4 Ways to Live an Ocean Inspired Life

1) Keep Moving Forward

The ocean’s tides and currents are constantly changing, shifting, but always moving forward. Like the ocean, I choose to live my life in perpetual motion, physically, mentally/emotionally, and spiritually. Lately a popular expression has been “You only live once”, but I like to say “You live every single day”. Each day presents an opportunity to start from scratch, to learn, and to grow. As humans, we have the power to change our perspectives, and it is up to us to choose how we perceive things. Everyday has a lesson to teach us if we keep our minds and hearts open. Weather we are summiting a mountain to swim across a bay or paddle across a body of ocean in a physical endeavor, or we are learning the virtue of patience and persistence of another sort, the only way to go is forward. Even when the ocean is rough or there is a storm on the horizon, keep moving forward, every storm has a calm.  When you get into a rough situation, remember that the teacher is in the room, and with the right perspective, it can present a valuable opportunity. Learn from it, grow, and continue on in your journey. Everything is impermanent, but lessons learned you can keep with you as you go. Keep a clear vision of who you want to be and the goals you wish to accomplish, then, like the ocean, move forward till you reach the coming shore.

2) Spread Positive Energy

One of my favorite things about spending time in the ocean is the amazing energy it leaves me with! Even just a quick dip in the water is sure to always give me the wakeup that I need and bring a positive perspective to my day.  When I would train for triathlons, I loved the fact that the swim was first because I felt as though I could absorb some of the oceans strength and power as I propelled myself forward through it. Upon exiting the swim, I was always stoked and ready to go for the run and bike segments ahead. I have found that I often perform better if I spend some time in the ocean before taking to other activities. I always feel more alert and more alive! No matter what endeavors the day may bring, if I ever need a place to realign my perspective, and recharge me internal battery, I just go to the ocean. Even just to observe it from the shore brings a feeling of contentment. I have also learned that by that spreading this positive energy onto others, even in the littlest of ways, that you can keep that energy flowing.  Say hello, and give a compliment to someone on the street. Pick up any trash you may see throughout the day. Chances are people are observing and following suit. One smile can make a million! A few positive words can make someone’s not so good day, a great one. The observation of a kind act towards another or towards our planet can create a domino effect of good. It’s contagious, just like the energy of the sea! 

3) Be Active 

The strength that the ocean possesses is like nothing else. The ocean reminds me that as an athlete it is important to be strong in mind, body, and soul. Through all my adventures and athletic endeavors while living on an island with no gym, I have found that the tools needed for optimal balance in strength, endurance, flexibility and mental fitness are provided for us in a combination of things found in nature and within ourselves. When you combine your own self-motivation with natures gym, you can have some of the best, and most fun workouts ever. Movement, adventures, and play become more of a lifestyle then just exercise or what you do to “train”. In fact, I never have been one to train. I am just active daily, and this allows me to partake in many athletic endeavors. For example, some days I will carry my paddle board to the beach, paddle a few miles down the coast to a soft sand beach, do a few running sprints, climb some rocks, through some rocks, or run with rocks underwater. I am able to get a great workout all while enjoying and using the nature around me. Other days, Ill bike to the west end of the island and then hike wherever my feet and heart choose to take me. Other days I rest, or practice yoga and being mindful through meditation. There are many days I just walk.  As long as I am listening to my body and intuition, I find that I am able to keep a balance and maintain optimal and functional strength. 

4) Love All That You Embrace

Nurture the things precious to you, just as the ocean nurtures and provides for all that inhabits it. The ocean is home to millions and millions of living things, providing for there every need. It is important to know what is important to you and what brings you true happiness. Embrace those things whatever they may be. Decide what your priorities are, family, friends, your passions, your desires, your purpose. Treasure your experiences with the people and the places that take you further in your journey, and trim away the unnecessary things that keep you from being true to yourself. You’ll discover that life is the grandest adventure of all and that the greatest exploration happens within. Know who you are, and strive to be the best version of yourself! Take good care of yourself. In turn, you are better able to serve the world with love, kindness, and a happy hart everyday. 

