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Posts Tagged ‘beauty’


I took an actual vacate-tion this early autumn. Two weeks with no obligation to be productive. For fifteen hundred miles in a comfy rental car, no schedule or itinerary, I loafed and lingered, knowing I needed a decisive break from fixed routine. And yet, an odd sense of guilt, of not being productive or useful, haunted me. And that reminded me that guilt is rooted in fear, specifically the fear of being found unworthy, useless.

Knowing that guilt over relaxing would not serve the Greater Good, I persisted in my goal of escaping being over-responsible. (I am aware of the irony of making goallessness a goal.) I didn’t even write in my journal for much of the trip. Instead, I saw the trees change colors for the first time in my life, pulled over dozens of time to take pictures and sometimes left my camera, and simply cried at the beauty of it all. I discovered XM radio, where several classical, comedy, and NPR stations vied for my attention. And the silence crept in a little each day, until I would realize I hadn’t turned on the radio for half an hour or more. I didn’t want to hear the news, even music distracted me at times from simply seeing, and being at home within myself.

Beyond words and knowing, the antidote for pressure might sometimes be silence, a soft and sacred space.

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A good friend is facing her first real surgery. She works hard to achieve excellent health and vitality, so when all opinions converged that surgery was absolutely, no doubt about it, a must, she was disappointed. It’s been marvelous to watch her float above that perspective and find the possible positives. “I’m not ‘jumping with joy’ about having surgery, but will be quite glad to have the cyst removed as it pushes against my stomach and causes discomfort. AND I’ve decided that I will program in my mind and body that with its removal, all anxiety will also be taken away. I won’t need all the herbs I take which will save me time and money. I will have more money to spend on pleasurable things and my body weight will be good for my size along with having muscle strength. The list goes on and on. Such a large amount of stuff I’m laying on this surgery.”

I loved this idea, of clumping wishes into little “mind pockets” and one change in behavior or environment will bring them all to fruition. I imagined one pocket holding the hope for less drudgery, more time to ask what is really important. Another pocket would be full of creative inspiration: at my beading bench, loveliness noticed, and my website redone with lightness and beauty. A little “change” pocket would be open to new experiences, encouraging me to abandon over-responsibility and crave surprise.

And it all came true last Friday. I found myself with four unplanned hours in San Francisco while waiting for my husband to have a medical procedure. No expectations, no companion to please. In truth, I was flummoxed for the first hour, balancing the standard questions: Go to a restaurant or a museum? Maybe a café in the museum? Then something rather wonderful happened. While wondering “what to do” I walked along Union Street, stores just opening. My breath was taken away by the modern Afghani rug colors, and the merchant said I was free to take photos with my phone, an idea that would never occur to me. And so I clicked away down Union Street, my pockets of beauty and inspiration and important goals and surprise emptied out along the way. Wandering into a rug store, a Tibetan jewelry shop, flower stalls, I found myself attracted to colors and patterns. Turquoise and white, subtle brocade patterns with bold images, popped out. Later, I sat in the sunshine, eating a salad from the hospital’s cafeteria, reading a magazine, and feeling inspired and refreshed and my pockets with new hopes and dreams, awaiting the next surprising change.

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