“We’re free to go where we wish and to be what we are.” –Richard Bach
Living in a landlocked state I appreciate the opportunity whenever I find myself near the ocean. It’s the shore walks I truly appreciate. Breathing in the salty air, listening to the waves rolling in, exploring the tide pools, walking barefoot on the wet sand—I enjoy all of it. But it’s the seagulls that my attention ultimately turns to. I simply enjoy watching them. Oh, we have our share of gulls that fly inland from Lake Champlain to swarm about fast food parking lots searching for a cheap meal, but it’s not the same as seeing them along the seashore. To me, that’s their true home. Perhaps that’s what resonates with me whose soul lives in the mountains, but whose heart belongs to the sea.
It’s never the noisy, frenetic flock that gets my attention. It’s the lone seagull standing on the shore or on a rock looking out over the sea as if considering its options, the solitary flier riding the thermals with wings stretched, or the single bird floating Zen-like on the gentle swell of the waves. These are the ones who ignite my flame of inner reflection. They speak to me of movement, adventure, possibility, and peace. And they remind me not to overlook the value of taking the time to observe things from different perspectives in order to see all the possibilities in my personal and creative life.
The View from Above
“The gull sees farthest who flies highest.” –Richard Bach
When I get stuck in or overwhelmed by a situation, I imagine myself back along the shore observing the seagulls. As I watch in my mind’s eye a seagull in flight I relax, my mind loosens up, allowing the ideas to flow and solutions to rise. Like the gull flying above the sea, I can use my mental “wings” to rise above the situation or problem at hand in an attempt to see the “whole picture” not just the small bit immediately affecting me. It aids me in seeing the point of view of the other people involved.
This works in my creative life as well. Sometimes I become so stuck on a particular point in my writing it leads to what appears at the time to be an immovable writer’s block, wide as it is tall, with no way around it. For me, a nature outing stimulates my mind and helps me stretch my “wings”. Rather than staring at the computer screen hoping to bore my way through the brick wall, a good, long walk releases my imagination to soar above the story to examine it from different angles.
Contemplating from Shore
“All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness.” –Eckhart Tolle
I think of the shore as a no-man’s-land or neutral ground for a seagull. Their name even implies they’re at home on the sea or in the air. Land is a place to steal chips or nest or rest.
Who knows what the resting “Buddha bird” contemplates as it stands unmoving on the rocks looking out over the sea? It’s never completely zoned out, of course. Out of survival it always knows what is moving around it and how close the human with the bag of chips is getting to it.
Sometimes the creative soul needs a neutral place to rest, rejuvenate and reset itself. Following the wisdom to just pause, be still and take in the surroundings can be a great aid in getting unstuck. Always be ready for inspiration, however. I never know when that “Eureka!” moment will strike sending me flying again.
Just Floating Along
Make space to have daydreams about possibility. –Erica C. Coté
The seagull bobbing on the gentle swells appears content to surrender to the currents flowing beneath it, allowing itself to be carried to nowhere in particular. It’s resting with no apparent agenda other than to sit on the surface ignoring all the activity in the depths beneath it, though, like its cousin standing on the rocks, it’s very aware of what’s going on around it. For instance, it knows there’s a fishing boat closing in with a load of herring.
In my creative endeavors, I find it helps to be like that peaceful little bird floating on the surface, daydreaming and waiting for the mother lode of ideas to come my way, whether it be from below, above, or from an unexpected source. By sitting in a place of inner stillness and possibility, I remain open to meeting approaching opportunities in whatever form they take. Like the seagull waiting for the fishing boat, I can’t control from where or when ideas and inspiration arrive, but I can make a space to be ready to receive and use their gifts when they appear.
Adventure Is Calling
“You have the freedom to be yourself, your true self, here and now, and nothing can stand in your way”. Richard Bach
Seagulls evoke other emotions in me, as well, such as the desire to set out on a journey. Seeing them flying in the air over the ocean, listening to their calls, there is a stirring within to be moving again. To be free to experience and seek the next adventure awaiting me in this life.
Whenever I see them riding the currents above the sea, the sight of them serves as a message freedom awaits and the only reason I’m standing on the ground is I’m still afraid to fly.
It’s time to stretch my wings and be what I am meant to be—a fearless, compassionate and resilient creative being.
The sky is a beautiful blue, the sea is calling, and adventure awaits.
Come fly with me!