Beachcombing as Meditation

By Virginia Whitted

beautiful peaceful ocean view

My journey of meditation, physical health, and self-improvement started many years ago after my three children were of school age and I returned to work. I was 33 years old and I finally felt like I had a little space in my life for the things I had always wanted to but did not have the time or energy for. I decided I needed to try something new and began taking fitness classes and yoga. This was definitely out of my comfort zone and was something completely foreign for me as I had never exercised in my life—and definitely never tried meditation. 

Yoga was difficult in the beginning. Besides the strange poses and new terms I was learning, the hardest part of it all was the meditation (shavasana). Just the thought of quieting my mind was so overwhelming. How could I quiet my mind when I had a million things to do when I got home? At that time, I felt that this was truly impossible, but I kept going. And as the weeks went by, it became easier and easier. I learned to be patient, to be in the present moment, to truly feel absolutely everything, to be still, and the most wonderful thing of all, to find some inner peace. It took a few months, but I actually started to enjoy myself.

After many years of taking yoga classes I decided to sign up for training to become a yoga instructor. Yoga teacher training was intensive and was the most challenging thing I ever did, but it was so rewarding. I love meditation and yoga, and I love teaching it to others.

beachcombing with friends

At the same time that I was doing my yoga training, a new friend, Kristin, introduced me to beachcombing and sea glassing, something she had been doing since she was a little girl. She invited me and a group of other friends on a beachcombing day trip. I was skeptical about sea glassing as I did not really understand what it was all about, but since I had a new outlook and really wanted to try new things, I decided to give it a go.

At first my eyes could not see anything; my girlfriends were gently teasing me every time I picked up a rock and realized it was not glass. I smiled and kept going. I remember the first piece of sea glass I found was a nickel-sized green triangle of glass.(I eventually made it into a pendant). I jumped for joy and ran around the beach showing my friends! Soon after that, my eyes acclimated to the search and I started to find more and more pieces. I discovered my love of beachcombing that day, and have never looked back. I now go sea glassing often with my friends and our annual weekend trip to a special place has become a tradition that has brought us together.

One day, when I was walking the beach, listening to the sound of the waves, taking in the smell of the sea, tasting the salty air, and feeling the sand and rocks underneath my feet, I realized it was a form of meditation. Focusing on looking for treasures on the beach helps to clear your mind. When this happens, you are in the present moment and connected with the earth. In meditation, this is known as mindfulness. This form of meditation helps you appreciate everything around you and centers you. When I feel centered, I actually find more sea glass and unique treasures.

beach marble

So, the next time you are beachcombing, try to incorporate some meditation into your experience. There is no right way to meditate, and everyone must find their own method that feels right to them. However, there are some tips that can help get you started:

  • As soon as you arrive at the beach, reach down, and touch the sand—and then look up, close your eyes, and take a deep breath.
  • Allow yourself to clear your mind. Put aside any intrusive thoughts that try to creep back in.
  • Start walking and focus only on the present moment, or take a moment to sit and focus.
  • Be mindful of your senses. Take your time as you listen to the sound of the waves, feel the sand and textures of your beach finds, taste the salt on your lips, look at the beautiful landscape, and smell the fresh air.
  • Relax and enjoy the day. You might be surprised how a clear mind helps your beachcombing.

I hope you find lots of beautiful treasures on your next beachcombing adventure!

This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine May/June 2022 issue.

1 comment

For 3 years I collected shells in the GTMO area in and around Guantanamo Bay area. I hear that collecting is now forbidden throughout the Caribbean area, is that true? I am in Utah now and was thinking of one more trip before my next birthday, am 77 now, if the Navy Base should open up.

William Moore September 04, 2023

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