A City of Sand

In our lives, we often build beautiful cities. They are wondrous and we live, dance and admire these cities that each of us has built. The problem is that many of these cities are made of sand. To the outside they look lovely and on the inside they look solid, but it only takes a heavy rainfall and the city dissolves.


Most of us do not realize that we have built these types of cities in our lives. They can be small towns or large metropolitan cities full of sky scrapers. These cities that I speak of are the structures in our life that define us. We become so intertwined with this structure that we become the structure and we keep building. Structure allows us to make sense of the world and isn't necessarily a bad thing. Our lives are shaped by the structures we have built and the ideas, beliefs and symbols that solidify them.

However structure is a funny thing. The materials we use to build can truly take any form. Like clay, we are able to mold the structure into anything we want. Like sand, we can add water and build beautiful things. Most of us know that when we build castles of sand one day at the beach that they are temporary and by the end of the day will fade away into the ocean. But sometimes we forget this.

We become enchanted by our creations or the creations of others and we hold on so tight that our life becomes an ongoing effort to protect our sand castles. Sand castles can be almost anything. It can be our image, a brand, the socially accepted ideas about what is right and what is wrong. We have titles that make us feel important. We have giant homes that make us feel prestige. We follow the rules that we are told because we are told. We make judgements about others because we follow the queues of those around us. We create credibility to support our notions about our notions. And all of this is okay. It is the form that we need to make sense of the world.

But nonetheless they are structures made of sand. In time the mold will change as it always does and our castles will change with it. We look back to ancient times with a sense of mystery at their beliefs and culture as surely future generations will do to us. We create an outer world that takes form so that we can make sense of it all.

The point I am making is that we become the structures in our mind and forget to see beyond them. We become the title, the Neighborhood we live in, the "soccer player", the musician, the truck driver, the list goes on and on... But we have created many identities and illusions about who we are and what is acceptable and how we should feel about them, so that we can process the world with our mind. When rainfall comes and this identity changes shape, the nice home needs repair, the money runs out, or friends fall away, then we are back to sand. Raw sand.

The problem is that most of us need these castles to feel good or feel accomplished but we should not let the shape of our sand dictate our feelings about it. It is sand regardless, so why feel bad about it? If we can remember that we have cities in our life that are surely made of sand and they may be washed away, they may change with time, and that is okay, then we can sit back and enjoy the view. We can enjoy the creativity of our creations and the ones around us. We can appreciate the artist in all of us and get excited to build sand castles. It is the process of creating that should inspire us. Then we must remind ourselves to look beyond the castles to see the beautiful view of the ocean that has been there all along.