Create a Safety Wall

On our recent trip to Kauai, we went snorkeling twice. We asked around for recommendations and chose two locations: Anini Beach and Lydgate Beach Park.

We started near Anini, though I don’t think we found the recommended spot. The guys eagerly swam away. It’s been a long time since I’ve snorkeled, so I moved slower, with trepidation.

It didn’t go well. My mask fogged up. My hair floated in front of my face. I tried two snorkels and both had me inhaling mouthfuls of salt water. I gave up, opting to soak up the sun while stretched out on a massive driftwood log.

We tried again at Lydgate on another day. Lydgate is special, a beach park. They’ve built a rock wall around a portion of the beach, creating an artificial reef that allows fish to come in with the waves while offering protection for children and inexperienced snorkelers. The bottom is soft sand, the water just deep enough that I could find my footing to breach the surface and expel the water still getting into my snorkel every six breaths or so.

Snorkeling at Lydgate felt like swimming in the most incredible aquarium with fish galore, from teensy white fish smaller than my pinky fingernail to a large school of bright blue fish that looked like Nemo’s friend Dory. If there was something like it nearby, I’d be there several times a week.

I felt safe at Lydgate in a way that I didn’t on our first try. Of course I had learned a few things from the first experience: I put my hair up, and I spit in my mask to keep it from fogging. The wall, however, made all the difference. Waves still crested, obscuring my sight, yet the tiny bubbles caressed my face like kisses from the ocean.

Sometimes we need a safety wall in other parts of life. For example, boundaries we establish for a time (or forever) with activities or people who make us feel unsafe. Or asking for help from people who can encourage us and give us the space we need.

Before I had kids of my own, I read a nonfiction book about how children benefit from being in the wilderness. One of the first chapters offered a surprising truth: if you give children no boundaries, they will stick close to home. But if you establish parameters, like a fence, they will explore the entire space. In my experience, that applies to many of us long past childhood.

Snorkeling at Lydgate thrilled me. It brought me so much joy to experience underwater life at close proximity. I just needed that barrier wall to help me feel safe.

What can you do to create a safety wall for yourself? Or how can you provide a safe space for someone else? When we feel safe, we can stretch out into new and joy-filled experiences.

Images from Pixabay

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