The sun was starting to set, spreading a tinge of red and orange in the canvas of the sky. People, as if on cue, started to leave one by one. But still unhindered, the waves came rushing towards the shore. A few laggards and some resisting children were, now, making towards the exit, leaving me alone with the picturesque scene. For the past few hours, I had been sitting on the shore reading, with sand in my feet, in the furthest corner of the shore, away from the rest all. I maintained my distance such that I was never too far or too close to the shore-bound waves. It was starting to get a little difficult to read the book I had been reading since, so I kept it aside. The sun was almost below the horizon and the darkness had begun its ascend.
So I stared at nothing in particular but at everything around me. The shells scattered around, onwards the horizon and beyond, straining my ears to simply concentrate on the sound of the wind, I looked and listened to everything and yet nothing in particular. The sea remained calm as before. No sea creature or mermaid king made an appearance but I kept looking on. A whirlwind of thoughts had begun to create chaos in the calmness in which I stared into the oblivion. Thoughts whose presence I didn’t want to acknowledge, at least, not then. So I, in the manner of closing internet pop-ups, shook my head and pressed block all. The thought vanished but only for a moment. They persisted just like the ad pop-ups. So I did the next best thing, I plugged in my iPod, clicked on the first track and laid back on the beach, my hairs overcoming the boundary of the mat I was lying on and reaching for the sand underneath.
A few early stars had begun to dot the night sky. Looking at them then, I passed through the major part of my already scarce tracklist. The songs kept changing and so did my thoughts followed by my mood. They seemed to morph and changed according to the mood of the song. Afterall songs have that kind of power don’t you think? The indie record had now come to an end and the first of many meditation tracks had begun to play. (Mediation was a recently acquired taste. Although it did prove to be difficult to achieve everyday). I must have entered some sort of meditative state unknowingly or could have dozed off because what I experienced then, would be hard to explain otherwise.
It must have been close to half an hour after the first meditative track had begun to play, I was in a peaceful state of mind with my eyes closed and the breeze and waves acting as white noises, a calm was over me and inside me. It was so calm and quiet that I could hear my heartbeat. So I focused on it, feeling it and vibing along with it. It must have been, this rhythmic beat then, that drifted me, like some backward counting of a hypnotic into a state where I was aware of everything. My subconscious mind took charge.
I still had my eyes closed and I must have dozed off because all that I experienced then was like seeing a dream or watching a movie.
There’s a popular assumption that at times our deepest thoughts, our troubles are projected in our dreams. If I chose to believe this then my soul in some mystic and mysterious ways had found a way to decode and process my thoughts and emotions for me. Here’s how it all unfolded:
I saw a montage of my work life, all my achievements, the clients earned, the company bonus speaking of a bright, if not completely problem-free work-life. I saw myself overcoming one hurdle after another. But all through it when I looked in my eyes for it felt like I was observing this and not being a part of it; there always felt something missing, like a chance encounter of a certain something in my eyes, that spoke from deep within, urging me almost pleading, to look deep down in the recesses of my darker gloomy parts. Parts- which for a longer time of my life I have kept hidden, unattended too.
The scenario changed. I saw a young me, I’d say, some ten to fifteen years younger, standing in front of a body length mirror; choosing an outfit. An expression of dissatisfaction was plastered all over my face. I saw myself judging and criticising myself more than those outfits.
I wasn’t of beautiful physique back then (even now I don’t think I have one). I had an average physique with a naturally tanned complexion, which although looked good, but did not earn me second glances. I got the distinct impression that I compared myself to other women, women whom I considered more appealing physically. I could have denied all this had I not realised that even now, I was still living in the comparison, forcing my body to various hardships just so to look perfect, like others who seemed so.
The scenario changed again. This time I couldn’t quite place my age. It seemed close to the present time, yet at times it seemed distant. It showed me walking with my eyes fixed on the ground whenever I was in a crowd amongst people whom I assumed to be smarter and more beautiful than I was. It gave me an inferiority complex just walking among them. One that included everything from my physique, to skills from finances to even the locality that I lived in.
The scenario changed again, for the last time. It showed me. My present self, exactly like I was in that moment, lying on the beach with eyes closed and ear pods in my ear. I could see myself struggling as thoughts surged in questioning my decision of choosing others over myself; guilt consuming me for every time I made a decision otherwise. The guilt seemed to consume me spreading like darkness. But then, a calm, strong yet gentle voice broke through. It fought the darkness and backed my decision, banishing the guilt. It made me realise how often I had ignored my issues, my well being to solve a few business problems, to prioritise other’s happiness over mine.
It made me understand that along with my career graph that went on rising, my mental health and emotional well-being too needed to rise. And just as the realisation hit me the trance, the dream broke. I woke up to the waves tickling my feet as they came in.
I still quite don’t understand how it happened. But I think this was a conspiracy of my subconscious mind and the universe to remind me and to ask me to work on something of extreme value: ME.