Turquoise Home: The Therapeutic Benefits of the Ocean
There are certain loves that stay with you.
The things I loved at four, of course, differ from the things I love at 24. In preschool, I was mildly obsessed with Beanie Babies; now, I am mildly obsessed with bargain hunting at TJ Maxx. Back then, I spent hours watching cartoons; currently, I spend hours watching Game of Thrones (though I’m not caught up with the latest season, shhh). Twenty years ago, I mixed together different breakfast cereals in the same bowl; today—well, I still do that.
The world around me has changed; I am still discovering the things I love best about it. Though no matter what I have spent my energy on, there is a single connecting energy that has given life to everything I’ve adored: the ceaseless, unsilenceable sea.
I was a beach baby, red-cheeked and content to play with fistfuls of sand. Even then the ocean had a calming effect on me; my mom says I took some of my best naps while stretched underneath an umbrella. My mom, having grown up in Florida, is also famous for touting saltwater as the cure for everything, from poison ivy to broken hearts.
Now a resident of Florida myself, I have quickly adopted her philosophy.
At RECO we are incredibly lucky to have that ceaseless, unsilenceable sea in our backyard. It serves as a persistent reminder of possibility: with each wave comes an opportunity, and with each opportunity comes a wave. It is more than a body of water; it is a tangible representation of the continual ebb and flow of our lives.
In Ancient Greece, the physician Hippocrates adopted the concept of “thalassotherapy,” which refers to the utilization of seawater in health restoration and maintenance. In his studies, he recognized the therapeutic properties of the ocean, and spoke highly of the connection between good health and immersion in nature.
The vitamins and minerals found in saltwater create detoxifying effects for swimmers, though simply being near the water also provides a multitude of benefits. Studies have shown that we associate water with spirituality and calmness, and that our time spent on the beach can evoke feelings of meditativeness.
In the realm of recovery, we encourage the processes of meditation to facilitate healing. Our bodies and minds crave the sense of clarity that meditation can achieve, and it is especially important to set time aside for reflection as we move through the hard work of recovery. As we meditate, we ignite mindfulness, and what better place to meditate than by the sea?
The ocean, at its core, is a teacher. Just as we can learn from meditation, we can learn from the sea itself. Anne Morrow Lindbergh once wrote of its lessons:
“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach — waiting for a gift from the sea.”
The next time you go to the ocean, keep those words in mind. You are in an incredible environment of healing. By remaining empty and open to the world of possibilities you have created in your recovery, you are empowered to have faith in your future—and in yourself.
As the tide draws near, allow yourself to envision a space of tranquility and well-being. It exists just as simply as the ocean exists; it is a turquoise home.