We went to Los Angeles to celebrate a friend on her birthday. It was meant to be a quick trip. Our plan was to depart SFO Sat noon and depart LAX Sunday 7pm. Enough time to exercise healthy amounts of play and relax. Which we did, and then some.
Our flight was delayed. When we went to Budget to get our car, they asked us to take a number, we ended up being 53rd in line. So we took a LYFT.
We arrived at our hotel, hit the beach and eventually found our way to beverages and food. Shortly thereafter we descended upon the party to meet new people, dance with old friends, engage in much needed conversation and feel delight in great company. My son displayed his magic tricks, my daughter was fascinated by all the glittery art work and mesmerized by what she calls the 'two sided pillows'. We got home after midnight, watched cooking shows on TV and slept until we awoke the next morning. We ordered room service and had a breakfast fit for kings!
My son was ill. Bad chest cold. So of course all I really wanted to do was GO HOME. One of those moments where I thought: "What are we gonna do for the next 10 hours?" I quickly dismissed the thought, sent the kids down to the pool (son to hot tub) while I went back to bed.
We checked out at noon and headed, via LYFT, to the beach condo my mom rented for the weekend. Friends and family ran to the beach, my son plopped himself on the couch and I went seeking neighborhood pharmacy for medicine. Walking (in LA) foreverly, wearing the wrong shoes with the sun beating down my back, I contemplated the BIRD scooters and resisted due to the small fact I had to erase a bunch of apps to download LYFT. My mom phones to see where I am, so I tell her I am on the hike for meds and almost asked her for a ride. AGAIN, I refrained out of some sense of independence? Or was it stupidity? I finally find what I am looking for and happen upon an attempted robbery: woman screaming "Get your hands off me" while store owner is pushing her out the door uttering words close to: "Please leave now". Security guards from the mall arrive at the scene to assess, passersby offer their thoughts and I am sincerely wondering to myself: "Maybe I should go somewhere else?" ???!!!??? I walk across the street to a liquor store and buy a bottle of NyQuil, trudge back to the condo, a whole fifteen blocks and counting, while scooping up a mango smoothie for the sore throat that awaits. I dose my son and leave for the beach.
Sand between my toes, family lounging at the water's edge, I take off my glasses and move into the salt water. Determined strides and heavy steps, wading through the breakers to find the calm of the deep. Bliss. Thanks to JAWS (film) I had music in my head. Stroke after stroke, held by the current and my own ability, I felt my body, my breath and my strength. I was clear on what I needed to do and how to do it. Simple.
Getting to land was another story. Breaking waves and undercurrent are no joke. I was turned upside down and immediately tasted the possibility of 'this could be it'. And then my fear pushed me forward. I was pummeled again and sand coated my body. Rinsing was not possible as the risk to start over did not appeal. I got out, I made it! and I decided to just be glad.
I found my towel and I fell asleep under the heat of the sun.
My sister asked me later: "Do you ever get scared?" I responded: "YES! All the time. That was terrifying."
I am told "We do it to ourselves". Create our own misery and design our suffering with the choices we make. I thought about this while walking (in LA)...sweat dripping down my back, aching feet and holding onto some crazy notion that I was lost. I also knew that I was doing my best. In hindsight, I suppose my son would have been FINE without my pilgrimage. My sense of 'mother's duty' is strong and I will remember this next time: Have fun first, it will make any chore MORE do-able.
I also thought about it while swimming. We can do that when experiencing relief, look over our shoulder at all the upset we came from and maybe, hopefully, gain some insight. The last time I came to Venice Beach, I had a similar experience. Intense discomfort, overworking it and pushing myself beyond. I did not lose a child this trip and the beach patrol along with the mounted police and coast guard DID NOT get called into action. Proof of improvement. Blessings exist.
Unfamiliar. That's the lesson ground. New settings and different environments can challenge us. Generally they can be a wonderful experience in re-introducing us to our 'real' selves, that unfettered soul of ours that gets trampled in routine and everyday relationships. We find ourselves better when we break out of all that we know. And sometimes it can be a BEAR of an experience. Sometimes we get angry and frustrated by the circumstances ... and we always have the opportunity to check in with it.
At the root of all of my misery is my need to control. And right next to that sits my ego. A gruesome pair indeed. Awareness is key and harmony is available. I purposely choose to do it different now and again. I love everything about my life: my work, my home, my friends, my dog, and my car. Taking a break from it helps me appreciate it even more and coming home is a great thrill.
I am learning all the time.