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Finding My Center


We're now on Question #3 of Carrie's Give-Away Get-Away!  This week she writes:
"There is a place for most everyone, that brings peace, calm and inspiration beyond reason. Where do you find yourself most centered, most connected to life and your most true self?"

Growing up in the Midwest, when I needed a quiet place away from the emotional stresses of family, friends, school, and small town life, I most often headed straight to the local park, where I would sit at the base of my favorite big old tree and try to sort things out. The tree spirit provided a sense of strength and protection, camouflage and calm.  I also found standing at the edge of the lapping waters of the nearby lake soothing, though I seldom had the opportunity to be there alone.

As I got older and a Gypsy lifestyle became my reality, there often wasn't a nearby place of beauty and peace I could escape to alone, it was hard to find refuge.  When children came into my life, opportunities to be off by myself became even less, and men in my life more often than not made home anything but a place of peace.  Late at night the moon overhead became my focus and connection that that which was greater than me. It was the one time I could by myself for a bit, a time to start breathing again.

My early thirties found us relocating to the desert Southwest, where trees and water are in short supply.  I learned to love the powerful beauty of a painted sunset, as well as the overwhelming sense of infinity that comes from gazing at the huge canopy of star-sprinkled night sky.  However the reality of mostly hot days and long work hours away from home means that not a lot of time gets spent outside in the daylight on a regular basis.  There is no cool shady place to retreat and write, read, pray or contemplate.

The most peaceful place I've ever experienced is a deserted stretch of ocean beach when my husband and I stayed a Port Aransas during off-season weather a couple years ago. I could happily have stayed there forever.  The sand, wind, and waves washed everything away, purified my soul. A moonlight walk on the beach is the ultimate experience as far as I'm concerned.  The reality is that I've only been to the ocean three times in my life. The nearest beach is 500 miles away, which doesn't make it practical to visit often. I long to go again!

So what does one do when life doesn't offer many beautiful places commune with nature? You learn to find that place inside your head.  For me, both early morning and late evening are the best times to reconnect with my soul, and with my writer's mind.  Working with multiple phone lines ringing and demanding attention day after day for years, silence is bliss for me. Absolute silence, no music, no background noise. The purring of cats is exempted. :-)  I can do this anywhere, because I don't look around me, I look inside me. I take my cues from what I sense there, seeking light, goodness and hope, and working to shut out negativity and darkness (most of the time). 

The prettiest part of my daily life is the twenty mile drive to work in the morning.  This time of year I catch the sunrise as I leaveve our little house in the country and travel the highway into the city.  It's a wonderful time to thank God for my blessings and pray for people and things on my mind.  Morning is a time of renewal and hope.  It's also a great time to think about things I I'd to share on my blog, and what I want to write about when I can find some free time.  

With the exception of Saturday and Sunday mornings, which are pure bliss for me in their absolute quiet and lack of duties demanding my attention, I most often find myself writing at night, as I am now, sitting in my rocking chair with my tablet or laptop on the little rolling table in front of me, while my husband sits near and watches his favorite programs on tv.  I watch too, somewhat passively, aware of what is transpiring but not following the dialog or acting, focused instead on what I am reading, writing as a comment, or trying to convey in a post. 

To sum it up, in answer to the question... where do I feel most connected these days... at home, in the companionship of my husband and furkids... safe, happy, peaceful, loved. It really doesn't get any better than that... though eventually a bunch of trees on our property would be nice, and I'd certainly love another trip to the ocean should I win this contest! :-)

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If you haven't entered Carrie's awesome contest yet, what are you waiting for? A free trip? It could happen! Go here and check it out now!  By the way, Carrie's pretty awesome too, in fact she's amazing and inspiring and incredibly caring!

16 comments:

  1. I've considered is and I've realized my center is the dinner table with the whole family gathered round laughing. Nothing brings me more peace than hearing the soothing sound of my wife and children laughing.

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    1. I love the family man side of you, Monkey, how devoted your are to your wife and kids. That's something special and all their lives are so much better because of it! On the rare ocassions that I've had both my kids together at the same time, it has indeed been a slice of heaven! Now if we could must move to Tennessee to be near them.

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  2. When I first started reading this, I thought you were going to say with kids from the tribe (?) not sure that's the right phrase. I was pleasantly surprised where you took us with this though.

    For me it's the beach and I go there in my mind when I can't get there in person.

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    1. My rez kids are so very close to my heart Elsie, you are right about that! While their west river home in Dakota is s ome amazingling beautiful land, visiting there is far more heartbreaking than hopeful. To be sure there are bright spots, but for the most part my heart aches for what I see happening in their lives. Peace is not what I find there, but I do find an incredible amount of resilance and amazing love! :-)

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  3. When I need to relax, I go to a place I use for self-hypnosis which is a big tree on a narrow strip of sugar sand beach so my feet can be in the aquamarine ocean & my head in the shade. I burrow a little nest in the sand & float away on my dreams.

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    1. That sounds lovely, Lynda, I would like a place like that too!

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  4. Sorry, I forgot to say - this place is all in my imaginations

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    1. Ha! Just as I was feeling very envious of your beautiful spot you added this note, so I see that I CAN visit there too.. in my thoughts! :-)

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  5. Ah yes, at home with the one we love and the furkids of our hearts. the perfect place to be!

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    1. That truly is my refuge, Louise, my place of peace and contentment. I would rather be with them than anywhere else, no matter how amazing, all alone.

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  6. I absolutely love the journey of finding centeredness through your life demonstrated in this post. You are so right - there are 'seasons' in our life and what looks like a calming place in one season becomes nonexistent in other times of our lives, and we have to find it elsewhere.

    I long for a time that I can spend more time in my own thoughts/mind - right now it is so consumed with what I do and it pushes out any room for creativity or inspiration.

    I loved all these places you mentioned - the moon, the desert, the ocean and of course, finding quiet within ourselves. So true.

    I hope you get to the ocean again, Josie!! :)

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    1. The last couple of weeks have been much like that for me too ,Carrie, so much work pressure that I am wiped out at night and find myself too brain dead and emotionally numb to do any inspired or creative writing. Hoping that next week will go better. Maybe I'll come up with something fun this weekend, I do have a couple ideas brewing. I get frustrated when life overshadows my writing time. I will return to the ocean, it calls to me!

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  7. I agree with you. Going to the seashore, or finding a place in the forest can be very good for a human being, to feel nature and to find peace. But usually, the best way is to find peace within ourselves, no matter how we have to think or imagine, in order to do that.

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    1. You are right Shimon, I think it is a true gift to be able to find a place of peace within, no matter what kind of situations we find ourselves in. If we can manage to do that, we can survive almost anything.

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  8. You're a nature girl, like me :) Trees! I don't often find people that love them like I do. I could lie under one for hours, just looking up into the branches. I can't imagine living in a place without them! But you've done a good job of finding a replacement in your family.

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    1. A yard full of trees is one of the things I miss most living in West Texas Kianwi, though there are parks in town, 20 miles away, where I can go if I'm experiencing withdrawls. We have two small ones planted in our yard and will add more as we can afford them. Over the years I've learned that peace comes within, sometimes with the help of visualizing the beatiful places we love :-)

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)