Making Love With Words – Seashell Philosophy by She

MAKING LOVE WITH WORDS

Seashell Philosophy by She: Part 6 in Series

Act 1: The Stage Background

This morning in Palm Beach County, Florida we were blessed with a beautiful sunrise scene that showcased scattered clouds reflecting a shattered rainbow in the color scheme—a fantastic visual that made me drunk with that same seductive emotion that overcomes us when in love.

There are so many words for love in my parents’ native language of Greek: in the Ancient Greek it breaks down to four main ones and I’ve gleaned the following information from www.en.wikipedia.org .  Agape means “love” as in “I love you” with traditional qualities in its definition.   Eros is a passionate sort of love that can apply to anything more than just a friendship and although sensual in nature that doesn’t have to be defined as sex-lust kind.  Philia can mean friendship or affectionate love in Modern Greek and is mostly as that general kind of love between friends, family and community but can include lovers and mutual events.  Storge is the affection felt for the relationships like between a parent and child.

Act 2: Back to the Beach

This alluring morning beckoned me to take my sons in tow with a picnic plus shore gear and head to one of our favorite spots: Juno Beach by Loggerhead Park.  As we walked across A1A and to the edge of where the sand clings to the asphalt, we got the first glimpse of a calm Atlantic Ocean kissing the shoreline.

The sky still had a wallpaper of clouds and seemed to drip into the ocean’s horizon line—the color scheme now had switched to the hues of blue, white and light grays that had a calming effect following the rapturous sunrise we’d endured hours earlier.

The shells were plentiful in quantity as well as quality—even the rocks and coral pieces were intermixed, a cornucopia of gifts from the tide going out.  I noticed that there were some people around but everyone seemed to keep to themselves.  My sons and I made a presence by the sheer fact that we were digging in sand, building structures, picking up trash, running in and out of the shoreline, myself leaping into the beckoning blue sea with the glee that my youngest displayed as he broke down castles smaller than he.

Act 3: How Do We Love By Talking?

As I was enjoying a simple day at the shore with my sons I realized that most people here today were also attracted to the inviting blue water and the abundance of shells.  The way the waves broke over the line of shells and rocks provided a great game consisting of spotting a shell that you wanted and then lunging downward to pick it up before the water took it back again.

After recent articles and books I’ve read about how our human society is battling loneliness despite increased inter-connectivity via our mobile devices and computers—it hit me that we are all able to battle this unnecessary tragedy of feeling isolated when here were a bunch of people today all at the beach for various reasons but for this moment in time we are together.

So I used the obvious icebreaker of saying something to someone about the shell-picking opportunities today or remarking about the boat offshore experiencing an engine fire.  I made it a point to speak to everyone who came within 12 feet or so of me or my children.  It became easier after the first few people and it was enlightening to engage in conversation with everyone.  After about an hour or two I felt so comfortable and relaxed—it seemed everyone else did to as the dozen or so folks in this area who hadn’t been talking to each other now were and even shell-picking or enjoying the surf in closer proximity than before when it seemed everyone had been in their own invisible cubicles just past the high tide line.

Act 4: Love, Love, Love

I was filled with joy today.  I simply lived in the moment of being at the beach, engaging with other people around us and digging my hands in the sand, leaping into the surf, dodging waves for the next best shell.  By far the best part was the love of today.  It wasn’t just my sons that I loved as I handed them refreshments and played with them.  I loved reaching out to other beach-loving spirits and sharing with them as I learned from them.  I truly believe that each time people connect with words it is a form of loving each other if only that it affirms we are not alone.

We all need love and as there are so many kinds of love and ways to give love, why not give as much as we can even in the little ways?  Maybe we make life too complicated—sure we have the trials and the unexpected tragedies that we must weather in a fallen world like Earth but how much stronger are we when we face these things together?  I wish us all more Love in the time we are living now as it is the one thing that is priceless, timeless and most vital to our survival here.

