Where the Mountains Meet the Sea

Winter in Malibu, California is a magical time of year. As I step outside in the early morning, I take an inhale of the salty, crisp air. This heals more than just my physical body. A breath of air nourishes my mind with energy and life. A breath of air fills my heart with the memories of being a kid.

When I drive along the Pacific Ocean, I savor the scene of the winter sun dissolving beyond the horizon. The sky takes on an otherworldly glow and casts a dark orange shade on the glassy water. Winter in my hometown lifts me up and makes me believe everything will be okay.

I’m grateful to be free to think for myself and ask questions of the universe. We’ve been given eyes to witness the daily miracle of the setting sun, something so extraordinary that nothing else matters at that moment when that ball of burning light disappears into the unknown.

We can watch it together from anywhere in the world.

That is a miracle.

I wonder what is the meaning of it all, the meaning of the pain.

The beauty and the pain co-exist and always have because through them, the reason for our existence arises. We’re here to connect through the pain, to be there for each other through the pain, to love ourselves and one another through the pain unconditionally as human beings.

But the self-imposed pain holds us back. We cast it upon one another because we don’t understand ourselves and don’t want to understand each other.

What would happen if we could open up and see the world for what it is, beautiful, accepting light? What would happen if we could live in wonder, and truly begin to heal?

Our meaning comes from our connection. Through our connection comes a reason to live; this is our purpose. We have the answers we seek inside of us. We’re hurting at this time because we’re told not to connect. We’re told not to feel, not to love, not to reach out and touch, the one thing that might save us.

It’s okay to hurt.

I’m here for you; the earth is here for you; you are here for you. Watch the swaying trees for a while or the pale blue sky or the simplicity of a white, gentle floating cloud to realize how strong you are. Within you is the world, able to withstand the winds of change.

I’m grateful to have ears to hear the melodic sound of crashing waves that ease the beating of my heart. I’m grateful to call Malibu my home, irrespective of where I live.

I can always return to this place where the mountains meet the sea and feel welcomed as if nothing’s changed since I was young. I’ve changed. The world has changed. But it’s the peace I feel at home that I strive to carry with me through this journey of life.

With every day I’m on this earth, I foster a greater appreciation for the energy, the people, the love that is our home. It’s made me who I am.

The Pacific Coast Highway runs along the coast; on one side is the deep blue Pacific Ocean full of wonderful mysteries. On the other side are rolling and barren hills that have shaped and formed and tell a story of our past. I cherish the winter days when the rain turns the hills green and bright yellow.

The natural colors of new life are a reminder that we can get through anything. A couple of years ago, the Woolsey Fire devasted Malibu. Many lost everything they had. But the community came together and within the spirit of the people, a fire raged stronger than any physical force of nature.

A force of solidarity swept through the city that wouldn’t be beaten. That’s what Malibu has always been, and that’s what it means to me.

The city became a family. New life, new colors, and new opportunities for growth populated the mountains.

As high-schoolers, my friends and I worked at the Christmas tree lot in the middle of town to raise funds for the school.

After a day of moving trees, the sweet, earthy smell of Christmas lingered on my clothes along with dirt and green pine needles. The same man ran the show every year.

He’d wear the Malibu teal and black and sat up front by the Christmas wreaths and cinnamon pine cones, warmly greeting those coming in to support the community. I thought he had an awesome gig.

I believe he loved being there. Life is built upon these flashes in time where we’re connecting and we’re growing and we’re feeling something real. That’s what I miss, a simple yet incredibly powerful memory of connection. It made me happy to work there with my friends. This life really can be simple.

I went back with my family every year after high school to pick out the tree. I’ll always treasure those rainy winter days where the only thing I had to worry about was moving trees and showing up to basketball practice on time — and getting passing grades, although they don’t seem to matter much now.

When I go back to Malibu, I get that unmistakable feeling that I’m home. Yet, my gaze is set on the distant horizon where that sun continues to fade. I long to know what’s out there.

I want to experience the bustling cities and the rural countrysides, the different cultures and the fascinating individuals who enrich this planet. I want to experience the fullness of this world because I believe the same sense of community that I feel in Malibu is possible anywhere, no matter who we are or where we come from.

I desire to learn about what makes us human and connects us beyond language. When I go home, what’s important seems to rise to the surface. I see the people I love, not only my family but those I grew up with. My friend’s parents and their families feel like my own.

In high school, we used to say that there was nothing to do at night, so we’d hang out in the grocery store parking lot. I think of the hours we spent doing nothing at all but laughing and the trivial worries that ran through my mind. I wanted to be cool. I wanted to be accepted.

The funny thing is I was and always have been. When we long to be accepted, all we must do is accept ourselves.

We’ve been put on this planet at a particular time and in a specific place with a light in us that’s completely individual — seven and a half billion beings of light. We’re human. That’s all we have to be. I go back home when I’m searching for the answers I know I have within me, yet can’t seem to find.

They are there. Make some room and ask. Dig deep, and ask.

I walk amongst the sandy cliffs to unravel the thoughts inside my head. When I pass others taking in the peaceful energy, I smile; I breathe. The earth is full of it, so is every one of us. We can choose to see it in each other.

It’s finally time that we do.

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