Monday, May 26, 2014

Ask for blessings

Here's something I do when I go to beaches. It doesn't really matter which beach, and there's no difference between when I live near a beach and when I don't, I do it the same way:

Look out to the water with your feet in the waves
Open your arms and your heart
As the ocean to send you a blessing, or a message
Wait until something washes up--or washes out 

More often than not, something washes up onto my feet or against my leg. When it's a shell or a bit of wood or whatever, I pick it up, tank the sea, and keep it. I have a rock collection and a shell collection anyway, what's a few more meaningful bits of stuff? I'm like a bower-bird, I naturally sort of build shrines, just piles of stuff that catches my eye.

I decide what it means, based on where I am, what I'm doing, how I feel, what I need to hear, the whole context of my life.

Once in a while, the sea steals a toe ring or an earring, and that's a message, too.

And sometimes nothing happens except that I stand in the sea, breathing the air that hasn't come across cityscapes and thousands of other people, and that's a gift or a message, too.

It's strange, asking for blessings, but it's also sort of wild and free, so long as you don't have any preconceived notions about what counts as a message, a gift, a blessing. It makes me pause and notice the world and those old rhythms that don't care about when shops close and when people want to hit the road. It makes me feel special--and also puts me in my place. It reminds me that I actually can ask for things, if I can remember how, because usually, I'm so self-contained that it doesn't occur to me to ask for something outside myself or from something not-me.

I think any sort of ritual like this is a connecting with the higher organizations of the universe that we sometimes forget are there. Whether you see that as a spiritual detail or not--sometimes I do, sometimes I don't, you're allowed to be changeable--there are patterns we don't need to look at in the day-to-day, but that put things into perspective when you take a minute.

That's something I need to remember when I'm not at the beach, too.
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