R. V. Saridakis Bean

 

Seashell Philosophy by She: Part 6 in a Series

Seashell Philosophy by She: Part 6 in a Series

I didn’t inquire with anyone when I decided yesterday to hit the beach with my sons early on a cloudless Friday morning.  It wasn’t until I was pulling into the parking lot at the Juno Beach Loggerhead beach park that I realized there was more commotion afoot besides the summer surf school for kids.  As we headed across the street to access the shoreline, we noticed the Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s van and a clear path marked by buckets filled with sand and poles strung together by white cords. By the way, if you’re local and interested: www.marinelife.org

The Sea Scene

This was a great morning for a homecoming as the ocean was beckoning with its waves crashing in a strong but gentle fashion during low tide. I set up camp with my boys and began to play in the sand with them in the shallows of the water that was coming out of a black pipe in the sand toward the ocean.  This is the water that is vacated from the Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) as it exits from each of the tanks housing the injured or baby sea turtles in their care.  It always makes me chuckle when people come by and ask me or other parents there if I/we know from where is this water’s origin. It usually goes a little bit like this:

“Excuse me, do you know what that water is your children are playing in?”

“Yes, thanks…”

“…It’s from the turtle place up there, you know, their tanks with food and their refuse, just coming out there…”

“…Yes, thanks so much for your concern, I know and am fine with it…”

“You are? It’s full of…”

“And the ocean is also full of countless creatures and organisms, and there are fisherman right there a quarter mile away doing their raw business off the side of the boat and you know, honestly, I’m most comfortable with my children playing in this water as I am with them eating dirt from the garden…again, thanks so much for your concern…”

It’s usually at this point that I witness the kind nodding by the person’s head followed by a non-comprehensible mumble under their breath as they turn away with bewilderment.  Perhaps I am taking a risk by allowing my children in this water: but at the same time if I dissected our movements every hour of every day I’m certain I would give myself ulcers over worry because of the constant barrage of peril I assault my innocent boys with on a daily basis.

Life is moving quickly enough right now and although I’m not advocating we live recklessly I do believe that we must focus more on learning and experiencing with others rather than nit-picking and worrying about every little detail—especially those things that we have limited to limited control over.

The Crowd Accumulates

As it turned out, the sea turtle release would be occurring in just over an hour after we had arrived at the beach.  During one of our snack breaks, my boys and I enjoyed sitting in the shade of our pop-up beach tent and we watched as more people descended onto the gradual slope of the shoreline behind the lines put up by the LMC.

There were all sorts of folks: people like me with small children, teenagers by themselves or reluctantly accompanying their parents, seniors, couples, school groups, camp classes, a group of special needs adults brought in with their counselors and at the myriad of genres goes on.   Everyone was coming together in close proximity with each other in the heat of the baking sand by the ocean this morning to witness a sea creature return home.

HOME: Where Is Home?

Once the LMC crew carrying the Loggerhead sea turtle named Tilly came to the shore the crowd simultaneously hushed and all tried in their respective ways to get a better look.  It is customary during these releases for the LMC staff to carry the sea turtle to the end of the path where it opens up to the actually shoreline where the water is kissing the sand with consecutive wet laps.

I’ve had the honor of witnessing a few of these releases and it always chokes me up to see the turtles just sit there for a moment when they are left alone on the sand surrounded by their caretakers and the public.  They look ahead and around tentatively for what may seem like minutes and then they usually take their steps toward the water without delay.

The moment they hit the water and start to swim away is always an emotional event experienced in so many ways by the crowd.  Some of us are obsessed with taking photos, others with making sure the children can watch this happening and still others trying to push forward to see more if possible.  This time around I personally tried to get a couple of photos, make sure my sons have a good view and then just watch this simple, beautiful event of an animal returning home.

Please forgive my high-flying philosophical tone: I cannot help have tears burn my eyes in the salty air when I see these sea turtles enter the shore break and slip away.  What is it like to really return home? Many of us have a cozy place we can refer to as our home but I’m recollecting that ache we all feel for our Home.  That peace that we are seeking but have different names for it and vastly different ways of seeking it throughout our lives by means of people, careers, wealth, drugs and alcohol, et cetera.

