Sea Buckthorn

What a Hug-from-the-Universe would feel to you? Imagine a long road of hills and valleys, losses and wins reaching a point when you get tired and disillusioned and finally you surrender; and here comes the Hug. Generous, unexpected and breathtaking. 

A big hug from the Universe may take a form of a little miracle. When you find yourself standing there in awe trying to comprehend just how a rich and messy combination of conflicting feelings, random choices, chance encounters, coincidences, deep needs and good intentions brought you to this point where nothing matters but this big calm warm Hug. The Hug can also take a form of a string of smaller but much needed reassuring encounters, events and insights continuously feeding your Soul. 

Can you recall such experiences in your recent life? 

Last week’s in our Friday’s Cafe Self we looked into Reflections of the Year and shared our stories of Struggles and Miracles of 2020. First here comes yet another gratitude to reflective writing for life experience organisation: only when I wrote things down I realised that my (major) Struggle-of-the-Year and (major) Miracle-of-the-Year happened to be (incidentally? apparently? miraculously?) connected to each other…by a place, a resolve and well, an unexplained but amazingly warm little Miracle. 

We decided that my Miracle would be complete by me sharing this story as I was delighted to see faces of our amazing Cafe Self people lit up with warm smiles. I hope it will do the same for you.

Here is the story.


Part 1: The (Big) Struggle 

The story started on a mid summer day during what was supposed to be a nice family outing on a local seaside. This was our many years  ‘go to’ seaside: close to home and easy to get to and so regularly visited. 

I love seasides and I love my work and I love my family so once again I thought that apart from admiring the scenery with the family it would have been great to make some pictures and videos for Cafe Self. 

I thought I had everything going for it – on my part. Alas, as it sometimes happens when you don’t foresee any problems, they show up…

Suffice to say things didn’t go to the plan on that day and suddenly all my plans for work followed by a nice afternoon by the sea got destroyed by a thunderstorm of a sudden conflict from an unnoticed dark cloud. The day could have been easily marked as ‘ruined’. 

It was particularly painful as this was our first seaside trip after the lockdown which was so much needed. Can you relate??

Nothing terrible happened but what did felt like that last straw in a long sequence of less-than-wonderful disharmonies of the same kind – when you work on family’s happiness for a very long time and after a long road of struggles you feel that you finally reaching a place where everyone is on board and as a family you start getting somewhere – and this is exactly when one of repeat conflicts as if from the past feels too much because of the sum total. You feel as if all the efforts are wasted and no matter the common goal, values of family members would always collide. 

Feeling ‘back to square 1’ I sat there in a beautiful forest on a seashore feeling as if some kind of a hurricane easily swept away our carefully created family harmony, love and conscious and consistent efforts towards mutual understanding. Overwhelmed by heaviness of the conflict I thought: ‘I don’t want to come to this place anymore’. 

Sure enough for the rest of the summer we didn’t.


Part 2: The (Little) Struggle

A strand of the story eventually leading to the Miracle started a year prior and on a totally different seaside when we started filming our first free Colourpuncture video series ‘Simple use of Colours in Colourpuncture’. My idea was to film each Colourpuncture video outdoors with that colour in nature as a backdrop in a place which would feel special; failing finding a suitable backdrop, I would wear a dress in that colour 🙂 

We filmed most of it on our holidays in Croatia in 2019 but one particular colour remained elusive: the Orange, the colour of Joy, Warmth and Happiness. I tried hard to find orange colours in nature but nothing showed up. I googled ‘orange flowers’ much to my surprise to discover that there aren’t many orange flowers in nature. 

Having given up on finding a natural orange backdrop I headed to a local park with some orange scarves, oranges and an orange blanket. The resulting video was totally ‘off’ – nothing worked. I got a little surprised – usually we can easily adjust things – and though unhappy I was about to publish the video the way it was for the sake of completing the series. When my husband and I watched the video before final editing he said: ‘This is not going to work. This is not quite you’. 

Frustrated with myself I said: ‘May be I need a seaside to make this video??’. 

My husband philosophically commented: ‘What’s the problem???’ 

