Sometimes you get to a place in your life that is clearer and more straightforward than you remember it — simpler. At first, this might not seem like the best case scenario. It can mean that you’ve run out of options, and that’s never a particularly pleasant feeling. It’s like you’re standing on a very large rock formation in the middle of an ocean, surrounded by a fog so thick you cannot see past the rock’s edge. Obviously, given the circumstances, being stranded on a rock in the middle of an ocean would make for a fairly simple lifestyle. But it certainly isn’t ideal.
You know that behind the veil of fog lies more water, dry land, even a home somewhere. It’s all somewhere. And you know it’s there, but you feel perfectly stranded because you can’t see it. And you’re starting to question its existence. Perhaps you’re recalling a dream you had, and that dream’s content feels more inaccessible now than it ever has. And you’re scared.
In a lot of cases, this sort of circumstance brings with it an oddly calming form of acceptance. The simplicity this immobility brings to your way of living is, in a sense, freeing. And you laugh at the irony.
But then you start to freak out because you used to think that usually when someone feels stranded they are stranded for a pretty good reason. At least, that’s what you would tell your friend who is reeling from hurt, or your sibling who feels like they’re stuck on their own rock in the middle of their life’s ocean. Don’t ever stop looking, you would say. Don’t stop noticing, even if all you want to do is shut down and get through whatever internal war you happen to be waging. This can help sometimes, you would say.
And since no one is really around to try to make you feel better about yourself, you assume the responsibility and say something like, Ok, now I have to practice what I’ve preached. What’s over there?
So, yes, perhaps your field of view is severely limited because of how thick the fog mantle is, but you can’t help but feel that you are most likely missing out on something very important. And, actually, it’s probably right in front of you.
Banking on this, you draw your eyes within the fog’s borders, and you start to search the rock formation as thoroughly as you possibly can. And for some reason, even though you don’t really find anything, you are filled with an innate sense of newfound purpose. And you do this for hours, scouring the rocks, running your fingers along its edges, examining every nook and every cranny until you sit down, exhausted. But even though you’re sitting still you don’t stop observing, and you breathe in the wild sea air, and then you start to think, Really, isn’t it incredible that the raging, swirling ocean surrounding me is a silent killer, wearing at the rocks until someday in a few million years they will be reduced to a fine sand?
At this point you start to feel so very small, and you feel so very insignificant, but not in the sad depressing way. It’s that way that is characterized by an overwhelming sense of awe, like when you remember that the universe probably doesn’t have an edge and infinity would scramble your brain if you ever came close to properly understanding it. And even though you are stranded on a rock in the middle of an ocean, you are at this point content to simply wait, and to watch — to listen, and to hold your breath.
And after you’ve done this for a little while, you start to pay really close attention to the sound of the waves, and you remember midnight underneath a full moon walking along a hidden beach in Santa Barbara with your best friend. You start to recall how he talked of some more-famous-than-most thinker who posited that if you ask the ocean anything, it will always have an answer. And you think about how you thought that was cool, and how later on you ended up telling another friend the same thing. But this friend said that that was really such a stupid thing to say because it’s just water, which leaves you confused because your friend is a fairly conservative Christian, and don’t the Sacred Scriptures say that even the rocks sing? And then you start to freak out because you’re sitting on a huge one.
And finally you start to talk to the ocean, and you apologize to the rock formation for burdening it with your weight, and now you’re more than just a person stranded on a rock in the middle of a dark and angry ocean. You are also a spiritually enlightened individual or something, and sometimes life works that way. And that’s how you make the most of being stranded on a rock in the middle of the ocean.