Last week, I attended a mindfulness retreat at the Outer Banks in North Carolina. After 3 days of mindfulness, meditation, coaching, sending loving kindness into the world, holding compassionate space for others, and discussions of helping and healing others, I fell in love.
It happened on the last morning. I decided to meditate and walk on the beach before the final session, and that is where I met and fell in love with a fish.
But this wasn’t just any fish, this was an Ocean Sunfish or Mola. There was an Ocean Sunfish beached in front of me on Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. A beautiful creature that was alive but obviously struggling. I was granted the rare and precious opportunity of seeing and touching this amazingly large fish and I immediately fell in love.
There are plenty of details I could share around getting a (guesstimate) 280 pound fish back into the ocean. Sand shovels, ropes, freezing waves, bruises, prayers, and plenty of tears. It was a life-changing event for me and the other people involved.
All for love
I learned a lot that morning. It was an opportunity to apply mindfulness and as MC Yogi says “compassion in action” to a real life and high-stakes event. Everything I did that morning came from a deep love. My love of all living beings and my love of helping others.
Not only was I given the opportunity to save a magnificent creature, I also was able to watch my internal process during a feverish rescue attempt. I had seen the same internal process when I was sharing in the retreat, although it was a less challenging event. Here it was again, but magnified as large as the fish in front of me. When I was sharing my story I knew the process was habitual for me, but then I was given the opportunity to practice LIVE.
First came panic and fear of the creature dying.
“I don’t want him to die! I want him to live. What am i going to do? What can I do? I can’t do this alone!”
Then desperate attempts to splash water on him, push him back with each wave. I was trying anything as I waited for help. When my friends arrived, we worked together and I could the fear decrease and I could feel the waves of sadness wash over me in the same way the waves of the cold ocean splashed against me. After a long struggle against time and my own critical voice of self-doubt, a large wave crashed over two of us, and took this sweet creature back to the ocean.
My Spiritual Opportunity
That day, I was able to see how I doubt myself and the pockets of grief that hide in the corners of my soul around the death of a good friend two years ago. The self-doubt comes up over and over, and this time I was able to see it magnified. I don’t want to do this same process any more. This is my chance. My spiritual opportunity cleverly disguised as an Ocean Sunfish beached in North Carolina. That day, on the drive back to Georgia, I decided to let it go. I committed to reframing my story. I accept myself as I am, and I support myself as I grow and change.
Now I have a deep love of this fish. This fish that I knew nothing about except its eyes were watching me as I moved around it digging furiously in the sand, and pulling with all of my strength to get him home. I felt the interconnectedness of the entire world- sea or land- we all breathe, and we are all One.
Everything I did that morning came from a deep love. And that is perfect.
In Peace and Love,