As I sit here at my desk, writing this post, the room beneath my study is full of boxes. Most of my library is packed in sturdy, brown cardboard containers, scavenged from the liquor store in the village where I live.
I’m moving house again.
And even though the move is still a couple of months away, I’ve begun the process of withdrawing my energy from this place that’s been the home of my heart for the past three years.
My ancestors made the perilous journey across the Arabian Sea from Persia to India nearly 1300 years ago. Something of their peregrine spirit must live in me, because I’ve moved so many times during my life.
First, from India to North America, when I was just 21 years old.
The shadow of that first leave-taking is imprinted in my body. These past few weeks, I’ve dreamed repeatedly of my childhood home. And woken confused by the chitter-chrreee of eagles instead of the caw-caw-caww of crows.
The spirit of transformation is my guiding star.
This means that I choose life at the tideline. Right there, on the shifting shore. Welcoming the incoming waves. Knowing I’ll soon wave goodbye to the outgoing ones.
A rhythm as constant as my breath.
There’s a reassuring constancy to the rhythms of change. And an art to living improvisationally, responding to the tides without being swept away.
Surfers know this in their bodies.
For me, transformation happens most effortlessly, with the least amount of resistance, when I give myself safety, stability and support.
This is not the safety of a battleship or an aircraft carrier. It’s the safety of a sail boat. Or a surfboard. Something small and light and responsive enough to ride the waves without capsizing. Something as fragile as the coracles in which my ancestors sailed east, to India and freedom.
My sail boat is made of sturdy, durable materials. Daily rituals and routines that sustain me.
Lighting a candle each morning to welcome the spirit of my home. Invoking the spirit of grace. Invoking the qualities that add buoyancy to my life.
Paying attention to my feelings.
Eating consciously. Going to bed early.
Choosing presence and nourishment. Choosing connection, soul, heart.
Choosing what I truly love.
These practices are a boat when I’m on the sea. And when I return to shore, they form a lap.
A lap formed by the simple act of sitting cross-legged on the sand.
A lap that is an invitation to be held for a while, in safety and comfort. A lap doesn’t impose or insist–it’s just there, an available and loving support.
The cat or child who visits a lap curls up in it easily, with no thought of “should” or “ought”. The familiar warmth of the lap offers comfort, a place where we’re loved, accepted, restored to our selves.
It is, by its very nature, a temporary resting place, not a permanent dwelling.
When the refuge of the lap has worked its magic, the cat stalks off to chase seagulls across the beach; the child runs out to play in the shallows.
The lap reminds us that we are held; we are loved; we are safe. Visiting a lap restores us to the essential friendliness of our world.
So I’ve been contemplating laps. And turbulent tides. And how I can–simply by sitting with conscious intent–make a lap. Right here on the shore of the restless sea.
A lap for each of you to visit for a while. To restore yourself to your Self, whenever you choose.
How about you? What are some of the ways you make a lap for others? What are the laps that shelter you?