Today’s world is frenetic. It is changeable, stressful and tiring. Living in such a volatile and capricious environment, I often find myself needing to regain a sense of perspective. I need a quiet moment or two to bypass the millions of scurrying life-forms which inhabit this earth and to distance myself from all the intimate, incessant feelings each of us experience, every second of every day. I sometimes need to find an iota of peace, not just with my surroundings, but most essentially, with myself.
Some people tell me that when they jog, they calm down and find their centre and are then able to focus so much better. Others relax while detoxifying themselves in the heat of a sauna, while others still immerse themselves in a particular talent, such as singing or playing the piano. Personally, I have always felt a special intrinsic affinity with the sea and I really believe that had I not been born on an island, I would have found it very difficult to unwind.
I don’t mean that I am obsessed with swimming – not at all actually. I like taking a dip in summer, as much as the next girl. However, swimming is not what I am referring to when I say that I have always had an affinity with the sea. I am not so interested in the calm, clear waters of a bay, or the sweet lilting sound of the sea playing in rock pools. What I am drawn to, not to mention absolutely entranced by, is the sea in storm.
The vast ferocity and strength of Lady Mediterranean, not to mention her interplay with the angry sky during a tempest – the raging winds, the high ‘loud-mouthed’ waves, the whimpering, yet singing voice of the water crashing on rocks – that is what touches my soul and what, paradoxically, actually calms me down. Big bodies of angry water have always been my thing, which is strange yet true. They help me think, they help me sort out my feelings and emotions and make important decisions.
I guess that this is one of my peculiarities – what helps me out and calms me down in difficult moments are the raging elements battling between themselves. The calm at the centre of the storm, so to speak.
Earth, air, water and fire, that is – the shore, the winds, the sea and the thunder. They are all present in an almighty downpour, creating a fascinating dance which not only seems to put everything into perspective for me, but also ends up leaving me refreshed, de-stressed, and startlingly happy.
You would think a cup of tea or a nice movie would be enough to do the trick, but when drastic measures are needed, I look up at the sky and wish for a storm. This weird, maybe twisted mode of contemplation of mine set me thinking. How many times do we tend to take things at face value? Thinking that because something is usually considered ‘bad’ and ‘uncomfortable’ by the majority, then it is so for everybody?
For most people, bad weather means traffic, it means getting sodden clothes and colds, the irritation of not having an umbrella handy and a longer wait for the bus. On the other hand, for me it means happiness and a clear head. I am actually pleased when I do not have an umbrella and even when I do have one, I have been known to ditch it and walk home in the rain. One of my favourite songs is Frank Sinatra’s Singing in the Rain, which should explain a few things.
Of course, it is not always possible for me to go near the sea every time there is a storm. Sometimes I’m at work or have other commitments and sometimes I don’t need to as I have no issues or problems at that particular moment in time. This is when I am content to wait it out on my balcony, smelling that blissful scent of rain on fresh soil, sipping a cup of hot chocolate and reading a good book. On other occasions, however, times when any sane person would be inside huddled in their quilt, I would be out celebrating the glories of the sea and raging with nature.
What was the point of this essay, you might be thinking? Well, we are in the middle of summer and there is no storm in sight (not counting the usual brief squall which always seems to take place in August), so what am I to do if I need a storm?
What do YOU do when you need to take a moment and work something out? How do you find internal calm in the middle of a storm?