I love mindfulness, meditation, stillness, whichever word you wish to apply to moments throughout the day when, no matter what you’re doing, you stop, close your eyes, slow and deepen your breathing, slow and steady your heart rate, and linger in a place of physical, mental, and emotional peace until you’re ready to return to the world with a strengthened heart and restored spirit.
I like that you can take this practice with you anywhere, like a secret weapon, ready to pull out whenever life goes wonky or people give in to their mean side or your body just decides to feel frazzled.
But I also love those precious moments when you can steal away to a place of peace, a place where the very surroundings calm, steady, and ground you.
Like the beach.
Last week my friend Ann asked if I’d like to accompany her to Brisbane for the day, so we packed water bottles and snacks and headed over the mountains to the coast. We popped into bead shops and thrift stores, European delis and Greek food shops, and took a few moments away from our errands to have fish and chips at Wynnum Pier with my friend (and Ann’s daughter) Lizzie.
It never ceases to amaze me how even an hour at the beach can restore your spirits immeasurably, and linger with you long after you drive away.
It was sheer bliss to feel hot sun on my face and shoulders, salty breezes tossing my hair this way and that as we found treasures in the sand like this banksia cone. I’d never seen banksia before I came to Australia, and I find it incredible that the cheery and soft yellow blossoms above become these equally beautiful cones.
We watched people wading in the water, kids screaming with laughter, others strolling quietly along the beach lost in their own thoughts.
I found a seagull feather and watched boys racing each other through the trees, gasping for air as they shouted, “Again!”
I love the air at the beach, so fresh and cool and briny, especially as Autumn deepens and the fierce heat of summer dissipates.
Bear and I often talk about retiring to the beach, finding a little spot just for us where we can fish and look for treasures in the sand and potter away at our crafts and projects. But we always return to our beloved farm, a sense of belonging and welcome engulfing us as we descend over the mountains to the rolling hills of the Darling Downs.
For now we are happy for jaunts to the beach, for pleasurable hours sitting under the shade of palm trees, watching seagulls hop ever closer hoping for a nip at our fish and chips.
All too soon it was time to leave, to get back to school and work and chores. We took one last look at ocean waves and sand that seemed to ripple in the heat, nodded farewell to the gulls and headed back home to the people and things we love.
Where is your favorite place to go to restore your spirits? xo