I am currently in L.A. for work. Actually the work week just ended and I am now free to roam. Luckily in this instance L.A. does not mean the crazy city that I normally associate with it, but rather we were doing workshops at a seaside hotel in Redondo Beach. During the week the ocean and seals were background noise and brief interludes. Today I am waiting for a ride from an old friend and I have no where to be. I have tons of things I could/should do but that Sword of Damocles feeling has been suspended.
I finally pulled myself away from the list of tasks I had before me to go get some lunch at Joe's Crab Shack which sits on the water by the hotel. The weather was gorgeous, especially considering what typical February weather in Maryland is like and I opted to sit on the patio and stare out into the ocean while I ate. I always find it odd to ask for a table for one and generally eat and leave a restaurant quickly when on my own. The breeze and view begged me to linger and I spent an hour and a half at lunch, most of it staring. I wasn't just staring because it is nice to sit by the sea but I finally let a part of my mind, of my self, unwind. As I watched pelicans glide with amazing skill just above the water and seals luxuriating in the water I felt a craving and a grounding.
I realize that, of course, I love and have a strong draw to the natural world and frankly I can get quite a bit of that staring out the back window of my own house into the woods behind me. But as I explored where I was mentally and emotionally I realized that it isn't the physical beauty or "nature" per se that I was really thirsting for but what I was really craving was a mind free to unfurl and unwind. On my flight out to L.A. I listened to one of my "ole standard" songs in my favorites queue, Black and White by Sarah McLachlan. I hadn't listened to it in a while but I used to have the words written on my living room wall. It described/describes such a part of me that I had actually taken black marker to my wall and written an entire verse up there. On that flight when I came across it I literally played it about 5 times on repeat. At the end of a long week, sitting and watching the water I finally felt part of me unravel - and it was OK. I need to unravel. I have been so wound up and so trying to keep all my hanging strings tucked that I have been dangerously close to burning out on the things I care most about. As I stared out I thought about how much I missed Colleen and what we have together and what a "successful" life felt like to me. I appreciated the things I have and love, the amazing opportunities that I have at my fingertips and I was content to just think about that and sit with it. At one point when I realized how long it had been since I had just felt this way, I almost cried. Sounds hokey, I know, but I felt like I was letting all of tight bundles inside get some air and play and when I realized how closed up I have been lately, it was.... Hm, yes, it was just intense.
So basically my take-away from "lunch" was that I *really* need to give myself more time to unravel. I am suffocating small parts of myself in a desire to either achieve goals or fill obligations and ultimately I can see that while the short term goals may be fine, the long term effect just might not be what life is really about. When I'm in a "mode" of having more tasks than human hours or skills to achieve it is really hard to see any benefit to stepping away. Days like today are brilliant reminders of what that really means and the simplicity of disengaging and letting it all unravel.