What the sea means to me

By Pippa Best

I’ve always loved the sea. Like so many others, I’ve found myself drawn there whenever I need a reset: to recover from a broken relationship, to mourn a loss, or to reconnect with something bigger than myself…

There is something about being by the water that always soothes an ache.

At my furthest from the sea, working in film development in London, I somehow managed to fall in love with a surfing location manager. We moved back to his home in Cornwall, and the sea has been a part of my life almost every day since: soaking up the golden days and the wild storms, tuning into the tides and the moon cycles, and admiring the wild sea swimmers heading brightly into the cold water.

Three winters ago, I finally joined those sea swimmers. As a child, swimming was the only sport I’d ever had any aptitude for. The water was a precious escape from loneliness then – and now in the sea, I’ve found a different kind of belonging: a sense of being part of nature. Along with an amazing community of swimmers who have encouraged me to keep stretching beyond the edges of my comfort zone.

Swimming on into the winter, swimming further, braving front crawl, swimming alongside seaweed and seals, through shoals of darting fish, and on into rougher seas. A new adventure every morning. The more it fills me up, the more the sea draws me back to stretch a little more.

The sea encourages me to have faith, to find courage, to step into the day with the same delight and trepidation as I step into cold water. Entering the sea, I practice calm – clearing my mind, slowing my breathing, letting the fear and shock subside. In moments of stress on land, I can now reach back and remember how to move through those feelings. Plus, there’s something about courageously jumping in the sea first thing in the morning that magically shrinks all the obstacles you face for the rest of the day…

Making time for myself in the sea has become my daily self compassion practice. Evidence that I value myself enough to tend to my needs, to give myself this gift of sea. And as someone who has always found it hard to meditate, it’s now my moving meditation – because luckily for me, it’s hard to be distracted when you’re constantly adjusting to cold choppy waves.

In the sea, I’ve learnt how to breathe into fear, stay compassionate and fluid, hold faith, and find the courage to try something new. And so – the sea even led me to create a whole new business, inspired by those gifts: Sea Soul Blessings. Now, not only am I lucky enough to get into the sea most days, I also get to share the magic of the sea with people all over the world who love it as much as I do. And through my business, I get to invest in projects that protect and preserve the sea we all love.

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