The Storms of Life

On Thursday I had intended to go for a short walk/run (when will someone invent a word for the walk/run?  A Ralk?  A Wun? Anyway) just after 5pm, partly because I hadn’t done any exercise in a while and partly to re-energise me because I knew I would be staying back late to work.

I’d packed my gear in the morning, and spent the first part of the day almost a little smug that I was that organised.  My usual options for exercise consist of a Ralk (!) either early in the morning or late on a Saturday or Sunday.  So the idea of taking my gear to work felt pretty good.  Until I realised I had everything except my shoes!

My feet are definitely not ready for barefoot running in suburbia and so instead I decided to go for a walk on the beach.

I went down to the beach at Cotton Tree, ready to walk on down and enjoy a bit of this:

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As I walked towards the beach I enjoyed the usual view of a snippet of the ocean while I made my way along the path.

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Then suddenly, I noticed something.

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What was that at the end of the path?  Was that rocks?

I kept on walking, and when I got onto the “beach” the view before me took my breath away.

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Usually, the beach here at Maroochydore / Cotton Tree, is the stuff of postcards.  Expanses of white sand, usually filled with individuals and couples walking and running on the sand, families and their small children paddling at the water’s edge and often fisherman trying their hand near the water, as surfers and kite boarders enjoy the ocean.

Instead, there were ripples of black hard rock formations as far as the eye could see.  And very few people.  As I started walking I soon understood why.  There was no leisurely walking options, I had to watch every step as the surface beneath my feet was anything but flat.

As I made my way through and over and around the rock formations, at first I was sad that the beach was not as I remembered it.  Why wasn’t I able to just walk and run along the flat sand that I was expecting?

It was the crazy storms that happened over the Australia Day weekend that did this.  That reached in, grabbed that sand that we knew and loved and took it out to sea.  In the first days after the storm, we couldn’t really see the damage for all the froth and the foam.  The frenzy that had been whipped up during the storm.

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Now that things have calmed, the wind has stopped and the foam has disappeared, we are left with the aftermath of a mega storm.

When I had come to the beach in the past and saw the flat white sand, somehow I thought that was all there was.

But the storm exposed what had already been there.  Hidden beneath that sand.  A dark strength that had previously been hidden from the world.

And I couldn’t help thinking how similar it can be for people.  That so very often we present to the world our beautiful soft sand, a calm flat version of ourselves.  Our own personal postcard.

But sometimes, life whips up a storm.  Most storms are relatively small, just moving that top layer of our sand, maybe resculpting a few things here and there, but allowing the postcard presentation to continue.

Then, sometimes, without any rhyme or reason, there is a storm that is off the scale.  One that really rocks us to our core, that rips away that picture perfect facade, exposing what lies beneath.  Some will have a rocky core, others will have a swampy sludge beneath their sand, and even others will have sand that goes far deeper than you would expect.

When the sand is gone, what do we do?  Do we close the beach and say “don’t look, things have changed, and I need to put it all back together before you can look”.  Some of us hide our damage.  We retreat after our storm, we hide our inner core, until we’ve rebuilt a top layer that we’re happy to show to the world.

What if we chose to handle it differently.  To simply say “things have changed, it won’t be what you are expecting, and in time it will come back”.  We all have that inner core.

The storms of life will come.  Some big, some small.

I hope that like my beach, I can stand still knowing that my insides are exposed for a while.  Firm in the belief that my sand will return in time.  And to be understanding of others, even those who only choose to let me see their postcard.

And for my dear friends who can feel the winds and the rain picking up their pace, may there be some peace as you watch the frenzied foam, knowing that your sand is being ripped from you.  But life, always, is so much more than one storm.  I hope that we can all learn to believe that no matter the damage we see right now, that one day, we can look out and see that a completely new beach has been laid at our feet.

