I was chatting yesterday with my best friend, M, and we were talking about what we thought we might be doing in a few years. It all came about from a discussion of what made us each feel good, feel at peace, feel alive.For me, I feel most peaceful when I am by the ocean. I could sit and watch the sky and the waves and the birds all day. I like beaches, but that's not really what I mean. I don't need the surf and the sand and the sun, although it makes me happy to have a beachy day. I need to just be with the ocean. What I need is the ions in the air, the salty taste of the spray on my lips, beachcombing for its treasures, and endless hours of sitting and just staring at the vastness of it all. I can imagine being out on the water, across the great expanse of eternal waves.
I think that's what I like about the ocean – I love that no matter what, it is always in motion, always in flux, always changing and still unchanging. it is constant; it will always be there, lapping at the shores of the land that is so lucky to touch it. what we see on the surface is so little – so much lies beneath, waiting to be discovered. and the ocean is both so simple, so benign as water is, and yet so powerful, so moody, so changeable. simplicity and power all at once.
I always come away from the ocean feeling rooted to this place, this earth, this life. I feel at home in my heart and mind. I feel comforted and nurtured. I feel connected. I feel recharged. I feel as if I am exactly where and who I should be. it is a great sense of peace… tao. that I am, and that all the things that I am are just as they are, as they should be, and there is no need to be or do any differently. that whatever becomes of me will be perfectly suited.
This is only half of the picture for me. I find the balance in big cities. When I am in a big city, I feel a sense of excitement, of possibility, of big dreams that can come true, of hopefulness. The energy and vitality a city brings to my step, my eye, my heart and my mind is powerful for me. It is inspiring, and it makes my heart want to sing and shout and dance! I love just being in a city. I love discovering new things, new places, seeing new wonders – not wonders of nature, but the creativity of modern humans in design, technology, architecture, art. I love the history of big cities, how they came to be the beautiful behemoths they are. I love the sense of connection with other people – millions of people milling around a city all on the same day, going about their own individual stuff, all at the same time. It's so exciting, so interesting. It makes me want to know them all, to find out where they are going, what they are thinking, how they are feeling. It gives me so much empathy for the human condition. It leaves me feeling revitalized, refreshed.
And so, how to have both of these things? It seems clear to me that I need both the ocean and a large city, on a fairly regular basis. Do I live in a city and go to the ocean to visit, or vice versa? How to achieve the perfect degree of balance is problematic for me at this point in my life, since I live in a small city – which does not give me the sense of vitality I crave – that is situated on the ocean – not the ideal; I see the ocean everyday, but I do not have the solitude that I desire to just be with the ocean. Perhaps I need a city near the ocean so I can escape when I need to…
this is not the only problem.
When I actually picture myself in the future, my vision is very clear. I see myself living in Europe, between Geneva and Amsterdam. I see my flat very clearly in Amsterdam; it has a large window directly onto the street, five stairs down. It has a fireplace, and high ceilings. It has a yellowish face, smooth stone, and is the main floor of a townhouse. There are red walls in the living room. I have beautiful art on the walls. Geneva is much different – everything is made of glass and steel, a little colder. It seems a bit more impersonal; home base is definitely Amsterdam. I can even see myself; my hair is shorter, a stylish long bob. My clothing is classic and fashionable, not quite understated. In both places, I live alone.
I have one more vision of myself in the future. In it, I have a small, old, rambling house, situated on a cliff overlooking an angry ocean. It is darker here, grey skies and sea to match. It feels like Europe, but English – maybe one of the British Isles, Scotland, Ireland? There is fog, and cold. I have a magnificent garden that surrounds the house. I am alone in this house as well, but here, I am sad. There is a sadness that surrounds this vision that I cannot shake; I try to picture it in the daytime, under the sun, but no sun comes. It is a bit haunting, this image. I am an old woman in this place.
Are these visions clairvoyant? Are they possible outcomes to various paths I might take? Will there be a juncture in my life at which I will make a choice that will cost me one of these visions? Will all of these visions become reality? Or are they simply imagination?
time will tell…