Now that I've been home this long I figure I should finally share some of my take-aways.
I snorkelled! For those of you who know me, know that I don't really like water, swimming or fish - so naturally a sailing adventure made perfect sense.
Our first encounter was at The Indians (an Underwater National Park) - I loved it, but upon returning to the boat realized I had locked my jaw due to the stress I was putting on keeping the blasted snorkel in my mouth and the constant reminder to inhale/exhale. This happened one more time and then (proud to say) the lock jaw disappeared. I am now pleasantly comfortable swimming with underwater creatures (I stay on the surface...just to be clear). Big big step for me. Huge.
I also learned that being clean isn't essential to happy living. gasp.
We showered twice in the course of the month. Twice - let that settle. We were in the water all the time so that made it feel totally acceptable. We looked hilarious, total vagabonds - my hair became it's own entity! At night I would take out my 'top-bun' elastic and bobby pins. When the sun rose and I with it, my hair would still be in its 'pre-sleep' state. Forget hair spray, salt water is the ultimate hold! I may or may not have had sea life living atop my head.
Somewhere between weeks 2 and 3 I realized that we had no decisions to make. Literally no options. The normal life stuff of 'gotta set up a coffee date with so and so', 'need to email that teacher', 'can't forget the laundry', 'wanna see a movie tonight', 'gonna grab milk, need anything', 'let's have them over for dinner'..... you know the constant waves of info that permeate our brains and beings. There was none of it. I was, as my dear friend Renee described it, ZEN. I have an active mind to begin with and I tend to fill it, admittedly, with nonsense clutter - I've often described it as waves, whereby I have so many lines of information going across my forehead like tickertape that it feels like static noise (think snow on tv screen). Needles to say this was a remarkable experience.
I realized that for the first time we were quite literally living in the moment. When our son asked us to count him down as he prepared to jump off the side of the boat we could actually do just that. We weren't texting, or on fb and looking up sporadically hoping to catch it, or worse grabbing our phone to film then post and wait for 'likes' - we actually engaged in the 5,4,3,2,1 splash and repeat and repeat and repeat. When we would make dinner, that's all we would be doing, making dinner, eating together, washing dishes and repeating with every meal. We hugged our children and didn't let go until they did. We listened to music and danced. We lined up the clothes pegs as we took the towels on and off the lines a hundred times. Never rushing as there was no where else to be. I had nothing to put down or plug in, nothing chirping on the counter constantly vying for attention. (How I let my phone control me is disgusting - it's like a nagging child - but I give in every time - it's embarrassing.)
The other thing that escaped us was STRESS - other than the stress that comes with anchoring or catching a mooring ball! The daily grind kinda shit is what I'm talking about. We didn't talk about work, or school, or finances, or future or anything really. We just lived, and breathed in every moment. It was truly slow living.
To me, this may be the very best gift and consequently now my biggest challenge. How do we maintain this moving forward?
Life paces at breakneck speed but I don't want to run that fast.
Gratitude practises certainly help.
Saying no to things that aren't imperative definitely helps.
Knowing helps, knowing we ARE capable of just being.
Slow living is good. Present living is good. Life living is so very good.