You live out the confusions until they become clear - I read these words by Anais Nin over and over after stumbling across them, only god knows how (Do you ever do that? Google something as innocuous as What’s the time in Stockholm? and then you find you've fallen down a rabbit hole and come up for air in the most bizarre place?). Anyway - these words, these nine simple words -- they really struck a chord with me. They made me think about the importance of allowing yourself to carve out the time and space to contemplate, to meditate and reflect on your inner struggles and chaos -- to allow yourself the time and space to find clarity. Which let's face it, these days with all of our commitments and distractions (I'm looking at you Twitter) it can be something that we don't always prioritise.
I guess everyone has different approaches on how they seek their own version of clarity. Some might find it in a yoga class while they are sinking into a downward dog, others by running on forest trails until they are magnificently breathless or by simply spending time with friends and family - but me? My clarity is found in the depths of the ocean. OK - not huge depths by any means (because - SHARKS) but by being in and around the ocean. I need to see those liquid horizons; to taste the salt on my lips and feel the wind in my face and then something magical happens to my mind that I just can't find anywhere else.
I'm a Pisces to the very core and as a child, I always dreamt of being a mermaid (hey - thanks Daryl Hannah). I’d spend hours and hours in the water, and my favourite thing to do was to swim under the surface, goggles on, feeling the water gently cocoon around me. I'd tumble and turn in the water until I couldn't tell which way was up and my fine hair was a mass of dreadlocks (sorry Mum). I belong in, near or on the water -- being landlocked is my version of hell and I've always struggled like a fish out of water when I'm away from the coast. Believe me, it's not pretty. Looking back, my whole life has been punctuated by beaches and swimming pools and water, water, water (a big shout out to my husband who patiently indulges my beach obsession every weekend - you're the best!).
These days, when life gets tough I know I'll think more clearly after holding my breath and diving under the waves, eyes open and looking up towards the surface as the whitewash tickles my fingertips and toes. I love to watch the sunlight streak downwards in sharp ribbons towards the sand below. That exquisite womb like feeling of the surrounding water and muffled sound as I kick forward until my lungs stretch and strain and feel as though they are going to burst and then, only then do I break through to the surface and shake the water from my face; my body and mind floating weightless, euphoric. It’s in these moments, these moments of certainty, of overwhelming lucidity that I get when I'm awash with salt water that are so essential to my well-being. It sorts out the confusion, the noise, the mental clutter into a more orderly manner and allow pockets of space to open up and sit amongst it all so I can examine and turn things around my mind more easily. It's my reset button. A restoration. A cure-all.
This quote by Rainer Maria Rilke sums it up perfectly (and much more eloquently):
When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.
So how do you live out your confusions? How do you find your version of clarity?