Sunday, January 27, 2013
Intentions and Taking Advantage of Whims
As the summer crisped into fall last year, Joe and I decided to take advantage of one of the last tolerable weekends and camp out at the beach. Making regular sojourns to the ocean is in my blood, and all week I had been feeling the pull toward the beach. So with very little planning and some hand-written directions in a notebook, we took off toward the coast.
When I was younger, I was a hypervigilant planner. I remember once saying, "I can be spontaneous, I just need to plan the time to be spontaneous!" In my head, if it wasn't planned, it had every opportunity to go poorly. In reality, if it wasn't planned, I couldn't control the outcome, which terrified me.
When we got to the beach, we set up camp just in time to watch the sunset. We went our separate, silent ways, and I spent most of the descent staring at the vastness, the openness, the engulfing waves like mouths. I don't remember a single thought I had. I think I was just lost in the massiveness.
I learned my lesson several times over that trying to control people and situations didn't make me happy, but rather made me quite miserable. So since uttering the quote above, I have practiced a different tack—recognize my intention, acknowledge it, release it, do what I can, and let come what may. This practice varies from situation to situation, and has led to brilliant adventures, some ending horridly, some packed with lessons, some changing the course of my life.
That night, we built a fire and watched the moon rise. Joe suffered frozen fingers as he strummed the guitar and we sang songs. I saw my first shooting star. When we woke the next morning, we again went out to the ocean to just stare, gape, meditate. As we drove back to the city, we reflected on how random and lovely the trip had been.