Free Core Values Exercise

Embracing The Process

#community #empowerment #flourish #growth #process Oct 31, 2022

Strolling up to the front door, my friend said “remove your flip flops, step into the water basin and rub your feet off really well. Then step out and dry them before you go inside.” 

Wait, what? 

Ok, back it up a sec - I grew up in South Korea. Each summer, we spent 4-6 weeks at a magical place we called "The Beach," which has been a foundational influence on my view of community, growth and generally how I see the world. (For more information, see: The Community I Was Looking For

Koreans don’t wear their shoes in the house. It’s a hygiene thing, and when you think about it, it’s pretty smart. Everything you walk through, all day long… kinda gross to drag all that through the house. At The Beach, however, we take it to a whole other level. You enter the house with clean feet, or at least as clean as you can make them. It’s not just the germs. 

It’s the sand. 

Some beaches are crushed stone. Some are crushed lava rocks. Taechon Beach sand is mostly crushed shells.

Each little piece of “sand” is flat, and sticks to your skin like glitter. You can shower, dress and blow dry your hair, then at dinner, someone will help you get that last piece of sand off your cheek. 

Walking along the shore line, I encounter shells in every conceivable stage of it’s journey to become the soft, light colored sand that feels so good between my toes. While the idea of beautiful shells broken, busted and battered to the fine point of becoming sand, seems sad, the lovely soft sand brings joy to so many. 

Each stage of the shell’s life has purpose and beauty. Each stage brings joy - to someone.

No stage is wasted - for the clam or snail, hermit crab, shell collector… and eventually me, enjoying the soft sand of the beach.

Throughout each stage, the constant friction of the water smooths out rough edges, rounds every corner, and dissolves the unneeded pieces, adding minerals back into the ocean for new shells to use in their formation.

As a distant observer of the process, it can appear long and drawn out, but the moment the shell is released from its original purpose is likely a dramatic event. The moment it’s slammed on the rocks at the foot of The Point, breaking or shattering it into pieces, must seem like a tragic waste. 

But this is the cycle. The process. 

I've been called a "late bloomer." At 50, I decided to write a full philosophy of personal growth, totally changing careers.

There have been moments in my journey that appear dramatic, and even felt like I was being slammed down. There are periods of time that "appear" to be a tragic waste.

But this is the cycle. The process.

As I sink my toes into the soft, warm, wet sand, right at the edge of the water, I marvel at all the shells required to make just that small amount.

I reflect on all the experiences, good and bad, that have brought me to this point, and marvel at my own softened edges, broken off bits no longer needed, and the cracks from having been bashed against the rocks, that let in air and light, illuminating the recesses of my soul - and I’m grateful for the stages, and processes.

The cycle is purposeful and always on time.

The process is worth it.

Embrace the process.


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