A beach day in January.
It’s my annual tradition.
East Beach in Westport. Around the the start of a new year I make my way here. Only at low tide will this beach reveal the limited amount of sand which exists on this narrow stretch of shore. This beach is mostly rocks and stones, each uniquely shaped and weathered by the power of the crashing waves they are constantly subjected to.
I come here to release. To release the things I choose not to carry with me into a new year. Emotional things. Like anger, doubt, fear, resentment, hurt, regret, frustration, bitterness…
Self awareness is a wonderful gift. Over the years I’ve gotten quite good at knowing me and accepting me. Compassionately. There is no good, bad, nor ugly. There just is. I’ve learned to just be aware of what I’m feeling and not judging myself for feeling what I feel. I know what I am carrying within me, and when I decide I don’t want to carry that emotional heaviness any longer I come here.
To throw it away.
My “methodology” is rather crude and simple. A stone and a Sharpie. As I walk on the rocky shore I simply pick up a stone, ideally with a large flat surface. On that surface I write that which I wish to no longer carry with me. Today’s release? Angst. So on that stone I will write my prayerful intention of what it is I am seeking to release. It becomes a prayer I will offer to God, The Universe, my Guardian Angels, my Spirit Guides…releasing that which burdens me into their collective hands, surrendering the heaviness to Sources stronger than I. With my prayer complete, I gently kiss the stone and with all my physical strength I throw the stone as far as I can into the ocean, tracking its trajectory as it splashes into the water in front of me, trusting that the agitative churning of the crashing waves with eventually wash the stone clean and with it that which I know longer wish to carry with me.
I will make a pilgrimage to this beach several times per year. Some days I will throw many stones. Some days I’m still surrendering and releasing the same heaviness I have previously surrendered and released. It’s a process, but the clarity and intentionality of the process has evolved into a powerful yet unconventional form of prayer.
My Mom would often light candles in the back of the church.
I throw stones.
Those heavy thoughts and feelings you are carrying?
Perhaps it’s your time to put them down?