Lessons I’m Learning From the Ocean
ocean has always enchanted me. Maybe it has something to do with the
fact that I’m a Pisces. Maybe it’s simply that, near the
ocean, I experience levels of awe, peace, contentment, and hope that
I don’t experience on a regular basis during my day-to-day
daily reality involves living in busy, crowded Los Angeles, bombarded
by the sounds of helicopters, ambulances, and car alarms. My daily
reality includes my biggest honor as well as my biggest fear--
parenting a seven-year-old son. At home it is so easy to fall victim
to the what ifs and should haves. And my daily reality includes
trying to manage a chronic medical condition. Surrendering to the
unpredictable, uncontrollable nature that is largely the essence of
an autoimmune disease.
my last trip to California’s central coast, I realized that in
addition to being a powerful life source, the ocean is also quite the
teacher. And on that trip, I think I was finally ready to be a
receptive student. Here are the seven lessons the ocean is teaching
me, and I’m trying to learn.
control doesn’t exist. I can have plans -- I can set up a
blanket for a picnic with my son, or I can anticipate a thirty-year
teaching career. But ultimately there are factors that are beyond
my control that determine what I can and cannot do. And whether it
be the weather or my health, I can only do so much. I ultimately
have a very limited amount of control over everything.
goes on. It’s very easy to get caught up in the “drama
of the day” -- the situation that seems all-consuming and
all-important. I may be pre-occupied with what my insurance company
will and will not pay from my last doctor’s appointment. But
whatever the outcome, favorable or not, life goes on. My personal
drama isn’t the big picture. Maybe one person’s life
doesn’t continue, maybe even a version of my own life doesn’t
continue as I thought it would. But life itself does.
can’t be manipulated. There is the misconception that I can
speed things up-- take a faster route, use a short-cut when fixing
dinner, do two things at the same time. But really, it’s all
an illusion. The sun will rise and the sun will set when it’s
ready, and there’s nothing anyone can do to change it.
don’t really matter. Yes, I need to be clean and dressed, but
really, the size of my jeans or the appearance of additional
varicose veins on my legs are largely irrelevant. All that really
matters is that I’m here, and healthy enough to be able to
experience the moment.
appearances are not always what they seem. I look out at the ocean,
and all I see is water. A pelican. A rock jutting out. Yet, even
though I can’t see it all, I know that the ocean is alive,
full of marine animals and plants. Things aren’t always
evident at the surface, sometimes you have to look deeper.
Likewise, being disabled happens in degrees -- it’s not always
evident by looking at someone or simply by spotting a wheelchair.
is full of ebbs and flows. There are periods of time when life is
hard. It’s loud, it’s chaotic, and it feels like things
are just crashing into you. Non-stop. But there will also be times
when life is more calm, more serene, and life feels as if you’re
surrounded by diamonds sparkling in the sun. It’s imperative
to remember that even though it may not feel like it now, the calm
will come again.
bigger than me. There’s only so much one person can do each
day. And what I can accomplish each day may vary. It’s okay
for me to modify my daily to-do lists and modify my expectations of
I can truly impact, and take responsibility for, is my little corner
of the world.
Kennar is the mother of a seven-year-old son. Her writing is inspired
by her son and her experiences from her twelve-year teaching career.
Her writing has appeared in several publications and anthologies
Los Angeles Times,
MomsLA.com, and Mamalode.com. She writes a weekly blog at