Dana Point, California

2231 Miles Traveled

Salt Creek Beach

Manifest Destiny! I have finally reached the Pacific Ocean on my adventure, “Meditating across America”, in search of Energy Vortexes. I can only imagine what early explorers and settlers must have thought when they caught their first glimpse of the ocean blue. It was definitely a sight to behold after traveling through the heart of America the last week. My adventure has reached its midpoint of discovery: I have already explored the far reaches of Chicago, the great Midwest plains, the mountains of Colorado and the canyons and ravines of Utah. Now, I am greeted by the warm summer waters of the Pacific.

The ocean and beach are special places for me. I was born near the ocean and was raised by the beach. The love that song by Jimmy Buffett titled, A Pirate Looks at Forty: ” Mother mother ocean, I have heard you call. Wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall. You’ve seen it all, you’ve seen it all.” I am a pirate looking at forty so this song resonates more than you know. Still, for me it is not the lyrics or old childhood memories of the beach that brings my sentiments full circle; it is the first whiffs of the salty sand and beach that reminds me of the past and settles me here in the present.

I have lived in the Midwest for five years now, but before that the Dana Point area was my home for almost three decades. I grew up, went to school and even married out here on the west coast. I have gained a lot, but I have also lost a lot here. In 2000 my wife and I lost our first child: An almost full term stillborn baby. It was a devastating experience for both my wife and I. Through my suffering and toil, the ocean and beach has become my temple of sorts. It was near here at Monarch Beach, that I cast the ashes of little John Jr. into the sea on one sad and unforgettable afternoon. This intimate loss forced me to confront suffering at all levels of my existence: From a forgettable childhood to struggling with low self esteem, the loss of my first child was the final emotional blow – from that time forward, I vowed to search for enlightenment and understanding. I began studying Buddhism and began questioning conventional western based religion. I knew there had to be more to life but I did not know how to attain it. At one point, I even lost my faith in God. I felt alone, depressed and without recourse. It was an awakening I experienced several years ago that showed me the light. I finally understood why good people die young and why bad things happen to nice folks. I found God not in a Bible or from the mouth of a priest, but inside me! My efforts to find happiness in a world of indifference was a difficult and challenging road, but it has been a rewarding one. My most recent literary work, The Responsive Universe (coming Christmas 2011), is a product of my success in self-actualization. I have found a less trodden path to happiness and now I want to share it with others.

Many new gifts have been handed to me over the years since: A wonderful marriage, my new son Ethan and a clarity and wisdom to reach for the most that life offers. I am blessed and thankful for my life. I am not perfect, but I work hard to be something beyond just the flesh and bone of man. I have a true openness to life and a responsiveness to connect to the energy within: My True Nature. Here at the coastline, it is possible to simply look out upon its blue waters and visualizes a life with less suffering. I cast my son’s ashes into these waters over ten years ago and this week I will be mindful of casting my suffering, attachments and ego into these healing waters. As I wade into the warm ocean, I can’t help feel the healing attributes both physically and mentally. The ocean and coastline is almost therapeutic. The ocean is where I was born and it is where I want to die.

San Clemente Pier

The sound of rolling waves crashing on the shore; the sand between my toes and the squeal of a seagull in the distance. Palm trees dot the shore and a sailboat catches a wind line across the point. The smell of salt and sea; a cool breeze permeates off blue horizons. A deep breath and exhalation brings clarity and awareness – the sun warms my being as I settle into the peaceful environment that is the coast. At sunset, I sat on the beach, facing westward. A few errant clouds in the sky were ablaze with shades of red and purple. The sun sunk into the horizon bloated and distorted as it slipped into infinity. A gentle ocean breeze enveloped me as I thought back to another time – how simple things once were and how quick time has passed by. Still the governing thought was really how lucky I am to be alive, healthy and sitting here on the beach, mindful and present in the moment.

Coming up next, Sedona, AZ as I begin the journey back along Route 66. For now, I think I am going to enjoy the beach, go surfing and relax. I will talk to you early later this week.

John C Bader