There are many kinds of water. The gentle flowing rivers that carve a path through the landscape—the soft rumblings of the lakes—the frozen formations sparkling in a winter chill. There is the water that refreshes on a scorching hot day and the gentle rain that feeds life. Water that cleans, purifies, and cleanses, washing away our past. It makes up 50-60% of the bodies we inhabit and we can only survive 3 days without it.
Perhaps it’s the ocean that most captures the heart and soul of water. From calm and tender waves, lapping on the shore, to mighty storms rolling and breaking, we are in awe of its majesty. With over 7 billion pilgrims travelling the road of life, we share much in common beyond our need for water—our bodies and personalities, work, dreams, smiles and tears. We crowd together for safety and companionship, yet yearn for the something deeper that is just ours—the uniqueness that makes us all different. We have thoughts, ideas, opinions, and we want someone in the world to listen—we want to be heard.
Sitting on the coastline, looking out at the vast emptiness, we can be alone with the world and choose to speak—or be silent and listen—two words incidentally, which use exactly the same letters. In 1989, a group of oceanographers listened and made a startling discovery—a whale communicating on a frequency of 52 hertz; much higher than the normal range for whales of 17-18 hertz. At 180 decibels, whales are the loudest creatures in the world, but since hearing it, all attempts to locate the ‘lonely whale,’ (as it was christened) have failed. All these years, a whale of an unknown breed continues to swim, sing, and live. Is it searching for a soul mate?—someone to hear it’s song?
And, what of us? What are we searching for? A YouGov poll just released in the UK asked 14,000 people what would be their most desirable job. Unsurprisingly, doctors, lawyers, and investment bankers made the list. Hollywood movie star was also a choice, but at almost twice its popularity, the winner was—Author. As well topping the list for most desirable, it also had the smallest percentage for a job people would not want to do.
After all, writing is easy, right? Sitting at home, in your pajamas, pounding out successful stories? Wrong—writing maybe simple, but good writing is very hard work. Even the very best have their struggles. Then, it must be the money. The best seller and the movie that follows? Wrong again. Writers make very little. Counting traditionally and self-published authors, one third of them make less than $500 a year. We could surmise it is a dream—wishful thinking, like the lottery. We buy tickets even though the chance of winning is so low, or is it our desire for someone to listen to what we have to say?
We don’t know what people in the survey were thinking and perhaps I would be happy with some of my conclusions if it were not for the second most desirable job—Librarian. That’s right, when we are not writing, we want to be around books and being a librarian is much more than shuffling books on shelves. They help with job searches, run book groups, teach literacy, assist with research etc. It’s a complex job requiring many different skills and a high level of education.
Do we really love books that much, or is it peace we are seeking? Perhaps there is something much deeper occurring in the sea of our minds and the unconscious desire the survey participants expressed, is the voice inside, calling us to focus on creating our own unique story. In that connection, we come to realize that it’s not being heard by others that matters, but being in tune with what each of us is here to learn.
Somewhere in a distant ocean, a whale is singing at 52 hertz. Take time by the shore to rest and refresh. Perhaps by listening to the melody of the water you will discover a higher frequency in your depths and author the story, which is just for you.