The Sunset that Inspired the Sunrise

Heaven or hell is here and now. You don’t need to wait to die.

don Miguel Ruiz
Morro Bay, California

I had the occasion to sit at the foot of a sunset recently, grieving a loss.

Many people find that water has therapeutic powers, but there’s another reason that grieving at the foot of the ocean has appeal: in the embarrassing event you start crying, the waves drown out the sound. The waves take your tears and give you a measure of peace that you would never expect to accompany a public meltdown. At least that’s what I hear … I’ve never cried in public.

Scratch that. I am an industry titan if crying in public were a business. I am a master of the craft if reacting to life with sadness were a profession. Sadness is one of my superpowers, and I wield it with reckless abandon.

It’s a skill that I’ve honed, sharpened, refined, and perfected over the course of my many, many years on earth. I can queue it anytime. Anywhere. Anyhow. 

But I don’t want to carry it anymore.

My sadness is reactive but over time has come to drive everything. The context in which I am starting this chapter in life, then, and particularly this chapter online, is one of fear. Not the kind of fear that many of us we were privileged to have in our youth:

  • the fear of breaking down, lashing out, spiraling in every direction and wondering what you might have done to those you love in the process;
  • the fear of telling the people you care about that you’ve made devastating mistakes and wondering how they’ll feel about you afterwards;
  • the fear of having to make serious decisions that you thought were going to follow you around forever (and still might)

I am afraid, now, for reasons that I can’t quite put my finger on but that have root in much of my personal narrative as an adult and at an age and in a place that looks very different from what my dreams (and nightmares) predicted decades ago. It is a narrative of sadness and helplessness.

It is also a narrative that is not serving me anymore. So I am throwing it into the ocean. I am leaving it with this sunset. I am giving my tears to the tide.

Morro Bay, California

I am turning to the sunrise. This is my new story.


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