It’s my first day back in the states after a year away. I’m enjoying the lush green landscape and incredible moisture in the New Hampshire air, so completely different than where I was just yesterday afternoon in hot, dry Madrid! I’m reflecting on what a gift this year has been, how thankful I am to have so many choices in my life and how we made the choice to move to Spain in the first place. The question takes me back through the countless moments in time that finally ushered me into this one life-altering action. I didn’t wake up one day and decide to move my family to Spain. It began with a chocolate croissant in a plaza in Madrid in 2002 with a simple question like, “Hey, would you ever consider living here?” and ended with a solar eclipse in 2017 and an experience that made the word yes, the only obvious answer. In other words, I threw a pebble in the ocean, and watched the ripples expand across the water over the course of 15 years and then a moment of certainty arrived.
As I attempt to retrace those ripples, I’m reminded of the day I returned home after three weeks in Costa Rica. The thought of packing up and leaving the next morning to drive to Idaho to see the total solar eclipse felt pretty daunting. We had no idea where to go and were hearing nightmare projections about traffic in the totality zone. It was the first day of school for the girls, and we really didn’t know what all the fuss was about anyway. I remember saying to Nazz, What's the difference between totality and the partial eclipse zone of Salt Lake City? It would have been so easy to talk myself out of the “hassle” of it all. In the end, we got through the hemming and hawing and drove North. The experience was outrageous, other-wordly, life-changing and life-affirming. Driving back home, sitting contentedly in traffic, my husband and I made a pact that the next time we tried to talk ourselves out of something wonderful because we were tired or lazy or whatever else might be the excuse of the day, we would just say, “totality”, and then we’d pause and pay attention to our internal response. This word has become an access point for me to check in more deeply and ask myself, is it really too much or is my gut pulling me in the direction of YES. Driving back from Idaho that day, we decided to move to Spain. The experience of the eclipse was the inspirational push we needed to step off the edge. It was the final ripple. At the time, we had no idea how soon we would do it or how to make it happen but the clarity of the YES, put things in overdrive and ten months later, we were settling into our apartment, looking out over the Jucar River Gorge and ancient city of Cuenca, Spain.
What is most important to me about this reflection is the reminder that, we don’t always need to know where we are going. We don’t always have to set specific intentions that come with an action plan. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is just be willing to throw a pebble or to jump off an edge and trust that it will take us somewhere more wonderful than we could have either planned or imagined. This knowing has been incredibly reassuring in moments over this past year when I’ve really struggled. Moments of feeling isolated, incompetent and overwhelmed. On the face of it, I’ve taken an amazing one-year vacation to Spain full of travel and exploration and amazing food, and lovely people, etc. That is all true, but it’s also true that it has been shockingly uncomfortable and has pushed me to edges I haven’t explored before.
And what I realized in exploring this discomfort, is that I don’t get out of my comfort zone a lot. This came as a big surprise to me because I think of myself as an adventurous person. I’ve always considered myself a “cautious risk-taker” but it turns out that cautious may be code for a person who looks like they’re taking risks but actually feels pretty safe most of the time. But not this year. This year almost everything I did - even if it was something I really loved - was difficult. And some days I struggled more than others. But in those difficult periods, when my perspective was partially eclipsed, I never lost faith that this experience would have a huge and lasting impact on all of us. That’s ultimately what totality means to me - that everything worthwhile may also be accompanied by struggle and that the challenge is not only worth it but will add to the totality of the experience.
So let this musing be an invitation. You might even consider taking a minute here to bring in a few deep breaths and settle in. Notice how paying attention to the rise and fall of your breath, sensing the beating of your heart and noticing the connection between your body and the ground can shift your perspective. Once you feel that subtle shift, ask yourself if there is something you'd like to do that feels difficult. Where do you feel both pulled and repelled? And can you trust that saying yes, might be that drop in the ocean that leads you in a direction you haven’t imagined yet?
I had a lot of “plans” for my time in Spain, but I think the best things that have happened were the ones that weren’t planned. Including some exciting new offerings that came out of the open space of a pebble with no intention other than to throw it in and watch it ripple. I hope you can join me this summer for a class, a workshop, a private session or a coffee. Give yourself a moment to learn, reflect, and find a new edge.
I have a lot of offerings on the horizon including retreats, a new online school called Your Brain on Mindfulness, and online yoga therapy sessions. I am returning to Spain for another year but I’ll be visiting Salt Lake (July 24 - Aug 5) and Chicago (Aug 19-Sept 4). If you would like to schedule a private session or talk about whether online sessions might be appropriate for you, please reach out. In the meantime, my summer offerings are below.
As always, I love hearing from you so please send me a note and let me know how you are doing!
Here are a few of the things on the horizon……
A Snowbird Day-Retreat July 27 - Full - contact me to get on the waiting list.