The Atlantic Ocean and I have always had disagreements.  I always figured she knew I grew up on the West Coast and knew my loyalty to the Pacific.  Before this past weekend I had been to the beach twice.  Both times I spent maybe five minutes in the water before I was somehow injured or almost drowned, so when Hubby suggested we take a trip to Gunnison Beach, a clothing optional beach in New Jersey, I was a little hesitant. 

More the geographical feud between oceans, my main issue with the beaches in New Jersey is that they don’t allow flotation devices.  I get nervous in giant bodies of water that could easily suck me in and swallow me without even trying, especially when I have nothing to cling to if I can’t swim anymore.  If I’m in over my waist, I generally want something that can hold me on top of the water.

When we arrived at Sandy Hook National Park at 10am, it was already over 90 degrees.  The sand scorched our feet, and the ice in the coolers was melting quickly.  I had no recourse but to spend a good amount of time in the water if I was going to avoid heat exhaustion.  I was also going to be doing it among throngs of naked people.

Now, my friends, your dear Autumn does not have the highest self-esteem.  A trip to a clothing optional beach was as much about getting over myself as it was about getting over my hesitation with the ocean.  So, I did what any self-respecting wife, mother, and woman would do; I got naked. 

Normally when I get into the water at the beach I ease myself in to a comfort zone about thigh high.  Something about being completely naked and only in the water up to my thighs made me terribly uncomfortable, and the other people in our beach party had gone ahead and left me on the wrong side of the breakers.  I also still have an injured knee, which made the force of the undertow at that level almost unbearable.  My choices were to slow roast on the sand or move to deeper waters.  I decided to make my peace with the Atlantic.

We had a few rough moments.  I resisted rhythm the water and the ocean smacked me int he side of the head with a few early breaks, but once that was all over the Atlantic and I had a new respect for each other.  By the end of the day we were best friends, and I was sad to leave.  I have always had a fondness for the ocean despite my trepidations. Like I mentioned in my last post, I have always connected and communicated with Water the most.  The difference between the two coastal oceans is amazing.  Their energies are unique, and a different approach and interaction is required. 

This is not a post about the ocean’s energies.  That will come later.  This is a post about me overcoming fears and personal demons.  This is about me being naked and not once worrying about who was looking or how ugly they thought I looked.  This is about me being so deep in the ocean I couldn’t touch bottom and not only not panicking, but feeling free.  This is about me growing yet again, and loving every minute of the growing pains.

At the end of the day Hubby asked me for a lesson, something he rarely does.  I know it took a lot for him to get over the fact that I’m his wife and his peer and let me be his teacher for a moment, but it was just as much for me as it was for him.  There I was literally in my element doing what I have always been meant to do.  Teach, nurture, heal.  I can’t do any of that with fear or hesitation in my heart or my faith.  I can’t do any of that if I can’t believe in myself.  That day I learned what it meant to be whole.

What does it mean for you, my friends?

Go now, find your freedom.