Day 11: When all else fails, make a list.

I have done a lot of thinking and not a lot of doing since I’ve been here. But if you consider that most of life is made real in your mind, I guess that’s okay. So, what am I learning? What are my lessons to share? Here are a few observations, 11 to mark the day:

  1. Running to the sound of your footsteps and your breath can be more invigorating than any song on your iTunes.
  2. Watching the sun go down and the north start appear is a habit that’s possible to form in only 10 days.
  3. You do not have to travel far to escape. In fact, you don’t have to leave the house.
  4. You are who you are no matter where you are.
  5. Don’t be afraid of mussing a blank canvas. I am guilty. ‘Cause once I start, I’m committed to a vision. I admit, this is a personal problem. (Insert emoticon of choice here.)
  6. It is way too hard to not end the day with a nice glass of wine. Or two.
  7. Nature is very healing. I never tire of the Farmcoast views. I can see how Monet painted Giverny on end. The light changing in an open sky is a dance that never ends.
  8. There is never enough time. Period. I have no commute, no schedule, no social and professional commitments. I have yet to muss a canvas, get lost on a long run, read a chapter uninterrupted and write a focused blog post. (This is the 5th time I’ve restarted tonight because, yes, I’ve been thinking more than doing.)
  9. Listen to what you need. Happiness lies there.
  10. Notice all life’s details. Amazing things rise up when you’re paying full attention.
  11. Embrace what’s before you. It won’t be there long.2015-03-11 18.36.48
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Day 7: Moving into Me-town.

Florence, Tanzania and Bermuda were on the short list. But I chose to take my sabbatical in a small coastal town only an hour and a half’s drive from home.

It felt right. It felt manageable and more soothing than running around with maps and tickets and crossing time zones. I wanted to be in a restful place without a lot of outside stimulus so that I could create my own–inside myself without any format or schedule except what comes naturally by my internal tempo.

2015-03-06 17.31.41My rental home is cozy and filled with light. A wall of windows overlooks a snow blanketed balcony which, in turn, overlooks a short snowshoeable yard and narrow wooden dock that juts out into the frozen river. I look out at the view and it beckons me. The ice locking in so much potential. It will eventually flow. It will eventually release its energy. It will come back to life, likely around the same time I pack up to leave. It’s my own built-in private metaphor.

Private because I’m here on my own. But also because no one else I know really gets it. This is not about lucky me and winter vacation. In fact, it is about unlucky me and my decision to move in a new direction. It’s a deliberate, pensive choice not a frivolous escape. And because of what it looks like on the outside, I realized, I can’t share this. Nor do I really want to. Soon enough, I’ll be back in a familiar place wishing I could hit pause again.

Week 1 was hard for me to fully untether. But I’m mostly out the door now. Let’s settle into Selfishville. Population 1.

I have come to believ that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.