Not Your Ordinary Sand Castle: A Simple Act of Love
By Joyce Shafer
"Every challenge is an opportunity. If I, and others, practice peaceful solutions with smaller challenges, we may one day seek to
find peaceful ways to deal with the really big ones."
Morning stretched itself awake as I made my way down to the shore
and joined the handful of early risers. Lacy edges of waves lapped
gently over my feet and I scrunched my toes in warm sand. Good
time to build a sand castle. It was modest — done mostly
for relaxation and meditation. Not a thing anyone would pause to
admire. After I finished the basic shape, I began to decorate the
form with shells. A boy about eight years of age walked up and
began to kick at the castle. I wondered what was in his mind for
him to do such a thing?
What happened next, happened quickly. I held out my hand filled
with shells and said, “Here. Help me put these on.” He
stopped kicking, looked at me for several seconds, then took the
shells and began to place them on the castle. We decorated in comfortable
silence. “I’m out of shells,” he said after several
minutes. “Get more,” I replied. He did, giving some
to me. After a while, another little boy came along and started
to kick the castle. My little boy started to fight him. I said, “Give
him some shells.” The new boy worked with us for a couple
of minutes, then left.
When the entire exterior was covered in shells and shell fragments,
we stepped back to look at our work. “We did a good job,” I
said, “Thank you.” He looked at me, looked at the castle,
said it was time for him to go — and he left. I watched for
a while as he walked away and wondered how long our sand castle
would remain in tact, then I left for the day. Early the next morning,
I went down to the site. The shell-adorned castle, remarkably,
had been allowed to just be. It was evident that only nature had
touched it with its tide.
Thoughts about this moment in time with the little boy wove in
and out of my consciousness that day. He must have been surprised
when I didn’t yell at him to stop his kicking, or take even
more aggressive action towards him. It certainly surprised me when
I felt inspired to suggest he help. Yes, I extended my hand to
him, but he chose to invest his time and energy into his ornamental
efforts and then felt a need to protect the creation when someone
sought to destroy it. I realized that perhaps for human consciousness,
Investment equals Connection. I realized how different life might
be if we assumed our connection first. Investment in each other
and our world would be automatic.
As I gave this moment on the beach even more consideration, I
thought that If we don’t feel or perceive our connection
to something or someone, it’s easy to either not care about
it or them, or to destroy without thought or awareness. I do accept
what physics reveals to us: All in existence is comprised of the
same energy that is everywhere in the universe. The only separation
is, ultimately, in our minds. Quantum physics reveals that after
we peel away all layers of manifestation, absolutely nothing is
there. Nothing but the consciousness in all things — our
shared consciousness, I would add — and the potential for
manifestation. Whether we call that consciousness the Creator or
we call it Pudding doesn’t matter. It’s real. It’s
who we are. We just haven’t fully understood that yet.
From time to time, I wonder if that moment is one the boy remembers — if
it had any influence in his life. He should be a young adult now.
That moment is still a golden thread in my life’s tapestry.
It was a lovely, peaceful solution. It was a moment of loving kindness
towards a stranger who would become a momentary friend. I realize
still, that when someone gives me a challenge, if appropriate,
I can offer them some “shells.” Every challenge is
an opportunity. If I, and others, practice peaceful solutions with
smaller challenges, we may one day seek to find peaceful ways to
deal with the really big ones. And, isn’t that what love
would do? •
© 2006 Joyce Shafer Updated 04/19/09
About the Author
Joyce Shafer is author of I Don’t Want to be Your
Guru, But I Have Something to Say, and a Life Coach.
If you are ready to look at where you are now and commit to doing
what it takes to create the outcomes in life you want, call to
schedule your free 15-20 minute consultation to see if coaching
is for you. Shafer can be reached at 718.833.2751 (M-F, 10a.-5p.
Eastern) or firstname.lastname@example.org.