Sunday, March 12, 2017

3/13/17—Finding Peace Within The Chaos

The sunset view we enjoyed at our noisy cottage near the beach.
I have felt outside of the mainstream all my life. Growing up, I never fit in...not in my family or society. I moved around a lot, which didn't help. I couldn't even find a key chain with my name on it. There just seemed to be no place for me.

And as I grew older, other things separated me even further. In fact, I don't know for sure whether I chose to be a loner or whether it was just the way dice rolled for me based on who I was.

Recently, I went to the beach for a few days to celebrate my 54th birthday. Well, we didn't stay at the beach exactly, but at a B&B a couple of miles from the beach. We had a little cottage all to ourselves, apart from the main house. We had a fenced back yard to ourselves. And the view was beautiful, for being in a neighborhood setting. 

But just on the other side of a thin fence was a well traveled road with a lot of loud, fast traffic. There's a 4-way stop half a block away, but a lot people seemed to be plowing through. Regardless, we were getting the sound of their engines as they cycled down and cycled up. It was unusually loud, seemingly made even louder by the contrast to the pastoral view I was gazing at.

As I sat there in brief moments of relative quiet between cars, however, it occurred to me that there is a place for me. There is a place for a tarot loving, dog-obsessed "mommy", writer, blogger, spiritual philosopher, awkward, hermity kind of loner. The places are few and far between. And I hate saying a really loud street corner is a place for me...haha. But B&Bs are for me. Cute little private cottages with kitchenettes are for me. And places that allow three dogs, but discourage children are for me...haha. 

And the thing is, I can work with the noise. I'm noise averse in my own quiet neighborhood, so I have tools. I have earplugs to sleep in, because I have loud birds outside my bedroom window. And when I'm outside at night and my neighbors are entertaining, I have noise cancelling earbuds through which I listen to music. So, between those two things, I barely noticed the noise at the B&B. In fact I think adding a musical soundtrack to the sunset and stargazing actually made the experience more Zen. 

I'm not into flashy or perfect or "grand" in general. And, again, I'm not sure if I choose to have fairly "pedestrian" tastes or whether I've just settled for them because they were what I could afford (and access with three dogs in tow). In fact, I've been thinking about that notion a lot lately. I wonder whether certain opportunities I have available to me—from the neighborhood I live in to the way I live my life—are things I chose because I wanted them or because I compromised at some point and just didn't think I was worthy of more. I feel like when I was growing up, I wanted for nothing. But that was because the things I wanted were always within reach. I wasn't exactly the little girl who asked for a pony for Christmas. So I wonder if I just extended that into adulthood, not wanting anything too sparkly so I'd never end up disappointed.

So all of this was swirling in my head as I blocked out the unfortunate traffic noise at the otherwise perfect B&B. And with my Chakra Chants blasting through my headphones, I looked up into the cloudless night sky, a 3/4 moon bright up above. A plane flew past and, with its quickly dissipating vapor trail illuminated by the moon, it looked like a slow moving comet streaking across the sky between the moon and Orion. Every 15 minutes or so, another "comet" would streak across the sky for me. It was a beautiful and inspirational sight, partly real, partly conjured by the trippy music and  partly created by my imagination.

And I thought to myself that the little girl who wanted a pony probably wouldn't have had this incredibly magical and mystical moment because she'd have no reason to block out the noise with Chakra Chants (which really made the moment...I used Native American flute music for the sunset), and she probably wouldn't sit for hours star gazing in 40-degree weather, either. In fact, she might not even know what Orion or a comet look like. 

If I'm being fully frank, many parts of my brief vacation sucked. My dogs get so filled with anxiety over new places that they didn't quite settle in for the few days we were away. And one is anxious in the car, making the trip home, in the snow, in high wind warnings while going over a bridge so scary that people actually make their living driving people like me over it, a nightmare. But the thing is, for better or for worse, this is the place for me. Most of the time I love it. And sometimes I cry thinking about how it might be somehow different or better.

It's interesting to note that last week's post was about being in the moment and, secondarily, dealing with disturbing noise. And as it turns out, this week's post is also secondarily about disturbing noise. In a way, that's what our spiritual journey is about, too—blocking the disturbing noise of our humanity long enough to access the peace and stillness of our divinity. 

It seems there's always going to be noise in our lives. It's not always the clatter of cars and birds and neighbors. Sometimes it's noise created in your head by a boss leaning extra hard on you. Sometimes it's the din of owing more in taxes than you have in the bank. Sometimes it's the cries of your own inner demons. And sometimes it's the long to-do lists required to keep ourselves fed and caught up on life. The ways in which we learn to calibrate life's cacophony go a long way toward defining who we are and how much peace we're able to find while we're here.