Funny timing for this post, (which I wrote last Thursday and meant to post before the weekend!) because Friday, we actually headed back up to the bay area for another weekend workshop (this time for me!)
Mark posted before about our little getaway, but this was such a great trip that it deserves two posts, and more photos of course.
Sooooooo one lovely, albeit slightly rushed, Thursday morning, we headed up north in our shiny charcoal colored Corolla. A quick stop at Trader Joe’s to stock up on some Vegan, Gluten-free, Soy-free, Sugar-free snackables and mini meals (no easy feat, even at a relatively health conscious store), in case restauranting was limited up there… and we were off! Although Mason has developed a new immediate dislike for being restrained into a car seat, that I’m certain begin during this trip, he did pretty well on the four hour drive up to Santa Cruz. This is where we stayed our first night, to break up the drive a bit.
Santa Cruz is a place that had instant ties into my heartstrings. Not because I have any personal or emotional connection to it. I think I’ve only been once before. But the town has this wonderfully relaxed, slightly urban, salt streaked, bohemian flavor to it that just makes me feel at home. It doesn’t hurt that the main drag near our hotel, Pacific Ave, was a lot like Santa Barbara’s State street, although somehow less pretentious. (Perhaps the lack of Juicy Couture’s and Coach stores)
Like Mark mentioned a couple weeks ago, Santa Cruz is also where we found Cafe Gratitude, a delicious vegan restaurant who’s menu was also half RAW. Music to my restricted palate. What an amazing treat to dine (for dinner and lunch the next day might I add) at a place where I could order almost anything off the menu! (There was a veggie burger on a whole wheat bun that was out of my gluten free league) Even though I’m a huge fan of the comforting warmth of cooked food. I ordered raw both times I was there! I felt a little silly ordering with the names of their dishes… “I am hearty” and “I am elated”… which probably says more about me than I wish to dissect right now… so I just asked for the raw pizza one night, and the raw enchilada the next day. YUM! I ordered their cookbook off amazon within a week of returning home 😉
At the risk of this becoming a novel… the real purpose for the recap on this trip is this…
Once we got to Half Moon Bay, Mark had to go into the conference almost immediately, and spent long hours of the day there, sometimes through dinner. Our hotel was gorgeous. Like a studio apartment, with kitchenette, sitting area, fireplace and a small outside patio… right on the beach. It was a fantastic, airy, fresh place to spend the days. And the days alternated warm and sunny and cool and foggy.
There’s something about vacations that can reset your pace. Even if they’re just a few days. It’s the removal from the normal routine of life. Distance from everyday crutches, positions, habits. Although we brought a laptop with us, I felt silly using it when the beach was right outside our door. So we took long walks at sunset, or in the morning mist, the baby and I, while Mark was in the conference. We played, I flew Mason around the room on his stomach, sang to him as we danced around on the patio, set him on his stomach and he stuffed my books into his mouth. And when he napped… I paused. And considered what I wanted to do next with my time. I had brought some knitting, a couple books, and a journal. I ate when I felt hungry, I made some tea when I wanted comfort, I sat in front of the fireplace when I wanted to still my mind. I had an informational book about baby’s brains for when I felt like learning, and I had a novel for when I felt like being told a story. And I even watched a couple tv shows, but only when I checked in with myself first. I did so little out of reflex, or habit… that I realized how often my days just disappear, leaving me frustrated by the end of them, because the hours were filled with activity, but I did very little that I actually felt was nourishing, or productive in the way that I wanted to be.
Of course we squeezed in some time with bay area friends, and managed to grab some meals as a family of three, too. And while Mason didn’t enjoy the long car rides very much, they gave Mark and I a long awaited time to just talk. And we talked and talked and talked. The conference gave Mark some food for thought on his career and it’s direction and his long term goals… and his thoughts on that spurred on my talking about potential long term career goals of my own. Long term anything talk tends to turn into future moving possibilities as well… so our car ride home Monday night was filled with lots of musing and dreaming out loud about plans for the future and appreciations for the present.
So this trip… I think it gave all of us a chance to reset. I definitely become more aware of my approach to the days and slow myself down just enough to make sure I was headed in an intentional direction before I took off. To remember that word I chose for this year, Attention, and apply it, not just to those special fleeting moments that I want to treasure, but to all of the moments in my day. In paying attention… to how I’m feeling, how Mason’s feeling, how Mark’s feeling by the end of the day, and what we all need at varying points… those special moments happen far more often. Because life isn’t just occuring without my participation.
And who doesn’t want to be an active participant in every day of their own life?!