Turtle Release Aftermath

Tilly returned home in a swift display and the crowd quickly dispersed afterwards.  What remained were the beach dwellers like me who were in for the long haul of the day.  In south Florida the beach is the coolest place to be when the summer heat and humidity strikes and this past Friday was no exception.

As my sons played once again in the “turtle pee”* water stream at the shoreline, I wandered a little bit to check out the seashell availability.  It was slim-pickings but my heart was delighted because the best find that day was coming to the beach and being surprised with the honor of witnessing someone returning home.

Life is often full of unexpected events…we plan to do something and when we are trying to execute that plan we are met with a surprise twist that either modifies or completely nullifies those previous plans.  Either way, if we can accept the gift of that new circumstance then we will be well on our way to knowing what the peace feels like when we finally return Home ourselves.

Love Life,

R.V.S. Bean

Weeds, Women and Wisdom We Want…

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It’s hot and moist again here in South Florida…the kind of weather where the air permeates your body with inescapable heat: the sun, the high temperature, the humidity that fills your lungs with sticky warmth and you can smell everything in a 3-D sort of way if that were possible.

My outdoor garden is overrun now. Bugs are an afterthought, it’s the weeds that have run amuck and overwhelmed my spirit as I entered my humble garden today after being absent from it for only a couple of days. Whereas my kindred gardening souls in northern latitudes are starting to enjoy sweet harvests from their gardens, my plots are fighting to stay alive against the relentless sub-tropical waves of warmth–a haven breeding ground for countless weeds.

It’s easy to write off these invasive weeds as a waste of plant energies and yet the study of horticulture has found that some weeds are beneficial for our soil as they end up leaving things that weren’t there before. You can conduct an internet search on the subject to reach links like this: http://www.gardenorganic.org.uk/organicweeds/weed_information/weedtype.php?id=-2

But we can’t easily do the same research when it comes to the weeds that creep in and threaten to choke our personal lives.  It’s mid-year already and where do we stand with what we set out to do in 2012?  Perhaps you had plans to tackle and it may seem that circumstances and relationships have taken you down in unexpected ways.  Hopefully there are many positive outcomes in some of these instances.

It’s overwhelming to know where to start weeding whether we’re speaking of your plants outside or your spirit inside.  Just start picking up the one closest to you, the one that is hurting you the most at this very moment. The important thing is to not run away and avoid it because that will only give the weeds more power over our plants, our life.

In my garden, my gated entrance has what my brother calls “torpedo grass” invading aggressively: I just put on my gloves and started grabbing at the grass with more gusto than calculated effort.  At my desk today I picked up the first clipped article on my massive pile of papers and wrote the letter that went with it to send to the appropriate family member in snail mail mode.  In my heart I focused on the refrain stuck on rewind and addressed that issue to the best of my ability.

The consistent thing about weeds is that although we may eradicate them for a time, they will pop up again.  They may be the same ones or different ones altogether–either way, each time we deal with them we learn and grow.  Our physical gardens also mature in that many secondary generations of plants will develop stronger strains to deal with the difficulties causes by the invasive species.  The goal for our personal weeds are also to be stronger the next time around and maybe learn what we didn’t see before.

Good luck weeding this summer!

R.V.S.Bean

Seashell Philosophy by She: Part 5 in a Series

This morning in Palm Beach County, Florida most of us awoke to a heavy sky with warm rain drizzling throughout the morning, afternoon and evening.  As mother of two active little boys I immediately realized this was going to be a challenging day as I sought various indoor activities.

The local public library was a good start to the gray blanket of a day but it was short-lived as the new activity for the boys became racing through the stacks and taking out as many books as possible.  We tried to visit a few folks that we haven’t seen in nearly two decades since we were in the neighborhood by the library but they were still in bed around 10-11am (I will not deny I felt jealousy at that moment in time). I was heading for the local zoo when the youngest passed out so the trip became drive-thru subs for lunch while giving my older son a car tour of where mommy used to go to school and other highlights that he may or may not recall later.

