Tri-Umphant Living

To Be Moved


Rob and I in Mendocino California 1997

At some point, I thought, well, I’ve been really lucky to see many, many places. Now, the great adventure is the inner world, now that I’ve spent a lot of time gathering emotions, impressions, and experiences. Now, I just want to sit still for years on end, really, charting that inner landscape because I think anybody who travels knows that you’re not really doing so in order to move around — you’re traveling in order to be moved. And really what you’re seeing is not just the Grand Canyon or the Great Wall but some moods or intimations or places inside yourself that you never ordinarily see when you’re sleepwalking through your daily life.

~Piko Iyer from Becoming Wise by Krista Tippet

Lately, I want to move back to California. I want to live with my family nestled on the crest of a mountaintop overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I’ve camped in such places. In campgrounds tucked along the Pacific Coast Highway in Big Sur. My imagined house being simple and modern. A square, flat roof with angles both sharp and soft. A home that is both interesting and unassuming, designed to honor the landscape it has been forged into. I see it made mostly of glass — where the inside and the outside merge together and you cannot tell whether you are inside or out. I’d build it with natural resources and its design would be one that treads lightly on our planet leaving a modest carbon footprint. That. I want that.

I imagine a vegetable garden with fruit trees and berry patches. Hearing the forceful break of the ocean crashing on the rocks below my perch. The perfumed scent of jasmine mingled with ocean salt and the stink of fish at low tide. I picture music playing and voices singing. Sometimes there is dancing in the kitchen where foods leave sultry aromas calling us together to linger over seasonal meals where time doesn’t matter. Lively conversations about silly things and soulful things. Laughter. Lot’s of laughter. And eyes lighting up followed by deep sighs of joy as foods that were created with time and love are tasted and enjoyed.

There is an empty hollow space within my heart that aches for this place I dream of. A place where there isn’t haste or rushing but a taking in of life and an opportunity to create, to dream and to be still. To have more time with the people I love and care about. What does this mean? What is my longing? What am I hoping for? It doesn’t feel like an escape — in fact I don’t want to escape at all — I want to fully embody myself after having left for so many years. My California fantasy feels like a quest to get to the root of living and to experience my wholeness in all of its pieces.

Pico Iyer hits a raw nerve when he says, “And really what you’re seeing … (are) places inside yourself that you never ordinarily see when you’re sleepwalking through your daily life.” I don’t want to sleepwalk though life. Not for a second. Not one. I almost cry at the thought of it. Of missing out on living passionately and engaged, with compassion and connection as my compass. Is it because I spent my childhood waiting for things to end that I want so desperately to live awake with presence and purpose?

Perhaps this is my longing — wanting a life that nourishes the places inside of myself that I desire so deeply to know. I want to turn myself inside out and see every fabric of myself. Beyond the mere stitching or the thread. I want to touch the soil where the cotton grew and smell the dirt on my fingertips. I want to see it all because it matters to me. I matter. My family matters and I want my life to reflect that.

But how?  How do I create that in my daily living? To be fully awake when I do the mundane and so called meaningless things in my life? To not sleepwalk while doing, say, the laundry or the dishes? I wonder if in part my feelings are more about a sense of loneliness and a fear of loss. Time racing by with me trying to grab onto the wisps it leaves behind. Like an airplane’s tail of exhaust, where the end is dissipating more quickly than the trail is being laid. We lead busy lives and this busy-ness leaves me without a moment to clarify what it is exactly that I long for. But I do know that I want life to feel more like a celebration of the good things even when there are the tough, real things to contend with. Perhaps allowing the responsibilities and burdens of daily life to mingle with my dreams by making it a priority to allow for both.

Can I have both? Can we? I like to think so. But sometimes I feel like a petulant child being offered a kiddie cone and demanding the sundae. And maybe that’s the problem. Sundae or kiddie cone, they both melt if we spend too long wishing for the other. I read and observe and even believe that life is in the moments and what we make of them. Our perceptions. But what if — what if life would feel more full if I were in a different space than the one I now call home. What if?

