The sea has brought me many unexpected gifts…
There are the obvious ones: Like the joyful community that first encouraged me to start sea swimming, and inspired me to keep going through the winter.
There’s all that time I get to spend immersed in Cornwall’s natural beauty every day, seabirds swooping overhead, light sparkling on the waves, seals a little too close for comfort…!
And of course, the regular exercise and healing power of cold water – soothing my aching bones and joints, and relieving my physical pain.
But more surprisingly, the sea has also soothed my mind. It has helped me to calm anxiety, clear difficult emotions, and gain greater faith in myself. It has strengthened my ability to quiet my loud internal inner critic – that mean voice that says “You’re not good enough, who do you think you are, you’re not deserving of time just for you, you’re a failure, no one could ever love you…”
My time in or by the sea has become my self-compassion practice.
It is daily life-changing proof that I am worthy of precious space to tend to my needs – every single day.
It is where I take a moment to pause and reflect on how I am truly feeling, what I am truly capable of, what I need, and where I want to go next.
It’s where I connect to my intuition, to a source much greater than myself, and it’s where I ask for help.
Each time I allow myself to stop everything else and step into the sea, I am standing up to that negative internal voice, and finding a more compassionate way to be there for myself: “I deserve time and tending. Just like everyone, I am flawed and I make mistakes. And… I am loveable and enough nonetheless.” The sea washes away my doubts and criticism, and quiets the nagging of my mind. It creates space to connect with other more useful parts of myself.
I leave the water a different person: braver, stronger, more focused, more in tune with myself and the world around me.
Each visit to the sea brings a fresh gift, a message or guidance of some sort.
One day, as I swam, the idea of Sea Soul Blessings arrived on the tide, as simple and powerful as the sea itself.
…To create a simple practice with which anyone could have this experience. Tools that would encourage others to make space in their day to clear their minds, to reflect on their needs and their strengths, to connect to their intuition and the sea’s wisdom, and to practice speaking more kindly to themselves.
It was as if the Sea Soul Blessings somehow already existed, just a few strokes out of reach. All I had to do was find a way to pull them out of the water and onto paper: to translate them into tools with which to share the sea’s elemental gifts with others, especially those for whom the sea was too far away to visit daily.
And as I thought about how to do this, (ignoring the inner critic who naturally told me it was a stupid idea…) I realised that I had already been gathering sea soul blessings, without any conscious intention to do so. In instagram posts, notes to myself, conversations with others.
With this as my starting point, the cards came to life with a speed that took me by surprise. I felt like I was always racing to catch up – the image and the blessings all fell into place with incredible ease.
Finding the words to deepen the blessings and form the accompanying book was a slower process.
Each entry came to me most often as an image, with a feeling, as I held the card. A little mystery to solve – how did this image relate to this feeling or blessing? What words could hold this succinctly?
I quickly learnt that nothing would come if I forced it, or started with a preconceived idea of something that I wanted to say. When I tried too hard, nothing came – because it wasn’t about me, I was just the imperfect vessel.
Most often, my daily trip to the sea would yield answers. Sometimes it would change how I understood the meaning of the blessing completely.
I would return home and write, still salty from the sea, waiting to see what might come.
It was a process that felt like sieving words through my fingers. Shifting, changing – until the words finally landed, like sand, in the right place.
Even when they landed, I often didn’t fully understand what the words meant. I just knew that they were right – they simply settled in place, and that was that.
So here they are, sailing from the sea to you, wrapped in love and the hope that they will bring you as much joy and insight as they have brought me.
May they help you to make time for yourself, to quiet your inner critic, and to find your own inner compassionate voice that can support you as you move forward, inspired by the sea’s immense wisdom.
Sea Soul Blessings: created in Cornwall, with love, so that you too can be blessed by the sea.