Fast forward to the late afternoon where we’ve found ourselves back home and the cozy play inside has now escalated to dangerous trapeze tricks off cribs, beds and other not-so-safe heights.  Having recalled our car tour earlier in the day, there was a green flag on the beach when we made a hairpin trip to see the water.  So there we were at just past 2:30pm and I was changing everyone into their bathing suits and grabbing a light bag with towels, provisions and toys.

We arrived at one of our favorite beach parks and it was deserted with only 2 or 3 cars in a lot that usually was filled to capacity at any given day with sunshine–contrast that with the muddy sky that couldn’t commit to a steady rain like an emotional person that isn’t sure they need to cry or not.

Unfazed by this blatant not-beach-day, I got everyone out and across A1A to the shore.  We were pleasantly surprised by the other diehards present on the beach that truly did have a nice green flag flapping at the life guard tent.

We proceeded to enjoy the next few hours building in the sand and tearing down that magical section where the land and water kiss again and again.  Life is full of satisfying surprises like this if we can manage to look past what we think is the “normal” mode and just go for immersing ourselves in the moment even when it means getting caked with sand on a drizzle of an afternoon in Florida.

The shells and rocks were also lackluster in appearance and selection but that didn’t stop us from tossing them into the shore break and tearing apart the “shipping” canals we were building with these shards and coral bits.  We can’t allow ourselves to be so bound by what we think is the status quo or the right equation.

Today’s strangling conventional wisdom would say: no sun and gray, rainy day equals no beach time in south Florida.  I’m happy to have found out with my boys that this wisdom is unfound and there is a nice crowd of other fellow humans who were able to embrace the joy of the beach day out regardless of the messy precipitation.

R.V.S.Bean

Juno Beach: Pictured Above On Another Day Unlike Today’s Gray Weather!

What Came First: Chicken or Egg OR Ability to Create More Eggs?

First? The Chicken, The Egg or Re-Creation of the Egg?

Note: Inspiration to delve into this topic comes from the following source that was re-hashed in several newspapers nationwide: http://www.nature.com/news/egg-making-stem-cells-found-in-adult-ovaries-1.10121

Have you ever read a latest scientific finding and thought to yourself that it didn’t surpise you?  That’s exactly what I thought when coming upond the Associated Press reprint in our Palm Beach Post today: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57385826-10391704/stem-cells-in-ovaries-may-grow-new-eggs-study-shows/

Ironically I was just telling a close girlfriend last month how we females are born with all the eggs we’ll ever have in life–a recollection of conventional wisdom that I’ve accepted as knowledge and yet as I read this article today my spirit leapt with joy at the possibilities of these new findings.

There are so many of us that have heard countless stories that vaguely run like this: A woman has trouble concieving, she and her mate try all the different avenues afforded by western and holisitic medicince alike, then they make the decision to change course and open their hearts in mentoring/fostering/adopting children and then almost instantenously or shortly thereafter find they have miraculously conceived.  There are the women who end up concieving by natural means well past the standard menopausal season dictated by our normal human expectations.

As the reports following these findings in the Sunday, February 26, 2012 journal Nature Medicine note, this topic will certainly spark new discussions, judgements, anxieties and hopefully an opportunity for us to open our minds to what possibilities there are in the miracle that is our human body (not to mention the rest of the organisms and life entities we share the Earth with but that’s several other essays and volumes for another time).

It is still a mystery overall to most “civilized” societies how the physiology of our bodies are affected by our mentality (brain waves/messaging) and our spirits (life energy/will/heart–basically the intangible and yet undeniable part of who we are unless we choose to numb it with substance abuse or outright oxymoronic denial).

If you didn’t get a chance to see this research finding in the papers today I hope you enjoy it as a piece of intellectual candy for the better.

R.V.S.B.

