When Purple Wisdom Washed to Shore

A few evenings ago, I had the pleasure to stand right alongside the ocean. I loved listening to the sounds of the waves breaking and the seagulls cawing.

I stood at the edge for a long time, letting my thoughts come and go like waves themselves, then at times, letting them subside entirely. At this moment, I was more interested in listening than thinking.

I found myself seeking wisdom for myself and my wider community. 

I realized it’s a real privilege to be there and added my awareness to that. Then I decided to stand there and really take it in, wondering if I might find insights of some kind.

I let my feet sink deeply into the earth. Though the sands shifted and changed quite readily, it was a firm kind of stance. I thought about fearfulness – the many fears I tend to carry and the fears we are carrying collectively. These are understandable fears. 

But I took that stance because I was seeking something else. From time to time in my life, I’ve had moments when I felt remarkably empowered and enabled to hold strong, speak prescient truth, or embody steadfastness even in the face of fear and inevitable loss.

“I want more of that,” I thought. “For me. For us.”

I want wisdom and insight toward less fear. I want an alive form of fierceness that loves passionately and transforms the particular narratives and the particular violence that we are living.

Not much later, a shell washed right up to my feet. It was lined with a lovely shade of purple.

I smiled.

Ah, yes, purple. The color often associated with wisdom and spiritual insight. The color often associated with sacred noticing.

Then a few minutes later, it happened again. A second purple shell washed up next to me.

Yes. I loved it. So then I started looking. 

Empowered by the symbols of wisdom at my feet, I started moving my feet down the shoreline, looking for more. In twenty minutes, I found the first handful.

Then after dropping those off in my room, I quickly found a second handful.

An abundance of purple shells.

An abundance of symbolic wisdom toward less fear.

This search for recognition on a beach certainly didn’t transform all of our challenging narratives or all our challenging violence. But for a moment, it changed my relationship to them. And it made me wonder how to keep searching.

I want more of this. For me. For us.

Renee Roederer

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