This past week found me mostly unplugged due to being in San Diego for a professional conference. I shouldn’t have been that unplugged, however, my ancient (and extremely heavy) laptop was incompatible with the free internet in my hotel room. Annoying to say the least, but that is “a whole ‘nother story.” I find conferences to be quite a roller coaster in terms of my mood and how they make me feel. I vacillate from feeling connected and professionally competent to feeling like I’m not publishing enough and that I must be the most unmemorable person in my field–or on the planet–as I “meet” some person for the 9th year in a row and she/he doesn’t recall who I am. And although I have moments each year that feel affirming, the conference often leaves me swirling.
So on Monday, before catching my flight, I made a pilgrimage to the ocean. Having grown up very near the Atlantic, I took for granted my proximity and regular access to a big body of blue panacea until I moved to the Midwest 10 years ago. And no, lakes and rivers just don’t do it for me the way the ocean does. Yes, they are beautiful in their own way, but awe arrives when I can’t see land on the other side.
It was soul soothing to greet the Pacific, pant-legs rolled up and sandals in hand. I could feel the swirling slow, and then stop. Even if only for a few moments. As I knew that internal stillness would be fleeting, I found a little reminder to take home, and keep me focused.