The Rocks Don’t Care: Regaining Perspective

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I went to the ocean over the weekend. There was quite a storm and I guessed (correctly) that there might be some fairly dramatic waves. I live about ten minutes away from some of the most beautiful seacoast in the world.

As my husband and I sat watching the heaving, roiling waves bursting onto the rocks that line the shore, here’s what I came away with:

The rocks don’t care.

The rocks were pummeled by wave after wave, some so powerful I could see debris from the ocean floor spewing out into the wind and over the rock walls. One attack after another, and the rocks just stood there uncaring, placid, and rooted. It’s like being rooted in the power of the present moment, the feeling I get when regardless of what’s happening around me, I know I’m okay.

There is something bigger than me.

I felt so small looking at this giant body of water, the heaving, the drama, the sound of it. Unrelenting. Magnificent. I didn’t feel small in a bad way, just that in the larger perspective created by the force of Mother Nature, my problems seemed to evaporate, like sea foam on sand.

Conflict is not contest.

As I watched the drama going on in front of us, I remembered my teacher, Thomas Crum, saying in

The Magic of Conflict, his groundbreaking book on aikido and conflict:

Ocean waves, powerful and majestic, incessantly break along coastlines throughout the world. What did it take to create this awesome splendor? Conflict — interference patterns between land, wind, and water. Who lost in this conflict? Was it the wind? Or the water? Obviously neither lost.

Conflict is not contest. Conflict just is.Regaining Perspective

What do you do, where do you go, to regain perspective? Do you read a book, take a walk, go to the woods or the shore, the mountains or the wide-open spaces? I like to remember “the rocks don’t care.” The waves just are. My ability to center myself and look for the beauty all around me usually brings me back. And we can do this anytime, anywhere. I can see those rocks now.

Good ki!

Written by

Judy Ringer is the author of Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace and Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict.

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