Slip Slidin’ Away

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Coming to you (almost) live from…

…can you guess where?

We were on the Pacific coast in California where almost anywhere you go on the beach you’ll find well-maintained seawalls and/or barriers to help maintain the integrity of the cliffs that overlook the ocean where erosion has become a serious problem due to unrelenting surf and storms.

As many of you know, the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple that’s perched on the cliffs near Encinitas is one of our favorite places to visit when we’re in southern California. It was founded by Paramahansa Yogananda, a guru born and educated inIndia. The exotic-looking domes are what remain of the retreat that was originally built in 1937, followed by the construction of a Golden Lotus Temple at the bluff’s edge. By 1942, water draining from nearby hillsides softened underlying clay. This resulted in shifting earth, which plunged the temple down the cliff. Today, cautious measures are taken to stabilize the bluff and to control water seepage.

Coastal bluff instability poses serious problems because it threatens homes, business, roads, and railroad lines built close to the edge. The good news is that when thinking in terms of diminishing the wide-spread problem, the California Coastal Commission is testing environmentally friendly stabilization techniques.

What is it that slowly-but-surely chips away at—erodes—you? What stabilization techniques do you have in place?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

© 2011 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

29 thoughts on “Slip Slidin’ Away

  1. I love being on the west coast with you Laurie. I once lived in Rancho Santa Fe Delmar and visited The Self Realization Fellowship in Encinitas regularly. I feel rejuvenated all over agin just seeing pictures of that wonderful place – that is the dome in the background behind the surfer sign isn’t it? The California coastal bluffs are indeed magnificent, let’s hope they can hold up through all the changes,

    What chips away and erodes me is frustration associated with waiting and the impatience with ‘the process’ that can’t be rushed. I find when I focus on my breathing I’m returned to center and the ability to BE inspires me more than the urge to DO – anything.

    Enjoy your travels Laurie and keep those pictures rollin!

    • Alison – Rancho Santa Fe is drop-dead gorgeous, and of course the race track is in Del Mar. You’re absolutely right that the surfer sign is smack-dab in front of one of the domes at the Realization Fellowship.

      You’re oh-so-right about “the process” — what makes it successful is the passage of time.

  2. I’ve often dreamed about visiting and so when you asked I knew–California. Thank you for taking me there. Someday I hope to go in person.
    What slowly erodes me? Self doubt, fear.
    What stabilizes me? Self talk like…”I’ve been through so much. I can/I will get through this!”

    • Leanne – Those pesky twins — self-doubt and fear — are stinkers, aren’t they?! When they come around to mess with me, I send them off to a round room and ask them to sit in the corner. It keeps them busy elsewhere for a while 🙂

    • Terrillyes, Yes, YES! I loved your post “Impermanence” and I’m so glad you put a link to it here, thank you! Your stabilization techniques are FANTASTIC!

  3. It is lovely to visit you today. Each time I read your blog I feel revitalized as if we were having a jog on the sand in one of those pictures. You bridge people in such a sacred way. I want to thank you for this gift you share.

    What I see chipping away is time… it seems to go faster than it did when I was a child. I find I must fill it up with a lot of creative things to stay cause over this agreed upon mechanism.

    My stabilization technique is that I take a walk at the end of each work cycle and breath, look at the environment and look outward at new things. In the morning I do stretching and eat breakfast. I take B1 and C faithfully as they act as a buffer between the mind and spirit. I am more interested in learning new things and so I read a lot and share with others.

    Have a beautiful rest of the week all!

    • Kathy – I’m so glad whever you stop in. Thank you for sharing your stabilization techniques with us. I’m a huge fan of stretching too (tai chi). And I’m a believer in vitamins as well (although my “B” is in the form of a complex, with an additional B12 (liquid) that’s taken sublingually). Happy Earth Day to you!

  4. Wow! Great post. Erodes is strong word and can feel negative and yet at the same time can mean the same thing in a positive way if you use the word “exfoliate”. I prefer to think of some things that help to peel away my layers are lessons, reflection, service and laughter. Of course my stabilization technique is the evacuation route leading directly to the Bahamas – Eleuthera. Hhmmm. Also a great place to exfoliate.

    • Lisa – I love the SHIFT IN PERSPECTIVE. Great way to REFRAME! I hope you know that every time I think of Eleuthera from now on I’m going to think of it as an exfoliate!

  5. I have so loved Yogananda. He has inspired so many of us. What chips away at me has been the challenges of sitting with strong emotion, staying present with it, without falling unconscious or starting to grasp to avoid the pain or intensity. A stabilization technique has been meditation. Following the breath. Learning to be present.