 

 

Sunscreen Safety

Chances are if you are reading this, you are an outdoor lover like me. That also means you probably soak up your fair share of sunshine throughout your day’s endeavors and adventures. When it comes to protecting yourself from too much sun, there are so many options, not all of them created equal. So what’s a sun lover to do?!

The majority of sunscreens these days contain harmful, toxic ingredients that not only take a toll on your personal health, but also on the health of our oceans. Each year between 4400-6600 tons of sunscreen washes off of swimmers, snorkelers, surfers, and other beach dwellers, and is released into the ocean. Studies show that the chemicals that exist in conventional sunscreens are an added cause to the oceanic pandemic of coral bleaching. While global warming, pollution, and human activities are a far greater threat to the health of coral reefs than sunscreen may be, it is still important to note that ocean friendly sunscreens do exist! By being mindful and using these environmentally safe alternatives, you can help be a part of a better, cleaner tomorrow and, in addition to helping health the coral reefs, your own health will be better for it!

The following are the four common ingredients shown to cause the most environmental harm, even at very low concentrations.

Oxybenzone- Aka benzophenone-3. This sunscreen component is known to cause many negative health effects.

Butylparaben- A preservative that also takes a negative toll on human health.

Octinoxate- Aka Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate. Let’s just say it’s no Bueno! You can’t even pronounce it!

4-methylbenzylindene camphor- Aka 4MBC. This stuff has thankfully been made illegal to use in the USA and Japan. However many European and Canadian sunscreens still include this harmful ingredient.

 

As a sun-kissed miss, a trail wonderer, a ridge runner, swimmer, paddler, and free diver, I know that it is part of my responsibility to protect both myself and the ocean that I love so much. So what can we do to ensure the health of our precious seas and our own bodies? 

For one, be mindful of the amount of sun you are receiving. Sunshine on bare skin in small to moderate doses isn’t a bad thing. In fact, we would all be vitamin D deficient without direct sunlight on our bodies. And the sun incredibly important for overall vitality. But if you are going to be in the sun for an extended period of time, it may be wise to either cover up or seek a means of protection via safe sunscreen.

When choosing a sunscreen, look for one that does NOT have any of the 4 ingredients listed above. Seek out brands that use natural, organic, and mineral based ingredients. Look for a water resistant sunscreen. It will stay on your body and out of the water. Find a sunscreen that has been tested and approved as biodegradable, meaning it will breakdown in the environment, instead of breaking down the environment. And lastly, look for the “Reef Safe” claim on the sunscreen label, and be sure to double check the ingredients just to be sure.

My personal favorite is Badger Balm. I trust the company and their dedication to using nontoxic, environmentally and human safe ingredients. I have even made my own zinc/coconut oil sunscreen at home and it worked wonderfully! However I don’t recommend surfing or paddling with it as it is a bit slippery!

Here is the Environmental Working Groups annual list of best sunscreen choices, based on efficacy and toxicity.

  • Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Sunscreen, Sensitive Skin/Children, SPF 30+
  • Badger Sunscreen Cream, Unscented, SPF 30
  • UV Natural Sport Lip Sunscreen, SPF 30+
  • Badger Broad Spectrum Sport Facestick, SPF 35
  • ECO logical All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+
  • Elemental Herbs Sport Sunscreen, SPF 30+
  • Green Screen D Organic Sunscreen, Original, SPF 35
  • BurnOut Ocean Tested Physical Sunscreen, SPF 30
  • Raw Elements USA Eco Formula, SPF 30
  • All Terrain KidSport, SPF30

The next time you take to the great outdoors and decide you may need a little extra protection from the glorious sun, keep the above info in mind and choose wisely! If you can’t cover up or find shade to avoid the sun’s rays, and you choose to use a sunscreen, do yourself and the ocean a favor and remember the 4 toxic ingredients to avoid, and the natural, organic, biodegradable, and reef safe ones to protect yourself with. Now get outside and enjoy that sunshine!