The Other Side of Reason – I am the Ocean

Involved in a bus accident that took the lives of six people, David Gibson has been battling through PTSD for over three years. In an effort to better understand himself and to communicate with others, he turned to writing. His first book was The Other Side of Reason: A Journal on PTSD. This column continues that text.

[I am the Ocean]
Sandcastles built with imagination and hope.
For a moment in time.
Washed away with the incoming waves there is no trace.
Leave my dreams untouched in the memory of my mind.
Something beautiful remains.
Touched by the ocean’s sound of the seashell.
I search endlessly for that perfect shell.
Elusive like myself and something I may never find.
Tumbling and rolling toward the ocean’s edge.
I want to be the shore.
But I am already the ocean.


Sometimes escaping from everyday reality and finding an oasis to rest within ourselves is essential to recovery and building resilience.  New experiences also have the added benefit of developing new memories that can slowly replace the rerun horrors of a traumatic experience.  I have also found that new experiences allow you to get outside of your past trauma and let you more readily open yourself to feeling ‘normal’ again.  It is a time that allows healing not only for yourself but for your family as well. 

The regenerative power of the ocean and experiencing this on the Gulf of Mexico recently, brought me to a place where I could engage in the present moment with all the possibilities to witness a person emerging from the darkness of the past. 

The ocean it seems provides this backdrop even if it is for just a brief time of respite.

The ocean gives us an incredible sense of peace. Looking out at the ocean, we see endlessness, complete totality of possibilities. All of life opens up to us and our vision of what is, and what can be, expands. Nothing appears to be impossible and the vastness of life embraces us. It’s where mind and spirit soar and cleanse our limited thinking – everything opens up. Time stops, our minds open, a deep sense of release happens – in that massive openness of the ocean.

The ocean, with all its greed and self-indulgence, calls our names and captivates our souls without so much as permission. It mesmerizes without prejudice upon greeting and leaves us wanting more — oh so much more — upon leaving. The ocean is selfish and generous, dangerous and calm, hostile and peaceful. It holds special powers and affects all of us from every walk of life and at every stage of life. No one walks away untouched from its allure and aura. No one is immune to its lust. No one is impervious to the enchantment of the ocean.

Can we not let it solve our problems, shift our perspective, engage us with our inner self, and remove us from the traumatized one? Can we not learn from the ocean? Can we not emulate its aura and allure in our own life? Can we not recreate its vastness in our mind? Can we not begin to imagine being more like the ocean, filling life with breath of possibilities rather than sighs of struggle and pain?

The ocean accommodates the entire spectrum of human emotions. For every emotion, the ocean has an answer, a remedy, a therapy, a way of reaching into our hearts and making us feel wholesome and complete again.

“Our memories of the ocean will linger on, long after our footprints in the sand are gone” – Anonymous

Until next time.