Once upon a time, many years ago now, I decided I wanted a more peaceful life. So I put my stuff in storage and spent a year in the goldfish bowl at Esalen Institute, learning to cry, build healthy boundaries, and look people in the eye when I talked about my feelings.
Next stop was re-entering the world of work, again, but in a kinder, gentler way. I learned to make cappuccinos as a barista, and to curl ribbon as a shop girl. Stepping out of the corporate hustle that had been my professional life to date was a blessed relief.
Then, I found I was buying groceries on my charge card. Milking goats and making cheese wasn't ideal for retirement planning. So I dusted off my resume and jumped back in: front-desk jobs, librarian gigs, executive assistant, factotum. At one point, I worked three jobs for over a year.
When I joined the management team at a local historic Inn, I was thrilled to go back to school, earning a professional certification in Human Resources. Made sense, I thought, as so many of us spend our lives working for The Man (whether we know it or not). Why not make it a little easier and more respectful?
I loved understanding and implementing fundamental and compassionate workplace ethics. A community where work could really be "Love made visible" as Rilke says. I breathed easier every time I entered the door, smelled the hearth fire and heard guests laughing over their breakfasts.
Today, I embrace again the path that recalls my original dream: a life that, with continued good luck, hard work and prayer, will grant me peace and success in this beautiful land. Nuestra hermosa tierra.
Big Sur is the Land of Point and Click, where simply holding a camera to your eye and pushing a button yields beauty. And beauty, to paraphrase Tolle, makes the mind stop. Which is also what gives this coastal community its endless appeal, to millions of visitors each year. When the mind stops, no matter how briefly, we find peace.
So here is another of my recent offerings to the tide of beauty that ebbs and flows in Big Sur, depending upon your openness to her gifts...