James Taylor sings, well if you feel lost and lonely and don't know where to go, while I write this. I think of someone else singing this song, and smile, reminded that memories can become lighthouses if we think about them enough. They bring light to the darkness; they lead us back to the shores of lost time.
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The last time I was here, I wrote of wanting to find balance.
This past weekend I drove five hours (well more like seven after getting lost) to reunite with two of my very best friends from grad school. We laughed and told stories and before we knew it, the weekend had ended. But before it did, we spent an afternoon hiking at Peebles Island.
Now I am sure if these friends are reading this post that they are probably laughing because I did say I was going to write about this day on my blog. And maybe they thought I was crazy when I said this, but I don't think so, because they get me.
In this lifetime, I think we all wish to find our people; those who understand us no matter what. These two are my people.
While we walked, we all became rather quiet. And I enjoyed the almost-silence. There are so few people who do not mind silence. I am one of those people.
Continuing in this quiet, my mind took in details about the trees and thought--theyunderstand balance. Many of them grew on the edges of this island, and they not only existed, but thrived.
This seemed like a sign, or rather, my mind creating a sign because I needed something to tell me this is the moment you will understand balance.
And I did. Being on this island away from the noise of traffic and people and every day life made me feel a step closer to being balanced.
Now I'm not sure if I felt this because of the beautiful landscape or because of the company I was with, but I did not feel like I was being swallowed whole by the many thoughts in my mind. They were centered on the moment, on staying present in the moment for as long as possible.
I'm not sure about other writers, but it is a rare part of my day when my mind stays focused on the moment. I am either thinking about deadlines or emails or like today, the characters who are going to have a cup of coffee after five years and their own anxiety flowing through me to prepare me for the writing of such a scene. It is a crazy tangle of too many thoughts within my mind.
I often think back to the Spirograph I received as a birthday gift when I was younger. I remember the colors and the lines overlapping time and time again. And looking at it, I always felt a sense of peace; a sense of understanding. I think, even then, I knew my mind would always feel just as complicated and messy and dare I say, crazy?
On this walk, however, I realized that the first step to achieving balance was finding a way to stay focused on the present. I realized I needed to do this more.
I've heard it said that in order to meditate you have to clear your mind of everything. This has always seemed like such a terrfying thing, and in the few times I've tried it, has always been unsuccessful. I was taught that focusing on one word would be the way to find renewal and harmony and, you guessed it, balance. But as soon as I'd think of one word, I would begin to think of another, and then I'd have the foundation of a story instead of a meditative state of mind.
I'm not sure I can tell you how to find your balance because I'm not sure I have completely found mine yet. But what I found on that island with my friends, was a place where I wanted to stay. Now this has become a memory, but it feels just as bright as the day I was there, illuminated by a lighthouse constructed in my own mind.
Like I said, I'm not sure I've found complete balance, but I have found a moment in time I want to remember. I want to keep the image of those trees and the water and my two friends beside me. I want that island to be my sanctuary and I want my people to be the roots holding me to that place and that time.
I hope somewhere along the way you find a place like this, too.