K xxx

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About Kathryn Hodges

Hi! I'm Kathryn. I have many hats in this life. I am a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother (of 4!), a friend, a keen try-er of yoga, a lawyer, a business owner, an avid reader and a lover of this electronic world and it's connections. As the Principal of a wonderful law firm on the Sunshine Coast, Qld, Australia, I focus on seeing my clients as people going through change and I am committed to practising mindfully that I am dealing with people and their families. Precious stuff, hey! I hope you enjoy learning more about the things that impact on me, my life and my practice. Please leave me a comment, as I'm sure you have something you can show or teach me. We're all in this learning thing, called life, together xx Oh, and my professional obligations mean I have to remind you that my opinions are my own.
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15 Responses to The Storms of Life

  1. Vanessa moore says:

    What a beautiful way to look at the storms of life. Had plenty of them. Looking back sometimes I am glad that the sand never returned. Other times it was good that it did.

    Xoxoxoxo

    • Kathryn Hodges says:

      Me too,
      My storms have exposed some pretty funky stuff at times.
      And some sand has returned, some not. And like you, I’m happy with my new beach!
      K xxx

  2. Melissa says:

    So so true Kathryn.

    I’m an out there and proud of my rocky underlay. X

    • Kathryn Hodges says:

      Go Mel!!
      We all have it. The choice is whether to join the masses by pretending the storms and the exposure don’t happen, or with grace and dignity accepting they do and waiting for the next shift.
      Enjoy the exposure while you have it!
      K xxx

  3. I loved this post. It made me think about the stars and how they are there in the sky all day long, but we don’t see them until night time. Without the shadows of the night, we wouldn’t know they were there – reminding us of the fragility of our small microcosm amidst the macrocosm of the universe. Karen

  4. Jenni Parry says:

    I too go to cotton tree/maroochydore beach for a walk at least once a week… what is the run stuff you talk of? It is the place i go to with one or both of my girls when they have had a day that frazzles them a bit, we walk, talk and regain balance and calm is once again restored in their world.
    We saw the foam and then the rocks and my first thought was when will all the negative naysayers start bleating in the media how tragic and devastating life is and how their beaches are RUINED by the storms. All i could see was the beauty that had been hidden by the sands. The beaches core was strong, it looked completely ripped like it had been working out at the gym for an eternity. No wonder it feel so grounded and regain my strength and perspective when i walk above that.
    I got to see another side, the naked and exposed honesty of it. I feel honoured to have been able to see that.

    • Kathryn Hodges says:

      Jenni,

      I love the idea of the beach showing us how ripped it is! Absolutely perfect. X

      A beach walk is an unusual thing for me. Doing it often would be wonderful for the soul.

      Picture perfect or not.
      K x

  5. Amanda Foy says:

    Wonderful message K. One realisation I was given years ago that the Universe never gives you anything you can’t handle. If you couldn’t handle it, it wouldn’t be there. Working on your core happiness helps build your strength and that onion metaphor is integral in getting to that core. xxx

    • Kathryn Hodges says:

      Yes,

      Finding those things that feel exactly the same regardless of where we are in the storm cycle is so very important.

      What is it for you?
      K x

  6. Di Riddell says:

    I love your approach to a subject Kathryn. I was at Maroochydore at Northcliffe with elderly relatives last week and one was talking about how the whole area had changed over the years, and how the sand bars had shifted over time etc etc etc ( yes,fishermen talking, my take is …fish is fabulous when I see it on the plate).
    Ooh dear I digress, like everything we adapt and grow and it is never more evident than in nature. The beauty in the wildness simply allows us to appreciate at a deeper level. I loved your sharing.

  7. Debyl1 says:

    Your words are so beautifully put together K.
    One storm that was so off the scale was when mum suddenly took a bad turn and ended up in the nursing home.Our lives sure did change and it was not what any of us were expecting as mum was always so fit and lived a very healthy lifestyle.
    When I went daily to see her my insides were so exposed and there I was crying in front of strangers…my sand was gone and exposed my rocky bed.The waves hurt as they hit.
    The sand has slowly come back and my beach is rebuilt.It is a completely new beach and if I don’t stop and think about the old beach I may be just able to weather the next storm.x

  8. Pingback: Kind Monday. Giving what You Have. « Alphabet Rainbows

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