Thursday, 10 July 2014

the surprising value of nothingness

Axiom: you need two weeks holiday to unwind properly

The only people likely to challenge this are those who haven’t experienced it. For me the progress toward deep regeneration can be illustrated by the following well-worn sequence (in my life).

  1. Turn phone to silent so I don't hear it.

  2. Stop carrying it.

  3. Checking for messages only a couple of times a day.

  4. Not caring whether there are messages or not.

You’d think understanding this sequence would allow you to move through it more quickly, the reality for me is that it always takes a week and half to properly relax.

Over the last couple of days I feel myself:

  • Walking more slowly.

  • Not filling time with activity (even if that activity is ‘go for walk on beach’), rather basking in timelessness without expectations.

  • Asking myself unhurried questions about life and what it means to live more fully.

The crystal clear waters off Cape Byron and in the bay have not pulsed with swell this last week, but that has invited alternative water play … snorkelling on top of reefs at high tide and being blown away by the wild sealife, and paddling my kayak through the glassy water, the sand ripples and rocks many metres below as visible as if they were just below the surface.

And yesterday, while out with some friends less than a kilometre from shore, we were visited by a pod of playful humpback whales. We overuse the word, but the 10-15 minutes we sat there were jaw dropping awesome.

Sometimes we make our own luck.

Most time we travel or take holidays it is ‘good’. But a two week break where we have time to ‘be’ without activity repays us many times over. There is surprising value in nothingness.

Friday, 4 July 2014

same but different

So far, two things have made our winter sojourn in Byron Bay different from at least the last two years.

  1. My habit has been to rise early and work for a few hours most days. And for pretty much every year I can remember I’ve travelled to Melbourne at least once while we’ve been here. This year I decided to fence it off and have a holiday, only responding to a handful of emails each day. Switched off.

  2. The last two years have been wet. I mean, digging-trenches-around-tents-in-the-middle-of-the-night wet. This year, the only clouds we have seen, literally, have been in the distance over the sea horizon. Clear blue skies. Everyday. All day. Brilliant starry skies and colder than typical evening and mornings. This year most of us have left the water-proofing tarps folded up. Happy.

And there are many good things that stay the same. Friends with whom to share cups of tea and waves. Happy hour drinks on the wooden deck overlooking The (iconic) Pass. Weary bodies and stiff shoulders from lots of “just one more wave” decisions. Treks to the light house, a kind of pilgrimage, or at least a ritual. Evenings in the caravan, where we retreat and cook comfort food (dhal tonight), reading, watching and writing stuff.

Today we got in the car, first time since we arrived on Monday, and went across to Brunswick Heads for lunch and, as it turned out, a slow and lazy afternoon. There is something about that place. It keeps drawing us back. We’ve been on some incredible beaches over the years, but I reckon the one at Brunswick Heads is my all time favourite. Its wide open white sand and powerful turquoise surf invite you to forget whatever else is happening in the world and take it all in. We’ve not been there in the height of summer when I’m sure there are more people, but the sand is so expansive that people tend to spread out, rather than cluster … I like that.

We loved our lunch at the Green Monkey (Vegie café) and we sat on the grass by the river and watched people canoe and SUP while we ate ice cream (chocolate and ginger.)

There is nothing meaningful to say. I just love living in our yurt (caravan) in this part of the world.