Pain, Finding Meaning and Letting Go of the Unnecessary
This break which originally started as a multi-purpose vacation, has been a particularly harsh one for me. Due to unexpected health issues, I’ve had to deal with a considerable amount of daily pain, which derailed much of what I intended to do, but also made me behave in ways that I typically don’t practice, endorse or am adept to. We all have our pain thresholds, and I don’t think mine is particularly high. I’m not a fan of the whole “Rocky needs to turn into a prune in order to become a winner” or for that matter “Rambo incinerates himself in order to heal”. I fall under the “I have a problem, I seek out experts to help me deal with it, the most efficient way possible”. Pain sadly and in my personal opinion, isn’t the road to martyrdom, and it isn’t an eye opening experience. It’s a cruel juggernaut who is typically relentless and at times leaves you in complete despair (and shambles). It also makes you unable to focus on anything else but the pain that is coursing through you. All this to say, I didn’t become Deepak Chopra through this whole ordeal. However today, September 19th, as I walked the beach in Portugal for the first time since 2019, I realized time has indeed passed, and we are all becoming progressively fainted views of ourselves, as the world turns, as generations leave us, with the quiet, brutal and almost cruel witness of nature, which looks upon our constant activity and destruction, with a mix of awe, horror and I hope, irony. The beach today had an unusual amount of rocks, which made the process of getting into the water, that much trickier. But I persevered, since I wanted to be in that water at least once this year, as if this water could expunge all my worries, pains and anxieties. And then I remembered the ocean and the water is just that, it’s nature’s well of laments, where everything lies, including all the secrets of this planet which has existed for so long. But I also realized the tiny little rock that caused me so much pain, was also literally all around me, and I, and I should say we, have to make the best case for avoiding it/them, and if we indeed have to crash into it/them, we should do it with the least amount of pain and damage possible. The point is: that beach means something to me, and is indeed more than just a beach. For some, like the couples who were there in a state of impossible to control lust, it possibly means finding a place to share and placate whatever they need to go through, but for me, it has always meant finding a place where you can be quiet in nature. Where you can be in the ocean, feel those waves go through you, and just let that silence envelopes you, granting you access to truly be part of something more grandiose, to be truly part of nature, while being very aware of your humanity and limitations.
All this also to say: we all find meaning in different things, beliefs, philosophies and even particular events. We all have our journeys, and while we typically seek solace in social circles, friends, family, activities, at the end of the day something we need to cherish and nurture is ourselves. Akin to Oscar Wilde’s “The Portrait of Dorian Gray”, but in reverse (make sure that portrait doesn’t become a grotesque representation of our vices, but instead and hopefully, a statement for our contribution to this world, in whatever shape we choose to do it). Positively nurturing who we are, and realizing that if we indeed are an organic element, much like a plant, we coexist with others in diverse ecosystems. And while each and every plant does have a role to play, we get to choose the ones we want to support, care for, and grow with. And indeed sometimes our paths and growth takes us in different directions. Sometimes those paths come together again, and sometimes they don’t. But they exist when they’re meant to exist, they shape us in a certain way, and we are better for that experience. Where am I going with all this? Finding meaning is different for all of us. And it can take on different shapes, volumes and even yes, colors. Mine comes in the shape of the people I love, in the work I do, and this beach. And that silence. And those tears.