It was a delicious holiday, up at Mudjimba on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of Queensland. We rented a house, literally a hop, skip and jump from the surf beach. A quiet walk to the mouth of Mooloola River… and with it’s own pool in the centre of the house.
The first morning, we went early for a walk along the beach. The sea was so calm, the colour of the water just breathtaking… a large school of fish was obvious about 10 metres out in the surf, with birds gorging themselves in the churning water. Down at the river, we found beautiful shells, including a couple of small cowrie shells – ones we have never before seen swept in by the tide.
The river water looked oh, so enticing. We could see fish swimming, and see clear to the rocks upon the bottom.
Later in the week, the wind came up, the tides turned and the sea became choppy with many white caps stretching out to the horizon. No longer an azure bluey-green… it turned dark indigo, each wave high, white and full of sand dredged up from the bottom by its energy and power.
No longer were we able to see the bottom at the mouth of the river.
I had given my husband and our eldest son (Captain Scarlet) a 4-day scuba-diving course for Christmas – to be completed during our holiday. They did four open ocean dives, and commented on the visibility being hampered by the previous rough weather (the course was delayed by two days because of the weather conditions) – visibility was down to 10 metres, which meant they could not see the hull of their boat when they were at 18 metres (the bottom). Some members of their group got a little disoriented, and had to surface in order to spot the boat and find the rest of the team.
When the weather gets a little rough, when things get all stirred up, visibility reduces. It is only during the calm that we can see most clearly.
Which is why I take a sabbatical each January. Not only is it to spend time with my family, to relax and restore my batteries for the year ahead and take a well earned summer holiday – it’s also to get calm so my visibility increases, so that I can see more clearly…
It is also to stop that incessant need to be doing something…
I find that a holiday at home doesn’t work as well for me. There are always things that pull at me – needing to be done. I cannot sit still and be calm and quiet at home without it occuring to me that I need to put on another load of washing, or water the pot plants, or feed the fish, or walk the dogs, or decide whats for dinner, or something equally as important.
When we’re away I have to slow down. Yes, I take books. Last year, in fact, I ran out of books to read. This year we were away for longer and I took more books (non-fiction as well as fiction this year)… and yes, some got read. But most didn’t.
I found once I got over the initial twitchiness that comes of sitting still (and not being used to sitting still without something to do)… which I admit took a few days… I found that I did not have to be be doing something every minute.
I found that I could sit. That’s it. Just SIT.
One day, when my younger two children were watching a movie & the boys were out diving, and I had been working on my laptop creating a budget for my newest venture, I suddenly felt in need of a break. I wandered out to the pool, sat on the edge with my feet in the water (it was very hot), and was very still for about 1/2 an hour.
I had to remind myself that this break was deserved. That doing nothing isn’t wasteful. That the clarity that comes from clearing space in my mind and my soul makes it one of the most valuable uses of my time.
Of course, my mind tried to tell me that I needed to come up with brilliant ideas right then and there. But I was able to see what it was trying to do, and stop it in it’s tracks.
The pressure to come up with a brilliant idea is counter-productive to the relaxation and clearness that comes of being calm.
I have come home determined to be calm more often, and to not try and fill my days with busyness. I am going to relax through the twitchiness, and not need to be doing all the time.
I believe that the clarity of sight and the clearness of vision about all aspects of my life and business will more than compensate for any loss of productivity or accomplishment in the short term.
The Clearing Space Challenge
Do you relish stormy weather in your life? Do you get a buzz out of operating your life at full tilt, never sitting still?
Can you stop and sit without doing anything at all? No reading. No talking. No fidgeting. No watching TV. No sleeping.
I am not talking about meditation exactly. Because when you are meditating, you’re doing something, aren’t you?
It’s all about getting still and calm and allowing the sediment to sink to the bottom where it belongs so your visibility naturally and effortlessly increases.