Growing up in a military town, Memorial Day has a significant place in my heart: a special day designated to honor the women and men of the US Armed Forces who have given their lives to serve and protect us. Along with the very memorable day to remember these brave souls, we as Americans, are fortunate to have our beloved and adored Three-Day Weekend in their honor!
This past weekend was THE weekend. Picture this: 4 1/2 hour drive, just my boys and me, meeting two girlfriends from high school, one who also had her children with her. For 2 1/2 days we were surrounded by oodles and oodles of kids, all swimming, building sand castles, taking banana boat rides, running/playing in human hamster balls, rock climbing, playing flag football, more swimming (daytime and nighttime), doing arts and crafts, running around like nuts on the huge grounds on a scavenger hunt, putting together a skit, playing putt-putt, taking full advantage of the arcade, snow cones, popcorn, S’mores… oh, and yes, stopping to eat a real meal and sleep every so often.
How many would say this scene sounds peaceful? Show of hands?
It may surprise you, but my hand is raised.
Me, the borderline recluse, who loves to start her day slowly sipping my cuppa tea before the sun rises, getting my kids off to school, then not turning on music or the TV or anything — keeping the house completely silent (minus Libby’s snores and doggy-dreams) while I write. Content. Happy. Quiet. Peaceful.
So I had to wonder, as I was thoroughly enjoying what would be considered a hectic/chaotic weekend by anyone’s standards, “Is this peaceful feeling for real? How is this possible? Am I somehow tricking myself? Ah-ha! I must be lying to myself!”
Except that it wasn’t a lie. I was peaceful throughout all of it. Throughout the act of doing, doing, doing, which is very different than being peaceful throughout the act of meditating.
Here’s what I realized. All the while I was doing, I was also Being. I was being present. I was focused on the now. I was enjoying the journey. The next activity would come when it comes. So would the next meal. But in each moment, I was present, my mind calm, not yearning for the next, or the next, or the next.
How different from my typical vacation frenzy, returning home days later to look at pictures where faces appear contrived, because, “Damn it, smile, we’re going to capture how much fun we’re having!” No, this, was not that breed of vacation. This was something all together different.
I believe there was a shift in energy. The sort of shift that I’d ordinarily only achieve by myself with one close girlfriend at a spa in some serene location. Yet here I was, surrounded by more kids than grains of sand on the beach, or so it seemed, and there was not one single meltdown. Surely my boys felt the energy, too.
This shift in energy seeped out of my pores, but I also believe it came from our surroundings. Take a look, all of these pictures were taken by my son during the digital scavenger hunt, where the kids ran around (mostly the putt-putt course) with my phone and captured items on their list:
So, how did I feel peaceful without lying to myself? At some point, whether consciously or not, I knew that a human Being is more my true essence than a human Doing.
“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” ~ Unknown
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