Back in the flow
Part 1 in the Elemental Series
Welcome to part 1 in the Elemental Series. A series of brand storytelling posts intended to inspire, enrich and captivate. To activate the free expression of creativity in its purest form.
For an enhanced experience, I recommend playing the video below while reading this post and listening to the continuous sound of breaking waves. If you prefer, you can also view the video after you have finished reading. You will find the video again at the very end of this post, just above the comment box.
10 Hours of Huge Waves
The ocean. A body of water in perpetual motion. Wave after wave moving forward as a whole. An incessant swell, constantly changing shape. Flowing. Undulating with the pulse of life. A never-ending continuum of water. The ocean.
Staring absentmindedly at the bulky glass waves rolling in from the ocean towards the beach where you are sitting, you are overcome by a feeling of longing welling up from deep down inside. The longing to return home. You surrender to the feeling and not long after, you find yourself scanning the massive swell for a potential new wave to follow. Then you pick one slowly building up. As you focus, you start to absorb it in your mind and become one with it. With this fluid energy. This power that is compressed further and further within the confines of the wave itself, where it is gradually transmitted and will inevitably be released in the ocean where it originated.
The sheer force of the wave daunts you. You can feel it as if it were actually lifting you up and propelling you forward. The feeling reminds you of what happened yesterday. After watching some of the local surfers riding the waves here, you decided to have a go yourself. Although you have little experience, you hired a mid-length twin fin instead of a longer and therefore more stable board and paddled out to a spot inside of the peak. You were waiting patiently for about forty minutes when a surfer lost his footing in the pop-up. This was your chance of getting one of the leftovers. So, you paddled as fast as you could, popped up at the right moment on your board and within seconds you began riding a quality wave.
However, a few moments later, you found out that you had bitten off more than you could chew. The considerable size of the wave combined with your lack of experience and poor surfboard choice took their toll. What you had assumed to be the right moment, turned out to be a couple of seconds too early. Now the force of the wave was no longer beneath you but bearing down on you. Before you realized your unfortunate mistake, the crest of the wave crashed down on top of you. It engulfed you in a relentless grip that swiped the board from under your feet and sent you tumbling forward for what felt like minutes until the wave lost momentum and dissolved.
Looking back on that humbling experience sends a shiver down your spine. For a moment, you think you can still taste the salt water that you coughed up seconds after you emerged, gasping for air and with your heart pounding in your chest. If you had not already been in awe of the power of Nature, you definitely are now. That wave taught you to respect the ocean the hard way. And from now on, you will think twice before tangling with waves that are way out of your depth. Actually, it is probably better to leave surfing altogether for the moment and stick to swimming.
Having made this decision, you get up, brush the sand from your backside and wade into the surf. Pretty soon, you are in waist deep, steadily moving forward against the white water from the breakers rushing towards the beach one after another. “Ahh,” you sigh just before plunging headlong into a small wave that is just about to break. For a few moments, all you can see is a whirl of water, followed by bubbles moving upwards in the aftermath of this unleashing of power. As soon as the water becomes clear again, you surface and tread water for a while.
It felt good being underwater just then, experiencing the ocean from a different angle. Exhilarating and at the same time calming to the mind. It was a feeling you want to experience again. So, just before the next wave arrives, you duck dive underwater again and hover above the seabed to see the wave rolling through the water above you and breaking a few metres further down. Suspended in this volume of saltwater, you realize it is an entirely different world down here. Instantly, you imagine what you are experiencing to be similar to that of a baby in its mother’s womb. Strangely enough, you feel perfectly safe, even though the ocean is an unpredictable place where danger is constantly lurking..
I wonder how the marine animals feel, you say to yourself and instinctively look to your left to see a magnificent sea turtle paddling by. WOW, you say in your mind, almost forgetting you cannot breathe here. Your heart is beating faster now. You focus on your heartbeat as you watch the turtle swimming into the distance. An idea comes to mind that makes you laugh inside. What if the heart of every living creature were to beat as one. Instantly, your mind’s eye begins projecting images of other ocean life. Brightly coloured tropical fish, playful dolphins, a family of whales, a lone manta ray and also coral formations, plankton and miniature forests of seaweed pass by in your imagination. Together they move to the beat of one collective heart, in time with the pulse of life and the swell of the waves moving overhead.
Suddenly, you become aware of your increased heart rate, caused by the carbon dioxide building up in your lungs. Realizing it is time to surface, you quickly make your way up again. Once you emerge, you breathe in deeply and remind yourself to take more time to be consciously grateful for your life and for your physical and mental fitness in particular. A smile appears on your face. You savour the warm glowing sensation emanating from your heart that reflects your deep feeling of gratitude.
