Escapism isn't very Buddhist, but in this modern life it's easy to lose perspective. You fall into a rhythm, become mindless instead of mindful. Hey, that's okay. Hell, sometimes it's necessary. If we spent every moment of our lives being fully mindful, we'd probably go nuts. But when mindlessness becomes the norm, when we spend day after day, week after week, month after month on autopilot, grinding our way through our days and collapsing in front of the TV every evening, it's probably time for a change of scenery.
Last week my husband and I went down to the coast of Alabama. It's a place my husband frequented as a child, and somewhere that we went together several times while we were dating, but it was the first time we'd been back in nearly 13 years.
Somehow, despite the fact that I grew up hundreds of miles from the ocean, the beach feels like home to me. And I mean any beach. Every beach. There's something about that slanted overlap where the waves stroke the land that roots me right to the center of the universe. Here , the water says. Here, here, here . Now, now, now .
You are salt , the water says. And metal. You are small. You are temporary.
You are me.
I feel safe and afraid all at the same time. I feel alive.
After a few days my heart and mind align again, and I am able to breathe in the present moment. I begin to see the pieces that make up my experience. They are bright and dark, large and small. The moment is safe and scary and simple. It is good.