Seashell Philosophy by She: Part 3 in a Series

The Precious Among the Tumbling and Treacherous

Earlier this week, my little sister was able to take some time from her work schedule to go to the beach with my boys.  As we approached the shoreline on Singer Island here in South Florida, we were taken aback by the electric blue color and the cylinder-type waves that were thrashing the shore.  Lines of seaweed and debris told the story of the tumultuous tides the night prior…

As the lifeguard raised the red flag that morning we realized our first impression was correct: this was a beach day to regard with awe and respect while not trying to tempt fate by entering the Atlantic among the constant rolling waves trucking with force akin to the Pacific surfer’s paradise.

My younger son of 11 ripe months couldn’t help but totter to the shoreline and so after repeated failed attempts of diversion, I went ahead and secured him on my baby back carrier and we took a walk.  Upon closer inspection, I found that I was also hopelessly attracted to the breaking surf because between the beige shades of the sand and the dancing blue water and white foam was an iridescent line sparkling with several hues reflecting the sun’s light on rocks, glass and shells alike.

Watching the waves hit and then recede afforded a few seconds of viewing what truly danced at the “shell line”…I noticed a couple of conch shells rolling back and forth.  The shell hunter in me was engaged instantly…

What I caught in my hands as I darted toward the receding waves were a couple of beautiful of nearly baseball-size conch shells.  Although I felt they were worth risking the slamming waves, upon closer inspection I noticed the seemingly magnificent shells actually each had a flaw… it was as if someone had shaved one side lengthwise on them in respective differing positions.

It suddenly struck me that although we can work terribly hard to achieve greatness in various points of our lives, attaining any particular goal will still have its faulty points. This shouldn’t dissuade us from trying to strive for something beyond what we are or have presently–only we shouldn’t be shocked that when we hit the desired mark, it may still have its shortcomings.

This all probably revolves around the generally accepted wisdom that nothing is truly perfect on this Earthen plane of existence.  However, I still believe that our dreams and notions for what we’re supposed to accomplish in this life are worth running into the the thrashing surf of circumstances that approach us daily.

R.V.S.B.

 

 

The Art of Saying “No”…Does It Really Exist?

I’m still amazed at the frenetic pace of my life sometimes.  I wonder does everyone else feel the same way about how quickly and how many things we go through on a daily, weekly and monthly basis?  Is it really within our power to simply our lives by saying “no” to people and circumstances?

FAMILY

I begin with this subtitle because it is what many of us are most familiar with.  Our parents. Our siblings. Our cousins. Our aunts and uncles. Family consists of many different titles but the urgency is usually the same.  I really can’t say “no” to family but I can try to set boundaries and perhaps corral requests as a cattle farmer herds his cows.  This is never an easy task, however, and I caution that some forethought should be involved before speaking.  My standard habit is to ingest the request(s) and let it filter through my mind while managing small talk in between.  If it’s a low-key item or two, I can easily respond in the positive.  If it’s more complicated, I usually stall an answer and say I’ll get back to them on that or some other clever response.  In my heart I would never really want to be able to say no to beloved family since I do love them and truly desire to help them through the bumps of this physical life we lead.

FRIENDS

Being in my thirties now I’m definitely learning some hard lessons in the friends department as well as enjoying the immense blessings.  I’ve read many a magazine article that breaks down all the “types” of friends one can have and how to mitigate conflicts that may arise.  Many times I try to pre-empt my colleagues by offering to be available whether by verbal communication or by spirit in prayer because I do want them to know that I’m not just a fair-weather type of friend. Yet life has a way of predetermining which friends can weather my personal storms of life and I need to just let go and know it’s okay to say “no” inside when I wonder if I should reach out one more time.  Also, if a friend is a constant drain on energy sources then it may be time to set some distance to help recharge and reassess the relationship.  Again, never easy.