The feeling subsides when you sense something has changed. Intuitively, you look up into the sky to see big white ballooning clouds rapidly making their way towards land and casting a shadow over the water. In their wake is a gloomy mass of clouds. Now you look towards the rocky outcrop at the end of the beach. The waves are really bashing the rocks now. “Hmm, that doesn’t look good,” you mutter as you interpret the signs of an approaching storm. You have heard about the storms in these parts. Like yesterday’s wave, they are a force to be reckoned with and so you quickly yet calmly swim back to shore and make your way back to the beach house.
Once you get there, you dry yourself with your beach towel on the verandah, before collecting some things from the front yard and taking these inside. There is no knowing where these would end up if the storm wind were to get hold of them. Not until you have changed into some dry clothes, do you notice the increase in humidity. The air pressure was building up all afternoon and has risen to the point that it is becoming difficult to bear. Your clothes are already beginning to feel moist and sticky as your body responds to the warm and moist air by breaking into a sweat.
After making sure all of the windows are closed and secured, you make your way back to the verandah to treat yourself to the spectacle of the oncoming storm. It will not be long before it pours with rain. You can even smell the rain in the air mingling with the musty smell of the damp earth. Only now do you realize that apart from the sound of the wind, it has gone completely silent, as the birds and other wildlife are bracing themselves for what is to come.
The sudden sound of thunder startles you and immediately you look upwards. The storm clouds that have turned a greenish dark grey are almost overhead now. The darkness that is setting in almost makes you forget how bright and sunny it was less than half an hour ago. Then, in a matter of seconds, the temperature drops and the wind picks up considerably, tugging at the branches of the trees that surround the house. However, this does not deter you from staying where you are. Something deep down inside is telling you that you need to experience Mother Nature’s display of power. Funnily enough, you even catch yourself enjoying it.
The first bolt of lightning flashes in multiple shades of yellow and orange across a pitch black backdrop of clouds blocking the sun. For a split second, time seems to stand still and your heart freezes as the sensation of a minor electrical shock takes hold of you. “Woah!`’ you hear yourself shouting when your body goes back to normal again. You laugh at yourself for taking fright like that and at the same time you cherish the feeling of experiencing the force of Nature at close range. Then the rain finally comes pouring down from the sky in big heavy drops and you heave a sigh of relief.
In a matter of seconds, what looks like a wall of rain has reduced visibility to less than ten metres. When you look in front of you, you can see the yard being turned into a swamp by the rain beating on the ground. Besides the visible effect, you also hear the drumming sound of the rain pelting down on the corrugated iron roof of the house. Again, you feel grateful for leaving the beach right away and making your way to the safety of your home. Thinking about it, you feel as if you have been isolated from the rest of the world, and that does not feel bad at all.
About an hour later, the sun is shining brightly again in a deep blue sky. A smile appears on your face as this reminds you that everything is constantly changing. One moment, things can seem dark and gloomy and the next moment, life is sunny again. The extremity of Nature does not cease to amaze you, especially here in the tropics. Everything around you, is dripping wet. Your attention is drawn to a nearby native plant, the name of which is unknown to you. You cannot help but gaze in wonder at the effect of the sunlight shining on the scattering of raindrops on its beautiful dark green heart-shaped ribbed leaves. It feels soothing. There is no denying that Nature’s beauty has really got a hold on you. To be frank, it has put you back in touch with yourself again.
In the evening after you have finished your meal, you go for a stroll along the beach. Although calm has been restored here too, the beach and the ocean have been transformed yet again. Whereas earlier today, the swell was being whipped up by the wind, the waves are choppy now. The outgoing tide has revealed a clutter of shells, cuttlebones and flotsam strewn on the beach. To your delight, you find a big conch nestled in the wet sand as if it has been waiting specially for you. With a smile of surprise you pick it up and examine it. Although you know that the sound people hear in seashells is just ambient noise being resonated in the shell, you put the conch to your ear. You listen carefully and are again overcome by a feeling of longing. The longing to return home.
Looking towards the trees where the rainforest meets the beach, you spot a pair of parrots being affectionate with each other on a weathered old tree trunk lying on the broad leaved grass. Your heart begins to glow. These lovebirds remind you that tomorrow you will be leaving the beach house that you have called your home for almost a month to go back home to your loved ones. It has been an invigorating and convalescing time here at the solo retreat that you will remember for the rest of your life.
