Welcome to Coastland Contemplation, a column intended as inspirational entertainment. I'm Michele Oksen.
My home, since 1983, is a remote cabin in the Santa Lucia Mountains between Cambria and Paso Robles. I overlook Lake Nacimiento from land my grandfather traded a horse and some tires for in the early 1930's.
My sincere hope is that each month you will join me for an online nature walk somewhere in these magnificent Pacific coastlands. Each time we step into the virtual great outdoors together I aspire to, with nature's guidance, encourage you to find opportunities to contemplate life and evolution.
I'm pleased to welcome photographer Marcia Rhoades to the column!
In 2004, Marcia and her husband, John, moved from Salt Lake City to Cambria. Life at their Grace Meadows Ranch in the Santa Lucia Mountains gives Marcia endless opportunities to photograph wildlife and the natural beauty of the Central Coast.
Driftwood—the Art of Surrender
by Michele Oksen
Moonstone Beach Cliffs
Beachcombers come from all over the world to explore our coast. Especially after a substantial storm when driftwood is plentiful and strewn all over our beaches. Some come specifically to harvest the free wood that lands on our shores.
I'm serious. Craftsmen and women travel here in search of a selection that suits their unique and creative projects. Many take dog fetching sized sticks. Others drag furniture-worthy wood to their cars. Some creative builders construct structures right there on the beach where they find the wood.
Moonstone Beach Sculpture
I mean, really, what's not to like about driftwood. It doesn't fight. It's never furious. Nor does it flop around and make waves or initiate drama. Driftwood makes absolutely no attempt to dominate the sea or dictate the future—it just gracefully goes about its day as it stays afloat or awaits high tide in the sand.
Though repeatedly tossed and tumbled, driftwood does not wrestle with the waves. Yet somehow—even while in the midst of a challenging current—driftwood never gives up, it cannot be defeated. How is that possible? Driftwood simply surrenders to the ebb and flow of its environment. And let's not forget its environment is influenced by a celestial source.
Look at it this way—surrender is like a sense of buoyancy. It's an effortless floating along through unpredictable and treacherous tides. It's also a freedom from attachment to expectations and a letting go of the erroneous concept of control. Phew. What a relief. And, as if that's not enough, to let go is to open ourselves up to new realities. A willingness to accept outcomes that we have yet to see as possibilities—releases us to explore pure potential. And there's more good news still. When we let go of laborious battles that exhaust us, we set ourselves up for opportunities that empower us.
Wow! Count me in.
So, when's a good time to surrender? How about now? Forget about all those perceived limitations and struggles with internal and external turbulence. They do not serve personal well-being or the greater good. Rather they weaken and deplete us. Better to utilize available resources. Remember—both driftwood and surrender ride on an ocean of faith.
It may not be the easiest thing to do, but when we choose to surrender we relinquish resistance in favor of reliance on heavenly inspiration.
While we harmonize with nature we learn to trust that waves of humility will propel us toward the shores of self-development.
Fear not surrender. Go with the flow.
Photos by Marcia Rhoades.
Banner image by Fugle