I recently read a Teresa Shimogawa blog post about sand castles. About how impermanent the things we build up are. If you haven’t read any of her blog posts before, I highly recommend that you check it out!
Sand castles are beautiful. They take so much energy and creativity and passion to build up along the shore. And then once they’re built, you admire them for what it’s worth. You savor the moment. You savor everything that you’ve built. And inevitably, at some point in time, these castles will be washed away by the incoming tides. Reduced to the eventual nothingness that we saw from the start. Another blank slate for someone else to perhaps build another castle on.
And on and on it goes. I think this is a good metaphor for life. How everything is impermanent. Simply temporary. The money I accumulate in my bank. The health that I’ve acquired and maintained at a young age. The relationships that I’ve built. The family business that I’ve been sustaining. And this beautiful life itself. Eventually, it will all come crashing down. Whether we like it or not.
And that’s okay. Life is meant to be lived that way. We cherish and appreciate the sand castles while they are still sturdy and shimmering in the sand. We practice gratitude for the beauty of these castles. And how they were built up level by level. Step by step. The energy and the sweat that it took.
And eventually, we accept that it will be washed away, and we will be left with pretty much nothing again. That’s the importance of letting go. Of not getting too attached to these sand castles. No matter how big or beautiful they were in the moment. And hopefully, you will still have good memories of these castles to share with your friends and family even after they disappear from your life.
I’ve seen friends come and go in my life. I’ve been a part of clubs that I am now no longer a part of. I’ve gone thru break ups. I’ve gone thru rejection. I’ve seen my perfect world of academic superiority crumble down to ashes once I got into Cornell University – and was surrounded by utter geniuses everywhere.
I’ve seen my general confidence in social situations go down in flames and turn into social anxiety and awkwardness upon graduating college. And I am still slowly working my way back to those pre-college days of swagger. Never knowing if I’ll ever achieve that type of smoothness ever again.
But the beauty of it all is that when you lose something in the sand, you start out with another clean slate. Another opportunity to build something bigger, more beautiful, and more meaningful. You simply get another opportunity to build from scratch. And that is a silver lining that we shouldn’t take for granted.
So, when your sand castle gets washed away, just dedicate some time to build another one. Another glistening tower in the sky. Another big and beautiful construction on the beach. An achievement to be appreciated. To savor in the moment. And to cherish when it is eventually gone again.
Teresa’s blog posts are enchanting and mind-bending. And they’ve made me think about how sand castles are a perfect metaphor for lots of things in life.
Right now, I’m in a relatively good position. I have a lot of different and beautiful sand castles going for me. A wonderful relationship. Loving parents. Drama-free friends. A wonderful community. A sustaining business. And I’m not living paycheck to paycheck. And my health is relatively stable and well. I have a lot going for me, and I am grateful. And I will appreciate all of these sand castles (some which I have built up, and some which were simply given to me) that are in front of me.
I will appreciate them all until the day that they will eventually be taken away naturally by the tides. And when they are again back to their natural form. At peace. In the sand. One with all. And leaving the opportunity for someone else to come along to build something different. But equally beautiful as well.
Those are sand castles. As Sadhguru says, we are simply a speck of dust in this grand universe. So, just appreciate what is in front of you. Appreciate the transience of it all. And appreciate the beauty of everything that is around you while it lasts. Because you really never know when it will be washed away. Just cherish each moment and be joyful of the good fortune that we have been placed on this Earth to live and make an impact in other people’s lives.
So, build your castle. Savor it. Cherish it. And don’t be afraid to let it naturally slip from your grasp back to nature, so that you can come back and build something new.