I’d completely forgotten what it was like to become the kid giddy with joy at the opportunity to live as an explorer. It was amazingly good to get re-acquainted with her yesterday even if our meeting was kind of brief. Still, I’d consider it a very good start.
A hometown is a place we believe ourselves to have intimate knowledge of until a personal event comes along that forces us to take stock of the things we take for granted. That event is usually a loss of some kind and the resulting reframing of our reality is its free gift. I guess you could say that I am taking on this little 30 day experiment to welcome a good reframing. I thought I’d surround myself with familiar and beautiful scenery to settle into the task.
One of the most popular places to unwind and reboot is by the ocean, so immediately upon waking up, that’s exactly where I headed. It was on my short walk from the road to the shore, the same walk I’d made plenty of times before, that I suddenly woke up to a strong urge to take in everything detail of the scene that my senses could possibly keep up with. Maybe it was just the unfamiliar surroundings but I was surprised to find that sensory input seemed to be magnified in intensity. The grit of sand. Lush green of palms and Sea Grape. The Snails. Whooshing wave sounds. Warmth as the sun warmed sea spray.
This is the stuff of travel brochures, isn’t it?
As you can imagine camera shoved into a phone could never do the scene justice but I surely did try. I did take and post a shot but you have to know that the nuance in color, the mood, the scent of tropical air…. Yep. Nowhere pictured in there.
The first thing I noticed was my slight twinges of self-consciousness as I navigated sandy dunes like a well-stocked tourist, camera around my neck and a phone in my pocket. These are your first clues that I haven’t spent a lot of time at the beach though I live and worked just 4 or 5 miles away. That seems, right now, like a lot of time wasted. #FirstLesson
The flash of unease when feeling self-aware dissolved quickly. There’s just no room for worrying about looking like a fool while watching the sunrise. People do the quirkiest and most beautiful things in anticipation and celebration of dawn, from playing bagpipes on the beach to sun salutations over yoga mats. There were joggers, runners, homeless strollers, and me. I was the one in the midst of the gaggle of clicking cameras. Mornings in Delray Beach offers quite a potpourri of human attempts to meld with the scenery and in watching their rituals, the sense of my being out-of-place disappeared. There was nothing left of the sense of self. There was just scenery. It was just like looking at the photo, then noticing that there’s no observer in view.
Time Stops For No Self
That sense of self was to come back with an agenda, which was to hunt down and hunker in the cocoon of the familiar. The sunrise at the beach idea was an attempt to get as far away from my morning routine as possible but it took just a few minutes to begin missing my coffee. I’d left it behind in my rush to arrive at the shore before the sun did. Without coffee, other unfamiliar things about the day began to feel “wrong’. My towel was smaller than I’d like. A fly had the nerve to land on “me”. And what if my smart phone or camera got wet?
It became obvious that this deconditioning was going to take some work.
By 9am my outing was done and I headed to an appointment with an insurance carrier to discuss healthcare options. I’ve got to tell you, the current system is quite a cluster. I walked away from that meeting confused and anxious as the first flush of worry began to creep in to my conscious thinking. The patterns are so easily identified once the tools to see them are applied. Even though I planned this little experiment, once the routine of many years wasn’t in place, resistance to not having one came forward. This resistance is exactly what the sense of self is made of. It’s a false claim that things should be one way or another. But I caught it and that’s the first step to having it fall away. It’s a start.
The mission for the coming days is to identify the source of the discomfort and resistance to see whether it can be located. My bet is that this will take an entire week just to begin to settle into the frame of mind needed to take a good look. I’ve got time, though. The more it comes to light, the more it’ll fall away.
The brilliant promise of “Work From Home” Success, and a question: Will I try to make the beach my new routine and would that a beautiful trap? And, of course, another sunrise.