Which Way ‘The Way’?

I’ve been on a hiatus from my blog, doing a bit of soul (and, admittedly, sole) searching…

Most recently, I took a road trip  up the coast from LA on heavenly Highway 1 for a highly anticipated vacay to Big Sur and Monterey with my hubs.

[Insert Deep Exhale here]

It was a much needed escape from what had been a few hard months of life and loss (love you, poppy!!! 1912-2012), ups and downs, and all arounds.  But what struck me most profoundly about our little excursion out of the desert– beyond the awe-inspiring, breath-taking panorama of Pacific that lay directly to our left– was the idea that we were living in a moment that had been looked forward to, anticipated, and finally, achieved.  And suddenly, there we were.  At our destination… and I still felt somewhat unsettled.

Wasn’t everything supposed to be “okay” once I got “there?”

Over the course of the first 24 hours at the incredibly luxe, modern “rustic” Post Ranch Inn (we weren’t exactly roughing it), I finally allowed my stress to begin to slip away, to inhale the salty ocean air, and to exhale the deceptive airs of my  perfectionist self.  I finally began to RELAX.

Then, on the third day, we rented some mountain bikes and headed out on the windy road known, famously, as The 17 Mile Drive, that lines the coast from Pebble Beach down through Carmel and back around.  The day was foggy, the ocean roaring, waves crashing down to our right, cars passing us by on our left, as we rode through the mist.  And for the very first time in months, I felt at peace.  I thought about the manuscript I had just submitted to my lit agent; of the wonderful legacy my grandfather had just left behind as his spirit moved from the earth to more heavenly planes; of my 97 year old grandmother who continued to sculpt and create and inspire, as she looked forward to the day she’d join her beloved again; I thought about my own gorgeous, incredible, wise-beyond-her-years three year old daughter whose life has given mine its every ounce of meaning; I thought about the expansive nature of the ocean that accompanied me on my ride.

The road was long, the air was chilly, and the angle of the path at an incline.  But there was no place at that moment that I would have rather been.  Then, as if someone knocked on the door to my daydream, a man on a bike coming from the opposite direction yelled out to me and my husband: “You’ve got a long way to go!”

To go where? I thought…  Isn’t THIS “IT?”  Isn’t the ride the whole thing?  I mean, as far as I knew, we weren’t riding to get somewhere; we were just in it for the ride.

And then, like a ton of bricks, it hit me.  Duh.  Could the Universe have been anymore transparent at that moment?  This was a metaphor for my life.

We are all constantly trying to get “There” so that then, we will at long last, be happy.  I honestly don’t know a single person who doesn’t or hasn’t thought or felt this way at some point in her life, if not all of her life (um, that’s me).   It’s human nature, really.  But if we are ever to enjoy our lives, to be “happy in the moment”, then the ride has to be THE WAY.  There can’t be a destination.  THE NOW is the destination.  THE RIDE is the destination.  Because, like the man said, “there’s a long way to go before you get there” and who knows if you ever will.  So might as well make the ride the there.  

“Living in the moment” is a practice and an art.  Its not something you can do all the time, every  second of every day.  After all, you have to make the toast and get the kid off to school.  You can’t be marveling at their every waking move and your every audible breath.  But if we stop– every now and then– and really take pleasure in the RIDE, really relax into the only moment that exists, then I do believe we have truly ARRIVED.***

*** Note: The above post is, admittedly, FULL of a concept we have heard over and over again in our lives.  Cliche, even.  I’m practically annoyed with myself.  And yet, it bears repeating, doesn’t it?   I think so.



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One Comment

  1. Lesa Payne
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    You are such a talented writer! And what an important reminder! I am sooo grateful that my mom and step-father taught me “the wow of now” as I was growing up. Really helped me appreciate the little things in life and the wonder and beauty that surrounds us every day, along the way. It is a practice and an art, as you said. And the more you practice, the more habitual it becomes. I remember thinking how corny my mom sounded, constantly saying things like “Look at that view! Isn’t it beautiful?” Yeah, yeah, Mom. Whatever. But of course, now I’m doing the same kind of things with my boys and I can already see the “habit” forming in them.

    From the time Alex learned to walk, we would take walks around the neighborhood daily and talk to the neighbors we passed, smell flowers, touch leaves, roll in the grass, watch the clouds roll through the sky, chase birds, etc. and now it’s just part of our routine. Over the last year or so, whenever we’re driving in the car or out and about, I will ask him, “What do you see?” over and over again so he will stop what he’s doing, stare and really SEE the world around him. His answers are always simple and astonishing. And now guess what? HE reminds me to stop and stare. :)

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