It was just too good of an opportunity to miss. My husband would be staying 4 nights in the quaint town of Gig Harbor, Washington. He would be busy all day in meetings leaving me to do whatever I like for hours and hours on end. I needed this. Badly. Life has been full of pressures over the last few years. Financial worries, health issues and family stuff. Along with the lows, we've had some really amazing things going on too. But all in all, it's been a lot. Good stress, bad stress, all lumped together. I've been fantasizing about claiming some serious down time. Like "checking myself into a hotel and sleeping for 3 days" kind of downtime. I suppose a lot of moms have similar dreams. Well, we found care for the kids, packed up all the warm clothes we could gather and set off across the country to the Evergreen State.
This was by far the best decision I've made in a long, long time. I knew I needed it but, whoa...did I need it. The first two days I simply decompressed. I walked around the adorable maritime town, bundled up, not caring one bit about the misty rain that never stopped. When shop owners and baristas would find out that I was visiting they would inevitably say, "Sorry about all the rain." To which I would reply, "I love it. I wouldn't change a thing."
I drank a lot of coffee and chai. I sat in our room at the Inn with the gas fireplace on and the window open, because I couldn't get enough of the cool fresh air. I took baths. Multiple baths. I got a massage at a local spa. I joined my husband and his co-workers for dinner. One dinner in particular is now rated #1 on my list of all time best meals I've experienced. The food, the conversation, the wine, the blustery walk home made me feel giddy and alive. Magical.
It wasn't until the last full day there that I cracked the surface of what was going on with me. The previous days were a lovely break from reality but I knew I didn't just come here for an escape. I came to get some inner work done. It was early on Saturday, before the sun was up. We got into some deep conversation. Unusually deep for that hour. My husband must have intuitively known that I needed a little coaching that morning. The tipping point occured when he asked me a simple question. What makes you happy? I removed it from the context of work, purpose or money and just flowed with the purity of the question. What makes me happy? I verbally listed some things. He said, "That's good, now write it down." He kissed me goodbye for the day and I spent the next few hours writing, reflecting and writing some more. This is the deep soul work that I needed to do. But I had been so wound up that I had to let the layers melt before I could get here. The baths, the chai, the wandering around aimlessly in the rain, were all a critical part of the process.
The result was a succinct list of things that make me happy. I realize that I have a lot of things in my life that bring me joy already. Gratitude. Gratitude for all my many blessings. Thank you, thank you, thank you. But I also realize that there are things in my life that are so in contrast to what feels right and authentic. The opposite of joy. So, let's just say, clarity was achieved. Along with any good epiphany comes elation and then, the chilling realization of what has to happen next. No turning back. The truth has been revealed.
So here's the list.
What makes me happy...
- Creating beautiful experiences
- Helping people (especially helping people to help themselves)
- Giving people an opportunity to be heard
- Being a part of a tribe
- Spreading happiness
- Connecting to spirit (love, mystery and oneness)
- Adventures, expansion and growth
My husband's meetings for the day ended at lunchtime and against my initial wishes he dragged me out for some curry with the team. And of course, I was glad he did. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring more of the wet and green town. We went to the local history museum, checked out a small but beautiful park, collected rocks to bring home, took pictures, walked up hills and down hills in the misty rain. Returning back to the Inn for a little reading time by the fireplace with the windows open.