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And Then the Humpbacks Came


The brilliance of the sky was only matched by the brilliance of the sea. They sat close; not touching, but close enough to soak up the presence of each other. Their minds wondered lazily, occasionally scanning the turquoise horizon for any sign of the migrating humpbacks. Sea eagles floated by on the breeze, beautiful and free.

Faced with a choice, staying to pursue a perfection that could never last or leave and never know.  She stared longingly at the water for answers. Perhaps she could divine her truth in the azure waves. Wrapped up in their own minds, they both continued to search for any sight of the humpbacks. Humpbacks follow an intricate migration pattern. Throughout thousands of years of evolution they have swam faithfully thousands of miles every year, charting a global map. She thought if whales knew their path, why couldn’t she? To stay, to leave, indecision is a sweet agony.

Clouds lazily drifted by, casting shadows as if mirroring their individual thoughts.  “What if I stayed?” she asked herself. She turned and stared into his eyes that shone like the lightest amber. Did she want to be lost? By being lost would she ultimately be found? She turned her face away and listened to the sound of the waves.

“What is it all worth” she wondered. To live a life on the surface, to enjoy moments but never commit to plumbing their depths? Is it worth it to risk the cold depths of another’s soul? Or is it better to just enjoy the warmth and light that the surface provides?

As they sat there on the ocean side cliff, and morning morphed into afternoon, a little sea turtle emerged. Happily, buoyant, coming up for air. She felt like that turtle, that moment of happiness was like coming up for air. They laid down on the rock and drifted in out of sleep; soaking up the sun and each other. Wrens called out happily to one another and butterflies alighted upon them gently as kisses, as if being embraced by the universe.

He put his arm over her shoulders and touched his lips to hers, a kiss mixed with passion and the saltiness of the sea. No words were needed. No decisions had to be made at that moment.  For today, each other was all that was needed. They both stared into the sea one last time, and suddenly the humpbacks appeared. Magnificent, grey and white, shooting up massive spouts of water. The light reflecting off the water made the droplights appear as diamonds. They both gasped in wonder. The whales swam through the water as if a needle threading a giant piece of blue silk. The whales jumped and pivoted, performing for themselves an ancient dance. As the whales slowly made their way out of sight, they turned and headed back to the car.


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The Recipe

When I cook, I use recipes as guidelines. I read two to three recipes on the same concept and then wing it. Kind of like my life, I seek out advice and wisdom and then usually say “YOLO” as I wing it my way. However, some recipes should not be “winged.” At eight years old I tried my first (and last) foray into baking; by the time my lemon bars were finished, you could practically bounce them off the counters.  I learned that in baking that each measurement needed to be precise.

There are lots of different recipes for happiness. A lot of them use vague, spiritual terms like when Leo Tolstoy said: “If you want to be happy, be.” You know what I am talking about, the memes, or books that were made from recycled oatmeal, promising you inner peace. To me, it just seems so much easier said then done. “If you want to be happy, be” what the hell does that really mean? In daily practice, when the bills are piling, your frustrated with your partner, or that crisis moment when you realized you ran out of popcorn? How can I be happy by just wanting it?

Don’t get me wrong, there is truth to be found in all of it. I realized that I needed to learn MY truth. My recipe for happiness is uniquely mine. In my spiritual journey I am learning so much from a variety of places; the works of an ancient Islamic mystic, the Pope, to people in my every day life who inspire me. Inspiration is boundless if you let it be. What I am finding by reading all of the recipes out there is that I need to wing it and formulate a happiness-recipe for myself. To date this is what I’ve got:

Listen to music. The power of Florence is never to be underestimated. “Dog Days are Over” literally saved my life during my first divorce.  When I am holding my breath and myself so tightly, I need only to listen to “Breathe” by Telepopmusik and I calm down; or alternatively Ludacris if I need to do some regulating.

Read something uplifting or challenging.  I find my brain works better if I use it to read something that uplifts it or challenges me. I have a daily meditation book that takes me 30 seconds to read and gives me something to think about for hours. Getting lost in the superficiality of Facebook doesn’t really make me feel happier at the end of the day.

See the sun, in person- not from your window. I work from home, and by choice live my life most of the time as a hermit. If I am not careful, I can turn into a cave-dwelling Gremlin. When I go out and have the sun shine on my face, my mood and perspective seem to brighten. Imagine that.

Being gentle with myself. This is a hard one for me. What we think, we are. I am learning it is okay not to have completed my to-do list in one day. Sometimes washing my hair is all I can handle, and you know what? During the dark days, it is okay if delivery Indian food, cat videos and Beyonce are the only things that keep me together.

Appreciate beauty in an unexpected place.The other day I decided to really look around my surroundings, not with a million thoughts racing, but just a quiet curiosity. I found an icicle encrusted tree branch in my front yard that actually took my damn breath away with it’s beauty.

Laugh.   There is always something to laugh about if I really look. Even in the direst of times.

So, throw caution to the wind. I challenge you to make your own personalized recipe. Live it, eat, enjoy it –  after all darling, isn’t this just one short, wild ride?