Today I did the unthinkable, the almost unimaginable… nothing at all. I just be’d.
I have a client in San Juan, Puerto Rico, so I’m “required” to visit 4 or 5 times a year. I know, I know… poor me. I flew in a day early early this trip to spend some precious time with my dear friends: ocean, beach, and sun. And they did not disappoint.
I had an agenda for the day: get up early, spend time on my yoga mat (travel mat given to me by my dear sister, Jess– great gift!!!), meditate, go to CVS and pick up some nice-to-haves, go to the beach, read a book, get my steps in, prepare for meetings, maybe visit the beach again, find a fab place for dinner (AKA explore the city)… gogogo, dodododo, seeseesee.
My day went another direction.
I woke up at 7:30 to a room full of beautiful sunshine (the best way to be greeted by the day as far as I’m concerned– black out curtains be damned) and I popped out of bed. At home, my two beautiful golden retrievers seem to sense when I wake up even if I try to trick them by keeping my eyes closed, and they demand to go out side immediately. So out of habit, I woke up and jumped up, but the only urgent pressing matter was morning breath. So I brushed my teeth, surveyed the situation and decided that the best next step… was to jump right back in bed. Ahhhhh, what a treat! Waves crashing, comfy pillows surrounding, dozing in and out of fascinating dreams with absolutely no pressure to be anywhere, do anything or please anybody… paradise!
Needle across the record, I get a text from my colleague who is joining me as the technical subject matter expert for client meetings on Monday– her uncle passed away last night and she THINKS she’ll be able to make the trip, but still working through the funeral details so it’s iffy. Yikes! These meetings will be rough without her, but of course I encourage her to do what she and her family needs her to do– I can handle the meetings this week by myself if I need to. I resist the urge to worry and ban anxiety from the realm of possibility. I’ll have faith that it will all work out.
So now I’m up, and eager to take advantage of every beach moment possible. I jump into the shower, but skip the hair straightening torture that I’ve inflicted… well since my hair came back after the first round of chemo. Before I got sick it was thick and curly, but it was a little shy in it’s return so the wave’s lost their conviction and it looked more mousey and frizzy than “done”, so I tried to blow and curl it into a style. But today, I let it be free. Just jumped out of the shower, fluffed it up a little, put it in a pony tail. Lathered up on the sunscreen in the room. Bathing suit, sun dress, favorite flip flops, sun hat– check check, check, check! Good to go. I stopped in the gift shop and picked up a diet pepsi and a bottle of water, stopped at the towel cabin and stocked up– and I was off to the beach. The lovely gentleman at the gate got me a front row lounge chair and an umbrella.
I plopped by butt down and raised my eyes up to the shoreline… heaven! Beautiful blue skies, turquoise water, waves crashing gently on the shore, sun shining, breeze blowing softly but relentlessly. I took a deep breath, and then another and tried to soak it all in. I could almost feel my blood merging with the salt water and the ions in the salt air melding with my breath.
Some people like this scenery, I am in love with it. This is my happy place, my sacred space. It is here that I connect with the enormity of the universe (uncountable grains of sand, a far away horizon where the vast ocean meets a vast sky– but doesn’t really, waves that no human or machine can control) , and the intensity of its’ spirit– grandiose gentleness matched by magnificent power… something to be loved, cherished and very well respected. It is here where I connect best with God, The Universe, A Higher Power, The Greater Good, Love.
I watched the waves and wondered where they began and where they ended. What gave them the strength to carry on and what made them decide to end. I watched them tease and torment people— providing equal opportunities for all people to brave the initial chill, break through the first curls, get jostled and up ended, and then find that place where they could bob and weave in harmony with the big water. I watched the waves carry people in to shore and graciously deposit them back on the sand.
I watched the people. I marveled at their bravery as it takes courage for anyone to prance around nearly naked as beaches require and admired those who seemed to embrace the freedom. I envied the couples and the families with young children. I envied the old folks who were still holding hands. I wondered about the young couple next to me who barely spoke and barely touched– were they fighting or unhappy or just loved in a different way than I was used to. I watched men literally frolic in the waves and saw women get their sexy on as sun tanned skin and water induced confidence ensued. And then there was the love of families– playful, joyful wave splashing, sand castle building, boogey boarding, giggling F-U-N! WOW!
I breathed in the moist sea air and absolutely relished the warm feel of the sun on my skin and the breeze against my face.
I felt like I SHOULD be doing something more. Exercising, reading, exploring, learning…
But I did not.
I didn’t want to leave this space physically, mentally, or spiritually.
So I didn’t.
Involuntary sighs throughout the day let me know that this was the right path for me today. I was letting something go and taking something in and it wasn’t important for me to define exactly what.
I didn’t listen to music, I didn’t watch TV, I didn’t read a book or a magazine, I didn’t talk to my neighbors, I didn’t even bother to eat. I didn’t go. I didn’t see. I didn’t do.
I just be’d.
I thought about old lovers and lusters and decided that they had all fed my soul and broken my heart and I was thankful for the the gifts I’d gotten from each one and hoped that I had been able to offer them something in return.
I wondered about the parent I’ve been to Taylor and questioned my choices… 14 years of private schools over fat IRAs, consensus and faith over strict discipline (as he pointed out, I was lucky to get him as a son), making life as easy as I could for him over making him earn his way. I did my best to support him in being him (since he has seemed to have a pretty clear determination of who that was since the day he was born) rather than try to mold him into someone or dictate who he should be or how should get there. I hoped I made more good choices than bad ones and did well on the ones that really mattered. I hoped he knew how much I tried and I hoped he forgave me for the mistakes and the bad choices I made along the way. I thought about his next steps– graduation, first big job, his wedding (how is he possibly going to choose a best man and his list of groomsman is going to be huge because the guy has a million friends! What a bachelor party he’ll have! Oh please God let his wife like me and vice versa! And most of all I hope they are good to each other. I didn’t even question whether he’d find someone who would adore him– he’s easy to love.) I wished he was sitting in the beach chair next to me, but I was proud that he was playing today in an alumna game at the boarding school in New Hampshire he was bold and brave enough to attend for 2 years and where he made faculty and student friends who will be part of his life for many years.
I pondered my 50th birthday (still some years away). What do I want to accomplish before then What will I be doing then? How do I want to celebrate (maybe Turks and Cacaos???)
I was aware of the songs that played in my head– Ed Sheeran and Keith Urban mostly (who knows why?). Do most people have music playing in their head most of the time? And then one of my favorites started– I will always love you– at first it was the Whitney Houston version, and Dolly joined in… and then I wondered what it would have been like if Elvis (wanted to cover the song, but they couldn’t agree on terms) had made it a trio.
I played back scenes and lines from Collateral Beauty which I saw for the first time yesterday on the flight in. Time. Love. Death. Universal themes. Loved it. Favorite line related to the birth of a child: “I realized I wasn’t feeling love, I had become love.” I totally relate…
I relished the moments and savored the feeding of my soul.
I was grateful for the opportunity to hear myself think and to feel myself breathe.
What a gift.
I highly recommend that you too engage in a day of vigorously and shamelessly BEING.