Mental health feels endless sometimes. I never really win. Even after therapy, meds, yoga, meditation, the weepies still come upon me sometimes. When that happens, the answer is a good dose of nature. The wilder the better.
- The Weepies
The night before my husband and I were to take our first childfree weekend away in rugged, coastal Ucluelet I sobbed my heart out on my yoga mat. It wasn’t about leaving the kids. It wasn’t about my husband. After three months of quitting bad habits and putting myself out there, my introvert mind was exhausted. I was proud, healthy and getting positive feedback workwise. But it just seemed endless. I would have to keep quitting one day at a time. I would have to keep thinking of amusing things to say to the other mums on the school playground for the next 12 years. Keep self-promoting to find freelance writing work, yoga work, meaningful work. Keep calm to help my sons and husband deal with their emotions. Relentless, endless striving, never arriving. Even here, cross-legged and shut-eyed for meditation, it wasn’t a moment of rest. It was just an artificial pause, while everyone waited for me to open my eyes again.
2. The Getaway
We drop the kids off late, and still make the ferry. Feels like we’ve scored two hours for the rest of our trip. Even though our holiday is a budget-conscious Island Daily Deal in “storm-watching season”, our room is huge, the balcony overlooks the ocean and the sun shines all weekend. Every other weekend break we’ve taken since kids has involved no sleep, bitter silences and my uncontrollable sobbing at least once. But this time, we walk when we want to, eat when we want to, sleep, make out (!), take baths, drink wine, eat some more, hike some more, read. It’s only three days but the time holds enough space for both of us and we don’t argue once about who gets to do what, who should have done that, why are you just getting in the shower now?
- The Take Home
How easy it is to “be present” when you are staring at Ocean, listening to Ocean, walking among old-growth giants, pressing your palm against unexpectedly smooth bark. Every time I call to mind the waves shoving chest first up to the rocks, the magnificent indifferent violence, I think this is who I aspire to be. This self-assured, this self-aware but without ego. I, ocean, do not give a shit about muffin tops, wrinkles, whether I still haven’t made a success of my career by 40, whether I connect with enough people, whether people think I’m snotty or shy or just weird. The ocean never regards itself from the point of view of the beach.
Tweet-sized version: Next to the wild ocean of Ucluelet, my worries feel small.
And also: now, when my worries make me feel small, I can access an inner ocean, that memory of feeling enormity, eternity, of not giving one shit how I might appear, because I am Ocean. I Am.
Essentially, I went to Ucluelet and discovered the true nature I’ve been seeking after years of trying to meditate.