When life gets to be too much, when the burdens begin to weigh on you
like a heavy sack you are transporting or a rock chained to your
ankle, make plans to head out the door to those wide open spaces and
let it all go.
If you’re like me, you head to the ocean. Your heart moves seaward so
that when you see the horizontal expanse before your eyes, you truly
know the beauty of being small next to something so great
It got me to thinking:
Some people may want the open expanse they view to be vertical and so
they head mountain ward. In the city you can move skyscraper or
For others they prefer the open space to be above them, quietly
relishing the idea of heading skyward. Or the beauty of a starlight
sky that makes you contemplate your place in the universe.
Others who prefer to feel the expansive openness solidly underneath
may truly be at home on the plains, wishing to move prairieward. The
fields of wheat or corn or maybe even cotton call to them when they
are confined to a busy life.
For those who want extreme heat, there is desertward or mind-numbingly
Maybe the release is in the movement and being on the road,
highwayward– as it were– is where you want to be.
Maybe it’s not a specific place, rather one you imagine. Go to a
museum to discover how to move artward. I know there are paintings at
the MFA that I have visited time and time again, so large and
impressive that the rest of the noise of everyday life just falls away
when I stand there. (I’m thinking of the Pollack, the Sargent and the
These places have several similarities. They are open, you can stretch
in this expanse. Throw your arms out wide and not touch anything. You
have room to think, room to move. In these special places you are
unencumbered, uninhibited. There is nothing there to crowd you or
limit your desires.
Perhaps the attraction is to feel small in a way that grounds you. A
humbling experience in which you are dwarfed standing front of a
majestic masterpiece that gives you a new perspective.
The funny thing is that these places exist for all of us, they are the
in-between places. No one lives there, you can only experience the
view for a brief time and take the feelings home as a souvenir. Yet we
long for those places, dreaming about them throughout the year.
Conjuring them up when we are feeling sad, filled with despair or
needing to be in a special surrounding–if only in our minds for a
moment. But when we are there, actually physically in those spaces, we
feel at home though there are no walls to define it or boundaries to
confine us. When we are there a sense of belonging washes over us, a
connection deep and powerful.
I stumbled on this piece of wisdom this week. “We are continually
capable of ..becoming intimate with more than one place, of being at
home wherever we find ourselves.
I find that when I head seaward I eventually arrive at the place I
think of as home. The ocean is the northstar on my internal compass.
So find your place. Hurl your heart out like a yo-yo and when it comes
back, you will be filled more joy than you have ever known. Hold it
close. It will sustain you through the grief, the pain, the difficult
times when you have to be elsewhere.