I’m currently working on a reflexive journaling project with my students, and part of the journaling experience, as the professor, is to model what I’m teaching. Over the course of the next ten weeks I’ll be posting my entry here. Some of the topics will be general, like today’s, and others might be a little more academic. I invite you to use the prompts. If you’d like to link here and share your thoughts, that would be cool. I think my students would enjoy seeing how others respond, especially as an enjoyable writing exercise (instead of an assignment in a composition course). And so, without further ado, here’s mine:
Write about a place that calms your soul.
I love the beach. As long as I can remember, I’ve been pulled toward the shore.
If I say beach, it calls to mind a number of things — sand, blue skies, the wide open ocean. Maybe images of colorful umbrellas scattered across the sand. While it’s true that all that and more represent the beach, the part that calls to me and calms my soul is the shore.
That fluid place where the land ends and the water begins mesmerizes me. I am most often found sitting right at that line, digging my toes into the loose wet sand and watching my ankles get engulfed by the water as the waves wash over my feet.
It’s probably not an accident that the force behind those waves, the tide, also has a mesmerizing pull. Few things are more spectacular than sitting along the shoreline at night with a full moon.
I love a calm sea. I love a violent sea even more. I love seeing, feeling, and hearing the sounds of the ocean as waves either lap at the shore or crash into it.
If I sit along the shore long enough, I become a part of that rhythm and it is both soothing and calming. It frees me to empty my mind. In those moments I feel closest to all Creation. To God.
Most of my work week is filled with noise. Man-made noises are always assaulting my ears — the constant onslaught of media, the persistent hum of electronics, and my own continuing need to be in front of a class talking take a toll on my ears. When I can get away to the beach, I do.
I can sit and unwind as the waves wash away the noise. It usually just takes an afternoon to hit that re-set button in my mind. Then I’m ready for real refreshment. It puts me in the mood to reflect. It puts me in the mood to pray, and my soul is calmed.