“The best laid schemes of mice and men oft go awry,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain
For promised joy.”
Robert Burns from the poem “To A Mouse”
The month of October was to be a feeling and writing month. The plan was to sit on the beach several days each week and record the changes in the ocean, the beach and the feel of it all as Fall settled into the coast. The idea originated with my love of the book The Outermost House in which Henry Beaton chronicles a year on the beach of Cape Cod (in the year 1928).
And so I began the first week in October first on the public part of the beach and another day on the beach in the residential section. That second day was extraordinarily beautiful: lots of sun and wind. The ocean was roiling and the windsurfers exuberant. There was a change in tone as the air seemed fresher and a quiet sense of calm and peace seemed to underlay all.
That day a herring gull stayed near my beach chair for a long time (there was only one other gull in sight). First he was on the right, left for awhile and then planted himself on my left. As I often do with birds and animals I carried on a conversation about the beauty of it all and asking questions I am sure. It was a strange moment of connecting yet so natural.
And then October 9, 2016 arrived and with it Hurricane Matthew apparently out to humble weather forecasters. At about 6:15 AM I was sitting in the living room writing in my journal when there was a tremendous crash and the house shook. Initially I was unsure what happened but ran to my mother’s room to make sure she was all right which she was. I realized I heard dripping in the dining room and ran around to find a huge hole in the roof with a tree on top. It was still dark out so the full damage was not visible yet.
If I did not know before I clearly know now the meaning of going into a state of shock. But wonderful next door neighbors quickly responded and held my hand and reminded me what to do even as the hurricane continued. In a whirlwind of activity buckets appeared to catch the rain, a tree company got enough of the tree off so that a tarp could be put on the dining room roof. The insurance company responded and the wheels of “taking care of things” began to roll.
So here we are more than two months later, after the house was condemned for living, after 6 weeks in a hotel, “settled” in an apartment 5 minutes from the house. The feel of life is still strange and the amazing thing is realizing how many things I thought were ingrained habits are forgotten. Almost daily something comes to mind. For example I began doing the Donna Eden Daily Energy Routine (highly recommend this to start to the day) this past summer. One day last week it popped into my mind and I realized I forgot all about it. Working out at the gym is one constant that probably helps me maintain sanity.
For me it is as though a way of life was lost and the new way is in the creation stage. That new way may be internal, external or both and in time whatever it is will be revealed I suppose. My main feeling about life right now is I am in limbo. Of course we are also heading into winter the time of rest and renewal. Maybe I will manage to participate in that. But what I realize is that plans are nice but that is all they are: “plans”. There is no guarantee of completion or even initiation. Attachment to outcomes of plans adds stress as that old “need to be in control” kicks in.
What keeps me going now are the moments that show up through Grace: turning and seeing a sunset that takes my breath away; hearing the sounds of the ocean; hugging my daughter; experiencing the beauty of the sky and more. Will I still plan? Of course I will but I believe I may not do as much of it and will try to remember to release attachment when I do. Learning to trust in moments popping up is my focus though.
Are you a planner? What happens when your plans get upset. What moments have you experienced today that fill you with joy?