It was a gloomy afternoon and the promise of rain lingered on the horizon. As the wind picked up, plump grey clouds rushed overhead like a herd of wildebeest galloping together in a stampede. My husband and I went down to the ocean anyway, to walk along one of the short trails and then watch the rough waves crashing against the rocks. The sea looked so wild and full of wisdom, I was sure that it was the soul medicine I’d craved.
In the weeks building up to our trip to the coast, I knew that I needed to rescue myself, that I needed to get out of the city long enough to remember how to breathe. Yet, I hadn’t realized just how much I’d been holding in until we’d arrived there—the heaviness, the stress and tension in my body, and the deep sadness that seemed to permeate everything. I was exhausted. I felt broken and emotionally depleted. Between grieving a miscarriage, getting to grips with the challenges of infertility, taking on too many new projects to avoid my reality and working myself to the point of burnout, it had been a grueling year. However, within hours of arriving at the coast, I felt the layers of built-up tension stripping away from my body and soul. After a couple of days spent enjoying each other’s company, talking and laughing in a way that we hadn’t been able to in so long, I felt so much lighter. There was something so therapeutic about the simplicity of beachcombing and syncing my breath to the rhythm of the waves.
That particular afternoon, when the sky darkened and the distant rumble of thunder slowly drew closer, I found myself more at peace than I thought would ever be possible. We walked along a rugged trail for a while, settled down on the black rocks and then just watched the waves grow wilder, ever swelling, crashing loudly and then rushing out to sea again. It was soothing, perhaps because the repetitive rhythm of the waves was a comforting constant when so many things in my life felt chaotic and uncertain. As the wind beat against my body, I inhaled deeply and focused on drawing its energy into the stiff or sticky parts of myself that still needed to be loosened or healed, and then pushed it all out on the exhale. I visualized the gusty breeze blowing everything that I no longer wanted to hold on to out of my body.
“Release and surrender,” I told myself.
Moments later, I noticed something on the outcrop of rocks a few meters away from where we sat. Looking closer, I saw that it was a large sea bird. It had a thick yellow beak, a white feathered front and a sleek black back. It curled its head cosily above its chest so that it almost formed an ‘S’ shape. “A cormorant,” I thought. I stood up to get a clearer view and rested my eyes on its motionless body for a while, taking in the sight. I felt it watching me too. The wind had gotten stronger, and the waves rougher. I had to stand steady as the ocean gusts and a little bit of sea spray whipped against me now. I wondered how this bird, which was only a quarter of my size in comparison, could sit perched so sturdily on its rock, unmoved by the elements, like a monk deep in prayer or meditation. The sea bird soon opened up its wings and spread them out on either side, flailing for quite a while before taking flight. It struggled against the strong wind, only getting a meter or two forward before dipping down onto another rock. It sat on the rock, as if to gather its inner strength before spreading its wings out at its side once more. When it was ready it took to the sky again, and yet again it bailed under the force of the wind. This time it dove into the water and swam about for a bit before getting back up on the rocks. It held its wings out for a long time. I wasn’t sure if the cormorant was air drying them or simply gathering more strength. After a couple more attempts it eventually flew off on its way out to sea.
I wondered where its destination was and whether or not it had a family waiting for it somewhere, the simple thing that my heart ached so deeply for. Something in the scene that had just played out really moved me. For one, I’d gained a new found respect for the power of this sea bird, because for the first time I realized what strength it must carry in its small body (compared to mine) in order to weather the daily elements of coastal life. Secondly, witnessing its struggles somehow put into perspective the nature of life’s experiences. Sometimes one can feel isolated in the midst of personal adversities, and you may feel as though you’re constantly fighting for air and railing against one strong current after the next. The reality is, as I discovered, whether bird or person, it’s not personal. Life just happens, and when it does, perhaps the key to overcoming the difficulties is not to keep struggling against the current, but instead, to know when to surrender, how to let go and allow yourself to be still long enough to gather the inner resources required to try again.
Things may not always pan out the way we’d hoped for them to. They may not happen on the first attempt, or the second or the time after that, as was the case with us and the pregnancies we’ve lost. However, given enough time, willingness, healing and perhaps enough faith in the journey too, we eventually take flight and set off down the path we’re meant to. I don’t know what that ‘meant to be’ looks like for me, whether it means a path to parenthood or to unintended childlessness. For the time being, I’ve chosen to trust in hopefulness and in the idea of beautiful possibilities.
Author: Jodi Sky Rogers
Author Bio: Jodi Sky Rogers is a Feminine Healing Coach and Author. Her personal experience with PCOS and fertility challenges over the past six years inspires her to support women going through similar experiences. She is passionate about creating soulful fertility, mindfulness and TTC self-care resources and tools to support women on their fertility journey. She is the author of Flowering Within and Wild Essence.
Link to social media and website: http://jodiskyrogers.com | Instagram @thefertilemoon