My dream home connects me to nature and to the earth — both making me feel held and safe and acutely alive. When I envision myself in this space, I imagine having so much more time to be with the people I love. I see myself with so much more room, not physical room, but heart space and head space. I have a friend who longs to live in Manhattan — the hum and and energy of the city connecting her to herself the most — making her heart joy-filled. Perhaps I need to continue to foster time in my daily living to create the life that matters. Making the meals. Turning on the music. Slowing down and allowing for stillness. I think in the stillness we create more room for the things that matter.

I need more stillness. I crave the stillness so I can allow myself to be moved. So I can experience the people and life I love without it zooming by too quickly. I don’t want to miss it — life! — and I think I’m afraid I might.


8 replies »

  1. I so relate to this. Lately I’ve been telling myself over and over to slow down. Not to literally do things slower but to do my normal, mundane activities with the idea that there is an abundance of time. Yes, life is short and all that but somehow the fabric of time stretches for us if we let it and we can experience a kind of stillness in the middle of our hurried lives. I don’t know if this is making sense but to me, the root of living is being in a place (physically or metaphorically) where I am open enough to see its abundance and where I believe that the abundance is mine, it’s there for me, it belongs to me. I have as much right to it as anyone else.

    “I spent my childhood waiting for things to end.” Ain’t that the truth. I can’t remember a time in my childhood when I didn’t want to rush through something. Today is my kids’ last day of school and I’ve spent the last week feeling just like them. “Let’s get this over with already!” I didn’t realize until yesterday afternoon, about an hour before it was time to pick them up, that I wasn’t going to have much alone time until August. All of a sudden I wanted this last week back!

    I don’t know if I will ever be fully awake because I have a lot more experience running from life than I do embracing it. But like you, I’m going to keep practicing. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • You hit so many points, Karen. I was just talking with my friend this morning about the belief/idea of scarcity and the reactive, fear based living we do because we so readily lean in to the notion of scarcity. It’s such a huge presence in our culture, we aren’t even aware of it. Again a shift of perspective, right?! Where we embrace the sense of abundance and that we are worthy and deserving of it. I love how you put that and I’m going to truly work that into my daily living. Not only is there enough, but more than enough. And while we’re at it, lets just embody the truth that we are enough. Each of us in our wholeness. Right?! I too have experienced more running but I’m ready for the stillness. Or some balance of the two.

      We have a month until school ends. Maybe we should brainstorm some ways to carve out that time for ourselves while enjoying the time with our kids.

      Thanks for this. You’ve left me a lot to think about. XO

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “what if life would feel more full if I were in a different space than the one I now call home. ”
    And that space for me isn’t about what is around me, but inside me.
    This post is profound in many ways. Busy is a good thing to push for when pain begins to paralyze. Yet not so good when one needs stillness to find that ‘home’ inside.
    You touched on so many levels…

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so ironic, Patricia … or maybe not … but I was at my acupuncture appointment today and she brought up the same thing. It is the home inside. And I know this cognitively but I think my unrest of late is because I need to feel this inside of myself. I’m thinking it’s no coincidence that Pico’s words moved me. I don’t usually reread my own writing but I keep coming back to this one and I’m finding it so fascinating that I refer to my wholeness in pieces. I need to integrate all of the disowned pieces to in fact feel whole within my inner home. So very complex. Lot’s of possibility for growth here along with deep work. Thanks for your words. I always look forward to them.


      • I know about pieces. Mine fly around like busy electrons and only in meditation do they come back to my center like a magnet drawing in magnetic dust until the whole is complete with parts of me back where they belong.
        Sometimes it takes me a few days to chew on your posts a bit, thinking about the nuances and depth. Nice to have something to think about.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I always learn so much from your posts and somehow your words centre and ground me with their wisdom and depth. I think I have finally understood that urge within me to keep moving, it was too painful to sit still because then everything I have been resisting (the truth) would come rushing in and I believed I would drown in its immensity. But moving to London has shown me that I have to stop running and that where I am is the place I am meant to be and that I can create the stillness by being continually awake and self-aware. I love your analogy of sleepwalking. I am finally awake and its bloody hard to be awake but I am making more authentic connections than ever before and I am less self-conscious than ever before. I can live with all the pain hurt disappointment and still allow the joy in. It is indeed a state of mind and we have to keep coming back to ourselves over and over through all the storms and in the end I believe we will find that stillness and wholeness. I know you will.

    Liked by 1 person

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