    • Kathy – Sitting with strong emotion is a tough one. I make it sit with me until I can at least see the silver lining on the cloud — the life lesson that it has to present. Once I’ve gleaned this information, I let it scamper away.

      Meditation (for me, moving meditation) and breathwork: ahhhhhhhhhhh

  6. Fear of living is probably the only thing that destabilizes me and I have my shamanic practice to sustain and stabilize me. With my power animals and spirit guides, I am never alone. Their support and wisdom is with me all the time and I can call upon them in an instant and feel their power become a part of me. I rely upon what I know is good for me and seek out those times and places that feed my soul.

  7. Just what the Easter bunny ordered on this hoped-for lovely weekend – a ravishing slide show of the Pacific bluffs. This is one of your most magnificent presentations (as photographer) Laurie, and it’s great that you made the most of this time window. I fear nothing but overload, which is a natural outgrowth of a big family and ceaseless planned activities. But do I step back? Of course not. I always believe that things will work themselves through. Foolish optimism perhaps? Ha!

    Have a peaceful Good Friday Laurie (and Len) and a lovely Easter Sunday.

    And yes, Earth Day indeed. It makes your post somehow even more resonant.

    • Sam – Forget the Easter bunny, you’re like the Energizer Bunny — you just keep going, and Going, and GOING! Good Friday, Earth Day, and Easter to you and yours!

      While we were on vacation we saw one movie. “The Way Back” with Ed Harris, Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell, and Saoirse Ronan was OUTSTANDING!

  8. Such wisdom and foresight is commendable, California washing away into the Sea is a refrain I grew up with. And so, it reminds me, Happy Earth Day, one and all!

    • Sandi – Oh yes, when we grew up, we’d hear that mantra on a regular basis: “California’s going to fall into the ocean — run for your lives!” Happy Earth Day to you, too 🙂

  9. Very little in reality is stable.
    Most things are either building up, or wearing down, and everything is powered ultimately by the energy of the big bang.

    Rain, wind, and the ocean is constantly wearing away the planet, and depositing it elsewhere (usually, ultimately in the coastal ocean floor).

    Rather than seeing the erosion of cliffs as a problem, what I see as a problem is people being unaware of the reality of continual erosion and flooding and change as the result of normal physical processes.
    Most people have a totally unreal expectation of unchanging stability.
    Even the hardest of wears away.
    Bluffs only exist because of constant erosion.
    Most people build far too close to cliffs and rivers to be safe in the medium to long term.

    Without plate tectonics, earthquakes and volcanism, the earth would have long since become one vast ocean, mostly shallow.

    It is only living systems that use energy to maintain some sort of long term stability, interspersed with bouts of replication.

    Unfortunately for us, one the things that lead to our complex life form, is also responsible for the limited life of individuals – and that is the free radicals produced by our metabolising mitochondria. These radicals do a great deal of damage to our DNA, and are a major cause of cancer, and the reason why we have evolved so many different anti cancer mechanisms within our systems.
    Our technology has not yet developed successful mechanisms to reverse these effects, though we can already imagine several possible ways of doing so, they are currently still just out of our reach.

    Unfortunately the only significant thing that is constantly wearing away is my body.
    I am hoping that technology will come up with the tools to allow me to repair it indefinitely before cascading systems failures result in my death.

    As to physical systems around me, I simply accept that they will wear away.

    • Ted – I couldn’t agree with more on oh-so-many statements here: “Very little in reality is stable” and “Most people build far too close to cliffs and rivers to be safe in the medium to longer term” are the first two that jump off the page at me. Some of the multi-million dollar homes we saw on the cliffs overlooking the beach actually have their back halves shored up with what look like skinny pillars. I can’t imagine that an insurance company would touch them with a 10-foot pole.

      I also resonated with your observations about the very things that lead to our complex life form being responsible for the limited life of individuals.

      As far as personal erosion — my own — I’m enjoying every moment before I slip slide away…

  10. Pingback: Various – second is being impeccable | Ted Howard NZ's Blog

  11. Your pictures are breathtaking! The west coast seems to have a little different feel to it than the east coat that I know. Hope I get out west one day!

    What erodes me is the ongoing and unrelenting health problems in my family. Oddly enough, what seems to stabilize and ground me the most is a walk on the beach – I think because I see there that nothing is permanent or lasts forever and it helps me to stay in the moment. And to know that we are all one, as huge as the ocean and as tiny as a grain of sand.

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