything was perfect. Such is the magic of the ocean.

I would be remiss, if I did not admit to having a few less-than-graceful moments. Balancing the needs of your family, while still managing to get your own needs met, is an ever-shifting dance! We had a great breakfast the first day (Daalu, my husband’s favorite meal!), and of course, swimming in the beach (Anji’s favorite activity!), but it got too hot to go on the marginal way, which is what I really wanted. Anji was a bit at the receiving end of my disappointment, and at one point, I was losing it, and I told her, “why don’t we walk in silence until the end of the street, and by then, I will have it together”. She replied: “Mom, even if you are mad, I would rather you be social with me than silent!” She said it in such an earnest and kind and non-judging way, it cracked me up and lightened up my mood. Of course, I would love to be social with you my sweetheart!

We did make it to the marginal way the next day, bright and early, and Anji and I had an amazing time wandering through the little coves.

And she and Daalu enjoyed some quality time swimming in the ocean. We also made it to Cape Nubble Lighthouse, which was so scenic and beautiful!

My beloved friend joined us for the last day, and it was heart-filling! More beach and play time, and dinner at the lovely Rose Cove Patio, and shopping through the streets of downtown at night.

When we got back, I had a few days of ocean blues… I really missed seeing the ocean. The rhythm of the tide, the calm of the expanse of water, the sight of the kites diving into the water, seagulls looking for food, burst of blooms along the pathways, and so much room for everything to be. But then when I pause, I can see within me, the same deep, lasting peace. And a reminder that “You are not a drop in the ocean, you are an entire ocean in a drop.” (Rumi)

Namaste, S.

first snow…

Words fall like snow flakes

Gently on the ground

They melt away in presence

Leaving a shining essence…


Heart moves with a smile

Reflections on the wall

Is it me? Or you?

Impressions fall…

Like drops on the ocean

Do they leave a trace?


Drops, ocean, words, heart

See clearly what is lost

And what is found again

In these eyes looking within.