Oct 31, 2011

Thirty Days of Thankfulness: Day One - Sailing

I'm spending the month of November reflecting on and writing about things I'm thankful for. Inspired to chart your own thankfulness journey? Leave a comment in the comments section below and I'll make sure to stop by your blog for some inspiration. :)

I'm thankful that I spent a lot of time as a child on a sailboat. I think the time instilled in me a deep love of the water and an appreciation for all things natural. When many 18-month-olds were at home in pack-and-play contraptions, I was jumping off the bow of my family's small sailboat and swimming to shore. I was spending days upon days with my toes in the sand and my hair in the wind.

My family wasn't wealthy when I was growing up, but my parents always made a point of putting what money they did have towards what they valued most - and one of these things just happened to be giving us experiences sailing. We even lived on our 27-foot sailboat in Florida for a short time. And we spent the better part of our weekends when living in Florida exploring the intercostal waterways. My family remains close-knit to this day and I think that's in small part due to the fact that when by brother and I were growing up we spent so much time together in close quarters with our parents on a boat.

To this day, there's nothing - absolutely nothing - that makes me feel at peace the way being on a sailboat does. Hearing nothing but the waves lapping and seeing nothing but the endless horizon just calms me to the core. And it lets me know that no matter how far I may travelhe from the ocean, eventually I'll always be drawn back to one of my very first loves.

So I'm thankful to my parents for always valuing simple experiences and family time above the latest fashions or the most extravagant vacations.

The Simplicity of Solitude

Contentment in solitude does not come naturally to me. I grew up in a loud family with noise, company, and a whole lot of love around all the time.

But the older I get, the more I realize that finding some peace in being alone from time to time is important. It's part of the balance I seek, part of the rhythm that keeps me going, and part of the journey towards a more simple life.

Because being in solitude doesn't require much else than, well, being. Here are a few of the ways I'm working on embracing the solitude in my life:

1. Meditation - I'm VERY new at this whole meditation thing, but I'm starting to read more on it and practice it daily. I'm at about a minute now, but I know that with time my ability to sit in silence will improve. It's challenging, but I'm enjoying the challenge and looking forward to where it might take me.

2. Running - I've been running for a while now, but in training for my first marathon I find myself more able to enjoy the solitude of those long, quiet runs. Nothing but me and the road before me. It's a time that I'm coming to cherish more and more with each passing day. Seriously. I'm hooked.

3. Being fully present when I'm with others - Because the more I'm able to be present in the company of others, the more I can enjoy the shared time. And the more I can enjoy the time I spend with the people in my life, the more I can likewise enjoy my time alone. It's that whole balance thing. So, so important to where I am in my life right now.

These are just a few of the small steps I'm taking daily to embrace solitude and make a conscious effort to find the time and space for it in my everyday life.

What are some ways that you find solitude in your life? I'd love to hear you share in the comments section below. Thanks for stopping by.