I remember recently, running on the beach in my white string bikini at sunset, the air cool and water even cooler. I felt exuberant, bounding joyfully with a light heart, like a child. I appreciated my body for it’s energy, it’s steadiness, it’s innate athleticism. Then, I did a headstand on the beach and my friend took my picture. I had always resisted liking the beach, it’s too trite and predictable. Living in Bali, I softened to it. The beach opened a space for me to play like a child, where I couldn’t feel that otherwise in any space in my life at the time. I took to sprinting as fast as possible into the ocean. I loved running alongside the water as it washed onshore, sometimes my feet dancing over the rush of water on the sand. The sand, the beach, the water, it grounds me. I had never taken the time or space to notice this.
I had a spiritual experience once in Bali on the beach at sunset with my friend. It was during the separation of my now ex-boyfriend and me. Living was painful, every cognizant moment agony. My only respite from grief was sleep. From that context, I was at the beach with my friend and my broken heart. I felt my being lighten a little, and I sprinted like a 10-year-old at a track meet into the water. Getting out of my head and experiencing the force of the waves, the smell of the salt, hearing the crashes all around, the birds calling- it grounded me. Living heartbroken meant for me living separate, disconnected. I couldn’t easily connect to myself, my heart. I was abandoned, so I had to abandon myself due to the ceaseless pain. I was a walking pain body, and I didn’t want to be. I was in constant resistance. So I had no respite, except sleep, which wasn’t solidly happening anyway. Immersing myself in that experience of sensation grounded me, connected me to what is bigger than me, mother nature wrapped itself around my being that evening. I came in from the waves, and laid on the sand, and rolled around like an animal. I remembered my place in the universe and that my pain was not the center of it, just one tiny part of the experience. My friend took a picture of me with a huge grin on my face covered in sand. I came back home to myself. I continue to return to myself, over and over. The door to my heart is always open to welcome me inside.