Every year my husband, two children, our dog and I make our annual pilgrimage from Northern California to Maine for the holidays. Having grown up on the coast of Maine, it not only holds my earliest memories, it is a place we have all come to cherish for the peace it brings us and good times with family and old friends.
The year 2009 was a more-than usually busy one for me with lots of energy expended on the demands of balancing motherhood and running a growing business. Recently, my 9-year old daughter drew a rather peculiar picture for me that depicts me inside a rocket about to launch with a caption that reads “racing mom.” Hmmm…even she could see that some down time would do me good.
Arriving in Maine is always a delicious process for me. There’s the 3-hour drive from Boston that slowly moves us from city life to increasingly rural towns until we arrive at our little town, fast asleep that time of year. When we arrive at our house, we all run around with excitement, admiring the painted canvases we left to dry when we closed up last August. We talk about all of the wonderful projects we will complete during our visit—we are off to a great start!
Over the course of our holiday vacation, Maine embraces my soul like a warm blanket. The memories of my childhood and the freedom of “just being” when I am there pulls my feet to the earth like a magnet–I can feel the physicality of it. I have many rituals that ground me back to my true self in this most special of places. One of my favorites is opening the little box I keep on my bedside table there. The box holds five stones my sister gave me one year for my birthday. Little did she know, or maybe she did know, how I would come to treasure these stones and value the words etched into them: vision, beauty, peace, freedom and choice. As I feel the weight of each stone turning in my hands, I am reminded that these things are always present, everywhere for each one of us. We only need to stop the race long enough to realize it.
It is a new year and we are happily back in Northern California and back to our routines. Only we are all moving with lighter hearts and stronger compasses than when we left. We know that life is good and we are grounded back to our roots, back to our selves.
I wish you all a happy, grounded 2010 and a year that brings you vision, beauty, peace, freedom and choice. After one month behind us, are you feeling grounded in your new year?