If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick everyday. ~Leonard Cohen
The morning after Hurricane Earl kissed the outer edge of Tulum I left my beach side bungalow and walked to the edge of the sea. Despite the howling winds and pelting rain of the previous night, the waters were quiet, the sun shining softly. As I walked the beach the now tranquil waves flowed in and flowed out, the inhale and exhale of the Caribbean Sea. More evidence of the storm, an uprooted palm tree bobbed at the waters edge, displaying how closely intertwined was the cycle of storm and calm.
It was not lost on me that nature was a mirror of my inner experience, storm neighboring calm. Two weeks earlier I was shaken to the center by the sudden death of my closest friend. At that moment the inner winds were blowing, my mind swirling, seeking to find peace, meaning, answers. How inconceivable that life can be full and end so unexpectedly. How unbelievable that my practice asked me to ride the tide of loss and find inner stillness. How unimaginable that such tranquil beauty could abut a raging storm, yet how similar to our human experience.
I lifted my gaze to the sky, scanning for signs of clouds. Closing my eyes the warm sun settled on my skin. Inhaling deeply I searched for a momentary stillness, the calm ocean within. Inhale love, exhale. Inhale meaning, exhale. Inhale connection, exhale. Inhale. Exhale. Just for a moment, I became the ocean. And again, and again.
That morning in Tulum sustained me through many wavy days. I can’t help but think Leonard Cohen was a yogi as his words so accurately describe the process of dipping below the choppy surface of our outer lives. I’m deeply thankful for the practices of Yoga that take me to the Quiet Center amid the turmoil of thought and emotion. When the howling winds of life pull you into a storm, may you become the ocean, your toes gently caressing the inner oasis of your blissful True Nature.