13 April 2012

Beachcombing Through Life's Stormy Treasures

Just sitting here, breathing in the remembered smell of the ocean, clearing "the cobwebs from my mind." My mother used to take us to the beach (New Smyrna or Daytona usually) a lot when we were kids. She needed to "clear the cobwebs" from her mind. That imagery has stayed with me all my life. I even tweaked the words and used that message in one of the songs on my Driftwood: The Music CD. The line I wrote was, "Will you be the ocean wave that washes my mind?" It's found in the song, "Special Touch." I'm listening to ocean waves on my iPod nano and sorting through the detritus left behind on the beach of my mind after yesterday's storm of emotions. You just never know what you'll find washed ashore after a storm. Mostly it's just seaweed, but occasionally you find life's small treasures: a special shell, an artful piece of driftwood, tumbled sea glass, and on some beaches I've been to, you can find agates washed ashore after a storm.

I guess the emotional storm yesterday was in preparation for leaving Florida and returning to my chosen home, the place in the world where I feel the most at home, the Pacific Northwest. It is time to wash away the past so I can head into my future without attachments, without all that seaweed pulling me down into the depths, threatening my survival. I had to disentangle myself from that so I can move forward unhindered, moving from a place of peace into all of my tomorrows. Hanging onto yesterday's seaweed thoughts will only weigh me down. You can drown in shallow water, if you have enough stuff weighing you down.

Whether I'll find any treasure washed ashore this morning remains to be seen, but I have to admit that I don't look at the world the same way as others. Treasure for me are those bits of natural art I find as I comb the beach. You won't find a lot of knick-knacks on my shelves that didn't come from the beach. I've shed most of those that I had in my many moves. I've let go of the things you have to dust regularly and pack carefully. Although I do wrap the shells I have kept in bubble wrap. Many of my treasures I recycle back to the earth and let them go, emptying my hands and my heart so I am able to hold any treasures I find today until the time comes to release those too. Eventually I'll have to release all my found treasures in order to cross over to the other side. Thankfully most of my treasures are recyclable back to the earth. I try to allow very few things in my life that accumulate dust, though as I begin to pack again, I have found some dusty pockets. Pockets of my life and my space that have been neglected as the days passed by me here.

Time to turn out those pockets, clear the cobwebs, vacuum away the dust bunnies, and shed more stuff. Time to clear away the past, disentangle the seaweed that has wrapped around my feet and tried to hold me back, tried to keep me from living my life fully. I'm going home, and I want to return there unfettered, keeping only joyful memories that propel me into tomorrow, sloughing off the painful thoughts that seek to keep me mired in quicksand. Life is beautiful, but life can also be perilous. Turning my face to the light, I focus on beauty, peace, love, and joy. Turning my face to the light, I find that my step gets lighter too. Once freed, my feet begin to walk more quickly, to skip along, until at last, I'm dancing into the future with a heart full of joy.

Beth Mitchum is the author of six novels, one collection of poetry, one collection of biographical essays, and one music CD. Her works are available at Amazon.com through the following link: http://tinyurl.com/bethmitchumbooks