Hold my heart close to your ear like a sea shell and you will hear the gentle roar of the waves. I’ve been listening to it for a while now. The waves break on the shoreline, leaving behind a myriad of smooth rocks, shattered sea glass, and lifeless seaweed from the deep. I look at the broken treasure and slimy, green algae and sigh. This is my heart - my wild, salty, and deep heart.
Carly and I woke up with the sun’s rays piercing through the window’s glass. The morning was slow, and the coffee was hot. The only activity on the agenda was to explore Butterfly Beach in Montecito. We ate fresh oranges from the orange tree in the backyard and listened to music while the breeze welcomed itself through the open doors. Before we left, salty tears fell from my eyes. My ocean was heavy and the tide was high. Carly sat quietly, listened and watched as my heart left that broken sea glass on the island in the kitchen. After the tears subsided, we packed our bags with the essentials, including Carly’s camera, and hopped in the car. We were ready to let the ocean air wash over us. I left my phone behind so to not be distracted from the present - from the in-between.
I’m not quite sure how we made it to Butterfly Beach because Carly’s driving is on par with mine, but we did. We carefully made our way down the small, rocky cliff to the shore. The majestic, powerful sound of the waves greeted us as we placed our blanket on the warm sand. The day couldn’t have been more perfect. I walked to the shoreline and let the water rush over my feet. It hit my toes and splashed over my ankles, taking my breath away. It was freezing, but I felt free.
I meandered back to our blanket where Carly sat with her Canon 5D MK III. She was in her element - her own world. Her eye was ready to capture our wild hearts through the lens. I was ready to read. Laying down on the blanket, I opened Brené Brown’s Rising Strong and dove in. The only thing I began to regret was my decision to bathe myself in essential oils because the flies were having the best time rubbing their little hands together on my legs and arms. I was determined to keep my focus on what I was seeking in the moment: peace, understanding and silence.
Swimming deep into the ocean of my heart and turning each page of Rising Strong, it suddenly occurred to me that I was exactly where I needed to be. I had recently been in the middle of sorts, which Brené characterizes as the “non-negotiable part of a process.” Screenwriters and playwrights call the middle, “Act 2”, and I was smack dab in the ebb of it. The winds were blowing hard and the water was deep and dark, but I had to stay the course. I had to keep going, even if my little ship lost a few sails along the way, because it was part of my story of courage.
I closed my book and rolled over to let the warm breeze blow over my face. I took a few deep breaths, swatted the flies from my legs, stood up, and walked toward the giant rocks that dotted the shoreline in the distance. The kid in me wanted to tip-toe around the sea boulders, and that’s exactly what I did. The water rolled over the rocks, making them slippery, but I found my footing. When I found the best rock, I planted my feet and gazed out into the open sea. My eyes swelled with awe and my smile was wide - this was what real, uninterrupted life felt like and it felt marvelous.
Before making my way back to the blanket, I wanted to see what broken treasures the waves left on the shoreline. From pieces of green and brown sea glass to turquoise rocks to the remains of royal blue shells, I found beautiful fragments of the earth that survived the ocean’s rumble. As I picked up my favorite pieces, I thought about the new home they would have in a little,glass jar on my coffee table. They no longer served their purpose in the sea. They would now serve to remind me of my wild heart - a heart that breaks, that rejoices, that sings, that cries, that laughs, that loves deeply and fights with courage.
Carly and I both secured our treasures and took one last run in the waters. It was as though we were playing in the clouds. We both needed that time to just be, enjoy the freedom, and explore the peace of Butterfly Beach. When we finally sat in the car, we both sighed. We each took something away from the day. I left the sand with a little more peace and understanding. Carly learned the importance of play. Mother Nature reminded us that we are both human, and it was good. It was all really good.
So, this is my heart - my wild, salty and deep heart. It’s your heart, too. Now, put the shell up to your ear and listen to the waves gently roar their way to the shoreline. Then explore that shoreline and find what the waves leave behind. You'll love it. I promise.