23 Aug Peace Island
Peace and I met on a sandbar today. Not just any sandbar mind you but a sandbar in the middle of no where on an island connected to no thing. I stayed with her for a while. Quite a while, even. I knew she would leave me again (or I would leave her) but we enjoyed our time together.
We moved the boat away from Staniel Cay yesterday. Even though we love Staniel, it is still civilization. Internet is slow and challenging and a little too easy to find. And, there are more people around so we can’t just hang out naked which is the best way to be in this humidity. Arriving at Twin Cay yesterday was paradise in the midst of many paradises. As we approached, I saw what I thought was a diver popping in an out of the water. Not seeing a boat in the vicinity, I kept my eyes peeled and pointed to David. He quickly realized (as a former marine biologist) that our visitor was a solo porpoise making its way through the cove. A very nice welcome. We dropped anchor and swam with the gentle current. A little later we snorkeled to shore watching the sandy bottom slowly pass us by. The island can’t be bigger than an acre with a stretch of white sand beach and the rest rimmed with a coral shore. Iron shores is what they call them here. Run a boat aground on that and chances are it won’t ever float again. We strolled down the beach to the end where a tidal pool awaited us. The middle of the island is green with even a few shade trees – short shade trees that is. Without a hat, I didn’t want to stay too long and knew we could come back properly equipped. The sun is scorching hot down here. Cloudless blue skies, white sand and bright blue water send light in all directions. As a Melanoma survivor, I cover up as well as possible. It’s inevitable that I get a little bit of sun but always discourage people from telling me I am tan. “No, not tan, don’t say that…” Sometimes I spend time worrying about death by Melanoma. But it seems I spend time worrying about most things. If there’s a way, I will worry.
We decided to stay the night off the Cay instead of pulling in to the more predictable mooring. The day was ideal and the cove so inviting with a gentle breeze and surf. We dozed in the cockpit after watching the sun set through towering thunderheads in the distance – a truly perfect closure to a perfect day.
One of the adventures in sailing is judging the waves, wind and current to pre-determine the sleeping conditions. Turns out, we were lulled into thinking the calm would stay calm. A gently rocking sailboat is nurturing and lovely. The surge that shook us all night long not so much. I still say a sleepless night in paradise beats a sleepless night anywhere but we pulled anchor and headed to the mooring at daylight then ventured back out to the Cay in the dingy later on. This time, I brought my proper shoes and hat so I easily explored the circumference of the island. I have seen many lovely deserted (as well as populated) islands in my many years in the tropics. Something about this one grabbed my heart. I felt peace immediately. My system slowed, my chatter quieted, my mind eased. David returned to the water in search of lunch and I sat under an umbrella and talked to a seagull. He was a curious sort, telling me all kinds of things I didn’t understand and most likely assuming I was withholding some scraps of bread. In my spot, I felt the peace become a presence. Feeling somewhat altered due to lack of sleep, I sunk further into it and watched the quiet. Occasionally, my mind would pop up and wonder when the peace would subside or question if it was real. I just kept sinking back in.
In the sinking, I realized the last time I felt that peaceful and present for more than just a moment or two was in the fall when I took a day of silence and spent much of it on my deck reading and reflecting. No phone calls, emails or interacting with any humans, just me and being. I had a deep moment of connection that day where my world and the universe came together with a sense of falling back into something – both a physical and emotional experience.
Today, it happened again. I stayed in this observer position and played with the space. “Well would you be ok if this happened…”. “Yes”, “what about this happening?” “yes…” What about all these little things you always worry about… “yes, them too.” I made the net wider and wider and brought people and situations into it. I brought what I loved and I brought what troubled me. I got ok with all of it, and I got ok with the fact that I do worry and will worry still. All really was well. All morning in our approach to the island, David dove and I navigated the boat to various places so he could stay in the water. The whole time I had a sense of deja vu. Something deep and familiar, not a time and place necessarily, just a feeling of returning to something. I am here, I kept thinking. Here, here, here. There is unwinding and then there is something deeper that can happen if we let it. I always need a week to really unwind and arrive. True to form, a week passed and then I began to show up. Ah, there you are, self. I have wondered where you were. I have been looking for you. You can stop your running now. You can stop hiding. You can stop trying so hard. You can relax – and breathe.
That faced paced, driven little self that I let push me so much of the time likes to run the show. Even though I love much of what I do, that part doesn’t really let me enjoy fully. The engines are revved, the mind is whirling, the horizon is sought and often the quiet “I” is lost. Today, I reconnected with her. That quiet me. And, she is really quite fine. I still don’t have to like the circumstances of parts of my life but she is really ok. Most of the time, I know this on a deep hidden level – and sometimes my thoughts tell me otherwise but we all know that thoughts change like the wind.
Now, that experience is already fading from memory. It stuck around on the boat ride back and through most of lunch but then the altered state turned to sleepy. Some worry popped in to say hi, some mourning and missing stayed a bit longer. Right now, I am not worrying about the worrying or any of it. It will all pass by or stay awhile as visitors often do. I don’t have to make any of it wrong – or any of it right either. I don’t have to judge myself for not spending time in peace when I don’t. Although, it might be nice to visit her more often. My ever helpful thinker wants me to think that she resides on that sweet island in the middle of nowhere but we all know that isn’t the case. She may be more easily found there if we are open but I can find her elsewhere when I stop, not just for a moment, but a true hard stop without a start waiting right around the corner or as something to check off my list like, “See, I did it! I stopped”.
Today, I stopped for a while and sat and did nothing else. Today, I walked on one of the most beautiful islands I have seen anywhere at any time ever. Today, I ate lobster plucked fresh from the sea. Today, I sweat in the heat and dozed in the shade. Today, I stopped worrying for a bit then worried for a bit and stopped again. Just like that.