Mid September, it was still warm and bright and we decided to go somewhere to film it: with orange scarves, oranges and an orange blanket. 

Choosing the location I caught myself thinking: ‘Anywhere but not that place’. Then I stopped. Teaching and practicing Conflict Resolution, positive reframes and choosing unconditional Love I couldn’t myself do something different – however tempted. I needed to go back and try to make peace with the place. After all I didn’t have any heightened expectations: I already had the script, an orange scarf, an orange and a orange blanket 🙂 

And we planned out trip differently this time.


Part 3: The Miracle

Coming back to the place we realised that somehow it was too bright a day for filming a video. Among a huge open expanse of the beach bordered by sand dunes we couldn’t find a place with enough shade. 

Determined to make things work and probably encouraged by a calm sunny day I thought: ‘OK, why don’t we try to go beyond where we would normally go on that beach and see what happens?’. I climbed dune after dune; we went farther and farther from the usual spot but we couldn’t find a suitable place. 

My husband was starting to get mildly irritated carrying a heavy rucksack. 

My former cold and reasonable academic identity woke up and said to me, seriously and sarcastically: ‘Wake up!! What a silly metaphysical stuff, trying to go beyond the usual and the obvious to find something ‘amazing’. This is not going to work’. 

Indeed it totally seemed that nothing special was wanting to happen to stop a cold reality colliding with all the warmth and beauty of the day: we seemed to be set to film another poor quality video about a happy Orange 🙁 

Tired of climbing the dunes and feeling disillusioned I finally surrendered to what seemed to be and said to my husband: ‘OK, I admit: that was a most stupid idea. Here is this last dune I’m going to check and then we are going back. After all there is always that ‘usual’ spot and we will try our best to make an ordinary video (with some orange scarves, oranges and an orange blanket)’.



I bet our orange props must have thought: ‘Finally!!!’. 

Experiencing an uncomfortable mixture of feelings of defeat and surrender I climbed  that last dune. Quickly scanning for a place with a reasonable shade to finally settle down and make that elusive Orange video on Joy, Warmth and Happiness – which was about to stop being fun – I looked around. Right in front of me there was an expanse of orange-berried bushes of Sea Buckthorn. 

I was speechless. I thought I knew that place – I’ve been there many times before. And neither there no anywhere else in the UK I saw Sea Buckhorn – having explored various woodlands and seasides in England, Scotland and Wales for over 20 years (I checked later: it apparently grows wild on the East coast). But Sea Buckthorn is native to my country of birth and indeed my parents used the Oil – Sea Buckthorn berries have health properties. 

To say that I was a little surprised would have been an understatement: just after I have given up on finding 1) natural orange, 2) ’amazing beyond the obvious’ and 3) a shade for my video set I felt humbled and privileged. And, hugged. The way a little child is comforted by an all knowing loving parent.

Several strands of different struggles from different times and places came together to a resolution in one tiny amazing sea of a Happy Orange. We can call it a coincidence (by the way I checked nearby dunes on our way back: there was no Sea Buckthorn). Or we can call it a little Miracle. But the moment felt beyond special – sacred in the ordinary. It felt as if the place gave me a surprise gift.  

There were other previously unnoticed things which I discovered about the place on that day but my Orange Miracle totally won the contest. Needless to say, my perception of the place changed dramatically from the previous visit: the place and me totally made peace 🙂  

What was your Struggle and Miracle of the Year? What have your Self and Soul been experiencing? I’d love you to create some space in your schedule for December Reflections and look back at your whole 2020 which seems such a long year already though we still have most of December ahead of us. 

Go beyond the obvious to find your magical moment. Final accords of a complex symphony which 2020 has been so far will sound brighter with a healthy dose of much needed Joy and Gratitude.  

Subscribe to Cafe Self  Newsletter to download a helpful guide on Reflections and create time to Feel. Your. Life. If you like starting with an empty page note your thoughts and feelings on 2020 with Stream Writing. If you don’t like starting with an empty page but like some facilitation to get going our December’s 2020 Questions to the Soul will help: ‘Reflections, Struggles and Miracles of your 2020’. 


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  • Reflections: Feeling.Your.Life.


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