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Finding Inspiration in Unexpected Places

Ocean surf with a seashell and sunrise

Life often takes us to unexpected places. As a seeker in life- of light and knowledge; magick and miracles; health and happiness; peace and comfort- I often have great expectations. "This class I'm going to take will be amazing". "I'll be able to connect with my spouse on a profoundly deep level at this spa retreat". "I will have an out-of-body spiritual experience at this sound bath". "This healing I'm about to receive is going to fix everything !". "I'm really looking forward to this vacation that I've been planning for a year and my expectations are high that it will be perfect and amazing". The higher the expectation, the harder it is for the experience to live up to that expectation. But we can still have profound experiences and insights in those moments of unmet expectations.

I recently experienced this with a solo personal retreat I had planned. I felt strong nudges from my intuition (or God or the Universe or Angels or Spirit Guides--however you might think of those gut feelings and synchronicities) that I needed to go to my favorite place- a house on the beach in South Carolina. This is a house that my family has gone to for years and it is a special place. Because I had some synchronicities and intuitive messages that I needed to be there, I felt like this would be a transformative time- a magickal time. I would be there by myself. I would work on writing a book. I would do all the things I never have time to do at home. I would have time to meditate and prepare space. I would connect with beings of Light and be inspired. It. Would. Be. Incredible.

In other words, I had very high expectations about what would happen during this solo retreat and how it would happen.

And so it was that I arrived at the house. I gave a sigh of relief at being at this beautiful place and unpacked. I went to the grocery store and settled in.

The next morning, I woke up in time for sunrise on the porch. I could see a sliver of the waning moon in the lightening sky just above the palmetto tree in the backyard. And a bright dot that was Jupiter just below the moon. This was a moment in my favorite place. A moment I savored as I watched the sun rise, the clouds move across the sky.

I went to my altar, ready to pray and set the space. I began my prayer and rituals to raise my vibration and called in the beings of Light. I was proud of myself for starting strong! Then I felt hungry. So I ate breakfast. Then I felt tired so I took a nap. Then I questioned if I should just relax and enjoy myself instead of writing. It felt too overwhelming. I questioned the whole business about the synchronicities and intuitive nudge. Maybe I made it up. I’m sure it’ll be fine if I just chill here instead of trying to connect with otherworldly beings and have a magickal experience.

No, I thought. Take a walk on the beach. Put your feet in the sand. Smell the ocean air. Listen to the waves crashing. Okay, fine. I headed out to the beach. It was a warm, overcast day. I started walking through the receding surf, looking for shells. As I walked, I could feel my body relax and breathe. I stopped to watch the waves and listen to the ocean. I became inspired. I’ll just make a little sound recording of the waves crashing onto the sand, foaming and bubbling, and receding with a fizzle. I found my recording app and clicked the button. The waves were mesmerizing and I became inspired with ideas for my sound healing practice.

I continued walking.

As I watched the waves, I pondered their eternal existence. They roll in to shore one after another, minute after minute, hour by hour, day by day, year by year, decade by decade, century after century, millennia after millenia. It’s as though they have always been rolling in and they will always be rolling in. There is comfort in that thought of eternity. There is no striving to make things last or to come back to the ocean before the waves are gone. They simply will always be.

It made me think of our own eternal nature. We are eternal beings. We were never born and therefore will never die. I remember being a kid and trying to wrap my brain around the eternal nature of God and the infinite nature of the universe. I wouldn’t get very far in my contemplations because it’s so incomprehensible. How can a being be eternal? Surely there must be a beginning of God or beginning of the universe! As I stood in the ocean watching the waves, I realized that there are some mysteries and concepts that the human mind cannot comprehend. I felt that there was an answer to the puzzle of eternity, but not one that could be answered by the human mind. Surprisingly, I felt a comfort in that limitation. All would be okay. I don’t need to know all the answers. I want to seek knowledge in all ways so that I may have a full experience of life, but the human mind has its limits. At this moment, as I pondered the mystery of my eternal nature, I looked up and saw a dolphin swimming along the shoreline.

Watching for dolphins at this particular beach is one of my favorite things to do and every day I hope that I will see them gliding gracefully through the water, chasing schools of fish. The ocean was alive with activity this morning, as it is most mornings. A flock of pelicans skimmed across the water, diving for fish and eventually sitting and floating on the ocean swells. Crabs were digging out dens in the sand. Creeping out of the holes they had made to quickly toss away a clawful of sand as they dug out their home. Tiny mollusks would poke up out of the sand as the surf receded, digging furiously down into the sand again- safe from the birds waiting to catch them before they dug to safety. So much activity and inspiration from nature. So much beauty.

As I walked and pondered, I realized that THIS is why I needed to be here at the beach. Not to shut myself away in the house, but to get out into Nature to find my inspiration. I can do work inside the house anytime, anywhere. But only here can I find the Joy of the Dolphins. The Persistence of the Crab. The Grace of the Pelican, and the Depth of the Ocean.

Click on the button below for my free gift to you of the ocean recording. May you also find peace, hope, and wisdom in the eternal nature of the ocean.

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1 Comment

Brenda Burkholder
Brenda Burkholder
Aug 01, 2023

Profoundly beautiful!

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