Friday, April 5, 2013

The beach imitates life (aka change is hard!)

After volunteering for a local election, my head was spinning and I needed major quiet, contemplative time so I decided to go to the beach, something I hadn't done for a long, long time. I didn't remember how hard it was to walk barefoot through the sand and I, on purpose, had to slow down even though I wanted to get close to the ocean as quickly as I  could. In slowing down, I had to focus on my steps—what I was doing at the moment—rather than the end purpose. I had to concentrate to make sure my walk was as steady as possible because the sand had uneven, lumpy mounds and sharp broken shells. Isn't that like life?  There were a number of people on the beach, mothers with children, teenagers, homeless people, sleeping, soaking in the sun, flying kites, sitting quietly. I wanted to find a quiet spot and had to walk a lot further than I had anticipated.

I paused to look to my left and several miles down the coastline were tall cylindrical, smokestack like structures billowing out heavy plumes of smoke. With respect to environmental ordinances, it still looked like pollution. The teenagers were also smoking. I thought about how difficult it is to break habits; how difficult it is to make a change. Your Little Light Shines talks about how difficult it is to change eating/(lack of) exercise habits, even after a serious heart attack. Change is difficult because often times we are addicted; and most times we don't even understand that we are addicted. In What the Bleep Do We Know!?, there is an excellent explanation about how the brain emits a chemical for every emotion we experience. We can become as addicted to our emotions as a drug addict is to heroin—which means that if you have a tendency to worry, you may be addicted to anxiety and seek out those situations that cause anxiety in order to get your "chemical" fix. Here is a video link to a clip of What the Bleep Do We Know!? that explains how we can become addicted to emotions: It really, really is worth a look!

My walk on the beach was not as enjoyable as I had first envisioned when I decided to make the drive. But I continued until I did find a spot isolated from the smoke and the voices so I could focus on my thoughts and spend some quiet time with God. This experience imitated life. Sometimes we have to walk a lot further than we imagined. Sometimes the walk is laborious. Sometimes when you reach a certain point, you still have work to do. Sometimes you have to force yourself to become quiet. Though the walk may not have been enjoyable, it certainly was memorable. Because I continued to walk, I accomplished my goal.

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