Return of the waves
Waves have returned; it’s been a season. If you’ve been reading along, then you know how much I love to travel, and that I spent three months abroad in the Balkans at the end of last year. I’d say it was the trip of a lifetime, but I am looking to build a life out of more experiences like that.
If my autumn was all about encountering the new and running straight into a different life, one outside the corporate space, then my winter was about returning to stillness and absorbing the changes I have made. However, if I learned anything about myself on my autumn adventure, it is that I need both travel and stillness.
My winter days were not exciting, at least not outwardly. I had a few adventures here and there, but mostly what I did was focus on how to live this new life.
How do I want to live? How do I want to work? How do I create a full life with times of movement and times of stillness?
How do I learn how to embrace that stillness, as I let go of my old life? Honestly, that stillness can be a pretty scary place sometimes. So scary that many of us go our entire lives without ever confronting it.
I’ll be honest—I do not have the answers to these questions yet. I’ve certainly learned a great deal about finding rhythms and structure for my work and a great deal about the importance of rest (the dirty little secret they don’t tell you about working for yourself is that workaholism can spiral if you let it). We’re really good at keeping busy in this culture, even when we’re supposed to be keeping still.
I’ve learned more about balancing new experiences with grounding ones.
A grounding experience for me this winter was returning most days to this little landing on Lake Winnisquam, a sanctuary for me since I was young. I watched as the ice formed (never completely—it was a strange winter), and I watched it dissipate. This morning, while the day was gray and cold, the ice left the little landing and the waves returned.
With the waves, I feel myself growing restless, a sign that it’s time to move again. I’m not sure where I’m off to next, and I’m finding all the choices a bit overwhelming at the moment.
Even as I feel restless, though, ready to move with the water, I know that there is a stillness that doesn’t leave. If I sit with it, patient and gentle, the answer will come.