Deep down you are grateful for granting yourself the time to rest and replenish, and to find something that you thought you had lost long ago. Your true self, your essence. Here, Nature has shown you that life is a cycle. The waves, the weather, the flora and fauna, and your stay. Everything is a cycle that once completed, transforms into energy for a new beginning. “What is my new beginning?” you wonder out loud. A lone tear trickles down your cheek as the answer comes by way of a warm, mellow feeling inside. Your self-imposed isolation from the life you know and cherish has brought you back in the flow.
Floww Solo Retreats – Back in the flow
ABOUT PART 1
Water is most probably the first element we come into contact with. As an embryo we floated in the water of our mother’s womb. Along with our mother’s heartbeat, it made us feel safe and secure. Once we emerged into the big wide world, we began to experience water in many of its other forms. Having a bath, playing in the paddling pool, drinking a glass of water, feeling raindrops on our head, and swimming in the sea, to name but a few. That is what I love about water. It can take on so many different forms and yet the essence remains the same. Chemically speaking: H2O.
In Part 1, I used the element of water to illustrate how the form influences our perception. For example, the protagonist in the story experienced water in at least five different forms. The ocean, the waves, the humidity, the sweat on their skin, the rain and the rainwater in the yard. Each form provided a different experience. I find the fluidity of water fascinating. This is what makes it malleable and highly adaptive, and enables it to readily take on any form, depending on the circumstances. However, it does not allow itself to be forced into a form for very long. It is versatile and free at the same time. It is free flowing and ever-changing.
Now, you may be wondering how this fits in with the context of brand storytelling and branding in general. Despite the mention of a brand name and its tagline, this story is not meant to be integrated as a whole into the storytelling of a particular brand. Of course certain excerpts could be used, and the story in itself could form a creative basis for a brand story, a video script, or an article. What I intend to demonstrate with this story, is how different forms and form transformation determine how we experience the essence.
The same happens in brand storytelling. The form we choose to express our essence or core identity in determines how our target audience will respond. Certain forms resonate more than others. Where people instantly embrace one form, they may reject another because the core identity is not evident or appealing. It goes to show how important it is to be thorough in defining your brand and the form in which you wish to present it.
ABOUT THE ELEMENTAL SERIES
The impulse to begin writing the Elemental Series came from a desire and the necessity to use my blog for what it was intended. Its purpose is to demonstrate my services and my value proposition in a creative way. In this series and in other series and single posts to come, I aim to provide you the reader with an insight into the art of brand storytelling.
As with any story or other text that I write, I did not think this story or this theme up. It just came into being organically. It began with my desire to write something about the connection between Nature and brand storytelling. As always, my mind was flooded with images of water in motion that triggered my senses and feelings. I then went about putting everything that presented itself into writing. Pretty soon, a story about water started to take shape and a new blog series about the elements was born.
In my storytelling, I let creativity do the talking. By going with my own creative flow, I feel my way through the story and experiment with creative ways of using content. In this series, the emphasis is on the sensory experience. Because, in my experience, people do not read, hear or see the message, they feel it. It is through the sensory experience that I am able to engage with you as my audience. I write in the present tense, refer to the protagonist as ‘you’ and leave their sex undefined to make it feel as if you are experiencing the story first-hand.
Like I said, I love to experiment and let things originate organically. In a way, my texts write themselves. Like water, I adapt readily to the circumstances as they present themselves, in order to maintain my course towards the objective. Because of this, the other parts to this series may vary or even be different from this part. That does not worry me. In fact, it helps to demonstrate vividly how I work and how the creative process works. What I am certain of is that there will be at least four parts in total, each one representing one of the four elements, and maybe a fifth part about ether.
Captivate your audience
How did you experience this story? I am very curious about your thoughts and feelings. So, feel free to leave a comment below or in an email to email@example.com. And be sure to subscribe to my blog if you want to be notified of the other parts to this series or of other posts in the future. Or would you like to find out what my services can help you to achieve? Contact me and tell me about what you are working on. I would love to captivate your audience through powerful brand storytelling.
Straight to the Heart
‘Sea’ by Kanenori on Pixabay
‘Beach’ by Pexels on Pixabay
‘Blue’ by Kirildobrev on Pixabay
‘Bubbles’ by MartinStr on Pixabay
‘Green Sea Turtle’ by Kanenori on Pixabay
‘Coast’ by Ollivves on Pixabay
‘Cloud’ by FindingFootage on Pixabay
‘160767’ by CREY_zz on Pixabay
‘Rain’ by Sandid on Pixabay
‘Waterdrop’ by Counselling on Pixabay
‘Focus’ by Pexels on Pixabay
‘A Stormy Paradise’ by Fabrizio Turco on Pixabay
‘Sunrise’ by Karuvadgraphy on Pixabay
‘Parrots’ by Edmondlafoto on Pixabay