Riding the Rapids

I am writing from a friend's kitchen table ~ on an all week road trip for a work brainstorming session, some Big Sur magic, time with friends and time alone while getting from place to place. I have written much about my car becoming my haven during an especially tumultuous time in my life many years ago, and that small space continues to serve me well. I have been driving in silence, to some of my latest iTunes downloads, to episodes of This American Life, Humankind and ~ a new discovery ~ Hearing Voices. One of my favorite moments of solitude so far was an impromptu walk through a field along Highway 1 between Big Sur and Carmel that led to the cliff overlooking a small cove. A thick bank of fog was hovering in the near distance, so I couldn't see much beyond the length of a football field, and strong, steady waves were rolling in through the milky turquoise water one after another after another. The sound was not deafening, but formidable, and I sat in that spot for thirty minutes breathing deeply and taking in the view. When I got back into my car and on the road, I had a huge smile on my face, feeling all the magic and calm and strength of that particular spot on our planet ~ all the beauty that pulls me to this place whenever I need serious grounding.

Last week provided many a quirky and jaw-dropping story, as well as days of non-stop house-for-sale-related activities that reminded me why it was important for me to make a conscious choice to keep my time as flexible as possible during this process. Everyday brings something unexpected, and I need to reserve a certain amount of energy for the day the house is officially sold and my husband and I are called to action. One day we'll be waiting, the next day we'll have a mile-long task list.

In the midst of all the nuttiness, a celebration memorial for a dear friend who passed away last fall was held, and I had to get ready to read John O'Donohue's On the Death of a Beloved to, it turns out, about two hundred people. I practiced enough that I was able to read it out loud on my own without getting weepy, and when it came time to stand up and hold the microphone, I spoke a bit about O'Donohue, took a deep breath and read the blessing. I wanted to do a good job for my friend, and for her family and for all those there who, like me, had been given the gift of her friendship. My reading was an incredibly small token of gratitude for all the ways she impacted my life.

As I ride the rapids we find ourselves in right now, I continue to go through moments of unexpected emotion, deep calm, anxiety and gratitude. It is all getting churned about together, so I never know what is going to splash up each day. But I am getting more used to the sloshing, and doing a better job at keeping myself balanced on the raft that is carrying me. I am doing a better job at letting what needs to come up be expressed, and recognizing when the situation calls for my stillness rather than my immediate reaction. As many have said to me over the past couple of weeks ~ if I wasn't experiencing some emotional turbulence through this, that would just be, well, weird.

More stories to come, but in the meantime my interview with All Things Girl just went up, and you can also see what I have to say about spring cleaning on Scoutie Girl in a post by the lovely Liz Kalloch.

Christine Mason Miller

Santa Barbara, CA

Writer * Artist * Storyteller * Guide