It seems impossible for me to publish posts on a regular basis. So in the hope that confession is good for the soul, I will confess that I have neglected this blog for the last few months as I’ve scurried around in a flurry of work, firm administration, business development, and making plans for my wedding.
That’s right–my wedding. I’m hoping that the fact I got married last week might buy some good will with you readers, and possibly provide a small explanation as to why I have done such a poor job keeping up with my blog posts.
Given the nature of this blog, I’ll spare you the details of the wedding. Suffice it to say it was a pretty magical event, on top of a fog enshrouded mountain in North Carolina. The day after the wedding we drove back to Charleston and caught a flight to Panama. And I write this on the porch of a bright yellow house that is built, literally, over a bay at the edge of the Caribbean. The house is on the western side of the Isla Colon in the Boca del Toro province. We’re spending the week exploring pristine beaches, snorkeling among coral reefs, hiking through the jungle, enjoying remarkable meals, and indulging in long stretches of reading and relaxing in between.
Where we’re staying is pretty remote. The electricity is generated by a couple of solar panels, and the only water available is collected rain water. There’s no hot water to speak of. No air conditioning. The bugs are bad. And this week there’s not much of a breeze, making it pretty hard to sleep. Not exactly Sandals Resort. I suppose it’s a bit rough for a honeymoon, but the good news is Katie has always had a healthy sense of adventure.
What is remarkable is that the lack of creature comforts has not diminished, in any respect, the wonder of this place and the magic of this experience. And what is particularly striking (and intoxicating) is how different the pace of life is here compared to our respective work worlds. In a place like this you are forced to slow down and relax into a totally different way of being in the world. There are no schedules here. You don’t make plans. You have to be o.k. with long stretches of doing nothing.
I’m not sure I’ve fully appreciated until now how deeply the desire for structure, order and predictability permeates my life. I guess it’s understandable, as those seem to be necessary components of life as a lawyer. But only when you’re away from that intense pace, and the “living to work” world, can you begin to appreciate how toxic that pace can be.
What I’m remembering after a few days here is that there truly is another way to be in the world–to engage in your day without any attachment to things going a certain way or working out just as you have planned them. I’m remembering that there is a way to live with a certain openness to life…trusting that whatever happens, things will be o.k.
Living in this way, the small breeze from the west becomes a great gift. The lobster the owners prepare for our dinner (freshly caught that day) becomes a celebration. The water taxi driver, waiting for us in the dark after a remarkable meal on Bastimentos Island, becomes a gesture of kindness. The Queen Angel Fish swimming among the coral, the Leopard Ray gliding through the water off the front porch, the white-faced monkeys crawling out of the jungle on the trail in front of us—these are all pure grace.
They are gifts. And known as such, only in so far as I can let go of expectations and my desire for a totally predictable world.