For the past week, I’ve disconnected from a lot of my everyday world to immerse in nature in the northern reaches of my home state. Our travels took us far and wide, covering approximately 1,500 miles in seven days, and every minute was permeated with being in the moment and inhaling the freshness of the natural world.
At night, we gathered around the table in our rented house and had a simple meal, quiet, together, just the six of us. No madness in hotel restaurants or loud competing for the right table. Just us, reconnecting, processing our day.
They say it can be hard to re-enter the world we inhabit most of the time when we’ve been really away. I experienced that after two weeks in India this past winter. And I am experiencing it now.
What strikes me most is that the world around us is neither good nor bad, it just is. The sun rises, shines and assures us of our existence all day long, and sets in a pool of color at the end of every day. The night comes in stars that take our words away, a canvas of pinpricks gleaming overhead so entirely beautiful that we are rendered mute.
There are no highs or lows; just existence. The water is cold but it’s not good-or-bad cold – just cold – and the kids jump into the lake nonetheless because we are there and it is crystal-clear and beckoning and we have to seize the moment.
And after, we wrap inside a towel for warmth but we don’t lament the cold or blame the cold or shame the cold or cast it out because it simply IS. We accept it, as it accepts us.
Not so in our daily lives. With people and relationships, we conjure notions of good and bad all the time, judgment and blame. Emotions ride side-saddle with every decision, every coming-together of individuals jostling for control and acceptance.
It never ceases to amaze me what demons live on the surface of our hearts. The insecurities and worries, the shame and blame. Where does it come from? Why is it there?
It has no need to be, really. Because it isn’t real.
The other day, sadness seized me as I faced the truth of returning to the world of routine. School ahead, extracurricular sports, obligations and dates on the calendar. It’s filling up, fast, and I can’t keep up. And even though I know that everything happens as it should, I received news that didn’t go the way I wanted it to.
And all of my emotions rose to the surface, tidal waves of yesterday and yesteryear and all the horrible feelings I thought I had channeled into understanding and positivity. That fast. Like snapping my fingers or blinking an eye.
I sat under the dormer rooflines of the sweetest suite in a Mackinac Island inn (the Harbourview Inn, I highly recommend it) – three queen beds and two bathrooms, a perfect little loft for my family of six. The kids were watching High School Musical. And the tears overtook me as I let loose the freedom of a blissful week with my favorite people in the most beautiful place on earth juxtaposed with the coming-home to a world that moves too fast for me to catch up.
It was just a few hours and as night fell, really good friends reminded me that I would feel better in the morning. Although it doesn’t seem that such a simple statement could be true, it is every time.
The next morning dawned cool and quiet, save for the occasional clip-clop of horses passing outside our third-floor window. Two sailboats slept on the glass-like water out our window. We rode bikes around the 8-mile perimeter of the island together in the glorious sun and cool air and felt like we could do anything.
It was a better day, as my friends and husband had promised. And the perspective made everything so clear, like the water of our great lakes. The news I’d received was totally 100% fine and actually, better than what I thought I wanted. We think we control life, but life happens to us in the way we need it to.
Sometimes, I need to remember that the way the world sees me – as this confident, strong, takes-life-by-storm person who doesn’t *need* attention or inclusion – isn’t the entirety of me. Yes, I am a leader. A teacher. A starter-of-great-things. A free-thinker. No, I don’t fit anywhere – it’s what I told my husband when we first met and why, he says, he fell in love with me. I march to the beat of my own drum.
In high school, I was friends with kids in every clique, but never in any one clique. I refuse to be bound by the rules.
Still. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to be invited or included or asked. I do need that inclusion, even if I seem like I’m off and running, singular in my goal and focused on something else. Pockets of friends, well, I’d like to be in them, too, and sometimes, I forget that I have to make that known if I want it to happen.
I wonder why we get so lost in the emotions swirling around us sometimes. I wonder why we can’t just live in the Reality of Life – which is neither good nor bad, neither high nor low, just Being, just observing, just walking along the quiet streets and swallowing the air and knowing that life is as its meant to be, every minute that we breathe.