World Oceans Day: This Is Why The Sea Is Such A Force Of Healing
In honor of World Oceans Day, a global celebration of ocean health, we asked wellness and environmental leaders across all walks of life to write their own love letters to the big blue sea. Their diverse perspectives are a testament to the fact that the ocean promotes spiritual and physical healing of all kinds, and we hope they inspire you to get out to the water today—and then take action to protect it. Whether you vow to cut down on single-use plastics, be more mindful about your fish dinners, donate to nonprofits dedicated to clean water, or do a beach cleanup with friends and family, every action can make waves.
Why human health depends on the health of the ocean.
"I start right out by saying I'm drawn to the Oceans and Lakes and Rivers. To the thunderous sound emanating from the power of water as it falls hundreds of feet down from the top of a mountain to be greeted so lovingly by Mother Earth. I'm always seeking out streams, and ponds because where there is Water, there is LIFE ! Water is LIFE! Water is the Life's blood of all People.
"Water has memory and it is my Spiritual belief that the destruction of any physical formations of places where there once were Water ways or structured formations thereof, is the destruction of not just spiritual landscapes, but also the desecration of many Indigenous Sacred sites where Ceremony was held to honor the Spirit of the Water and the Life she gives to all.
"It is my belief that many energies/spirits seen as well as unseen reside within and around the water, as do the memories and stories of our Ancestors. I Honor the Water, I sing about the Life's Blood of us all.
Mbuy wulaawsuw-und. Water is Life."
—Grandmother Clara Soaring Hawk, spiritual ecologist and chief of Ramapough Lenape Nation
"Dear Ocean, during one of the hardest times in my life I intuitively knew I needed to live by you—so I did. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Your vastness opened me up, your serenity helped me change perspectives, your mystery restored my connection to the spiritual heart. Each morning meditating with your sounds, was like listening to a sacred mantra, and although some afternoons I didn't want to get in the water, I would do it anyway, and again and again new insights would arise. Thank you so much for everything you do for us all. For the highest good of all, may we always take good care of you."
"What better time to write about the magic and wonder of the ocean than now because as I write this, I am sitting on a ship at night in the middle of the Mediterranean with my functional medicine team and my family. Before me, nothing else but a vast, seemingly endless sea and blackness. No sound but its powerful waves and the wind. Depths so great that, despite all our societal advancements, we have only explored but a fragment of the totality of our oceans.
Being in the presence of the ocean is one of the most powerful meditative practices for me, as it is for many of us. On a more practical, functional medicine level, the ocean provides us with food medicines. Sea salt and saltwater are very healing to the human body. Sea vegetables and algae are some our planet's most nutrient-dense superfoods."
—Will Cole, D.C., IFMCP, functional medicine expert
I will fight for you. Always.
"I talk to you. Ever since I was a little girl in Corsica. Our songs, tales, and legends are about your magical chemistry and generous bounty. I don't know whether I believe them because I watched you every day or because the stories were so beautiful. My body and mind are united for you. Later I experienced enchanted reefs from far, far away lands. They grew inside of me, an Ocean Forest. They made me a better person, enhanced me as a human. When I go back to my island sanctuary and melt into your waters, I can still feel their connective beat. It helps me to know they still exist. I will fight for you. Always."
"Every single one of us needs the ocean. The ocean is what makes our planet work; it provides the air we breathe, the food we eat, jobs and livelihoods and is a source of inspiration and wonder for all of us. At Ocean Conservancy we believe we need to use the ocean without using it up. We must protect the ocean, its wildlife, and our coastal communities in order to make life livable. And we know that many of us, regardless of our political persuasion of geographic location, believe the same. The ocean reminds us that we have more in common than we think."
—Janis Searles Jones, CEO of Ocean Conservancy
Nature is certainly our greatest medicine.
"When I think about the ocean, I think about healing and creativity. The ocean grounds us. Two years ago, after wildfires raged through my hometown, the stress of our community was palpable. After the fires passed, the impact lasted and made me question our planet's future. Throughout my life, I have gone to the ocean when I need clarity, so that's where I went. As I listened to the waves, I came up with the idea for Grounded. The ocean empowers us and can help us turn contemplation into our internal driving force. We must care for this vital carbon sink. Our planet's survival depends on it."
"There is nothing quite as calming or healing for me as being in or near the ocean. I think part of this comes from the sense of awe and gratitude the ocean inspires within us that makes one feel connected to something greater yourself. The sound of the waves crashing acts like a white noise filter and quickly quiets the mind. Watching the repetitive motion of those waves also puts us in a meditative state, and whatever is preoccupying our thoughts shifts to a focus on the here and now. There's something deeply grounding about feeling the sand on bare feet and the salt on our skin, which melts away tension and makes us feel more at peace. Nature is certainly our greatest medicine!"
"A gift from the ocean.
"Only when I reconnect with your rhythm do I realize that in our fever to keep up with a misguided sense of progress, we have taken your gift of breath and made it shorter and faster.
"We have created a pulse that skims, blips, pops, and beeps. It's a rhythm so distracting, it's impossible to comprehend, a taskmaster driving us to aspire to nothing more than self-interest.
"We've exchanged your mysterious and beautifully coherent whole for a premeditated world of human cause and human effect.
"The sterility of being surrounded by a purely human breath is to exchange something so complete and integrated for something so vacuous and isolated.
"An isolation that's now steeped in an overriding guilt at having broken something, smudging creation with our human fingerprints.
"Even though we don't act like it, deep down we don't actually want the world to look like us.
"We so desperately crave your wisdom and rhythm, among other things, to free us from ourselves."