How have your battles made you more beautiful?
Every so often I venture back into my journals to check in on what I was trying to become ‘back then.’ I came upon this entry from 2005, and loved how I was trying to hold two disparate ideas at once – the exotic softness of a beach stone, and the idea that it had to endure relentless pounding to arrive at that beauty.
There is a clear jar filled with beach stones and sea glass, resting on an east-facing shelf in the rooftop cupola where I write. I brought it up here for the times when I’m so caught up in my head that I have to reground myself with Earthly things.
There are once-sharp shards of blue and green and white glass, stacked up with smooth rocks in charcoal, white and gold. Jagged edges worn smooth by the ebb and flow of the tide. And I pick out one rock and see layers of interior color brought to the surface by the churning sea. Natural battle scars.
Yesterday I did unexpected battle with a rock while trying to move an ancient and thorn-laden rose vine climbing up the back porch, where it’s been living for decades, maybe longer, its branches periodically stabbing me and anyone else foolhardy enough to walk too closely by. Hoping to get it safely shifted from its place near the walkway, I attacked the base and started to dig. But just beneath the surface, the roots were impossibly wrapped around a huge boulder. Hours later, I finally gave up the fight. That rose had its Gibralter and was not letting go.
It all reminded me of how we, too, need those underground anchors – our foundational rocks, those beliefs and stories and people – that protect and uphold us. Keeping us stable, safe and Earth-bound even as we reach for the sky.
And yet at other points in our lives, we feel like we’re without foundation – the stone at sea – gasping for air, shaken and bruised by the pounding surf. And the polishing hurts. Makes you ache again for a foothold, to be tossed to the warm sands and stillness of the shore.
So I sit in my treetop room holding a velvety heart-shaped ocean rock found along a beach walk in Malibu. Outside I see the bay where the ocean meets the land. Observe the calm waters in the harbor while I ponder its power in my palm.
Holding the paradox that even at those times when your journey carves hard into your experience, it can render a softness that is beautiful to behold.