I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

On Spirituality

I've recently returned from a trip to LA, and while there I took a short jaunt to my Dad's house in Mexico. I call it "my Dad's house" because it really was HIS - although owned by my Mom, too. He just adored that house, and could spend weeks and weeks tinkering with things both inside and out. In as much as it's possible to do so my Dad carried on one hell of a love affair with that house; none of her needs were too small or great, and by the time Thursdays would roll around he would hear her calling to him like the siren's song. Money was no object when it came to her demands, and he'd shower her with all sorts of gifts whether she needed them or not. The gift she gave him in return was singular - peace and quiet. He often said that in Mexico (as a whole) and in that house (in specific) it's the only place he ever felt totally relaxed.

My Dad's life was relatively high-stress - he owned his own business, and worked insane hours. In Mexico there was the opportunity to just let all of that stress go. He loved nothing more than sitting outside on the beach recliner, gazing out to sea - or even just laying in bed, doing the same thing. He called it being "bitten by the Baja bug," in so far as you might get there all wound up, but within an hour you suddenly found your bones had turned to mush and whole days could disappear without you really noticing. He'd also spend HOURS tinkering with things, as beach houses are constantly fighting the war against rust and deterioration thanks to all that (beautiful but destructive) salt air. It was, in short, his haven - and he even named it Casa de Mis Suenos (House of my Dreams).

Usually, I don't like going to his house when I am back in the States. I just find it all too painful and horribly claustrophobic. Every square inch of that house is teeming with memories, and they have a habit of creeping up on you when you least expect it. You might find a half-empty bottle of his cologne in the back of a cupboard, or a piece of paper with his writing on it, or come across an ornament I remember buying with him. There are times in that house where I literally feel like I cannot breathe because he is looking over my shoulder. In short, spending time in that house is like living with a ghost and I find it very hard to be there.While I, too, get taken in by the beauty of the sea and time becomes rather fluid, I also find it terribly unsettling and therefore not at all peaceful to spend time there.

The concept of inner peace, or the broader idea of spirituality, is not one I grew up with AT ALL. The most spiritual we got was the feeling of euphoria when you ripped into a giant block of Toblerone. We were also not a religious family, although we were mired in the culture of our religion. God was just not a topic of conversation. Whether you believed or didn't believe was never an issue because frankly, nobody really gave a shit what your thoughts were. We were just practising the culture of our religion, and going through all the motions, because that's what we did. I can't ever recall having a single conversation - even as an adult- about religion or spirituality or faith or...well, anything one might describe as 'woo woo.' My family experience was that we were all about the importance of the tachlis - or the 'brass tacks' - of life. We had neither interest nor time to discover anything outside of that realm. That being said, I probably still count as the most liberal of my family members in so far as I've always thought that there could be more to life than just, well, life. I just never really bothered to find out much about life beyond the tachlis of it.

It is only in fairly recent time that I've started to educate myself in the more spiritual realms, by dipping my toe in a few different waters like meditation, and learning about the idea of "the Universe" and so on. I suppose the older I've gotten (and the different people I've come across), I've started to wonder more about my own purpose and meaning in life, think about concepts beyond the everyday, and consider that there is a lot more to a person and their experiences than just the tachlis.  In many ways just thinking about things which are 'woo woo' makes me uncomfortable because it forces me to acknowledge that could be other forces at work here. I've got to let go of my belief that I am the ONLY person in control here, and I've got to totally suspend my belief that the only things worth my attention are things which are tangible. I'd say at this point in my life I've not necessarily accepted or taken on board all the things I've either learned or been taught, but I am certainly willing to learn and be taught - and that's saying quite a bit. It is, as the cliche goes,  a voyage of discovery.

So that's how I found myself in Mexico, laying in a beach lounger, staring out at the ocean and thinking to myself, "Dad's energy is just ALL OVER this place, it's like he's practically breathing down my neck," and then thinking to myself, "Dad's ENERGY? Seriously? If he heard me say that he's laugh his ass off and call it "energy, shmenergy bullshit!" and then shake his head at me."

I stared out at the ocean some more. I thought about my Dad some more. I started to feel that crispy-at-the-edges feeling you get when you just know that your European white girl skin is slowly but surely burning. I just kept staring at that ocean, letting my mind wander and my muscles relax in the sunshine...and all of sudden, I got it. I understood. My Dad's version of spirituality was right there, in Mexico - he would just never in a million years call it spirituality, or meditation, or finding God, or having inner peace. He would just call it "getting some peace and quiet," or being "bitten by the Baja bug," or "the only place in the world where I feel relaxed."

So that's how I found myself in Mexico, laying on a beach lounger, staring out at the ocean and thinking to myself something entirely different, which was, "Dad, I get it. I really do. We all find our peace somewhere, and this is where you found yours. In your own way, you were a spiritual person, too, you just called it something different."

Suddenly that house did not seem as claustrophobic anymore. I was right in thinking that my Dad's energy resides there, and that he is looking over my shoulder while I spend time there. I like to think of my Dad's spirit being there because that's the only place his physical body ever felt peace, so it's fitting that his spiritual self found peace there, too. I suppose it's not surprising then that having accepted that, it gives ME peace, too - and that, too, is a gift given to me by a house in Mexico.

1 comment:

amomwithnails said...

This is beautiful. Told you I'd still be reading...