Sunday, October 30, 2016

Tulum Reflections




Today I swam into the ocean, going further out than I ever have before. I used to be afraid of the water, afraid of the waves, afraid of being at the mercy of a force so much greater than my own strength. Previously I refused to get in the deep water unless I had a companion to cling to. But today I was at ease. The water was warm and clear, and I let myself drift out beyond the breakers. I made sure to periodically check if I was being dragged further out to sea or if there was a lateral riptide, using a large rock outcropping and the distant view of our beachfront hotel as landmarks. To my relief I seemed to have found a spot without a strong current and I stayed more or less stationary. I felt calm, treading water and occasionally submerging my head under the swells. With each dive I would invent a mantra: This is for letting go of the past. This is for embracing the future. This is for being in the present moment. This is for all the loss I have endured. This is for all the love that is yet to come.

I am in Tulum, Mexico right now. I came here with a group of women that I know from Hipline, the dance studio I go to in Oakland. We are on a wellness retreat that involves dancing and strength training and journaling and relaxing. I have been on the road for about three weeks already, and this comes as a welcome opportunity to slow down and reconnect with myself. I am grateful that the format of this retreat is opt-in/opt-out, that each participant is invited to do exactly that which feels right at the moment, nothing more and nothing less. Letting go of the should's of life and instead seeking out what we want, what we need. I have been opting out a lot, foregoing dance class in favor of solitary beach walks. Relaxing in the hammock. Reading Solo Africa, an account of a filmmaker's journey across the Sahara, Sahel and Congo in the late 1980's. Observing the ocean. Drinking mezcal cocktails. Reflecting on the past three weeks I have been traveling, on this year of transition, on my life of habitually moving from one place to another.

I feel compelled to travel, if for no other reason than it brings out my very best self. The person that is aware that moments are fleeting and change is the only constant. The person that is up for spontaneous adventures and road trips and solo yolo salsa dancing under the stars. The person that says yes to what feels right and is unafraid to take risks. The person that had no regrets. The person that cliff jumps and goes skinny dipping and takes long-distance buses and makes friends in an instant over a shared smile and a familiar song.

I don't want to veer away from this path. I don't want to sacrifice this feeling of freedom and endless possibility. I am aware it is a privilege to be able to travel and be self-employed. I hope to do it justice. I hope to move forward with courage. To get in the ocean and swim beyond where it seems reasonable and realize that I am safe there, that I am at ease in the world, that everything is as it is meant to be.

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