Saturday, August 14, 2010

Lessons Learned from the Sea

My beach vacation comes to a close today. Day after day of nothing to do but mozy my way down to the seashore, build castles of sand with the kids and float along with the ocean tide will soon turn into early mornings getting three kids dressed and out the door before the rooster crows, frantically packing lunch, and all the rest of the household norms - laundry, cook, sweep, laundry, organize, garden, scrub toilet, purchase laundry detergent, homework, laundry, cook and dishes. Somewhere in there I will sit down for five minutes - on the toilet - if I'm lucky. This all starts the day after tomorrow when I spring out of bed with the morning songbirds.

But, as with every other year as I leave this place, I intend to keep the beach alive in me. A few lessons I take from the sea:

A) The tide rises and the tide falls. When it's high, you float. When it's low, all kinds of things are exposed. One is not better than the other. They are just different. You respond differently. Same goes for the flow of the household (especially the finances and budget). Varying circumstances require varying response. Nothing is constant except the inevitability of change.

B) Get wet. Gazing at the ocean offers a certain serenity and awe. Getting in it is downright humbling. Willingly walking into something so grand and powerful will always bring you back to right where you need to be. In my family and in my life, that IS where it's at. In the thick of it. In the middle of the currents and the waves. What I'm looking for isn't around the next corner, or in the next house, or with the next job. It's here and now and there is profound beauty in that.

C) Connect with the process. At the crack of dawn every morning there are a handful of surfers standing on the precipice. They gaze out at the surf with such focus and wonder. The connection is deep, the bond is strong. This may sound silly but I need a little more of that in my day to day. Fully engaged in my process, for what it's worth - I intend to give over to the act of doing laundry. Invest fully in what I'm cooking for my family. Take pride in tidying the dining room after a meal. Being present is the key to fruitful living. No worrying about the future. Or crying over unfulfilled expectations of the past. Today is where the living happens.

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