Douglas Marshall-MacDonald

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It took a little yellow raft and remembering a quote from Marianne Williamson to ease my fear of the ocean…

It took a little yellow raft and remembering a quote from Marianne Williamson to ease my fear of the ocean…

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I practically grew up at the beach…spending hours in the ocean, jumping waves, diving under them, body surfing.  I always felt more alive in the water…Then 12 years ago I got pulled into a rip tide in Long Island and since then, I’ve had a healthy fear of the ocean or any large open bodies of water.  And have largely avoided it.  My joy of the water got sucked out of me in the rip tide.

I just went to the Caribbean and it was a little wavy there, but I didn’t want to deny myself the pleasures of the warm turquoise water.  So I got a little yellow raft for $20 bucks.  I blew it up myself, sweating and lightheaded after I was done…and headed into the water.  It made me nervous at first – the bigger waves were lifting me up as the ebbing tide pulled me out.  I generally felt safe on the raft but that pit in my stomach from 12 years was ago saying, “it’s going to pull you out…”  I was mostly out in that ocean by myself, pretty far from shore and I thought; “if I get sucked out, this could be the end.”  I breathed through that fear and kept reminding myself that my head takes the express to the worst case scenario (partially from being a product of parents who worry too much).

On the raft I felt some sense of safety—but I also felt eerily lonely.  Why is no one else out here on a raft?  What do they know that I don’t?  It got me thinking on a deeper level – am I alone?  I moved from New York this year to a new city and that fear of being forgotten by my former city sometimes calls.  I work from home—I have no coworkers or group lunches; I’m isolated a lot, my husband travels for work so I’m at home by myself.  Sometimes it’s just me and the thoughts in my head.  Am I truly alone?  All this passing through my mind on the little yellow raft somewhere in the Caribbean sea under 80 degree sunny skies.  Is this all there is?  This is my vacation – out on a raft wondering if I’m all alone.  WTF?

I tensed up as I thought, “the afternoon can’t go down like this”.  I started manic meditating – It’s something Gabrielle Bernstein taught me to do when the “tiny mad idea creeps in telling me that I’m a piece of sh*t”.  I was floating along, all alone, calling in the light, asking for miracles, saying over and over, “the universe supports me. The universe supports me.”  In an instant this Marianne Williamson quote came over me, like a wave:

“We’re like waves in the ocean thinking we’re separate from other waves. But waves can’t separate themselves from each other, and neither can we. There is no place where you stop and I start. There is a oneness of which we are all a part.”

All of a sudden, I felt connected and reassured.  I’m not alone.  Never was. Never will be.  I just forgot that I’m part of something bigger.  I’m important.  I matter.  I’m not forgotten or left out.  I’m not alone in the ocean on this tiny yellow raft…I’m part of the ocean experiencing it on this raft.   The waves, in unison, rocked me back and forth, lifted me up and down.  The bigger swells gave me that rush inside – there was life here. Also healing.  As each day passed, I spent more and more time on the raft.  It was my freedom, my happy place, my moments of contemplation and oneness with source energy.  Who was I to think the world had set me astray with my thoughts and that I was going to be sucked out into the sea and left for dead…Perhaps I should have a bit more faith.

Then something brilliant happened one night.  I was falling asleep in bed and I felt this familiar rocking, ebbing and flowing, back and forth, up and down…I wasn’t moving, but something inside of me was. I felt like I was on the raft. But I was in bed.  The motion from my time on the raft seeped into my being, stayed with me, was part of me.  After I got home from the trip it took a good day or two for the rocking motion to leave me. It was really quite cool.  

It reaffirms what all these metaphysical people preach—we are energy, we’re all connected and we’re like waves in the ocean and can’t separate ourselves from each other.  I get that. Even when I left the ocean, my body had this sense that I was still on it.  I can’t explain it – I was still on the current of the water.  I’m sure a doctor or sailor could give the true physiological explanation.  But I’m not digging for the answer.  I’m just going to say that my connection to the raft, the water and the universe was a spiritual experience!

Have you ever felt a oneness with something in nature?  Are there any relevant quotes that come to your mind from your favorite author?  When you had fear over something and called in a miracle, how did the universe respond to you?  I’d love to hear!  

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