Soothing My Soul Amidst the Swirling

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010 6
Posted in: SOOC, Swirling

This past week found me mostly unplugged due to being in San Diego for a professional conference. I shouldn’t have been that unplugged, however, my ancient (and extremely heavy) laptop was incompatible with the free internet in my hotel room. Annoying to say the least, but that is “a whole ‘nother story.” I find conferences to be quite a roller coaster in terms of my mood and how they make me feel. I vacillate from feeling connected and professionally competent to feeling like I’m not publishing enough and that I must be the most unmemorable person in my field–or on the planet–as I “meet” some person for the 9th year in a row and she/he doesn’t recall who I am. And although I have moments each year that feel affirming, the conference often leaves me swirling.

Swirling zebras on the carousel in Balboa Park, San Diego

So on Monday, before catching my flight, I made a pilgrimage to the ocean. Having grown up very near the Atlantic, I took for granted my proximity and regular access to a big body of blue panacea until I moved to the Midwest 10 years ago. And no, lakes and rivers just don’t do it for me the way the ocean does. Yes, they are beautiful in their own way, but awe arrives when I can’t see land on the other side.


It was soul soothing to greet the Pacific, pant-legs rolled up and sandals in hand. I could feel the swirling slow, and then stop. Even if only for a few moments. As I knew that internal stillness would be fleeting, I found a little reminder to take home, and keep me focused.

A reminder

6 Responses

  1. Tiffany Hogan says:

    Your pictures are breathtaking – you have such a gift! Love the take home reminder.

  2. Your pictures really capture and reflect the mood of what you’re going through. I feel the same way about the ocean, having grown up on the West Coast.

  3. Laura says:

    As you were swirling your toes in the ocean, I was actually in your sun room gazing at your FISH. (Not to mention your husband and cute dogs) πŸ™‚ Wish I could have been there for the fun parts of your San Diego time, and sure missed having you in Nebraska. Great images, and good reminders (as always) to take a deep breath and enjoy the moment.

  4. Tanya says:

    Your post reminds me of a visit 10 years ago to San Diego, and I thoroughly enjoyed it (both your post and my visit:) While I grew up in Nebraska, I really enjoy the peacefulness and awe when one sits next to the ocean. While I know it isn’t the same, I would suggest that you try a canoe trip down a river sometime (the Niobrara if you don’t want to pull a canoe over sandbars). I’m sure you’d get a chance to use your camera as well!

  5. julie says:

    Beautiful. It takes conference folks years to remember who you are. Let the accomplishments of others serve as a motivator. Feeling like your not doing enough is a curse of professors in high pressured departments and the academic field in general. You are not that many years out, and you are rockin the house. Count your blessings. I love the ocean too and wish I had made it close instead of from a trolley.

  6. Sarah says:

    Glad to hear that you were able to get centered (even for a moment) at the ocean! Looking forward to seeing more of your picts πŸ™‚

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