Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 09-04-2015, 12:03 PM   #1
Guru
 
menzies's Avatar
 
City: Jacksonville
Country: USA
Vessel Name: SONAS
Vessel Model: Grand Alaskan 53
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 2,209
Read To Make You Think

My daughter (27) is a mental health counselor in Texas. She maintains a blog. I thought today's effort was worthwhile sharing (well, she IS my daughter!).
Especially as we head into a holiday weekend where we may have some personal "burrowing" time.

--------------------------------------------

ON BEAN CLAMS AND EXISTENTIALISM
September 4, 2015

The beach is one of those go-to relaxing images for many of us. I don't know if I've ever seen a white-noise machine that didn't come with the sound of waves, or a laptop that was sold without a stock image of the beach as a screen-saver option.

I sat on the shore of Atlantic Beach, Florida last week and thought to myself that it's no wonder we use this place to calm our nerves. Staring into the vastness of the ocean, hearing the rhythmic pounding of the waves, it's easy to gain new perspectives on our troubles.

One of my favorite things to watch when I'm at the shore are the bean clams. These are tiny little guys and gals that live just below the sand. When I was a little kid, I mistakenly called them donut variables (their scientific name is Donax Variabilis) and gathered them in a bucket so I could watch them dig into the sand.

Usually no bigger than your thumbnail, these little things are so cool to watch in large numbers. As a wave washes over them, the clams are sifted out of their sand-haven, and swished about in the surf, where they might be eaten by all manner of things. As the wave recedes, they quickly burrow back into the safety of the sand. And then a new wave comes, and they're momentarily dredged up again, only to burrow once more. And the cycle repeats endlessly.

Now, I'm not so bold as to pretend that I understand what happens in the mind of a bean clam, but I sure like to speculate that they have a valuable piece of knowledge: The waves will always come. When they burrow back into the safety of the sand, they know that they will be brought to the dangerous surface once again. They don't say that burrowing is futile just because they will have to fight for this safety again. This is not a fight that can ever be finished, yet they choose to work for safety and happiness in the here and now, because that's all that occupies their mind. They don't think about the waves that will come tomorrow.

They understand that nothing has permanence. Not the safety of the sand, not the peril of the waves. But that burrowing keeps them safe now. It keeps them safe here. It makes them strong for the next set of waves. They choose what option they have available to them, in the face of an ever-approaching ocean.

This past week, the "donuts" reminded me of a really nifty guy I know of, Viktor Frankl. Frankl was an Austrian psychoanalyst who was held in both Auschwitz and Kaufering. There, he mentally wrote his best-seller, Man's Search for Meaning. In it, Frankl discusses the differences in peoples' perceptions of the hell they were in during the Nazi occupation. He noticed that many people recognized the horror they were asked to endure, saw it as insurmountable, and behaved accordingly. Others, like Frankl, chose to play the hand they were dealt, and try their best to make lemonade out of some seriously rotten lemons. Frankl personally found meaning in his suffering and trauma by using his knowledge as a physician to aid other prisoners. Frankl didn't have a lot of great options to chose from while he was in the concentration camps. Yet, he chose to make effort, chose to fight for the life he could make for himself.

Burrowing into yourself, whether it be for safety or exploration, is hard work, too. So many of us have been so hurt by our pasts, our families, our relationships, that the damage feels irreparable. And it can be so frustrating to work hard for healing and happiness, when there isn't any guarantee that the safety or happiness won't be threatened again. In fact, we would probably be more accurate to guess that safety and happiness WILL be threatened again in the future.

Burrow anyway, my friends. There is one quote in Frankl's book that puts forward his whole idea: "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."

The waves will always come. Whether it's a person you don't care for, pain from trauma in your life, a task you have to accomplish, or the regular stress of your day, it will always ebb and flow back to you. You can choose to stay dislodged and be thrown around in the surf, or you can choose to dig in, and burrow because it offers you something right here, right now.

As always, we're here to help guide you on your journey, and invite you to reach out.

Frankl's book was originally published under another name, and I wish they would have kept it...

