Written by: Trina Wyatt
The ocean connects us all. It connects countries, ethnic and socio-economic groups, land life with sea life. If our rivers are our veins running through our earth, perhaps the ocean is our lungs. After all, our lungs are about 83% water and the oceans cover 75% of the earth’s surface. The ocean sustains all life on earth, absorbing 30% of all carbon dioxide.
Trina’s Connection to the Ocean
Ever since my family moved to Honolulu from Cleveland, Ohio when I was seven, the ocean has been my go-to place. From learning to surf off Waikiki beach, to snorkeling in Shark Ray Alley in Belize, to learning to scuba dive off the Great Barrier Reef.
The ocean is the place I go to face my fears and meet my challenges. It’s where I find my strength, from my first night dive off the coast of Key West, to sitting on the shore after a bad break-up or getting fired from that awful job.
And the ocean is my go-to reconnect-with-myself and with-something-greater-than-myself place – from meditative sunrise walks along the water’s edge to our families’ ceremonial prayer for the safe birth of a son.
As I look out into the vast expanse of the wide ocean, I am comforted and reminded about endless possibilities, adventure, and connection.
I’m not alone in feeling a change at the ocean’s edge. According to Dr. Wallace Nichols, science shows that being at the ocean can change the way we feel and change us neurologically. Physically, our breathing and heart rate become slower. As Nichols writes in his book “Blue Mind”, we become more self-referential, more thoughtful, with greater insight, creativity, and awe. These thoughts and feelings set us up to experience more empathy and compassion. Psychologists say that, by the ocean, we go from “Me Thinking” to “We Thinking”.
We Must Be Mindful of the Ocean
What we throw into the water off the Coast of California could end up on the Coast of Honolulu or even on the shores of Sendai, Japan. Caring for our oceans is caring for ourselves, for our neighbors, and for our future generations.
I’ve always taken it for granted that my children would be able to enjoy the same oceanic experiences that I’ve had. They would have the opportunity to swim the great reefs to discover healthy, vibrant corals, swim with massive sea turtles, play with manta rays and sand sharks. But that future is no longer certain, for any of us.