The Transformative Power of Getting Stoned on the Beach

 “Your divinity and magnificence are already there. Always have been. You just have to decide to see it.”

Some people go to the beach hoping to find sun, sand, and water.

I find metaphors.

On my desk beside me is a collection of small stones I’ve gathered on my many visits to the beach. Each stone shaped differently than the other, no two exactly the same. What has always amazed me about these stones is not so much their individual shape, but rather how each one was shaped in the first place.

The stones next to me were not created in the exact shapes that now define them. Their current shape is a result of external forces which altered their original form. Over time crashing waves and churning oceans have transformed these stones into what they are today. The evolution is slow, subtle, imperceptible. But the constant and unrelenting force of the ocean creates an erosive environment that eventually will reshape even the hardest of all stones.

Recently I began to see something deeper, something more meaningful in this collection of stones. The story of their transformation offers us insights into our own personal transformation.

PERCEPTIONS In many ways we are like these stones here on my desk. Like the stones, we, too, are greatly impacted by the harsh external forces that surround us. The waves of uncertainty and pressure which color our days crash down upon us with an unforgiving regularity. If left unchecked, these external forces could easily reshape our perceptions of who it is we really are. Our very nature, disfigured and unrecognizable, even to ourselves.

The stones had no choice. Their external environment was destined to transform them.

But our own transformation?

That’s our choice.

DIFFERENT VOICES We live in a time of great change. And while change creates opportunity, a great many will only see the uncertainty. But the changes that are happening around us are just that — happening around us. These changes are external…happening outside of us…these changes are not happening within us. While harsh external forces have the power to reshape stone, the only way harsh external forces can reshape who we really are is if we give them the power to do so.

Again…that’s our choice.

The negative external forces that stand to transform us come in many different voices. Sometimes it’s the voice of the boss unleashing a scathing tirade telling you that your work will never be good enough. Sometimes its the voice of the critic who sees no value or meaning in the art you’ve created. Sometimes its the voice of a parent rehashing how disappointed they are in how you’ve decided to lead your life.

SOMETIMES I WONDER These external voices will either weaken us or strengthen us. That is up to us. We get to decide how much power and respect we will give to these external forces. Will we allow the voices to grind us down and reshape us and alter who it is we really are? Or will we allow the voices to strengthen our resolve and conviction of who it is we really are?

Sometimes I wonder about my own voice. Is mine a corrosive voice that over time weakens and erodes, unintentionally transforming those around me, including myself?

In my role as a Dad, I painstakingly choose the words that I’ll use when talking with my kids about their behavior in certain situations. Bad decisions and bad report cards are the perfect breeding ground for an emotionally-fueled angry response. I’ve experienced both sides of emotionally-fueled angry responses and nothing good ever came out of any of them. The last thing I ever want to do is plant seeds of doubt and inadequacy within the minds of my kids. I’m supposed to be better than that.

In my role as me, I know that my own internal voice in years gone by was quite corrosive. The slow, subtle, and imperceptible erosive process that reshapes stone for years had reshaped me. I, for some reason, empowered the negative external forces and allowed them to slowly transform me. I planted and cultivated my own crop of doubt and uncertainty. Eventually I allowed the external voices to become my internal voices which transformed me even further from who it is I was created to become.

NEW POSSIBILITIES It’s not a good way to live, confused, lost, and frustrated. But at some point I began moving forward simply because there was no other direction to go. A new seed took root within me, the possibility that it didn’t have to be this way, that life wasn’t supposed to be this way.

This new possibility lead me to challenge the very voices that brought me to the place I now wished to escape from. Slowly I discovered myself, my real self, for perhaps the very first time. Eventually the picture of who I really was replaced the picture of who I had unintentionally become.

It’s been quite the ride, and despite the bruises and scars I am grateful for the wisdom my personal journey has brought to me. I no longer empower the external forces that once redefined me. Unlike the stones that inspired this post, I don’t have to allow the crashing waves and churning oceans of external negativity to transform me. I get to stand in a different place, a higher ground above that which would alter my very essence if I chose to give it the power to do so.

So what are you saying to yourself when life presents you with its never-ending challenges? When life squeezes you? Are you fueling the flames of doubt and uncertainty, of inadequacy and unworthiness? Or do you reach your own higher ground, a vantage point where you can again see your own divinity, your own magnificence?

Your divinity and magnificence are already there. Always have been. You just have to decide to see it. And once you see them, the doubt, uncertainty, inadequacy, and unworthiness will all wash away, leaving behind the you that you were created to become.

The world gives us countless opportunities to question our ability to navigate the waters of our lives. But our truest self provides a confidence, a real knowing, that who we are and all that we are is more than enough to guide us through.

Living Half Full is about always seeing yourself for who you really are, not what the world tries so tirelessly to convince you that you’re not. We must all acknowledge the waves of negativity crashing around us and respect the transformative powers which they possess.

But we don’t have to give them the opportunity to do so.

It’s a great day to be you!

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