When you are from Cape Cod, or are lucky enough to be a visitor of Cape Cod, you are certainly familiar with sea glass. When I was a little girl, looking for sea glass was a great adventure, a daily easter egg-hunt filled with magical thinking and creative sparking. Little did I know, it was also a great babysitting plan devised by my mother and grandmother who wished for a little well-deserved peace on the beach with the sun on their faces. I busily atacked the task of finding sea glass like it was a job I had been hired to do, carrying it in my heart a sacred mission of enormous proportions. I thrived on the “ohhs” and “ahhs” the little glass gems elicited from my maternal line when I returned with chubby handfuls of treasure, rosy sun-burned cheeks, and windswept eyes heavy from salt and sea and fresh air. My mission accomplished and all tuckered out, my mom and grandma rejuvenated by the quiet sunny day, sleep would come easily and peacefully that night for all of us.
Move forward 25 years, and I taught my own girls the wonders of sea glass, choosing to hunt with them and to experience their shrieks of delight as they unearthed brightly colored pieces from the sea weed and rocks along the shore. I laugh remembering having to teach them the difference between “beer glass” and sea glass. Beer glass being the sharp shards of glass more recently deposited on the sea and not yet smoothed by the rhythmic push and pull of the tides and by the turbulent ocean bottom pushing up during storms. We would throw the beer glass fiercely as far as we could into the ocean so that it could be immersed in the process of smoothing and beautifying and come back to us new next time.
And I realize now how the simple pieces of sea glass that I have hunted all of my life are a symbol for us of spiritual alchemy. They reflect the transformation of our own beauty as judgements, anger, hopelessness and fear are worn away by the challenges we face open-heartedly and we step into our own being, shiny and new. The rhythmic movement of the tide rocking and rubbing, smoothing and polishing, becomes a metaphor for the process of becoming, a process we are all engaged in, whether we know it or not. And I also see how the only thing separating beer glass from sea glass is actually a judgement. A judgement that without suffering there is no worth. A judgement that I was less before I was more. When the truth is, without my edges, without my faults, this ocean of life would not have anything to work with! And I wouldn’t be the beautiful me I am at all. The other truth is that we don’t need to toss ourselves into the throes of suffering to become lighter, brighter beings. The waves will come and carry us away and wash us clean regardless of the force with which we enter. So take time. Take heart. Work smarter, not harder. And choose to become through the path of least resistance, not the path of most holy suffering. And don’t reject those edges that have not yet smoothed away…. they will be your most beautifully polished surface in time.
I am so happy to be carrying a line of unique, inspired jewelry made from genuine precious sea glass and glass beads! Pattie’s work is a gift, a warm connection to days of sun and sand and dreaming. She stewards the glass, brought up from a riled sea, until it speaks to her of a creative purpose, an adornment of light and memories. And she gifts it to the heart that welcomes it in. Within its beauty lies the beauty that is within us, the beauty before and after the storms. How we shine is how we choose to wear our gold.