Our Creator would never have made such lovely days, and have given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above and beyond all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal.” ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne
The open classroom of the Asheville Transcendental Meditation building was set up with a few rows of chairs and a whiteboard. My TM instructor had drawn a stone sinking through water, on its way to settling gently into the sandy bottom.
“Your thoughts during meditation are like this stone,” she said with kind eyes.
I exhaled and nodded. Relief chiseled away some of my edgy, crusty stress. I knew that by the time I had completed my training, I would have the tools I needed to let my jumpy thoughts go. One by one, they would slowly sink, like boiling gnocchi in reverse.
I was eager to let my painful thoughts disappear into the sand, forever entombed and undisturbed. Like the Titanic, the shipwreck that was my life from 2008-2012 would lie on the ocean floor, grown over in sea urchins and barnacles, hidden from view.
I memorized the mantra she gave me, practiced with her each day, and at the end of the week, I had the tools I needed to sit in meditation for twenty minutes each morning and afternoon. I was thrilled to have my innately strategic mind back online, now free of zingy clutter and anxiety.
I pulled a quiet, restful calm around my shoulders like a shawl.
I soon discovered how much more access I had to my creativity. As my thoughts sank easily onto the ocean floor (regardless of when I was meditating or not), they began gestating, relating, connecting to one another, and becoming something new. They took shape into novel forms, bringing me insights and threads of ideas that had potential to be woven into something beautiful.
I remembered how naturally this came to me as child walking alone in the woods, deep in thought and chatting away with the trees. On long, solitary tromps through the rhododendron and laurel, I’d rest my hands on the gray, shimmering bark of a white oak and ask for answers. Years later, I’d tweak this habit and would seed a hike at the trail’s head with thorny questions I needed help in unraveling.
Mother Nature was my favorite, playful accomplice in sorting through what I believed, valued, and desired to see take form from the random thoughts dancing together in my mind. I intuitively knew how to access her power as a child, but had let that connection grow dim as an adult.
Learning how to meditate brought me back, full circle, to the place of treetops bending in sudden breezes, nodding to me their guidance.
When I had arrived at a safe distance from the chaos of my shipwreck times, I felt a calling to dive down into the dark depths and revisit the ocean floor. I did not have the words for why I felt compelled to return. I just knew in my bones I was to suit up, mask and oxygen tank on, and head right for what I had wanted to forget.
Swim right for what I had wanted disappeared from my view and life forever.
I didn’t know what exactly I was looking for. I just pushed and pushed through the darkening depths, straining to see. When I reached the bottom, I gently waved my hand across the sand in a petting motion. Amongst the bubbles and water now cloudy with sediment, chunks of old dreams, trauma, and unresolved heartache loosened and began their journey to the surface.
As much as I wanted to turn away, I stayed.
I communed with all of it, letting the jumble of the mixture slide through my fingers. I was now no longer separate from it, and from this reunited place, I could properly heal.
And amongst the memories that bared the teeth of a barracuda, the glint of sparkling nuggets caught my eye. I followed their shimmer, dug down deeper, and panned from that place.
I could see, even with sediment swirling around me, that there was absolutely nothing to fear. In that rich layer of the odd composition of years and experience, lay the primordial, foundational elements of what I could create anew.
The structure would be sound, as it would rely upon the dark and light sides of the coin for strength, wisdom, and the desire to connect heart to heart. I took up a big scoop, filled a glass jar, and surfaced with my treasure.
We know, deep in our bones, where we need to dive deep. While it seems safe to keep the old hurts out of view and submerged, the place we are heading next requires we return and do the work.
We ultimately find that when we push away the weeds and begin to excavate, we are held in supreme love. Grace is eager for us to become everything we are destined to become and access the full power within us to create, share, and transform the world with our courage.