What I've Learned
Every day is filled with opportunities to learn, we're just more aware of the lessons when they're presented in a new place or context. That's certainly been the case for me, now approximately two weeks into a writing sabbatical in Southern California. In a house overlooking the sea, I've been waking and working each day, grateful for the faithful pup who is just as eager as I am for a break and a walk when I've hit the temporary bottom of the coffee and inspiration pots.
On those walks, I've been reflecting on my time here, and what this new context has so far revealed…
* The ocean is a wonderful lesson in perspective. We build structures of every kind right up to the very edge of her vast endlessness; we trash her waters and use and abuse her bounty as if it is our right, as if we are her equal… the liquid version of The Giving Tree. But when night falls and all that remains to the naked eye are the even more unfathomable and untouchable stars draping above her unimaginable depths, it becomes very clear how small we are, and what our place in the world really is.
* California and Coffee = Wonderful
* Time is an illusion that you really only become aware of after you've chosen to disregard it. Writing without a clock, save for the sun and the one in my stomach, I'm experiencing the rhythm of life, rather than our invented rhythm of the world. This is certainly true when it comes to sleep. I unplugged the alarm clock on my first day, and am amazed to reflect upon how my initial moments of consciousness have, for as long as I can remember, been devoted to trying to figure out how many hours I slept. With that conversation no longer relevant, or even possible, my waking moments are now filled with stretching toward ideas for how to fulfill rather than fill days, how to create, and what to experience…
* Dogs = Love
* Beyond learning, I'm feeling that balance is key. My mornings are spent writing, my afternoons napping and taking long walks along the beach, and my evenings talking and eating with friends. Each in their own way clears my mind and fills my soul. But it is the companionship, laughter and sharing with friends that's the fresh water for the well from which my morning writing draws.
* Friends = one of the greatest blessings in life
* You don't need a vacation or a sabbatical to have a vacation or a sabbatical. Now somewhat firmly set in a routine, I'm taken by how much of this lusciousness I'm living is about my mindset rather than where I am or what I'm doing. It's becoming clear that you don't need to leave home to find peace in your mind or calm in your heart; the notion and feel of sabbatical is always available. From here on, I'm determined and committed to considering my life a permanent vacation… a vacation from frustration, a sabbatical from over-thinking. A very good plan indeed.
Thanks to you all for your kind thoughts and wishes about my Aunt Nena. She is doing well... fading, but continuing to do so with grace, dignity, and her very much intact wicked sense of humor. She's still drinking coffee, too... the woman can't move, but enjoys about two cups per visit through a sippie straw. What a woman!