Monday, April 20, 2015

The Writing Exercise

What is it about the pulse of the ocean that makes me feel so wonderful? So untroubled? So much healthier? Even on a grey day. Or I might say, especially on a grey day.

I had one session with a counselor shortly after my diagnosis. Her first named rhymed with her last name. She was perky. She wanted me to learn how to live in the present. She was okay with me making plans, as long as I was okay with them possibly not happening.

She wanted me to sit in the Great Outdoors and write down what I see, taste, hear, feel and smell. A lovely little writing practice. But then it turned cold, and chemo made me lose to ability to tolerate cold, and I lost 40 pounds and walking became a chore. But, earlier this month, I finally had the chance to practice a little writing. Please note the description and the photos might not match, as these photos were take over 3 days.

The Sights:

  • The iced coffee colored sea
  • The wet brown sand
  • White sea-foamed covered waves
  • The pier, dark under the sky
  • A cloud covered sky
  • A mellow sky. A layered shades of grey sky.
  • A monochromatic grey paint chip sky.
  • My view becoming brighter and dimmer as the sun passed over a lighter chunk of clouds, then disappeared under darker clouds.
  • A lone brave surfer.
  • Dog walkers.
  • Dogs on leashes, looking wistful and longing.
  • Unleashed dogs, black, white and brown.
  • An older black dog visiting me for a kiss, while his walker keeps on.
  • A dog perfectly resembling Toto, unleashed and unable to keep up.
  • Chattering couples, in no hurry, holding steamy to go cups and surprised that the temperatures were not as warm as they thought they would be.
  • Ocean debris, piled high from last high tide.
  • A dozen or so white and black birds, slowly circling me for food.
  • 2 volleyball nets
  • Blue and yellow trash cans as far as one could see.
  • Pelicans effortlessly diving into the sea.

The Sounds:

  • The rhythm of the waves crashing into shore
  • The seabirds squawking as they beg for handouts
  • The chatter of people, as few as they might have been
  • The wind in my ears, rustling by jacket
  • The cling clang of a gate, back at the hotel

The Smells:

  • The rusty, salty fresh one can only find near the sea.

The Tastes: 

  • My water, which I used to swallow my meds that same day. It had a potassium, metallic taste to it.

The Physical Feels:
  • The damp towel under me
  • The hard sand below the towel
  • The wind
  • Pain and numbness in right side
The Emotional Feels:
  • Wistful and longing, like the dogs kept on leashes
  • A happy sad, or a sad happy, to be at the ocean for rejuvenation
  • Relaxed
  • Wonderful

*It took me 3 days to write this post. The effort was exhausting. And I am sure it still has mistakes! Comparing the ocean to the color of iced coffee (so true) took me 3 days to come up. I am on meds to control my nausea and vomiting. I can only take half of it once a day, because the side effects are confusion and the need to fall asleep in the middle of a sentence. Cancer is maddening. But, I think I found a drug combo that works for me . . . its a day to day process!

**Thank you for your kind words on my last post. 


  1. hello Karen
    your photos
    and words they have inspired are lovely
    the colored houses are cheerful
    i am sorry to hear that you have cancer
    it is a 'big' and tiring experience
    i send healing light
    wishing you grace for days and nights

  2. Hey Karen, so happy you got to the beach....grey days or not...the beach is always calming and peaceful. And I love your writing................let ya in on a secret...there are no mistakes when writing what you feel.
    Love, light and brightest blessings, you stay in my prayers.

  3. This is beautiful. I love this exercise of being in the moment and documenting it. It's something I should practice doing more often.


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