I don’t know what it is about the ocean that has such a calming effect on my soul, but it happens every time. Traditionally, my husband and I journey to the Outer Banks in December for a few days of respite. Last year, due to COVID, we had virtual learning for our son, so he joined us, and we all had an amazing time of family bonding. This year, my mother-in-law has kindly offered to stay at our house for a couple of days and take care of our son and animals, so my husband and I can enjoy a couple of days of silence.
Well, not completely. I hear the waves crashing outside, the gentle hum of the heater in the small studio cabana we are renting, and my fingers gently tapping on the computer keyboard. A small sign over the bed reads “Don’t quit your daydream.”
Why December? Because it is the off-season. There are mostly locals or folks like us who just want to take a few days away from their normal life and civilization to refocus, realign, and recoup. We like to stay to ourselves and just appreciate the ocean for what it is. We prefer walks on the beach, looking a mile in each direction and realizing we are the only humans occupying that stretch of beach in that given time. We like to look for sea glass or shells worn smooth by the crashing waves and sand. We listen to the waves crashing on shore and watch the lines of pelicans swoop and soar. These short trips also happen to be excellent birthday presents for my husband.
We are not “beach-goers” who like to lay out in the sun until we are a little crispy or swim in the ocean and jump waves. Although those things can be fun, we choose December for the quiet calm. We watch the pods of harbor porpoise catching their breakfast or the sand pipers dance in and out of the waves.
December has the spirit of Christmas and the mix of beach and sand, with the stillness of the locals going about their daily lives. We do not intrude. We like to blend into the locals as much as possible or just watch as they go about their daily tasks. We like to catch glimpses of what their lives must be like when the tourists are not here.
I am an introvert. Crowds of people drain me. I can fake it for a little bit, but multiple days of constant contact with crowds of people drain my energy. I need time to recharge my soul so I can keep giving. As everyone has felt, this year has been more draining than most. I need the ocean to restore balance and bring peace. I need the quiet, the peace, the solitude to regain my focus.
I need to look out at the vastness of the water and feel just how small I am. Our daily lives feel so big sometimes. The choices that we make for ourselves, and our families seem so big and daunting. The circumstances we find ourselves in can be big and overwhelming. Life can sometimes feel so big and frustrating.
Sometimes, it helps me to feel small. Large mountains and vast oceans tend to do that for me. I can connect with nature and feel the big, daunting, overwhelming frustrations melt away. In the presence of such immensity, my problems do not seem so big. My brain can focus on what is important in the moment and solve seemingly large problems with ease. This spiritual connection with nature is important for overall health and wellbeing.
What places bring you solace? Where can you reconnect with nature and refocus your mind? What locations bring you peace?
Are you ready to pivot to functional health and wellness?