Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Learning to Transform

Summer to summer.  July 4th to July 4th.  Birthday to birthday.  In the approximately 365 days since the summer of 2008, I have spent nearly one third of those days walking the beaches.  Through summer crowds, into autumn heat spells, which led to winter solitude and then springtime renewal, I walked my way into the summer of 2009.  Searching...  Searching for answers, searching for meaning and searching for seaglass.  Some of it I found, and some of it found me, yet much of it is still so elusive. But still, I continue to search.

Over the course of the past year, I have come upon and have collected hundreds of pieces of seaglass.  Each tiny piece, each broken shard has been smoothed over and frosted by decades in the ocean.  Quite a tumultuous existence being broken-down and then transformed by the sea.  Yet when the seaglass makes its way to the shoreline, its appearance is without the jagged edges that are inherent in a broken piece of glass.  The difficult journey that brought the weathered piece of glass from its original form, to the depths of the ocean, and then back to the beach, has created a uniquely beautiful gem which is like no other.  A piece of broken glass tossed away, disregarded, dangerous and angry looking, returns in another incarnation as a treasure.

I have always held the Buddhist philosophy that life is suffering or pain.  It is one of the four noble truths, but it has been only loosely translated because there is no literal translation for the word "dukkha" which is the original word that the Buddha used.  Because there is no literal, or single translation for the word dukkha, this noble truth has taken on a very negative connotation.  Yet from my extremely "layperson" point of view, what I have come to believe is that the word "suffering" could be replaced by the word stressful or the word painful, or even the word joyous.  The important thing to glean from this philosophy is that life is transient.  Suffering, pain and happiness are all impermanent conditions.  In other words, it is perfectly fine to experience a variety of feelings throughout our days.  The important thing is to never cling to any of them.  Like a shard of glass dropped into the ocean, we are set forth into this life to walk a certain journey and throughout that journey, we are molded, formed, transformed, battered, smoothed out and transformed again.  It is only in the end that the true essence of our treasures are borne out to the surface.  We are constantly changing, evolving and transforming into who we will become.  It is only by allowing this process to occur, by not clinging to any of the phases of our transformation, that we can truly become the gem that we are meant to be.  Life is suffering.  Life is joyful.  Life is pain.  Life is _ _ _ , you fill in the blanks.

As the road to another summer rises up to join me, I will continue walking.  I will continue searching and I will continue to open up my soul to the impermanence of things.  And as a part of this journey, I will admit, out loud, that I am finally ready to reclaim a part of me that was so immersed in the pained and broken-downness of the past eighteen months that I was often getting dragged down by the waves.  Like a piece of seaglass or some words of wisdom taught by the Buddha, it is my hope to become unattached from my original form or belief, and into a smoother, more refined version of who I can be.

A heartfelt thank you for all of the lovely birthday wishes.  Your words of wisdom, thoughts and kindnesses touched my spirit in a way that made me feel very special.  Your comments are always so appreciated and do not go unnoticed.  And thank you to Maria-Therese's(afiori) readers for stopping by!  I do hope that you will visit again.

9 comments:

Sunshine said...

Deb, what a beautiful post with lots of question and answer and finding yourself in the writing.. I wish again, that we meet someday because your word inspires me and it goes beyond the life and very incouraging post

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Transformation can be so scary yet promises the potential of a better tomorrow.

Can't wait to see where your transformation leads you.

Hallie

Jacque said...

Always a pleasure to read your words, this is one of my favorite places to come for inspiring food. Thank you and enjoy those walks~Jacque

Angel... said...

Debbie, I would say Life is Beautiful, enjoy it..
Take care
Angel

Maria-Thérèse said...

It's something I've had to remind myself of recently - that I have a choice, I can choose not to let negative things stick inside me.

I have your seaglass!!! :) :)

Mickey Johnson said...

...beautiful post. it is true that life is full of challenges and trials which tumble us about making either one become bitter or better...the wonderful part is we have the choice. xo, mickey

Debbie said...

I am always telling my kids that life is all about choices. Even choosing to be happy.

rivergardenstudio said...

Oh, you are so lucky to have the beach, the Pacific ocean right at your doorstep, to watch it's changes, it's moods and how there you can think and dream. Your writing is full of beauty... take care... Roxanne

Ness said...

I'm so glad I was able to read this post TODAY...a day filled of inner turmoil(who KNEW that we had a hawk out back that could swoop down on our precious Colin and Shania and now I'm leaving for a week and trusting Michael not to let that hawk get my babies as they go out to take care of business), the stress of lists and making sure all meds, medical records(one never knows when Roger's heart will decide it's a beautiful day for an ER/hospital trip), camera, etc together, taking care of paying bills before we leave, and the list goes on. I haven't even been able to eat breakfast yet and I come to your haven of rest aka blog with my soul sore for the words you have written. I'm sitting here with my coffee and after reading your words, I choose to go back to calmness and my "all will be well and find contentment in whatever state you be in" philosophy. The next best thing to not living where I can watch the ocean morning, noon and night is to have your words describing it to me. Have a blessed day, Deb. Love you.

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