The tide was coming in at a gradual pace as we laid in the black sand looking up at the night sky illuminated with stars. With each rolling wave we’d hear the sounds of the weighted stones rolling atop one another. The beach is full of those stones and I hadn’t realized their beauty until tonight. Ah, tonight was a special night since I realized something else too -- I realized for the first time in my life that we are free.
Sometimes they try to stop us. Sometimes they try to hold us back in fear. Other times they’ll let us go and trust in good faith that we’ll find our way there and back again. Sometimes we get lost along the way, but then we stumble upon beauty greater than we knew imaginable. But the fact remains that we are always able to look to the stars and remember that we are free.
We saw ten shooting stars tonight and we kept marvelling at the vastness of the universe. We could choose to see ourselves as tiny, irrelevant blips in time, but instead we choose to see ourselves as free with possibilities abound. To think that I felt most imprisoned in a cubicle without walls when the universe is so grand. How could I have felt so trapped? The elevator was always there. Time and time again, I imagined descending it for one last time, yet I felt so trapped and afraid. Walls weren’t confining me -- my own self-doubt was. There are endless combinations for the story I can create for my life. But it took being on that beach for me to realize that I am so thankful to be free.
Sometimes emotions are high and we realize that we have to move on. We cannot come back to this place in time. But that’s ok. Everything is temporary and everything will pass. What matters is that we don’t live our lives thinking in the past or only wishing for the future. What matters is that we live fully in the present moment with what we have and realize that we are already free.
Tonight, we laid under the stars and we thought about where we’ve been and where we’re going. But we gathered our thoughts and noticed where we were in the moment, on a beach so far from home. As I laid with my back in the sand I felt the weight of my body sinking into the beach. I felt myself merging with the shore and my breath syncing with the crashing waves. I thought to myself, and then I said aloud, “I’ve never felt so free before.” I don’t know why it was here and now in this small village in Bali. I don’t know why this was the moment I felt most free. But I felt a great weight lift and dissipate with the tide.
Your journey will take a different path than mine, but one day soon we’ll cross paths. You’ll see fascinating things and meet extraordinary people, and so will I. We’ll exchange stories, mementos, and memories, and we’ll see each other as different people with familiar faces. Remember, the journey is what shapes us, not the destination.
But the thing that matters most of all? It’s that tonight we realized we are free.