Tonight was warm and the air was a little thick, but an occasional light breeze would pick up some of the draft from the swamp cooler coming through the screened door on my back patio and cool things off. As I sat in the stillness of the evening, I could hear the sharp yelps of coyotes out in the small network of washes that criss-cross my neighborhood. I wondered if they were reacting to the sound of an ambulance’s siren in the distance, or the full moon that was rising over the Rincons; an enormous, amber sphere that looked as if it was too heavy to clear the treetops of the mesquites.
The moon tonight reminded me of some of the summer nights I’ve spent in Rhode Island. I thought about the times when we’d be coming back into the salt pond from the ocean after chasing striped bass until after sunset. I remember gripping the wheel of the boat tightly with one hand, with the other firmly on the throttle, waiting for just the right moment to line it all up and shoot through the Charlestown breachway with breakers crashing right behind the transom, threatening to swamp us, or at least push us into the rocks. Although I made every effort to align my return with an incoming tide to reduce the likelihood of swells at the end of the breachway, it never fully quieted the racing of my heart and the tension I felt until I knew we were far enough into the channel to be safe.
I thought about Rhode Island and not being there this summer. I began to feel sorry for myself and label this as “loss”, and then I recognized the opportunity that it presents. In the past, I’ve fought and struggled and borrowed to find a way to go “back East” for a vacation. I do love it there, and so does my family, but I believe the stress of trying to get there (which is also inherent in spending long periods of time with 10 other people in a 900 square foot house) is overwhelming. As this realization unfolded, I felt a change in my outlook. It’s been a long time, so I almost didn’t recognize the feeling. It was peace. I feel it now, as I write this, and understand that I have a different path to take this year. It isn’t an easy thing to explain, and I do not pretend that I know all there is to know, and that I am some kind of enlightened being that won’t ever make another mistake. All I know is that since I experienced this peace, I want to pass it on to as many people as possible.
How did I find it? A lot of reading and meditation. Over the past 9 months I have read books by Pema Chodron, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Esther and Jerry Hicks, Ben and Rosalind Zander, Eckhart Tolle, Don Miguel Ruiz, Viktor Frankl, Garth Stein, Seth Godin and Carlos Castaneda. I know there are many other excellent authors that I haven’t read, and there are a lot of people who don’t need to read a ton of books to find peace in their lives. I just put these names here in case anybody that reads this is looking for a roadmap. And if you have an author you’d like recommend, that would be awesome.