When I am hunting for beach glass and beach rocks on the shores of Lake Michigan, I am in my soul’s “happy place”.
I’d like to share a little of the joy I get from my treasure hunting adventures.
There are the usual reasons that many of us love, being at the beach, seeing the beautiful blues and greens of the water, listening to the waves, feeling the sand underfoot, the cries of the birds overhead, feeling the breeze in my hair, breathing in the spaciousness of the outdoors, open to its beauty.
But I am an anxious person – one who does not enjoy laying in the sun for more than 10 minutes, who does not like being hot, or cold–and finding “just right” is not easy. I am afraid of bugs and lord knows I hate bathing suits. I am not one who can let go, relax or “play” easily, though I have great longings to do so.
My mind is very busy, with a strong tendency to worry and be hyper critical of myself. Meditation, exercise, singing and dancing, designing and creating jewelry and being of service to other people help me feel more present in body, mind and spirit.
But what really makes the little girl in me want to squeal with happiness and excitement (except for wearing lots of little ballet tulle skirts, which I have had to restrict for obvious reasons), is going to the beach, in almost any kind of weather, with a brightly colored plastic bucket and matching shovel in hand, ready to scour the shoreline for treasure – pieces of beach glass, shards of pottery, and THE most beautiful beach rocks.
Here I feel completely present and fully absorbed in the task at hand, which is a wonderful dance between the natural elements, my eyes and my hands. Here I find rest, excitement and happiness in the serendipitous interweaving of grace and beauty.
There is so much wonder and surprise involved, which my inner little girl adores, and there is always the possibility of the “treasure” moments, those magic and mysterious moments where grace whispers in profound ways.
I am a singer, and while I sing almost all the time, I have noticed that certain songs come out of my mouth when hunting for beach glass. When I feel almost one with the beach, I sing “I Could Have Danced All Night”. And yes, I do dance a little. My soul, it seems, insists on a song AND dance. Dance was my first love, beginning at age three. And so that one is me, on the beach, bucket in hand, song in my heart and dancing a little here and there (albeit mostly when no one is too close), on the hunt for simple treasures.
And I am absolutely amazed by the elation and excitement that arises when I catch sight of a light sea-foam green color behind a rock, or spotting that wonderful cobalt blue shimmering in the sand.
And when I find a piece of beach glass or a beach rock in the shape of a heart, I feel like I have hit the jackpot. Sometimes I even feel like God is saying “I love you”.
When I have to scuffle in the sand or scramble with a breaking wave in motion to snare a piece of glass, and I get it, I feel like I have successfully battled nature.
I love the colors, textures and shapes of the glass – each one is unique. And every piece has its mysteries — what was it, originally, who used it, and what was the path it traveled into my very hand. All of this adds to the fullness of the experience for me.
Beach glass that is “cooked” has been in the water for 10 to over 100 years. And beach rocks are millions of years old. Holding them in my hand opens a doorway to that timeless reality.
Then there are the spiritual lessons that have been great gifts to me.
That my husband is willing to join me in these adventures, his own plastic bucket and shovel in hand, is a most precious gift.
I cannot “will” the beach glass to come to the shore or to make itself visible to me. Some days it is lots of work, and we don’t find a whole lot. But we always find some. We are always given treasures.
I “work” hard scouring the beach, no matter how much my knees and back ache, as I am a woman with a mission. But one day while working very hard at this pursuit, knees aching, back aching, and with little to show for my efforts, I decided to stop digging and searching and just stand there for a bit. To my surprise, I discovered that if I just stood there, watching in a place where there are waves, and waiting, eventually the shore would toss out the most beautiful pieces of beach glass.
And I realized, deeply, that these most wonderful pieces come as gifts – it is not my work that produces them, but my willingness to be there and available.
It is not all about my ceaseless efforts! What a relief!
I just have to be willing to watch, alert and present, and receive. That is what creating the possibility for grace feels like to me. And it is such a wonderful antidote for the way I live much of my life – that constant feeling that I have to work like a dog before anything good can happen.
On that day and on many subsequent days, the beach and my beach glass hunting remind me that being fully involved is not the same as being fully in control.
I am not in control of the outcome…and what a blessing it is to be shown the gifts that are given when I let go and allow myself to receive, and let it be enough. It seems in fact, that this deep presence, this involvement without control, creates the space to appreciate the richness of simple experiences.
It is from this place of richness and gratitude that I design and make jewelry using these treasures. That creative endeavor is rich with intention, intention that the love, joy and connection I experienced in collecting and creating jewelry with them will be infused in the pieces themselves, and received by the people who eventually buy them.
I truly believe that each piece has its intended home, and my task is to help them reach the people for whom they are intended.
I would love to hear about your soul’s happy places, and what you have experienced and learned. You can share your own story at my Beachy Dancer Designs Facebook page or send me a message through my website or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Perhaps a special piece of jewelry is waiting for you now or for someone you love. My pieces are always changing, and you are invited to do your own treasure hunting at my shop.