The sea is a literary being. It’s waves finger the sand with hieroglyphs and symbols leaving a puzzle of stories. We have slight moments to code-cipher that which we can’t know with any sense but the heart.
I live for family vacations. Time with my family is life-giving and I love getting to know my kids 24/7. This time I watched as my son flourished in the pool and kicked his swimming skills up another notch. My daughter continually warms us with her love of nature and animals, she explores both thoroughly.
I love Costa Rica too. It is a magical place. It slows me down to the rhythm of my heartbeat and I settle into the slow pulse of the blood in my veins. A wonderful slow dance.
It was hot in Playa Potrero but we had a pool, great whole food, awesome tropical fruit, met some wonderful people and enjoyed some beautiful beaches nearby. We didn’t move fast on this vacation, some mini-golf and horseback riding for the kids and pure relaxation for everyone.
I’ve been back since last Monday. The journey home was tough: delayed departures, delayed arrivals, missed connections, lost baggage, taxi drivers that wouldn’t take our fare at 2 am and a 3 hour drive home from Portland in a rental car for lack of better alternatives.
Seattle has a different speed that I find difficult to adjust to. I’ve felt a little down and lack energy from plane rides, a stressful return and change in weather and food.
Here, I’m being pushed forward at life speed. Things move differently here.
But I’m grateful. Seattle has given me much to report and prepare for! Aside from having a commission already lined up upon my return the following happened:
News #1. I’ve been accepted into a juried art fair Art in the Park at South Lake Union on May 7th from 11-6. I’ll be posting more about this shortly.
This was awesome news already but this weekend, this happened:
News #2.The Northwest Arts Alliance has picked me as their featured artist for May! Yes, I’ll be featured in their May newsletter and in marketing for the South Lake Union Art Walk coming up on May 7th. Already, this site is getting a lot more hits on my gallery and shop, thanks to a preliminary post on their site. What will this bring? The news was entirely unexpected.
It is bittersweet, but for now I bid Costa Rica goodbye to don my many work hats. I’ve got a lot to accomplish in a week and a half.
Healing is its own process, not controlled, but guided -like tending to a garden. Healing needs a lot of good things and not too much of any of it; nutrition, exercise, happiness, water, sleep, good company and relaxation. It is organic, non-linear with great days and not so good days while new limits and abilities are discovered. It isn’t a one-way proposition like building with legos or molding with play dough. It is a partnership and dance with the body even when the body feels like a traitor. But this traitor desperately needs love. It is difficult to love a traitor. Traitors make things personal. Traitors make you want to turn your back too. Traitors can make you feel bitter.
I had high expectations for healing when I left on this vacation. I expected this vacation to force my healing into submission. I expected to return a different person than the one that arrived two weeks earlier.
Fall has been difficult. Recovery from my herniated disc has been good, but slow. And as my leg got stronger, my allergies went out of control. My eczema on my hands and face started to spread. My eye even swelled up and broke out and for weeks it wouldn’t go away. I suspect the combination of the cortisone shot, less exercise, sudden change in weather and stress. I was uncomfortable to sit in any room in the house. My face hurt, my hands hurt, I didn’t like sleeping for fear I’d wake up and my eye would be swollen shut. Creams didn’t work. Drugs didn’t work much. It felt like a downward spiral and I could not bounce back.
I needed sun and fresh air. I needed to get away from dust, pollen, harsh cold air. I needed to rebalance my immune system. I needed a vacation. The vacation would fix everything.
I arrived and the rash on my hands were burning so badly I soaked them with a wash cloth. It hurt to be in the pool and my face stung from the chlorine. My leg went numb as an aftershock to long hours of sitting on an airplane. It seemed it all got worse instead of better.
But then it got even worse. I got sick; a killer sore throat and fatigue. My husband included a fever in his version. Our son a hacking, croaking cough. This was followed by a brief bout with Montezuma’s revenge on day 5. Then some other irritants; ingrown hairs, break outs, cracked lips and chafed, bleeding skin. Coupled with the ever present expectation that this vacation was supposed to be about healing, I felt like I was being torn down completely.
It reminded me of remodeling our house. It always got worse before the project got better. Walls are knocked down, drywall explodes, dust flies, beams are exposed, wires everywhere and the mess spreads from the room to the streets. And then the rebuilding begins, and a turning point as it all comes back together, lighter, composed, beautified and a new home from the old.
And slowly, it did turn. My hands completely healed and the eczema receded. The numbness in my foot disappeared. My first run on the beach felt like heaven. By the end of the second week, I realized that my leg felt strong (not just pain-free) though occasionally numb still. My back felt stable to the point that lifting some light weights, including by kids, didn’t feel risky. My husband and I salsa danced! Progress emerged and it surprised me.
I’m not a perfectly done project. 2 weeks isn’t long enough to heal my back, I’ve got another 6 months to go they tell me. And I’ve got a lingering rash on my eye that is actually getting better at home. My comfort level as I write is so much healthier than when I left.
And here is something new for me; vacations are about healing. I love to travel and have many vacations and adventures under my belt. And upon reflection, there was always an element of healing in each one. I return and I feel stronger.
Which means, away or at home, we are always in some state of healing? I’m thinking a lot about this and how much of my art work reflects on healing, even in the prayers we cast.