The North Sea was wild today, crashing against the rocks by the harbour. I walked along the sand for awhile but was drawn to roar of the waves. Climbing onto the harbour wall I stood close enough to feel the spray but with distance enough to avoid a drenching. Now and again a freak wave would reach higher to surprise me. I was like a child playing as I dodged them. And I breathed it in. The sights; the sounds; the smells. Of the sea, of the dusky light and thrashing of nature. With a deeper breath still, somewhere within me I relaxed and softened.
I’ve had a small patch of red skin on my face which has blistered and irritated for awhile and despite all my coaxing it has refused to heal. ‘Are you under pressure?’ the doctor asked when I finally sought help. Was I? Was this an expression that all was not well? How many times have I said to my clients ‘The body keeps the score’. Do I have to heed my own teaching now?
Am I under pressure? I love my work. My family are safe and successful. I have friends. All my practical needs are being met. I have so much to be grateful for. Some might say that I’ve no right to feel under pressure. I am not poor, or hungry or ill. But, as I stand in touching distance of the sea on this cold autumn evening I do have a sense of distress. The world dismays me. The conflict. Humankind’s wickedness. Life rushing by with its growing dependence on technology. The lack of quiet spaces, and degradation of the countryside. These are the realities that weigh heavily. I am powerless to have affect.
But near the sea, for moments, I can feel better. The outdoors, nature has always done this for me. When troubled as a child I would run off to the fields and play amongst the corn, or walk my dog along country paths. Alone. In those days trusting in my own safeness. Even though I am part of the world and have always been troubled by it, I can find solace when alone and close to the wildness of the earth.
Therapists will always wonder if what is seen on the outside is a reflection of what is inside us. And I ponder my own internal violence. My inner conflicts. My own struggle living with others who are different. Remembering this slows me from judging again and again.
At least here, by the sea I can find peace in the wind and the wildness, and soothe my soul for awhile.