The Jersey Shore
It said to enter by the side door, “Morning Meeting, Use Side Entrance,” a simple website dictate.
I got there early (of course), parked legally (mostly of course), had zero anxiety about the alleged side door (unusually), while looking valiantly for the elusive entrance (typically).
I stood, breathed, relaxed.
Then I saw Martin, a soon-to be friend, a guy in his late ‘80’s, wearing stretched-out and obviously-well-loved khaki shorts, pink flip-flops and a beaming grin, waving at me.
“Door’s over here, young lady. Let me escort you in.”
I didn’t know the way.
I showed up.
I was shown the way.
My twelve-year-old great-nephew, a wizard of all-things technological, downloaded an app on my phone in the blink of a nanosecond, a task well below his paygrade yet nevertheless, above mine.
Simply type in one’s destination and a disembodied voice emerges, to guide your way forward.
You all know this, I am sure. I knew it, too, but not really. Please read on.
I’m in Monmouth County, a place I know well, since both college and family have been based here. I’m vacationing with my dearest niece and her family. Interestingly, she has recently moved to another part of the county, an entirely different Parkway exit!!! (New Jersey-ites, this is your jersey language).
And I do not know my way—anywhere.
What a perfect experiment.
In the past, I have experienced anticipatory anxiety about driving directions, an almost-phobia about the possibility of “getting lost.”
Today, I don’t think getting lost is on the table as an option, regardless of what direction I turn.
I have my internal destination.
I have my disembodied voice guiding me.
What a perfect metaphor for practice.
And a shockingly perfect metaphor for this moment in my life.
I have my internal destination, to live in a place of gratitude and vigor, one day at a time, with movement and breath and positivity filling me, as best I can.
I have my disembodied voice, telling me, just show up. Get there, and more will be revealed.
Wow. Maybe there really are guides everywhere?
In truth, I really don’t know what’s going to happen.
Seriously, you guys.
The architecture of my life has been swept away.
The people by whom I defined myself and gauged my next steps are gone.
I stand in a new and spacious and emptied moment.
One step at a time, I am showing up.
I will continue to show up, as best I can.
I know, I am positive, that I will be shown the way.
I had a disagreement or two with the Disembodied Voice; after leaving a more familiar pocket of the county, making my way back to the new Parkway exit, the Voice’s directions seemed too confusing. I cobbled together my own route. The voice kept telling me to “TURN LEFT” as I went straight, to “TURN RIGHT ON MAIN STREET” as I turned left.
We had our first fight, she and I.
And I got home, perhaps my route was a bit longer than hers, but I needed to exert my own will.
And perhaps, just perhaps, old ways of “I know how/I know the way,” both literal and figurative, can be altered, improved, upgraded by the mystery of this moment.
Folks, I am choosing to practice.
I am choosing the mystery.
I am choosing to listen both inside and out, following the guidance given, looking for the signs, as I can.
This practice makes me happy.
There no longer is a “lost.”
Even if I am off my route, I’m still on the journey.
I am on a mindful experiment.
Even if I’m in a ditch, I’m still on the path.
And, oh, dear friends, the ocean.
How the ocean makes me happy.
In its remarkable
Fluid and alive.
Like practice, gorgeous
Please join me in this 30 second visit to the Jersey Shore.
I don’t know the way.
I am showing up.
I will continue to be guided.
Dear Friends, to the new month, to the season shift, to the changing light!
Please let me know how you are doing. I am firstname.lastname@example.org.