Monday, May 31, 2010

Sky blue sky - my visit to Southern California

This collection of photographs conveys my week long trip visiting my best friend in San Diego better than words can. They are out of order, but isn't that how a memory of a great vacation goes? You don't remember what day you took that magical walk on the beach or had that fabulous meal and it really doesn't matter (though I do appreciate the journals I keep whenever I've traveled and the log of activities by day because it fades in no time).

I realized on this trip that I'm wrong when I say my favorite thing to do is travel - my favorite thing to do is vacation. There's a difference. Maybe it's my Taurean nature, craving the "good things in life" - a great meal, a fine glass of wine, a good laugh and a great sunset. The physical bliss of hot sun and cool waters lapping on the shore, the soulful release through a beautiful book, enjoyed in an idyllic location. The last time I was in California, it was with my husband and this same besty and we had a great time, but we packed so much into it. From San Luis Obispo to Seattle. That was kind of insane and too much time was spent driving, pushing onward. I LOVE having a proper vacation in one spot. A new place to explore and get to know, to get to feel comfortable in.

My friend had to work during the week so instead of renting a car (I admit, aside from the monetary issue, I was just plain scared to drive around SoCal) I set off on foot around Pacific Beach by myself - with a beach bag packed I had breakfast and lunch in various sidewalk cafes with my book and journal by my side, I spent hours lounging and walking on the beach. I truly embraced the fact that this was a time to de-stress and that I did! Before my trip I thought about buying art supplies and painting plein air but once I was there I realized NO. I needed a break from everything, including art. I took everything in. I was in the moment. It was wonderful.

The last day walking back to Em's apartment I got this thought in my mind...

Destination - Pacific Beach, San Diego
Mission - Bum around town, hang out on the beach, have a blast with my best friend.

And that made me smile...

After a day of jetlag confusion after sleepless flights back east and Memorial weekend spent celebrating the onset of summertime with family, I'm so excited to dig back into painting, into my daily patterns that can hopefully be altered, twisted a bit, for the better influenced by this trip. I painted last night and it was just wonderful. I felt such freedom and a who cares attitude about the end result. Just do it because it feels good said a voice, a voice that's rescued me many times when doubt and judgment sneak in to take the wind out of my sails.

The ultimate lesson learned in my spoiled rotten vacation of shared joy with a sister of spirit, the best burrito I've ever had, surf gazing, and sun bathing luxury? The lesson is - stress is a bitch. I hate that word and try not to ever use it, but Stress deserves it. It does nothing for me, nothing for anyone. Stress and worry just waste time. It doesn't just waste it, it eats it up and devours anything else you've got on hand - your heart, your mind, your spirit, your creativity, your passion, your sense of joy, your LIFE. I didn't even realize how tightly wound I was until the sun melted it all away, until the only agenda was to unwind. This trip was a gift from my husband who knew after a long winter and many hours spent by myself that I needed some "lady time" with one of my besties. God bless that man. Seriously. Even if I had the money myself, I wouldn't have given myself this gift that I so desperately needed. And now I am home, and I can sense how easy it is to slip into my patterns, so the question now is how do I hold onto the importance of being in the moment and not worrying/stressing as much as I am prone to do? How do I continue to determine the difference between being determined and driven vs. being anxious and stress filled to the brim? The latter can mimic the former and convince you that it's necessary, but that's just part of the wicked little beast that Stress is - it's devious as well as destructive.

The natural buzz of my trip is fading into a different but just as intoxicating natural buzz of summertime in New England - everything is in full bloom, vivid green - that temporal lushness that is so incredibly appreciated and yet I can't help myself but think it won't last forever. Nothing does, and maybe that's the source of my stress and anxiety, the source of my fears. Regardless, am I going to let my fears dominate my life, my NOW moments? I could but I don't want to. It seems like such a waste. I hope that I can maintain this determined desire to keep stress and undue worries at bay. Yes, it IS here and then it's gone so what are you gonna do about it? That's the question. I'm still working on the answer. I'll probably always be working away at it, isn't everybody? That surfer saying comes in perfectly right now "it's all good, bro".


Sally Veach said...

Jessica, Thank you for your wise words on a subject that many others (me!) struggle with as well. I also tend to think negatively--using fear as the vehicle! The tricky part is, every coin has two sides, and you have to decide which one to look at! Even now, I could be either painting plein air, or working in my studio, but since I am second guessing myself, which is the better use of my time...I am doing neither!

Have been following your blog for a couple months. Keep up the great work!!!


Kendra Zvonik said...

Hi Jess!
Glad you had such a wonderful vacation! Everything you said about stress . . . oh yeah! I hope you can keep your vacation perspective for as long as possible :)
You also reminded me that your birthday was this month- so sorry I forgot! I hope you had a wonderful birthday! Glad you're back!
xo Kendra

Unknown said...

Thank you Sally and Kendra! So yes, you both know that stress monster well, in fact I wonder who on earth doesn't? I'd sure like to meet that person! Sally, when you said "using fear as the vehicle" bells went off in my mind. It's so true. I want to trade in that vehicle for another, but what kind of vehicle will it be? It's a familiar ride but uncomfortable and nerve wracking nonetheless. I wonder if guilt stops us from riding on the happy train?

Kendra, thank you for the birthday wishes darlin'! I'm going to try hard to keep these high spirits and carefree feeling floating. The ocean really does work wonders - I'm so happy that you have that close by to call on, to go to for renewal.

Maria-Thérèse ~ said...

Oh that beautiful sea!!!!!
Was it very warm as well?

Unknown said...

The weather was perfect! The ocean was a bit chilly, even though I'm used to cold waters in northern New England. But the intensity of the surf intimidated me as well. I was content to wade through on long walks along the edge and feel the cool sea breezes.