10 Things You Learn About Life When You Go to the Beach

1.  Don’t have lots of stuff.  The sand gets in everything, and it’s a lot to manage when you’re tired.  Less is more.

2.  Listen to older and wiser people.  Grandpa knows where to park and find the best spot.  He had to do it before GPS and iPhones.  

3. You need protection of all sorts–the more the better (SPF 100). 

4.  Find places to rest in the shade.

5.  Don’t expect to find whole things (shells, starfish, crabs).  Most everything is broken but still beautiful.

6.  When you leave the shore and venture out, it’s best to have  folks (grandma and grandpa) watching you and with you (Mom and Dad).  The sea is dangerous, so the more people you have aware of you, the better.

7.  Your instincts tell you to race back to the shore when a wave is coming.  Do not do this.  It will pummel you and toss you so hard you’ll be beyond recognition afterward.  Move towards the wave (the fear, the new thing, the huge transition), and you’ll find it will let you rise up high.  As my daughter says, “The wave only looks big.  When you swim through it, it becomes small.”

8.  Know when it’s time to go home.   Too much riding the waves means you can’t make it back to your car.

9.  Stop for ice-cream on the way back to the car.  Sometimes a sweet, cold treat helps everybody manage if they’ve not figured out number 8.

10.Take pictures and look at them a lot.    


The Texture of Flair

We are sensate creatures.  We feel textures everyday: this firm keyboard, the spongy-soft of this office chair, the feel of a hard nail on my finger as I pick at it.  Often, throughout any given day, I can remember what I saw, heard, or smelled.  But rarely can I recall what it felt like to touch something.  I haven’t trained my brain, perhaps, to think about my life in terms of texture. 

But what if I did?  Today I was trying to distract myself from my exercise monotony by watching videos on VH1.  There’s a new Jack Johnson video that showcases him surfing in the ocean for the entire 3 minutes of the song.  Watching him surf and dive through the waves made me recall my own visit to the shore: the feel of hot sun on my back, the wash of icy water over my feet as I neared the ocean, and the prickle of sand and crushed shells under my feet.  I started to love this video for what it made me remember about the texture of the beach.  (check it out below!)

Then I started to hear what he was singing about.   
He sang, “cause you and your heart shouldn’t feel so far apart.” 
I watched him surfing the waves and felt the memory of diving into the ocean.  But I wondered why the lyrics in any way matched the video.

Then I knew.    Jack Johnson (who directed the video), uses his hands and body to interface with this gorgeous ocean scene.  The whole video makes you focus on his hands and skin.  The water overtakes him; he smiles as he surfaces and touches the water with his hands.  He looks straight at me and sings it again: “You and your heart shouldn’t feel so far apart.”

When I’m touching something and enjoying its texture, it helps bring my heart into alignment with me somehow.  I’m happy when I’m enjoying a texture:  holding a kitten, petting the soft velvet nose of the horse in the field down the street from my home, or squishing a red raspberry in my mouth.  Living with flair means I take note of texture.  There’s joy in touch.

As classes ended yesterday, a student gave me a hug (Darius Soler!  You made the blog!), and another one patted my shoulder.  It was a flairful thing to do, to touch me like that.  Why aren’t I hugging people more, patting shoulders, linking arms?  I wonder if Jack Johnson would tell me to put my hands out and touch this world like it’s the beautiful ocean that it is.