I had an impromptu visit to Aberaeron in Wales last weekend (lovely and sleepy little place just south of Aberwystwyth on the Welsh coast, worth staying in). We were meant to be picking up half a motorbike nearby, but this fell through, so we settled for cocktails and good food at a seaside sunset instead:
I often feel a little guilty when going to the seaside, because I just don’t get particularly excited about the sea like a lot of people tend to.
So after a big and wonderful breakfast, I went out on my own to get face to face with the sea. Maybe if I appreciate it more, maybe if I get right up close to it and see the wonders of it, I’ll finally see and feel the excitement that others feel.
And that’s exactly what I did – I walked to the pebbly beach, and clambered around the rock pools, slipping on seaweed, wondering how on earth the small fish frantically swimming around don’t boil in the sunshine before the tide comes back in.
And I felt guilty for it.
So I looked out towards the sea and said to her:
“You’re really wonderful to hold all this life and to inspire so many people, and I can see why people love you, but I’m so sorry, I just don’t feel the same way. You just don’t quite captivate me in the same way that forests and rolling hills do, and I’m really sorry.”
Suddenly a breeze swept back at me from the sea, and a nereid presence behind my right ear smiled:
“It’s ok, you don’t have to love us – we just want you to see us for what we are and respect us for it. No more, no less.”
And she disappeared.
Maybe that’s what all life wants – to be seen clearly, without distortions of belief, prejudices, and sometimes, without feelings – and to be respected for what they are when seen clearly.
A lot of people are scared of this because it hits right where it hurts –
“What if we are clearly seen for what we are, and we are not respected for who we are?
What if we are not worthy of respect for who we are?”
To allow yourself to be seen clearly is to drop down all the defences and be vulnerable to whatever just so happens to be thrown at you.
And let’s be honest – that’s really damn scary, especially if you’ve done this and been rejected, punished, humilated and/or shamed for it.
But is it worth it?
With the right people, definitely.
This doesn’t mean that you should open up your entire heart and truths to anyone and everyone.
But this does mean that you could choose to do what you can to see each person clearly, for everything that they are, and respect that.