What building sandcastles on a Mexican beach has taught me


from fear to freedom


I dip my toes in the water, a chill runs down my spine. Now the Mexican winter has finally set in, the ocean water is much cooler. I look out onto the vast blue that has become like a home, a steady companion during our travels. A home I always need to come back to. I see a man walking up. He wears his long black hair in a ponytail. His dark skin and features reveal an ancient, indigenous, history. When he is about to enter the water he pauses. I look at him while his gaze becomes soft. For a moment we share the same home, without having met. Without really knowing each other. He holds a little bundle in his hands, nicely wrapped in banana leaves. He whispers a prayer and plants a kiss on his fingers. And then, while his eyes never leave sight of the ocean he carefully throws this little bundle in the clear ocean water. His movements slow, meditative almost, as he offers her his gratitude and love. And, by sharing this moment, offers me a window to his soul that, just a few seconds before, was unknown to me.

I slowly start to wade through the cold water, wanting to extend this feeling of warmth in my heart and body. Feeling the rays of the sun on my skin. Yet I throw in my surfboard and paddle off into the vast blue that I call home.

After having surfed the beautiful waves of the Mexican Pacific ocean I feel harmonized. Balanced. Mother Ocean has washed away my earthly troubles and I feel whole again. I happily sit myself down on the warm, white sand. Big rocks, forming a cliff on my right-hand side. Little caves, naturally formed by the crashing of the waves. A stretch of jungle behind me. Once muddy and swampy, now with dry river beddings and sandy paths, the earth cracked and thirsty. On my left nothing but pure shades of blue and perfectly lined waves.

I notice a sandcastle the kids have made. The beauty of it strikes me, draws my eyes to it. An almost deserted beach. Nothing but the sound of the waves, and the birds. And a sandcastle. I realize how creating such castle resembles life itself. We, I, human beings, build things on a fragile foundation, like the fine sand on a beach. Hoping, believing that it will last. Seeking security, seeking something to hold on to. Like love. Like Julian. The man I love, and desperately wanted to hold on to. Or like my house of bricks and stones, and neighborhood I had difficulties letting go of when I started traveling, crossing land and border.

I see a wave rolling in. I instinctively stretch my arm, reaching to protect the sandcastle. I pause, withdraw. And as the water merciless dissolves what was just built I suddenly, truly understand the essence of life itself. There will always be the coming and going of the waves. A certain groundlessness. An infinite and uncontrollable force of nature that gives and takes. That builds and destroys.

Life is about lovingly building that sandcastle, with on open heart. It’s about giving. About enjoying the work, the creation of something new, knowing that it’s build on a foundation of hopelessness. Knowing that one day in time, the waves will roll in and Mother Ocean will take what’s rightfully hers. About smiling, and looking at that fine, untouched stretch of sand appearing right before you, and rejoicing in the limitless possibilities that are yours.


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