This column is dedicated to encounters with the universal creative force some call God; to conversations with a universe that talks in symbols.
Many, many years ago, soon after my children had both left home, I was completely at a loss as to what to do with my life. We had been living in New Zealand, and even though I had raised my kids to be independent as young adults, when they both returned to Australia I felt the need to be at least within coo-ee of the homeland.
The trouble was – I had no idea where to be.
So I bought a car. I drove the east coast. I slept in the back of the station wagon, spending my days walking the beaches, reading, fishing and taking my occasional catch down to the local restaurant, where they’d cook it up for my dinner. I was utterly lost, though living a delightful, easygoing life.
Then I got down to my last fifty bucks. Fifty dollars between me and proverbial starvation. I sat on the wide green headland at Hastings Point, the light bright blue above and the deep ocean blue below, staring at the yellow-brown $50 note. And decided I would have a yoga lesson, a private session with my former teacher in Byron Bay. I found her number. I rang her from the phone box outside the shop (it was the 90s). I booked my lesson for 6am the next morning.
I woke in the darkness, snuggled down in my comfortable bed, safe and warm in the back of my station wagon parked high on the headland, and drove south to Byron Bay. I was early, so I drove on to Broken Head. As I stood on the dunes looking out at eastern horizon, the morning crisp and clean, I marvelled that in all the years I’d been driving to and through Byron Bay I had never previously stopped at Broken Head.
I ran down the golden dune towards the water, the sand cold on my bare feet. And I walked along the water’s edge as the rising sun lit the morning gold. The waves, small, gentle, white and frilly, lapped at my feet. Shoosh. Shoosh. They broke in tiny tumbles over my feet, coming and going, coming and going.
I was lost. My spirit overwhelmed with my lack of direction and purpose. Bathed in the beauty of the earth and her gifts, deeply connected to our natural world, I was without bearings in the realm of human endeavour, or even community and connection.
As the golden sun popped above the horizon I suddenly turned my heart to the light and with all the passion and fullness of my entire being I raised my eyes to the light and asked the world a billowing bellowing question – ‘what’s it for?’
To this day, I have no idea whether I spoke that question aloud or not.
‘What’s it for?’
At that moment I glanced down at the wet sand, just as a small wave tipped her lacy frill onto my feet before receding to deeper waters.
And there, on the damp and spotted golden shore, just near my toes, lay a small green heart.
I stared, bent slowly to pick it up. I held the polished green heart, the size of my thumb nail, between my fingers. I held it up to the light. I stared in wonder at the precious gift – the answer to my question.
What’s it for?
This whole human journey is for love.