Ocean Lessons

Feeling alive!  What I know for sure is that the more you feel alive, the more likely you are to get closer to the work that truly engages you!

A weekend by the ocean.  I had been to Tofino a long time ago, before its popularity exploded.  The community of 1,800 expands to about 22,000 on a summer day.  Though its appeal also includes winter storm watching, the promises of sun and surf calls visitors.

The last weekend of September was perfect in the weather department.  I was sitting on the sand at Chesterman Beach when I thought how much being out in the wind and elements was connecting me to what it means to be alive.

On this part of the West Coast, the shore stretches out like a fan and the ocean goes on forever.  Surfers in wet suits dot water and sand.  The beach area expands and contracts with the tides.

As I walked along the waves’ edge, I watched the spray of seawater as it crashed against a rocky outcrop.  When I felt the cold water touching my feet, I looked down.

The minnow was stranded on the sand, flapping its head and tail.  The next wave was no where near the tiny fish so I used a shell to toss it back into the water. 

 It swam away from the ocean to a pool of water which was full of its buddies.  I couldn’t distinguish it anymore.

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a movement.  A crow sitting higher up on the outcrop.  It was bending over.

When I looked closer, I could see the crow was near a tidal pool.  The next moment I saw the crow.    

3 fishes in its beak!

My heroic rescue was in vain. 

Nature has blatant lessons.  Harsh even.  And yet life and its perpetual change is what underpins everything we do.

From our day-to-day work activities to choosing what work we want to all of our dreams and passions, we understand everything is always in motion.

Through looking at the world from that tiny fish’s perspective and then the crow, I saw some connections to finding work that matters.

There will always be a squirm factor.

“You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”  Anonymous

There is a discomfort in following your dreams.  In order to grow in the way that you want, it will require stepping out of the coziness of your life and into something new.

The challenge is to develop some sort of ease with the uncertainty. 

The Art of Surrender

“Surrender isn’t about giving up.  It’s about letting go.”  Anonymous

At first when I watched that little fish flopping on the ground, I saw it suddenly stop. I figured it was conserving energy. I can imagine that it was feeling some discomfort. Was it surrendering?

Waiting for the wave also reminded me that at some point there is a need to surrender when wanting to embark on a new career path.  Like the fish though, it doesn’t mean giving up, it means understanding that something much bigger is happening. 

That fish had no idea when the next wave was coming, but indeed it knew that it would happen because that’s the way it has always worked. 

The surrender to me is about not pushing too hard, but to pay attention really to what is pulling you.  What is capturing your attention?  What really inspires you?  Where lies your desire? 

The idea is to listen carefully because some of what pushes is what needs to be let go. 

Helping each other

“Individually, we are one drop.  Together, we are an ocean.”  Ryunosuke Satoro

I know that fish just wanted to get back to the rest of the school.  Indeed when I tossed it back into the water, it took no time to find its buddies.  That crew knew about the strength in numbers. 

What I hear from people who have experienced success in life is how much their success has happened because of all their helpers along the way, people who have rooted and encouraged and been there for them. 

In finding work that matters to you, the chances are you will come to a point where you question yourself, where you wonder if you should choose an easier road.  At this moment, you need someone who believes in you more than you are believing in yourself.

Surround yourself with those people

We are all interconnected. 

"Each of us is a unique strand in the intricate web of life and here to make a contribution."  Deepak Chopra

Watching the crow holding 3 fishes in its mouth reminded me of the chain of life, that there is a place for fishes and crows.  Each part of the chain is critical to the next. 

And so it is with finding that work where you will shine your best.  Where is your place? 

It reminds me of the lyrics from a Fred Penner song:

“Always search for an answer until your strength is found.” 

For more inspiration about how nature can help you, check out this video: