Ocean Gazing

Before hubby and I left on our recent get-away to the gulf, a friend of mine said, “Nancy, be sure to do lots of ocean gazing.”

Sounds like stating the obvious doesn’t it?

But sometimes we need to state the obvious. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves to do the obvious. And that’s what I did, the obvious.

I did lots of ocean gazing while away.

I didn’t even mind that the weather was far less than perfect. In fact, the cool temps, heavy clouds, on and off rain and frequent fog seemed to fit my mood. Not that we didn’t see any sun and not that I spent my whole vacation feeling glum, but I must admit my mind was in a strange place all week for many reasons.

There’s nothing quite like nature, and more specifically there’s nothing quite like the ocean, even when it’s a bit tumultuous, maybe even more so when it is, to remind me of the obvious and to put things into perspective.

For starters…

With one glance at it, the ocean instantly reminds me of its grandeur and vastness.  I, in turn, feel humbled and small, but yet despite this comparison, or maybe because of it, I’m comforted by this obvious fact for some reason.

The ocean encourages and reminds me somehow to slow down, to look deeper, to not look deeper, to appreciate, to breathe, to marvel, to accept, to not accept, to let some things go, to hold onto what matters, to live in the moment, to escape the moment, to continue to grieve for my mom and also for my friend Rachel.

At the same time, the ocean encourages me to heal and just be…

Ocean gazing “washes” the clutter from my mind, making room for clearer thoughts.

The ocean teaches by perfect example that calmness and serenity will return if only I am patient and allow for this to happen. No matter how rough the seas become, calmness and serenity always return to the magnificently vast ocean.

Why would it be any different for little old me?

The ocean mysteriously “nudges,” almost “requiring me” to reflect and remember the past while also encouraging me to contemplate and plan for the future.

On some days ocean waves crash thunderously to shore displaying astonishing power as if demanding respect, and on other days they remain gentle and nearly non-existent, reminding me that life, too, sometimes crashes around me and at other times is peaceful and calm.

Sometimes these things are not meant to be changed by me.

The ocean has a way of putting things into perspective.

Yes, the ocean has a way of stating the obvious, and so much more.

How does nature teach, inspire or comfort you?

What part of nature do you seek refuge in?




34 thoughts to “Ocean Gazing”

  1. I live next to a creek and listening to the water flow, and watching all the animals that live my the creek are so peaceful.

    1. Sherry, Thank you so much for commenting. Like you, I love the sound of running water so I have a fountain in my backyard that I just love. Not as good as a creek, but it works!

  2. Oh, I love this post, Nancy. Ocean gazing sounds like the perfect sort of meditation. There’s something healing about being in the presence of a great, overwhelming presence. I feel that with the water, and with mountains. They just touch something deep inside that inspires awe and calmness.

    So glad you gazed at the ocean. I’ll have to try and do this sometime soon myself.

    1. Catherine, I love the mountains too, not sure which is my favorite mountains or oceans. They’re both pretty great for gazing at. You’re so right, they touch something inside that inspires awe and calmness. Hard to beat that feeling. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Ah, my own version of this is: “Take time to gaze at the sky”, (no matter what mood it’s in). Where ever you are it’s there, unnoticed most of the time, no need to make a special journey to the coast or far off land, though the sky over the ocean reaches inside all the quicker and more obviously. It can be a subtler thing inland, but I’d argue it’s just as good. I often think of the sky as the ocean above – if you gaze at it, I think you’ll see what I mean. I don’t attempt to name cloud types, forecast the weather or anything, I just gaze, absorbing it and letting it absorb me. It’s right now that counts and the exercise always reminds me of this. Yes, it’s obvious, but how many people stop and do it, even for a moment.


    1. Lynne, You know, you are absolutely right, “the sky is the ocean above,” I really love that image! And it’s always right there isn’t it? What a wonderful perspective you have shared here. I’m going to think about doing more sky gazing. No need to travel anywhere at all. I like that.

  4. I am a sky gazer by nature, and an avid sunset chaser. But I love the term “ocean gazer” and definitely will put that one in my pocket and pull it out next time I’m at the beach. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and pics. Love them!

    1. Renn, I love sunsets too and you wouldn’t believe how many photos I took of them! I’m sure no one but me would want to look at them all. I hope you get to the ocean soon for some gazing time! Thanks so much for commenting.

  5. Oh Nancy, what a beautifully lyrical and symbolic post – Ocean gazing “washes” the clutter from my mind is an amazing image to hold onto and while I am far from any ocean right now, I can actually visualize the ocean while reading your words. I just loved this post – thank you for sharing the ocean with us and welcome back..you were missed!

    1. Marie, I’m glad you liked my post. It’s pretty amazing the way the ocean does figuratively and almost literally wash away the clutter from my mind. Its calming effect is truly remarkable. Thank you so much for your very kind comment.

  6. Me again 🙂 i went back to read your post for a second time and I found such comfort in the timeless quality of these words

    The ocean teaches by perfect example that calmness and serenity will return if only I am patient and allow for this to happen. No matter how rough the seas become, calmness and serenity always return to the magnificently vast ocean.


    1. Marie, Thanks for the additional comments, Marie. I love knowing the sea always returns to a state of tranquility and calmness. Such an obvious thing, but still worth stating I think. Somehow that comforts me and helps me see that the same is possible for me.

  7. Love this post, Nancy. The ocean does it own thing and we can learn from that and it also happens to be a favorite get away of mine and my family. All vacations are planned around an ocean, even last week, though cold, the NH and Maine coast are something to see. I’m glad you got away, but I hope you’re not giving up on advocacy. We need your voice, even if we can’t change much, maybe we can get people thinking differently. At least I hope so. xoxo

    1. Stacey, The ocean does teach us a lot if we only allow it to. I saw that you and your family got away to the ocean recently too. Hope I get to see that coast some time too. Our time at the gulf was chilly as well, but I didn’t mind one bit. That’s part of the ocean’s appeal. You never know what to expect! Thanks for commenting, Stacey.

    1. Lenise, Oh, you’re so sweet. Glad to see you are checking up on me then! Thank you and I think of you often as well. It’s nice to know you’re reading now and then. I appreciate it so much.

  8. What a beautiful reflection on the ocean’s pull on our psyche! You have such a gift with words.

    Nature comforts me with the sounds of birds winging their way across the lake near my apartment. The honks of geese, the screeching of the blue jays, the squawking of the seagulls, the gentle peeps of the finches.

    I seek refuge in grottoes. I found a bamboo maze in Napa Valley that had a grotto. The sound of rushing water and the quiet of the locale soothe me.

    Thanks for helping me reflect on the calming effect of nature.


  9. Beautiful post, Nancy. I too love the sea and letting the roar drown out the little screamers clattering about in my brain. It is great that so many of us turn outward to nature during stress when the impulse certainly could be to turn inward and shut the world away.

    Thanks for the lovely pics.

    1. Cyn, Well, I can tell by the name of your blog that you like the sea! You make a good point, we could just as easily turn inward couldn’t we? Hadn’t really thought about that. We’d sure miss out on a lot if we did though, right? Thanks so much for commenting.

  10. Just taking a walk around my neighborhood calms my mind. I love being outside! But we live very far away from the ocean! The Great Lakes are my favorite beach destinations. Lake Michigan is only 11 miles from my house, but I rarely go there. I should!

    1. Ginny Marie, I agree, walking around the neighborhood or even my own backyard calms me too. Unfortunately, I live a great distance away from the ocean too… And yes, you should get to that beach more often! I hope you can! Thanks for the comments.

  11. LUV this post about ‘ocean gazing’ – such a calming and tranquil experience. I try to make a weekly habit out of ‘ocean gazing’ since it’s only 3 miles away – very fortunate. So important to take in those negative ions to keep me going each week. Thanks for the pics too!

  12. Nancy,
    I love your post! Nature’s always held a huge pull for me. You’re right about it being calming, and yet, it can stir up a host of old feelings that need processing. I used to walk several times a week on our ranch, but haven’t done that since James died.

    Last week I climbed into James’ truck and drove some “hombres” around the ranch who’re cutting cedar and cactus for me. James kept everything cut back, and I want to put things back the way they were before he died. I tell myself that perhaps I’ll resume my walks when my paths are clear again, but I’m not sure I’m ready… I hope one day to find peace on the path where he died.


  13. Hi Nancy,

    I’m so glad you enjoyed ocean gazing. I agree that oceans can be so humbling and an unbelievable experience. I find solace in nature; for me, it was a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains that always makes its way back into my memory.

    Beautifully written posting!

    1. Beth, The Great Smoky Mountains are pretty wonderful too. I’m not sure which I would pick if forced to choose between the ocean and mountains. They are both pretty spectacular in their beauty and healing power. Nature has a way of putting things into perspective that’s for sure. Thanks so much for sharing about a place you find solace in.

  14. I love the Ocean too. Love the Mts driving home from church on Sundays I see a lovely panorama of the Rockies. I love sitting in my back yard too. Nature is beautiful in its many varying forms, a wonderful comfort.

    1. Betty, Yes, nature is restorative and comforting for sure. I can never decide which I like better, the ocean or the mountains. It’s not like I must choose though is it? Thanks for sharing. You’re lucky to see those Rockies every day. Enjoy the views!

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