WORK

Our jobs seem to have spilled over into our personal lives since the advent of cell phones, internet communication and long, unnecessary hours.  Add to that the scarce holiday, vacation and personal days and we have a society filled with stressed singles, marrieds and parents that try to balance their lives with the constant demand of “the man”.  I’m not a sage in this department as my past decade of life included working in the halls of the U.S. Congress, Treasury Department and countless corporate firms where money and hours spent at your job was your merit.  I still can taste the bitterness in my mouth of biting my tongue when the days would grind on endlessly and the boss was a nightmare and I in turn reflected nightmarish tendencies.  At the same time, I remember the day I submitted my resignation when I became pregnant with my son.  I had been looking forward to it for weeks, I knew it was the right choice for me at the time.  Weighing all the pros and cons, I decided it was time to say “no” and consider other options in the aftermath.  I have never regretted the decision.  This is not shared with you to encourage quitting your job in a tough economy such as ours, however, I hope it can inspire you to really examine what is important to you, your family and what type of career would truly complement your zest for life.

BOOKS/SELF-HELP

The art of saying “no” is the soapbox for many writers, psychologists and others.  You can certainly find a book that suits your needs or a CD set that talks about how to get a better grip on your hectic life and hopefully help you lessen the load.

My personal experience is that I seem to move things off my plate just in time to welcome new things.  Perhaps the goal should be to find a “balanced diet” on this life plate that sustains itself through the years.  As my family and close friends know, my spirit always relies on the strength of our Lord as God has an inextinguishable amount of energy sourced by the Universe and Creation itself.  But that is my way of living, you can only know your way yourself.

So my conclusion is that saying “no” is the wrong focus, rather how can we say “yes” and follow through?

R.V.S.B.

Tales from the Toddler Tides…#023

What would we do in this world without our toddlers?  They help us slow down, perhaps actually force us to so that we can breathe in life as they do daily.  They present us with curious impromptu challenges, like how do you remove the #2 bathroom feature off your Samsonite luggage after a 6 hour flight across a continent?

This particular tale is tedious and maybe boring at best for most of you. However, I wanted to share its simplicity as my abandonment to the occurence lightened my usual parental moodiness.

One of my family members has a very tall, two-tiered staircase that I like to get us up or down as quickly as possible on most days.  The only reason we really go upstairs in this house is to take a nap and get reprieve from our hot and humid days here in South Florida.

The other day we had arisen from our nap and were making our way down the stairs.  Mr. Independence has decided lately that he can make it down the stars himself as long as he holds onto the railing and has Mama within arm’s length just in case.  So we’re beginning our descent on the top couple stair steps and I’m allowing him his safe personal space when suddenly he stops in his tracks.

“What’s wrong?” I ask him in Greek…he just looks at me and then promptly sits down on the second step.  His right hand still holding on to the wrought iron railing, his left arm extends downwards along his side and his left hand pats the stair step beckoning me to sit beside him.

My gut parental reaction is to be the responsible, stressed-out adult and ask him to stop the nonsense and drag or carry him down the stairs.  However, thank God, for a moment I soften and decide to take my son’s invitation and I sit down right next to him, my right arm hovering behind him and my right leg extended in front of him (I can’t completely shut down the worry wart in me, gotta make sure he’s not taking a tumble).

Once I’ve settled beside him, he begins to point at particular items in the room below, naming some himself while asking me to declare others.  After he’s made his initial scan, I follow his lead as he goes down a few more stairs only to stop a couple more times along the way.  The routine is similar but each object he points out is different, never repeating.  In other words, methodical.

It seemed that once he was satisfied and had made it down the stairs, he relinquished the floor back to Mama and my agenda ruled again as I began to lead him to what our next activity was. 

Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to go along with a toddler’s whims.  In this case it was relatively harmless, it just required me to be patient and to enjoy the moment.  The unfortunate reality is that as parents we are many times just trying to survive the passing moments each day as we pummel forward with raising our offspring and meeting all other demands of our individual lives. 

Thankfully, the toddlers of the world help not only their parents but others around them to try to savor the obscure and ordinary moments of life.  I must remind myself of that daily lest I plod right through the precious opportunities to enjoy the unexpected.

RVSB

Wyoming Life

"God bless it and keep it wild"