Stopping to Smell the Salt Spray

Vero beach

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Paradise found.  I have found paradise on the Treasure Coast.  It may be 40 some degrees outside; it might be miserably rainy; it may take me five minutes to turn left on A1A; my lovely child may not be in a lovely mood and my wallet most certainly cannot fund Ocean Boulevard shopping sprees.  No matter.  I L.I.V.E. in a paradise surrounded by Vero Beach.

I am not speaking of the physical beauties and external environment that surrounds us each and every day.  (We all are well aware that we live in a truly special and beautiful place.)  I am speaking of the paradise I find daily within myself DESPITE what is or is not occurring in my world.  “Tis a gift to be simple and an active choice to really do such.

As a child I held quite a “reckless” sense of positivity towards the world and for this, I thank my father.  One of his favorite sayings:  “Don’t let the turkeys get you down”  carried me through many of my life’s storms.  I allowed my adult journey and its complications to whittle away at that positive attitude until we landed in Vero early this year.  Our permanent move from the Blue Ridge Mountains to a home in Vero Beach, where we were blessed by the melodies of the surf in each and every room, was a dream come true.  We were on top of the world.  We had arrived in paradise.

Seven weeks later, that paradise was shattered by death.  Upside down and all around – the life we had been living disappeared.  Stubbornly, perhaps reaching far back to my childhood positivity, I chose to find some good and peace and meaning amongst the devastation.  I found paradise in the middle of chaos.  I found it deep within myself initially and later through the kindness and caring of a community of very new and very old friends.  I had come full circle and rediscovered that optimism, regardless of a situation, is incredibly comforting and empowering.

The death of my best friend changed my world forever.  Death catapulted me forward to live a grateful life each and every moment of each and every day.  I continue to make this choice.  The alternative is not a constructive choice.

Vero Beach and the choice to remain positive keep me centered in a way I have never experienced.  This area and the engaged community enable my choice to remain positive despite life events that are beyond my control.  I am getting very good at seeing the glass half-full.  Life has not really changed.  My perspective has and this paradise, we call Vero, helps in more ways than I may ever understand.

I am re-learning what really matters in life.  It is not what I may or may not have in the material sense but what I HAVE within myself and the recognition of what truly matters in my life.

I am learning via walks and drives around the Treasure Coast that I do not need to depend on electronic toys or television for weather reports or the latest dramatic headline.  I prefer to experience parts of life the old-fashioned way:  engaging with my environment and the people I encounter.   Open your door and feel the day’s weather.  Speak with a stranger and listen to their story.

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is, we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… We cannot change the fact that people will act a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is plan on the one thing we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you… We are in charge of our attitudes.” -Charles R. Swindoll

I am learning to cherish moments in time.  The sunrise before me as I drive home from rushing my daughter to Vero Beach High School.  The stunning colors and translucency of a Portuguese Man of War tangled in seaweed on a morning beach stroll.  The gift of a full moon so bright over the ocean; no camera seems to capture what the eye beholds.  The quiet of dawn and the sweet sounds of others sleeping peacefully.  The patience, warmth and individual customer care of postal clerks despite a line snaking far outside their door.  The community that responds to requests for help generously – be it a dog in need of a new home or a child needing a new bike.*

I do not really need anything other than learning to be more appreciative and aware.  Most of us who take the internet and email for granted, do not have true needs.  I have learned the difference of needs and wants.  It is liberating.

As the author of one of the greatest movies I have seen once said:  “I know the cure for everything:  salt water…in one form or another.  Sweat, tears or the salt sea” Isak Dinesen Breathing in salt air as often as I can is life affirming and intoxicating.  It is these types of simple pleasures that keep joy in my everyday.  I chose such.

Stop and Smell the Salty Air.  Stop and hear another’s story.  Stop and be a part of your community.  There is no greater reward.

Please take a moment to view all of the Vero Vine community submitted photos from the last several months.

Vero Vine’s (VV) Classifieds, completely free, found a dog a home and a 9 year old girl a much needed bike in one single day!  These two community needs were fulfilled by simply clicking a link and sharing with VV.  It only takes a few seconds to start the conversation and this is a wonderful example of very positive change movement using online connections. (Technology can and does serve a wonderful purpose.)

Vero Vine is YOUR community’s publication and we at VV are so proud of our fabulously caring and generous community.  Thank you.  Share the word, invite others to connect.

Sherry Nist