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Ujjayi. Ocean Breath. Metered. Steady In. Steady Out. Balancing. Calming.

This is my life right now.

Peace in the simple things. I’m startled to realize that little things make me irrationally happy. Like when I make a perfectly poached egg, or I notice the taste of the espresso. I chose those eggs and boiled the water and tipped them into the swirl and counted down the seconds. I savored the espresso and the drizzle of cream, and the smell hugged me like an old friend.

I walk for pleasure. I sit on the big bench backward facing the Irish Sea and have good thinks. It smells like the fresh kelp in Santa Cruz and that’s a happy place. Nonsensical questions tumble around my head like shoes in a dryer. Why are the waves are bigger today than yesterday? What causes fog?  How long have those small rocks been there?  What is that woman’s favorite vegetable? Do lambs like it when I smile?  I am my own three-year-old now.

I’m grateful for the smell of clean laundry. Having stew in the crockpot makes me feel safe.

Everything feels like self-care. Nothing feels like wasted motion or effort. People aren’t as irritating as I thought. Neither am I, now that I think about it. I kinda like me now.

Despite living on the beach for the better part of two decades I never paid attention to the tide.

Now, in this exquisite slowness, I find that I’ve been connected to it all along. My energy peaks at 1:42 pm when the tide is high and wanes at 7:18 pm when the tide recedes and tells the shore it’s time for bed, like a mum tucking her babies in tight for the night with a kiss and one last whispered, “I love you more.”

I feel that forehead kiss and my eyes grow heavy.

Music is my constant companion. Some songs inspire smiles. And some bring tears. Deliberately, I use music as a form of meditation, letting it wash over me and allowing whatever feelings the notes and lyrics bring to pass without trying to defend them or change my response. I close my eyes when I get overwhelmed and breathe deep from my diaphram and whatever chakra is down there. I’ll ask Cathleen later.

Sometimes during these little spasms of memory, people’s faces fade in like the opening scene of a short vignette. I half-nod to them, like southerners and the Irish do to acknowledge their presence, but also avoid conversation. We pass each other in silence and with appropriate social distancing.

Sometimes I hear memories. Harsh words from old arguments with no winners, or at least none that I can remember now. I’ll see my angry frustrated face trying to just. make. them. understand. what. I. am. telling. them.

…and I brush that memory gently with my hand, swiping left and watching it dissipate like my beloved heavy cream into a fresh espresso. That’s enough of that. There’s no room in this life for those big emotions. Take the lessons forward, but not the chaos.


Grace, lovely girl. You did the best you could.

I have nothing but time now.

But then again, I always did.

I once wrote about the collective peace and connectedness I felt on Ash Wednesday. Stepping on creaky boards alone in a quiet church in the early morning was holy. And the magnitude of being connected to something as big as the billions of people that also marked that sacred day made my breath hitch. I was connected by a thread of faith to great historical figures. And also to people like myself that lived a very small life.

Today I feel something akin to deja vu with that moment. Then, I marveled at the mystery and magic of shared prayers whispered in tandem by brothers and sisters of faith on that day and stretching back millennia.

Now, I marvel at the shared experience of the whole world as we share collective prayers rooted in common hope rather than religion. Our faith is in one another to do the right things to protect each other. We share a common foe, and we are all experiencing fear and trauma in varying degrees.

I have no answers. No one does, really. The world makes no sense. The future is terrifying.

And yet.

I have no control over anything except how I respond.

Back to center.

Ujjayi. Ocean Breath. Metered. Steady In. Steady Out. Balancing. Calming.

This is my life now.