Everything is in the middle.
The first week I spent slowly withdrawing. This last week I spent scrambling to stay. When I look at it that way, that makes the time in between sadly emptier or less full–to put a wee more positive spin on it.
We spend a lot of our lives in the middle, don’t we? The in-between. That space before a decision. The time looking. The time adjusting. The time getting to and fro or just circling. Like Pema Chodron said, “we are always in process.”
Though we move from moment to moment, I find it hard not to bookend time. To mark the beginnings and endings. To snag momentos and mental snapshots of what will never be again. I feel a little somber wrapping up my time here. Maybe because this me time was really about putting on training wheels. The middle ground before the change I seek that’s altogether new.
The middle is where momentum builds. Where the pendulum dips before the next rise. The valley between peaks where all points of view hold promise. Where potential pools… Who knows where I’m going next. I’m happy to be in motion. Re-fueled and in a higher gear.
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.
My 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 put my life on a shelf for a month.
I have to check out to tune in. Similar to that 60’s psychedelic sentiment–without the drugs.
The house I’m renting is delightful. There’s a panoramic view of the river just over the sun deck, a lawn blanketed in at least a foot of snow and a short pier at the end jutting out into the icy, glassy water. It’s even snowing softly yet steadily, accentuating the already soothing scenery.
All I need is some wood for the wood burning stove. And to figure out how to hook up my Apple TV for my guilty pleasure of back-to-back episodes of House of Cards. My box of paints are waiting to be cracked open. My Kindle is loaded.
There’s so much bubbling over, I don’t even know if 30 days is enough. What does it take to live a life where you’re tuned in to yourself all the time? Why do we get lost? When does the questioning fall away so that I can just be?
A shelf holds things. Displays them. Keeps them for later, periodic use. At some point, we dust the contents off. Shelves hold things we’re aware of. We know what’s sitting where and why. But we leave them there until the right moment–contented that they’re easily within reach when we’re ready.