Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Journeys Near and Afar

“Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.”  Freya Stark

   By this time next week, Don and I will be in Beijing, China.  My three page to-do list will be finished or forgotten.  We are headed out on another trip of a lifetime (it’s been a wild and unusual year in the Flowers house!)  Thanks to a clergy renewal grant from the Lily Foundation, we are traveling to Bali in Indonesia for a six week time of sabbatical.  On the way, we are stopping in China to visit our daughter and son-in-law who are teaching English in Beijing. At the end of the trip, we’ll be taking a few days to visit some good friends who recently moved back to Perth, Australia. If you draw a line from Beijing to Bali to Perth, it’s almost directly north to south with a slight bend to the west for Perth. Who knew? 
   It’s a traveling kind of summer. Alison and James are already in China.  Our daughter, Savannah will be visiting England in June and July.  So, for at least part of the summer, our little family will be on three different continents - and none of us in North America! The world just keeps getting smaller and smaller as we connect with family and friends literally around the world. 
   Living in a different part of the world, even for a short time, gives you a fresh perspective on ordinary life. We will go to the grocery store, figure out what and how to cook in Indonesia,  walk, and bike and live life in a different place. We will make new friends. Travel always helps me remember that the commonalities of everyday life, that we all so take for granted, are really beautiful. Simple everyday life is art. Travel teaches me to live mindfully, with less fear and much more love.
   (Don and I will also be blogging about our adventures at thewatersthatbindus.blogspot.com if you want read more and see pictures of our journey.) 

                                                                        ****     AF    ****

   I'll be perfectly honest. I’m suffering from a case of what life coach Martha Beck calls FOMO, otherwise known as Fear of Missing Out. My blog partner and friend Anita is off to far away and exotic places - China, Bali and Australia, and I’m, well, at home in the Lowcountry of Charleston, a charming place, but it’s not China, Bali and Australia. I love one of Beck’s solutions to this dilemma. She keys into the power of words - of how we deceive ourselves with words. We allow ourselves to believe that other people are having way more exotic, fun, adventuresome lives than we are (although you have to admit Bali, wow?) 
    But, I digress.
    Holy ground is right here with us. We don’t have to go far away, though, I have found a change of scenery helps me see with fresh eyes at times. I have decided while Anita is away to renew my commitment to find sacred ground at home. To find those places where I should take my shoes off because a sense of the Holy prevails. Recently, it was a fox with this scraggly lion's like mane who sat staring at me at Charlestowne Landing (if you look very closely at the photo above you can see her near the shrub line.) Another moment this past week came during a full moon as it rose as the sun set on the marsh, the same moon above Anita in China, which is strange to think.
    Beck recommends making FOMO stand for something else, such as Find One Magnificent Object or Focus on Melting Open. I love that. It reminds me to pay attention to the sacred and keep my heart open. I can do that anywhere.

                                                                        ****     DB    ****

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