I returned to the foot of the Ocean with some slight trepidation. The stillness of the night invited my longing heart, yet my mind knew not what to expect. I sat to gaze out into this infinite wonder again. I can't explain my affinity to this mysterious body of solidified mist. Like others before me, I too believe the Ocean has the answers to my one-thousand-and-one questions about this life, about my Self, and about all the elements of every level of my being. In its vastness and inner stillness, it holds all the secrets I long to know still. This was as clear as its translucent reality. This bolted vault that holds all of life's goodness, by its grace, lets me know what I can know. It speaks to me in a silent voice none can hear, and stirs my soul in ways that cannot be shown.
Just as it extended to the tips of my toes, and just as I began to break apart and follow it home, my hand came to rest on a pointed rock. Startled I jerk-opened my eyes and turned to my right. It was no rock. It was the shell of the sea turtle nestled right next to me. Oh the beauty of this creature, of its steady and solid stillness, of its magnificence. I reckoned that it too was on its journey home. I paused and gazed at it as my mind wondered what it was doing situated so close to me. Moments passed in silence while the palm of my hand rested on this rough casing of my new companion.
In the stillness of the moment and of my mind I asked myself "why is it that such a tender creature of nature, of such gentleness, poise, and grace clothes itself with such a thick and impermeable exterior?" I gazed at it further. I retracted my hand as I watched its fixed motionless ocean-ward gaze. Then a thought arose into my mind's eye.
“I am but a reflection of your heart.”
I recognized this gentle whisper in my mind as my tone and yet not of my own making. I gasped lightly. My mind was gearing up to take a flight but I grabbed hold and grounded myself. I placed my hands on my sides and felt the cold sand between my fingers. I knew this was my chance to hear and cloth myself in a wisdom not my own. I asked what that meant.
“What does that mean?” I waited.
Then the tone that wasn't of my own making began.
“Sweet child you ask to enter life's secret chambers and know not she had long ago given you the key. Life reflects all the answers you seek in all the beauty she keeps close to her heart. But you do not see.
You see the magic of nature and yet you see not your own.
You gasp at the beauty of this shimmering moon and think nothing of your own. All you see before you is appearing FOR you. It means to point you toward your home and your truth. And this home is never where you thought it be.
I said that I am but a reflection of your heart. You think me tender, gentle, poise, still, and graceful. So too is your inner heart these things. But you have surrounded your gentleness with fences thicker than my shell.
Would you not free yourself of such a cage? Would you not free me from this heavy weight I'm made to carry to remind you?”
It retreated into its shell.
I felt my heart ache. My whole being responded in a sinking throb that rendered me breathless. I wished it stay unhidden from my eyes for all that was before me was the lifeless casing of something beautiful.
“Appearances deceive you dear child.”
My panic subsided as the voice continued.
“Beauty, truth, and love rest beyond appearances. Think not that a reflection or an appearance tells the whole story for it can only touch upon the surface of truth. A mirror never tells the whole story yet you have yourself believing you are the skin and bones, a lifeless casing of your choosing.”
I am puzzled. And yet I am comforted.
“Your home and mine is where the gentleness remains. Your home rests beneath the shell you have erected around your heart. Your heart is your home and it is your beauty also.
Dearest love of life, do you not realize that you abide in the heart of life itself?
Your heart is life's heart, for life never parts from herself.”
It fell silent for a moment.
“I come into this shell for it is where my safety lies. You have taught me and yourself that the heart of life is something to fear and to hide from.
You have misunderstood.
You fear the heart of life and have confined yourself into a cage of misery, into a shell unbecoming of your true beauty.
The heart of life is tender…it is good.
You have misunderstood.”
It emerged its head out of its shell and began to slowly slip into the sea. As it disappeared into its home, I heard its whisper between my ears.
“You have misunderstood. You have misunderstood.”