I spent a lot of time away from home last year. Being home this year has focused my attention on the spirit of this place where I live. It’s a source of inspiration, grounding and strength. I love to walk to soak up this energy.
These walks develop a narrative of their own if I am listening. Every walk has its own realisations through the rhythm of my thoughts as I step on the sand, into the edge of the sea and commune with the elements of the day. The clouds, conditions, tides and the configuration of the beach combine to craft a unique train of thought.
And the shells and stones I notice and want to pick up on any particular day are also signposts. I am not always sure which way they are pointing or why I am drawn to them, but there’s a synergy I recognise. As M-L Von Franz says in Carl Jung’s Man and his Symbols:
Perhaps crystals and stones are especially apt symbols of the Self because of the “just-so-ness” of their nature. Many people cannot refrain from picking up stones of a slightly unusual colour or shape and keeping them, without knowing why they do this. It is as if the stones held a living mystery that fascinates them.
I am one of these people, gathering the distinctive shells and stones of the moment, as if holding onto them can help me to understand the language of that specific day.
The narrative of this particular walk is that I want to share this place and the stories that come from its energy. Surrounded by beaches on one side and bush on the other, it’s an oasis and a sanctuary. It’s the lungs of the city, the breathing space for many. On this particular day, it’s a time of easing away from the world of work and shifting into a different life. The weather is sublime. I feel like I’m in heaven as I begin cutting the tie from work, catching up with myself and breathing in and out with awareness. I look for those shells I recognise at the water’s edge, talismans of salty wisdom to hold onto.
I think about the quiet radiance of this place, how its water caresses me, how walking on its sand grounds me and how its rocks solidify my intentions. It’s a place where time is told by ferry crossings, where tides shape your passage and where dreams come true in an incremental way you hardly realise.
I know that part of my work is sharing the treasure that is the spirit of this place, the solitude and sanctuary it represents and how this might be a positive influence for others. It’s through words and images and the narratives of these walks that reflections are generated. These ideas are then reworked and massaged with new associations that I sometimes share and through that, connect with others.
It’s so important in our work to co-create with each other, including sharing spirit of place, the sources of our wisdom and the connection it provides. As Colette Baron-Reid says in Uncharted: The Journey Through Uncertainty to Infinite Possibility:
None of us is meant to be an island, isolating and hoarding resources. When we share our wisdom and support and resources with others, we immediately dispel the illusion of scarcity. We remember that the matrix of connection sustains us regardless of what we want to create or what form our creativity takes.
So I’d like to share this landscape with you. If I could just take a taste of this day and put it on your tongue, it’s an elixir that would sparkle your being with the essence of calm. I offer it in words and images here to connect with your heart. And there’s so much I want to offer and co-create with you.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh says in Gift from the Sea:
The waves echo behind me. Patience – Faith – Openness, is what the sea has to teach. Simplicity – Solitude – Intermittency…..But there are other beaches to explore. There are more shells to find. This is only a beginning.
It’s true, there are new narratives each day and this is only a beginning. I head home, settling this unique day’s story into my being and shifting into a quieter, wiser place. And I share these thoughts and feelings with you. I’d love to hear about your spirit of place and what narratives it inspires in you.