Life’s A Beach

I’ve seen this cute little phrase on home decor for years now, but the deeper meaning only just now struck me. Am I late? Is this what it meant all along? I really just thought it was a cute positive reframing of ‘Life’s A Bitch’. Did you know?

My daughter went on a little trip and brought me back this pot of flowers. At first glance it’s cute, but something about it drew me in deeper. As I gazed at it I couldn’t exactly put my finger on what was so captivating. Initially, I saw the flowers and the pot as a whole, but as I continued to look at it, I noticed that everything in the pot was made of shells. Even the soil, which I thought were small pebbles, are actually shells. The creativity and care in this piece of artistry are masterful.

As my daughter searched my face for validation that she had made a good choice, all I could tell her was that it was resonating deeply and that I would write about it.

The next day during meditation it all came flooding in.

Life is a beach.

Beaches are comprised of water, sand, rocks, shells, driftwood and sea glass. The precise make-up being completely unique depending on the currents and tides. In general, though, the basics of a beach are the same.

As I studied this little shell bouquet, I pondered the shells’ origins. Left by the tide upon a shore, whereby it was seen as purposeful, as meaningful or as beautiful. Enough so the artist, or perhaps another collector, gathered them up in order to end up in this collection. Out of all the things that washed up, these were chosen.

In my meditation I heard, “Life’s a beach” and suddenly the phrase took on new meaning for me. And maybe I’m late to the party. Maybe the rest of the world got it before me.

In the the great experience of Life, our individual life is the beach upon whose shore many things wash up. What washes up depends greatly upon, not only the currents and tides, but also what was in the water; Some of which we put there ourselves. No matter what, we all have those same basic components, though the proportions of each are completely unique. Some might have more rocks and sea glass, while others might have more sand and shells or logs. And most assuredly some toxic debri will find it’s way to everyone’s shore at some point.

Geography plays a part as well; A Grecian beach will be vastly different from a North American beach. Some beaches are surrounded by high cliffs while others are enveloped by thick greenery.

Yet still, even though we all have the same materials, we don’t all make the same art of it. Some take the sand, sift it and wash it to create sand art. Some will remove the toxic debri, then arrange rocks into a beautiful mosaic or zen garden. Some will create beautiful carvings out of driftwood, while others might build a fire with it. Some will make jewelry of the sea glass. Some will take the shells and make a flower bouquet.

However, there are others who will sit on their beach not seeing anything beautiful at all; gazing at another’s in envy, telling themselves they got a crappy deal. They see only broken glass, weathered wood, empty shells, and sharp rocks. They might feel cheated that their beach is on the Florida coast instead of in the Greek Isles. They see only what they do not have, not what they have, and definitely not what could be.

They compare their raw beach to manicured beaches, seemingly unaware of the energy other’s have put towards shaping their beach shores. They look at another’s groomed beach, not comprehending that the owner spent years painstakingly picking up the debri. They look at someone else’s rock garden, assuming the sea placed those rocks in that formation. They look at the sea glass not realizing it was once a discarded bottle now transformed by the tide. They look at the beautiful bouquet of shell flowers, not realizing it is actually made of skeletons.

Each person gets the same opportunity to make something beautiful out of what shows up on their shore…or not.

Just like a beach, all our lives have the same basic components; love, joy, grief, tragedy and uncertainty. Everyone has them all.

That is Life…but what we decide to pick up and carry with us makes our life, our Art.

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