This weekend, I hit the road to Cape Cod. The destination was not the journey.
Friday, was a whirlwind of a day. I had to attend a student’s sentencing hearing at the Criminal Justice Center. I had to submit my personal statement to one of my recommenders at Kinko’s. I forgot my luggage. Didn’t notice.
Six and a half hours, heading north, all I-95, over and over, like chanting, I pondered, “Why am I willing to ride almost seven hours to Massachusetts for a day and a half to a couple of homes on the Cape?”
All that came was: I will know when I arrive.
Driving a steady route with the windows down and Country 92.5FM blaring, letting go of text messages, emails and internet projects, I felt as if I were washing my feet, hands and heart--almost like one does before prayer or entering sacred energies.
Last leg of the trip on the Mid-Cape Highway, gave it a tiny bit more gas as exhaustion struck me and the need to rest rose. I was 20 minutes away.
Slowing down into the drive way, I look up and see the stars littered--like a Philadelphia city street--across the sky. The little girl astrologer, of course, when she slows, grounds herself in the new angles of the constellations.
They greeted me: “Is that Shayna?”
A chorus of responses:
--“Yeah, I think”
-- “Oh, she didn’t give us a call before Bourne Bridge”
-- “Yup, it’s her. She just pulled in.”
The last response to follow provided with crystal clarity the answer to my earlier chanting:
-- “Can I get your bags?”
My friends are beautiful people. Yes, they laughed insanely at me leaving my PACKED luggage back on my couch in Pennsylvania. I shared what kind of Friday I had. They were sweet and offered me tons of clothes and toiletries.
I was here because I left my bag--because I was that tired.
Forgetting something as huge as your luggage highlighted a phrase that I often use: Something has to give.
Artists, activists and young professionals often move not with but in spite of their bodies. We get little sleep, bankrupt our diet, contort our bodies onto couches, work 12 - 16 hour days and drink power drinks and too much coffee.
On top of this, we hurt and become exhausted by the injustices we too often encounter in our work, which adds a multitude of stressors to our self-destructive landscape. Something has to give. It cannot be us.
We are important as willing bodies on the leading edge of progressive change in this world. We are needed. We need our bodies; we need our spirits. We need to be well.
This is why we gathered at the Cape, my friends and I. Yes, we were having a regional planning meeting to convene a larger national gathering of youth artists and activists in November. Yet, we were committed to doing it not via conference call or meeting at a local café. We made space and way to get to a relaxing environment, took care of our bodies and reminded each other that we are loved and are love.
What taking care of business looked like this weekend:
*Eating fresh food from home gardens
*Showering outside near blooming summer flowers
*Watching "The One Percent"
*Swimming on a private beach
*Lying in hammocks
*Making the shell of a website
*Pointing out constellations
*Solidifying our vision statement
*Sitting by the fire
*Listening to Blues
*Sharing our work, our fronts
We spend so much time in resistance. This weekend was about being in the flow--the forces of this earth. For example, it was seen in the ways we splashed around but all without saying one word turned and faced inland so that we could ride with and not against the violent waves at
We were suspended in the hammock and seemed to release it all. We saw the Milkway and pondered the greatness of the worlds around us. We ate directly from the Earth and gave thanks. We were in the flow. There is something incredibly healing about letting yourself be washed over by these both gentle and terrifying forces.
Here we let go.
Here we were the most creative we had ever been in crafting a new project.
Here we were most ourselves--our whole, healthy, present, powerful selves.
I charge all artists and activists to have “Re-charger Weekends,” where you gather a focused group of friends, committed to making art or finishing a collective project and to treat each others' bodies and spirits well. The latter is not an afterthought but must be a focal part of the agenda.
Here is a great article on the dire importance of getting away from it all.
It begins: "There is more to life than increasing its speed"--Gandhi
Viva Vacation: The Importance of 'Getting Away from It All'
This Wellness blog is to share the author's trials and triumphs in becoming more present and centering her daily routines around health practices that build from the inside out.
It is her hope to spark dialogue and resource sharing as well as encouragement for those newly embarking on their journey toward healing all over.
(This is a personal blog with resources for educational purposes only.)