First, I have to acknowledge the elephant in the room: my guilt. Guilt because all I want to do is write… uninterrupted. I want to listen to music that gets my creative juices running, but my three year old cannot do a single activity on her own. At least not for more than three minutes once I’ve finally found something to entertain her. In thirty minutes, she has had me put on kid’s yoga for her, print her out preschool worksheets, and turn on her leap frog tv game console. Each activity took me five to ten minutes to prepare for three minutes of her entertainment. In order to keep one’s sanity, we must have time to ourselves. Children do not understand this concept.
Onward and upward.
I’ve found that in life I struggle with contentment. I’m always looking for the next project, hobby, past time, whatever it may be, that will keep my attention for a brief period before I, much like my daughter but on a larger scale, lose interest and become bored with meandering through life, getting by. Eyes on tomorrow. What will tomorrow bring? I try my best to wear many hats; caring wife, nurturing mother, reliable friend, present daughter and so on. It’s rare that I stop and think, what makes me happy? What brings me pleasure? Not just entertainment but actual pleasure. Something that makes the heart and soul happy. Something that brings peace to mind, body and soul alike. Is it accomplishment, faith, music, meditation, yoga, traveling, the sound of the ocean, warm sun on my skin? All of the above?
A couple weeks ago we decided it was time to skip town for an extended weekend at the beach. Not just any beach, but San Diego. A bucket list city while we are living in California. (Note: accomplishment, travel, sound of the ocean, warm sun on my skin and yoga. I’ll explain.)
On the way home from San Diego, Nic and I spent 20 minutes of our five hour car ride trying to find the right word to describe what the weekend did for our minds and souls. We couldn’t find the right word. Maybe if you could smash together soul cleansing, refreshing, redefining, contentious and serene, you could properly describe the calm we felt somewhere down deep during and after our trip. A sense of euphoria. I realized long into the debate that Nic had lost interest. I was still reading synonyms for “content” to him from my dictionary.com app when he admitted he had already forgot what we were talking about.
[Although I abandoned the journalism major my sophomore year of college, I’m still a writer at heart. I still find it necessary to find the precise words to translate to others my thoughts and feelings without any misunderstanding. It’s lead me to some pretty deep soul searching and resulted in getting to know myself (some attributes and some vices) quite well.]
Back to the weekend getaway. It was amazing. Not because the weather was perfect or the view in every direction gorgeous, but because for the first time in a while we picked up and left town knowing we needed rejuvenation. The kids have finally reached ages where we weren’t bound by naps or needing to pack like the Clampetts just to go down to the beach for a few hours. We went down south with a destination but no agenda. No expectations (with an exception to tacos). Just flying by the seat of our pants. My favorite.
We started out Friday morning in San Clemente with the hotel’s continental breakfast and then made our way to the beach to meet up with family who lives in the area. Seemed everyone in town had the same idea to play hookie from work to enjoy sun, 75 degrees, warm sand and good surf. We spent the day watching the kids run from the frigid and icy waves lazily rolling in. Then they’d take a break for frolicking, sand castle building and seagull chasing. Later, we freshened up and then returned to our family’s house for barbequed kabobs and beer. We laughed about parenthood, reminisced about the days before parenthood and daydreamed of the days when we’ll have adult time again without having to pay for it. It was a very enjoyable, carefree evening.
Saturday started bright and early, piling into the car for a day trip down to San Diego. Upon arrival, we stopped at a local cafe for a quick breakfast. I bought fresh green juice, kids got a smoothie and Nic, a latte.
I love local cafes. I actually love all little local businesses. Something about supporting the small guy makes me feel like I’m giving back in a small way.
Next up, 90 minutes of yoga on a grassy cliff overlooking the ocean.
What. An. Experience. About 150 people took time out of their Saturday morning to show up and bask in the zen (and sun) of outdoor yoga. The fact that so many strangers shared a common interest with me gave me this feeling of unity. Each of these 150 people valued something yoga has to offer enough that they dragged their butts out of bed and to the beach for exercise. Additionally, there was no charge to participate. The program is donation based. I don’t know why it’s so difficult for me to wrap my mind around this concept. Enough people honor their practice of yoga and well-being that this program is possible, solely dependent upon donations. Amazing and so inspiring.
Aside from all that, every yogi should do beach yoga at some point in their life. Yoga is already my time to clear my head, focus on my breathing and my practice, and frankly, to enjoy time to myself. But being outside in that atmosphere took things to a whole new level. While in savasana, or corpse pose, I closed my eyes and concentrated on taking in my surroundings via auditory perception alone. I wanted to remember that moment long after it would be gone. A secret place I could go to in my head later on. I remember hearing the palm fronds dancing in the wind. There were birds chirping cheerfully somewhere close by, singing sweet songs of freedom. The ocean was just distant enough that the waves rolling in sounded more like wind rushing by my ears. Somewhere off in the distant you could hear children’s shrieks of laughter and pure enjoyment. I remember feeling the sun trying to penetrate through my eyelids, warming every inch of my skin like a sauna. But I wasn’t hot. The wind balanced the sun’s heat perfectly. It was like this pure moment wrapped up like a gift with a big bow on it just for me.
After yoga, we decided we’d rent beach cruisers and go for a bike ride. We stopped when we passed a place that looked intriguing and had a beer or an appetizer. We went where the wind blew us.
Sunset was at 7 PM so we grabbed chips and salsa to-go from a taco shop. We went back to the yoga cliff and laid out a towel and snacked and sipped on a bottle of wine we packed with us while watching the sky go from pale blue to bright yellow and then slowly to a deeper and deeper orange until finally the sun was red like a ruby red grapefruit and barely visible on the horizon. Naturally, I had to take in the beauty and the opportunity to do a fun yoga pose with God’s canvas as my backdrop.
Once again, many strangers had the same idea as us. They gathered with their children or dogs (and some alone) to watch the sunset. There’s just something about that that really hits me. There’s something to be said about “beach life.” People stop and smells the roses, so to speak. They slow down for a bit and appreciate simple pleasures in life. When is the last time you’ve had “watch the sunset” penciled in on your agenda? My husband isn’t even out of the office early enough on weekdays to see the sun set.
After the sun set, we headed back to our hotel for a much needed night’s rest. We were up with the birds Sunday morning. We found another local cafe, RJ’s. While waiting to be seated we walked to a nearby local juice shop and I treated myself to another fresh green juice. Then, we indulged in a delicious breakfast of biscuits and gravy, pancakes, eggs and potatoes with cheap coffee. I love cheap restaurant coffee out of tiny mugs. I don’t know why, but it makes my heart happy. During breakfast, we decided we were going to rent paddle boards before starting our trek home. Best decision. We had a blast while getting in a really good full body workout. I may want my own now…
We turned in paddle boards after a couple hours and then it was time to head home. We had a jam packed weekend of fun, so for that reason I was ready to get home and rest. But it was definitely bittersweet leaving such a beautiful place knowing we would also be leaving behind the peace we found while there.
So, here I am. Back at home in central California trying to figure out how I can replicate the peace of mind I had while down south. I have finished three DIY projects, painted my daughter’s room, made two loaves of homemade bread, attended a few yoga classes, bought myself a new dress, and here I am. Something is still missing.
I’ve decided I need to find what makes me happy and leaves my soul at ease anywhere I am. I need to find the hypothetical beach yoga and sunset of Fresno.
And I shall document my journey… starting by focusing more on the now and less on tomorrow. I will bridge the gap between more and enough. I will practice gratitude for all the things I already have and accept new things without expectations.