MY Happiest Place On Earth

Today I read a post challenge/contest here. Reading through Misty’s account of her trip to Disney made me smile. I cannot think of a worse fate than a week at Disney, or any other theme park like it, for that matter.

So the challenge was to blog about my happiest place. The first picture that popped into my mind was the beach. Oh, not just any beach – Bellows Beach holds my fondest memories:

I tried for a year to draw this view … I’m hopeless.

Situated on the Eastern side of Oahu, Bellows became a sort of haven for me when I just needed time alone. During our last summer there I made the commitment once-a-week to drive across on the H3 (always catching my breath at the sight of the bright, multi-colored shoreline at the tunnel’s end) in order to spend an hour or two soaking up the sun as refreshing salt-water waves crashed endlessly over my feet. We had the privilege of living in Hawaii for 2 1/2 years. I do believe you can still discern the faint scratches left by my fingernails on the airport tarmac while being dragged against my will toward the plane …

Okay, so that was my first thought. Then I recalled the yard off my side porch this morning. As I sat listening to birdsong and bumble bees buzzing around the magnolia blooms, it occurred to me that I was home. Peace surrounded me. No, there were no crystal-clear blue waves crashing over white sandy shores; no mountains rising up out of ocean spray, no sea turtles wandering across the beach for a glimpse of the clumsy 2-legged creatures gawking at them … just a sky of pink-tinged clouds scudding over blooming trees and the mournful sound of the morning doves.

Staring hard at 50 makes one think a little more deeply about what constitutes happiness. The bigger scheme of things comes into play when you age, I think. Happiness for me is no longer where I am on the outside, but has become more about where I am on the inside. Anthony de Mello reminded me recently that the ‘highs’ we call happiness are but the precursors to the lows we know as depression.

Maybe my happiest place is inside me where contentment lives. The simple things in life … family, a fresh-mown lawn, a friend sharing a glass of wine with me are what I have come to cherish. My happiest place is every place. At work or at play, I only need look within to find happiness.

What about you? What is your happiest place?

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… For What?

The idea of time keeps messin’ with my head. I woke up yesterday morning (2:30 a.m. … 3:45 a.m. … finally at 4:25 a.m) with the sensation of holding my breath. Like I was waiting for something. But what?

No clue what. Thought about it all day. The saying, ‘Life happens while you’re making plans’ came to mind. But I’m not planning anything. At least not consciously. The closest I come to a plan these days is packing my lunch the night before I go to work, or looking at the tennis schedule to see if I’m on this week, or putting in for time off to go home for Christmas. Still, life is happening … and me with the sensation that it’s happening around me, almost like I imagine an out of body experience might be.

Baited breath. Anticipation. Waiting. That knot in my throat keeping me from swallowing or taking a deep breath. Did you know there’s a sign on the cork board in front of my desk instructing me to ‘breathe deep’? I put it there 6 months ago.

It occurred to me that I’ve lived this way for a long time. The experience is not new but the awareness of it is. Interesting. Why the recognition now? Probably because that time thing has been messin’ with me. My daughter reminded me yesterday afternoon about living in the moment. I reminded her of the impossibility of that venture – as soon as you are ‘in a moment’ that moment is gone. So instead of living ‘in the moment’ we are forced to live moment by moment. We do that whether we are aware of it or not.

We spend so much of our lives waiting. As children we wait to grow up … young adults wait to meet their mate … adults wait for their children to arrive … grow up … come home for a visit. People wait for the perfect job to come along, or whatever circumstance they are in to change. We wait for planes, packages, people, and events. We spend our lives waiting … to die. That’s what time does. It’s killing us one second at a time.

wait

verb (used without object)

1. to remain inactive or in a state of repose, as until something expected happens (often followed by for, till,  or until): to wait for the bus to arrive.
2. (of things) to be available or in readiness: A letter is waiting for you.
3. to remain neglected for a time: a matter that can wait.
4. to postpone or delay something or to be postponed or delayed: We waited a week and then bought the house. Your vacation will have to wait until next month.
5. to look forward to eagerly: I’m just waiting for the day somebody knocks him down.

So what am I waiting for? ‘Your next life, maybe, who knows’ (the Oracle to Neo in The Matrix). My next life? Yes. Absolutely I am waiting for that. I eagerly await an end to time as well … an end to waiting. But that’s not where the knot’s coming from.

What are you waiting for? Your next promotion … your spouse to change … your kids to be old enough to go to school … the cure to an illness … retirement? I once heard someone say, “My favorite verse in the Bible is ‘it came to pass’ … and everything comes to pass.” True. Perhaps everything comes to those who wait as well. I wonder if I have to know what I’m waiting for to see it come? It’s coming whether I know what it is or not. I just hope I don’t miss it before it passes. It’d be nice to live knot-free.