How to Lead a Satisfied Life: Go to the Beach


Elizabeth Chenok, Managing Editor

“For whatever we lose, it is ourselves we find at sea.” This quote by E.E. Cummings is one of my favorites, for the message it spreads is one I truly believe. I think the ocean has healing powers. No, not healing powers like if I broke my leg if I went into the ocean it would be cured, but in the sense of self reflection and spirit healing.

As the year ebbs and flows, it has it’s high points and it’s definite low points. Stress ensues, and the overwhelming realization (for me at least) that I am leaving home next year can take it’s toll on me. Music and cuddling only goes so far, but the one medium I have found does the trick every time is the beach.

We live near many… Baker, Stinson, Ocean, and my personal favorite… Muir. Muir Beach is located on the way to Stinson beach, and is smaller and more secluded with the same cool breeze and beautiful views. (You can also get yummy wraps from Cafe de Soul literally a quick pull to the right before you arrive). With a steep but rewarding trail, one visiting the beach can overlook all of San Francisco, Marin Headlands, and the surrounding beaches in a 360-panoramic view.

Personally, I am a fan of going to beaches when it’s colder outside. I think the waves are more wild, the sunsets more intense, and the feelings of reflection more real. As much as I enjoy tanning and running down the beach, I have found in fall-winter-early spring seasons, the beaches are less inhabited and therefore I find more peace within myself.

I LOVE walking down the beach, sitting on rocks, finding sea urchins. And as the tide rises and the waves continue to beat against the sand, I realize what I have somehow forgotten amidst my stress: we are a small fraction of the larger equation. The waves wash away writing on the beach, rocks, pieces of beer bottle, and resurface them as beautiful, smooth, and fresh. This is an art, and incredible feat of nature that astounds me.

When I go to the beach, I always request solo or silent time. It doesn’t have to be long, but I’ve found that we often don’t stop and listen. There is a sensation of relief that overcomes me when I hear the sea. My advice to become more satisfied and balanced would be to spend time listening. If you can’t get to a beach, go outside and listen to the sounds: rain, birds, wind… or absolutely nothing. Push past the feelings of checking your phone or talking to the person next to you, for a moment relax and listen around you.

So I invite you to go to a beach close by, when there is time, and look into everything causing you stress. Take a deep breath, and release it. It will probably wash away with the shore, or fly away with the breeze.