**A note from Clair: It is February people, we made it through January. No great feat considering the polar vortex. With Valentine's day on the horizon, and me being a romance writer I pondered what my theme would be this month. Instead of talking about those things I love, which let's be honest are not always good for me, I decided instead to share those things that inspire me the most in my life.
2019 is another year of change for me, and with change comes reflection. I only want those things in my life that inspire me in some way. I am fortunate to be at a stage in life where I have some freedom to make that happen. I hope this series inspires you to search out those things that fill your well and give you joy.
I have always loved water. I grew up in Northern NH with only lakes, rivers, and streams near me, and a mother who almost drowned as a child, so I didn’t get to an actual ocean beach until I was an adult, but it was love at first sight. I love everything about the beach. (not the obnoxious guy smoking his cig, and listening to rude gangsta rap, while his mean little poodle stares me down, but that is another post.) I love the briny smell you get at low tide that smells like earth, and salt, and sea life. I love the wide patches of uninterrupted sun all day long. I love the sound of the waves lapping or crashing against the shore. Well, you get the idea.
Turns out there is science behind my need to have beach time. Scientists have proven that people living with a view of the beach have a happier outlook on life and fewer signs of dementia. There are even scientists that have tested the negative ions in the air, similar to the idea of using a salt lamp in your
home. The water has minerals that help boost mood, the sun increases your vitamin D, and so on and so on.
Brenda Kelley Kim over at Lab roots has a very insightful article with all the sciencey stuff if you want to know more. https://www.labroots.com/trending/neuroscience/6833/beach-it-s-brain
When I go to the beach, I know I am there for an extended length of time, so I give myself up to that time. I can’t do dishes, clean the house, or any other chores I would be thinking about doing. I always bring a book, but at times the sun glare is too much for my eyes, so I lay back and soak in the calm. When you close your eyes at the beach, you hear everything. The birds trying to steal French fries, the kids playing frisbee, and women talking about how much they will have to do when they get home, but beyond that. In the background of the chaos that is human life, you can hear the constants that kind of make the rest of it a buzz. The waves go out and come in, never ceasing. The breeze whistles by. The sound the sand makes as someone walks by you. It grounds me. Reminds me that life is chaos, but if we stop and listen to the whirr of our daily to-dos it is only noise. We have rhythms like the ocean that ground us, but I often have to go to the beach to be reminded.
When I hit the sand and open myself up to the landscape around me and let go of those things that would propel me through my day, my brain is allowed to wander and be creative. I often leave after a day at the beach with at least one new story idea that came from seemingly nowhere.
I joke that the first time I visited Sanibel Island, I found my spirit animal in that piece of land. There is nothing like driving over the bridge to get on the island. I can feel everything in my body take a sigh of relief and slow down. EVERY. TIME. It never gets old.
My goal is to someday live close enough to the beach that I can spend part of every day there. That is how important the beach is to me—the NH girl with the mother who almost drowned as a child.
Do you like the beach? Where is your happy place, that you find calm and peace?
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