I have never liked the beach. It stems from my family’s love of laying out there for hours, swallowed in baby oil, baking and tanning, whilst I burned. It was a normal summer for me to have blister bubbles all over the rim of my nose and shoulder lines. As people were turning a beautiful golden glow, I was getting sun poison.
This past Friday, I experienced a panic attack that felt debilitating. I soaked in Epson salt, I breathed deeply, and I listened to self-hypnosis recordings for two hours while my daughter watched movies. I could not find what would release the tightness in my chest and as pain radiated down my arm and side from the tenseness I held within, I thought briefly of going to the hospital.
On Sunday, my mom, daughter, and I drove three hours east to visit my grandparents. My daughter’s prize for being good in the car was to see the beach. I created yet another family member who glows in the sun. She loves it.
It was the first weekend in October at low tide. The air registered at 83 degrees. The wind was steady but soft. There was no chill to it. It made me feel like I was being wrapped in the blankets of my bed. It was comforting. There were people but not close. Each one of us could sense that we owned a large patch of ocean all to ourselves. As the water receded, it filled little pools along the shore. This had been the only thing about the beach I remember loving as a little girl- a pool naturally created for one. And now they were everywhere and I was the only one. I visited each pool and let the sand encompass my feet. The water was calm and warm and I felt as if I was soaking in the tub.
What was happening to me was the nature was grounding me. And as each aspect of this nature touched me in varying sensations, the gripping hold of my chest loosened and the ocean, for the first time ever, released me.