My professor was teaching on the power of language- the power words have over us- when he used the example of the beach. He told us to remember the last time we were at the beach. The warm sand, the relaxing sounds, etc...
It took me back to Mazatlan. I left the resort pool and walked down the small steps to the beach where vendors were selling dresses, sunglasses, jewelry. The sand was warm on my bare feet and I walked quietly through the dry sand, my face to the sun, the wind in my hair... When a pain shot up through the ball of my foot into my ankle. I looked down to see a bee still stuck in the flesh of my foot. I was immediately angry. I looked around to see hundreds of bees in the sand. They had built a nest nearby in the base of a rock and a hotel worker was trying to kill them by covering them with sand... Not a great plan.
As I thought about this in class, I remember that it felt offensive. I was enjoying the stillness, the relaxation. True, I stepped on the bee so technically it was my fault but it was so unexpected and jolting. I could no longer enjoy a beach memory without the pain of the bee sting. Sometimes memories are like this. A pleasant time, like childhood, can become a painful recollection because of unexpected pain.
Healing comes when we recreate the scene. Here's how it goes...
I leave the resort pool and walk down the small steps to the beach where vendors are selling dresses, sunglasses, jewelry. The sand is warm on my bare feet. I walk quietly through the dry sand, the sun on my face and the wind in my hair. I find a plastic beach chair and spread out my towel. I reach for my iPod and scroll through the songs to find Gotye. The hotel waiter comes over and asks if I would like a drink. I order a piña colada, of course. He also informs me that there was a nest of bees close to here this morning but they sprayed, killed them, and took the dead bees to the landfill. The sand is clean.
I walk through this new memory again and again. Now I walk in the warm sand with peace.