Did you know that the Pacific Ocean is real? I’m here to tell you that it’s real, it’s fierce and it’s cold. I just swam in it.
Of course, we all know that the Pacific Ocean exists, but since I’ve only seen it a very few times in my life, I forget that it’s out there.
I’m finishing up a writing retreat in Sayulito, Mexio. The Pacific Ocean is across the street and its thundering waves are my background music. I am awed by the brightly painted houses, the abundant fruit and the cascading flowers in Mexico.
Being in a new place can give you a brand new perspective and an empowering sense that it’s a whole big world out there.
In addition to forgetting about whole oceans, I sometimes completely forget that there really are many different ways to do “this thing called life.” I tell my kids that infinite paths are open to them, but then I fling my body across the paths that seem too risky or unfamiliar for them. “Nothing to see here,” my hurling body says.
During this retreat, I’ve met wonderful women who have explored paths very different from mine, but who are doing great. I find this very comforting.
Our teacher this week has encouraged us to write in different spots around the retreat center. I’ve written on the roof and under the trees. I’ve written alone and near other women when I need their presence to get me through some gut-wrenching writing. I’ve written at a cafe in town and curled up with my notebook in a swing chair.
Every time that I moved to a new spot, I saw things differently. We can all get a little stuck, in our mindset and in our habits. New scenery can wake us up.
I’ve started writing a book about our experience of adopting and raising the twins, but I knew something wasn’t quite right about it. I realized this week that what I’d been writing was in the tone of being an advocate for adoption instead of in the tone of someone who wants to be honest about our experience. I’d returned to my default mode of being a banner carrier instead of a vulnerable, messy human being. I needed to travel to a new place to see my own work with new eyes.
Most of us can’t travel far away very often, but I wonder what opportunities we have in our daily lives to change our perspective. We might see our own lives differently after walking in an unfamiliar neighborhood, meeting new people or visiting a new place of worship.
I love routine and familiarity, but I know that looking past my own backyard is really important. I’ve discovered the Pacific Ocean on this brief adventure. Imagine what else is out there, just waiting to wake me and you up.