Nevertheless, Say Yes To Life.
__________________
Advertisement

menzies is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2015, 01:02 PM   #2
GFC
Guru
 
GFC's Avatar
 
City: Tri Cities, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Beachcomber
Vessel Model: Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,705
I really enjoyed reading that and want to thank you for sharing it with us.


Frankl's quote "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." really reached out to me.


I'm an eternal optimist and have always felt that we have much more control over our lives than we think. We are the captain of our ship of life and we are in control of much of the direction our life takes. That quote seemed to put it all into a very nice, neat package.


Thanks again, and tell you daughter "thanks".
__________________

__________________
Mike and Tina
Beachcomber 1995 Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge
GFC is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2015, 04:42 PM   #3
Guru
 
kthoennes's Avatar
 
City: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Xanadu
Vessel Model: Mainship 37 Motor Yacht
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 857
Thanks so much for posting that. What a pleasure to read. Your daughter sounds like an exceptional person in lots of ways. Ah yes, Frankl. I had a vigorous debate back in grad school with a professor of mine on Frankl. My thinking was that okay, attitude (or hopefulness, or whatever you want to call it) might help you survive or overcome adversity, but I still tend to think his whole line of thinking dangerously borders on willful self-delusion. A very useful self-delusion, but still self-delusion. But then I'm an ardent objectivist so what do I know. Funny, this is the second time this week I've come across Frankl in two completely different contexts.

Okay Victor, if I have a reeaaallly really positive attitude and I'm really hopeful, and I wish and hope and believe really hard, let's see if the bad oil pressure sending unit on the starboard engine works this weekend. (I'm being badly simplistic with ol' Frankl I know.)

Of course if your daughter was contemplating the Latin names of marine organisms as a little kid, she must like the Big Bang Theory TV show a lot. Or she had a marine biologist for a parent. Or she's just naturally brilliant.
kthoennes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2015, 06:16 PM   #4
Guru
 
kthoennes's Avatar
 
City: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Xanadu
Vessel Model: Mainship 37 Motor Yacht
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 857
You know as long as we're doing water-related inspirational moments today, for me one of my biggest heroes is Lt. Commander Edwin Shuman. I have his picture in my office, although I'm no relation and I never met him. Just thinking about him makes me choke up and feel kind of inadequate. The NY Times and the Washington Post and other papers did stories on him when he died about a year and a half ago, but here's a more detailed version by a fellow POW named Leo Thorsness.

'Our Father' | National Review Online

What really brought him to my attention first though was a book I was reading about the time of his death, on the 1979 Fastnet Race. Lots of us have probably read about it too or even remember it (although I was a kid at the time so I don't remember it personally, even though I lived around New London then). The racers got hit by a storm and it was a terrible disaster, something like 15 or 20 people died and dozens of boats were sunk or destroyed or swamped. Captain Shuman commanded the Naval Academy yacht "Alliance" during that race and every man on Alliance made it back safely. I can't find the story I read at the time, but I remember reading that during the height of the storm he had the crew yell encouragement to the helmsman over the howls because it was all the helmsman could do to hang on. Imagine those moments. And then in a lot of the follow-up articles he insisted they were never scared, never frightened, it was rough but you get through it, and even the teenager Navy recruits on his crew said the same thing. Here's one article, but not the one with the detailed story on Alliance.

Reflections on the 1979 Fastnet Race >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

(There's also a dated but still-good video about that Fastnet disaster linked at the bottom of that article.) Whenever I think I've had a rough day I just need to think of Edwin Shuman.
kthoennes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-04-2015, 06:25 PM   #5
Guru
 
menzies's Avatar
 
City: Jacksonville
Country: USA
Vessel Name: SONAS
Vessel Model: Grand Alaskan 53
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 2,209
The club I was in at that time, Lough Swilly Yacht Club, lost a boat, Granuaile, with all hands. Only one washed up on Milford Haven on the Welsh coast.
menzies is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2015, 03:01 AM   #6
THD
Guru
 
City: Seattle
Country: US
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,142
Menzies-thanks for posting that. You are rightly proud of your daughter. A very thoughtful piece. I lived in Atlantic Beach many years ago and also used to watch the clams on the beach. Unfortunately, never had the constructive thoughts your daughter did.
__________________

THD is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:49 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012