When I first decided I should write — not that I “could” write, because I am still scared of the grammarians among you — I imagined myself sitting by an open window, sun filling the scene in front of me. That scene, either an ocean or a mountain meadow, would be filled with inspiration and more importantly, silence.
I craved the kind of silence that allows a person to hear her breathing — silence that beckons one to discover who she is, what she is thinking and who she will be when she leaves the space and returns to the cacophony of life. In my dreams, someone would bring me a sandwich, or a dinner that made my taste buds sing and I would write the words you, my dear reader, needed to read.
There is a lot of quiet in my life. I seldom watch TV or listen to music. The key ingredient in the team-building workshops I facilitate is silence, and my home is often filled by just me, quietly going about the work of helping teams and individuals to achieve their “Nexts.”
Quiet. I crave it when I am alone.
At a resort I was visiting, hoping to absorb peace, there was a booming, crashing thunderstorm, with shock waves cascading off the canyon walls and puddling deep in my soul. That’is when I heard my calling — to provide for others the space I was craving. A place where they would write their words, eat good food, hear silence so loud that all they could hear was joy.
I wanted to offer to teams, to individuals, to seekers, healers and children who did not know the importance of the experience, a space to discover a deeper connection with not just themselves and their creator, but their own infinite possibility. I wanted their toes to feel grass, their souls to feel free, and their hearts to feel peace.
As things happen, when you finally declare your deepest desire, God, the universe or maybe the bluebird of happiness finds a way to fill it. Generally, there is a twist you didn’t see coming your way, which is why I am watching a sunrise of purple, hot pink and the purest baby blue I have ever seen, from my cabin window, at a place that fills my soul, called Luccock Park. I hear the creek babbling, and it takes me back to my childhood, when I would fall asleep to the sound of Laughing Water Creek.
Isn’t that an amazing name?
On Laughing Water, where I spent my entire childhood, we had woods to play in, rock-filled paths to follow, dirt piles to ride our bikes over and around, and most importantly, the freedom to roam until we could roam no more. Our dearest neighbor, a tiny lady who seemed ancient at the time, but was probably about my current age, ran her life on the schedule of a wood cooking stove and the old song that implored us to do laundry on Monday, garden on Tuesday, windows on Wednesday, and rest on Sunday.
I did not know who I would be when I grew up, but I knew I would not be a person who lived by a creek, wore jeans to work, or did laundry on Monday, but here I am. What I ran from as a young adult, is what I run to as I, shall we say, mature. I am reveling in living close to nature, in watching others have their own moments of discovery, in hauling wood, fixing windows, and filling hungry bellies. Teams are scheduling retreats and individuals are asking to be coached and my bank account, which could take a beating as I live a dream, seems to be doing just fine.
And that is the beauty of slipping into what is supposed to be your life, that your life takes care of itself. Everything you need, that you crash through life trying to achieve, either slips away, as it was unimportant, or is right there in front of you. All you have to do is accept it — to sit on the porch, sipping your tea, and know that all is right in the world, because all you need is you.
Those are the words I want to give you today — that all you need is you. You are a gift to your people and to the world and if you do not know that right now, go outside.
Go outside. Sit by a creek, slip off your shoes, take out the ear buds, remove the sunglasses. Look at and listen to you. For this moment in time, don’t worry about the to-do list, the should-be or could-have-beens. Just listen to nature, feel the wind blow through your hair.
This is your life.
It is as big as the whole outdoors and it’s an adventure that changes hourly. I guess that is why I wake up with a smile every day, that I have learned to lean into the adventure, to embrace the chaos, anticipate the calm, and to accept the love of the people who love me, like my husband, who slumbers in the next room. When I told him I wanted to spend my summer at Luccock he said, as the best husbands do, “Whatever you want, dea,r” and then showed up to help make it happen.
His actions have taught me how to gift others with their goals, encouraged me to facilitate workshops full of peace and discovery when I am in the city, and to offer moments of calm clarity when they are in the woods, with those words, “Whatever you want, dear.”
Over breakfast today, with people enjoying a Qigong retreat, we had deep philosophical conversations. I felt my heart fill. I turned towards the man next to me, wondering what he was thinking of the conversation, as he sat quietly listening. He leaned in, and I waited for insight and he said, “Do you think we could get more coffee?”
Not every moment is deep, but every action is a moment to offer kindness to ourselves and to others so I said to him what Paul said to me, “Whatever you want.”
I hope that is exactly what you find when you go outside and put your heart into the quiet. Whatever you want.