I spent last weekend at the beach with some friends from work. It was a much needed break to unwind from the pressures of being adult, being human.
In the afternoon on Saturday, the sea became dirty. The waves that crashed by the shore were brown and heavy like an old blanket. It was not a pretty sight and I couldn’t stop staring at it. Every time the waves crashed on the shore, they left behind a growing heap of brown stuff and after about two hours, the shoreline was totally covered in what I later learned was sea weed, and the sea was clean again.
There’s really nothing special about the sea carrying out sea weeds, I guess. But for me that weekend, it caused a major epiphany, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how eerily amazing it was that the sea could throw up that amount of sea weeds in such perfect synchrony across the entire shoreline.
I asked the natives about it, and their answer was simple – The sea does what the sea does.
The sea works everyday. Flowing and ebbing, in high tides and low, with big waves and strong currents, grounding the earth with its strength. The sea never calls in sick; it shows up everyday and does what it should. And since that weekend, my mantra has become – Do like the sea does, Kay!
Here’s what doing like the sea does means to me:
1. Chuck Emotions To A Corner
And do what’s right even when you don’t feel like it.
I realise now that I let my feelings colour every experience of life. I’ve had a pretty stable and serene life for the most part, but my emotions have always been a rollercoaster. No tragedy ever occurred to make me unhappy and worried, I just wake up with the same blessed life, and find something to worry about. I go from positive and grateful to negative and irritable for no reason ,and it’s all because I give too much attention to my feelings.
Control your feelings, don’t let them control you.
We humans are terribly spoiled and think that our feelings should impact the world and everything around us. We can’t help it, we are stuck with the voice in our heads that focuses solely on us. When we’re sick, we get pissed off by happy people. When we lose, we feel worse when others find something new.
But really, the world owes nobody nothing, and being sick or lost is no reason to be a nuisance. I made a resolution to ignore my feelings more, make plans and stick with them no matter what. No more “Oh I feel bad, maybe I should stay in bed and mope all day”. Now I just wake up and get off the bed. I write when I should write, I cook when I should cook, I relax when I know I’ve made progress.
Life’s easier when we automate some decisions.
Not every feeling has to be given preeminence. So you’ve always wanted to hit the gym but never feel like it, STAND UP AND HIT THE GYM NOW.
Stop thinking about things so much. Just do.
2. Be Myself, Reaally Be Myself
You hear a cliche like, “Be Yourself” and immediately tune out or roll your eyes. But have you ever thought about what it really means?
Being Yourself means accepting yourself totally – flaws and limitations included. It means being yourself in any situation, unapologetically.
Shame shouldn’t be an emotion we pay mind to. Whether you’re awesome or lame; be you. Whether you’re rich or poor, be you. Being one thing over the other doesn’t make you better or worse, they’re just opposites eg: tall or short, who decides which is better? Funny or serious; ambitious or chill.
You are enough, let that sink into your brain. And you can go ahead and misbehave with it if you choose. That’s okay. I learned that weekend that I don’t have to be perfect everyday. I don’t have to dress a certain way, speak a certain way, laugh at certain jokes. I can really just show up and be me, moody or enthusiastic, everyone will have to accept it. I can make a mistake in public and move right on. I can play my music loud for all to hear, whether they like it or not. I have literally stopped worrying about what people think, and I’m the same whether I’m home alone, giving a speech in public, or standing in front of my crush.
I am my strengths and weaknesses both.
3. Stay clean
Somehow, the largest pool of water on the planet finds it necessary to wash itself, and we definitely should too. Inside and out. The sea gets rid off its weeds from the depths of its belly, and we should too. As we go through life, we pick up bad habits, attitudes, memories – extra flora and fauna we don’t need to carry forever. No one might know of our inner garbage but we do, and once in awhile, on a sunny Saturday afternoon, we should sit, take stock and make a plan to offload some of them.
This week, I’ve worked hard on cleaning myself. I wrote down habits, grievances, memories, friends, secrets that I need to drop, and enlisted my boyfriend as a sponsor to help me on this journey of self-preservation.
Instead of holding on to all the things that are wrong with your life, you can choose to let go too. Instead of paying attention to every thought and emotion that flickers through your mind, you can choose to ignore them.
Instead of being selectively one side of you, you can be all of you.
Do like the sea does.