Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Shed Your Skin

Dolphins shed their skin every two hours.  They do this to remain fast and uncatchable. Newer skin is silky, smooth, it feels firm but gel-like and glides their aqua-dynamic body through the water efficiently like a torpedo.  I know this because I touched a dolphin in Puerto Vallarta and the trivia was shared with us by our guide on the encounter.  Of course, the thrill came mostly from the magic it spun on my daughter who says that it and the monkeys who pranced on her head and jumped into her arms were highlights of our trip.

Like a dolphin, I shed my skin in Puerto Vallarta.  Like my kids, it is a magical experience.  It is renewal.  Now that I’m home, I’m strategizing how to achieve rejuvenation with dolphin-like frequency.  Every day I wake up, I have an opportunity to renew myself.  I know this, but don’t practice it.  However, I achieve reflective and permanent transformation when I travel.  

Travel leaves all the personal and emotional debris floating at home.  Without the garbage and confronted by a new context, I can see clearly; my values, my goals, my kids and family come into sharp focus.   I’m not complaining.  I love life in Seattle.  But work, kids, routines, the constant planning and projecting and the grey Seattle winter can combine to push me down like a weight if I’m not careful to seek balance.  I need space to forget and reflect, reconnect, remember where I came from and how I got here.  I need to blow it off it me spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically and allow myself room to reimagine me. 

And I love Mexico.  It feels like a written prayer when I see the words.  I love Mexico beyond the beach, margaritas, the pools, hammocks and tourist traps but I confess I even love them.  I love the vendors on the beaches who fuel my idleness by bringing the shops to me.  I love the grinning men, shouting Spanish insults and puffing up their bellies at each other as the wrinkles spread around their eyes and over their ruby cheeks.  I love the way the women move, quick, surefooted and easily distracted by a belly laugh. I love the people’s curiosity and kindness as they gaze at my blond daughter in wonder as she rattles off a sentence in Spanish.  I love the salsa, spicy and fresh, guacamole from the sweetest avocados and grilled camarones and mahi-mahi, fresh and local.  I love the way the people break into song on a whim and merengue move only needs a heartbeat and a smile to commence.  

This isn’t Seattle’s spirit.  It is a refreshing, spontaneous, joyful and caring reminder.  It is a blessed counterweight. 

This vacation was pure all-inclusive resort heaven.  It was full of sweet, idle moments and indulgence.  We succumbed to nothing but succumbing.  

It was endless summer heat and the breezes picking up salty Pacific scents and throwing them across the sand.  It was small hands building, burying, digging, splashing,  eating, molding, reimagining, creating new worlds and entering new ones.    It was macaws,  egrets, pelicans, dolphins, sea lions, fish, monkeys, crabs, clams, donkeys, tarantulas,  beetles, ducks, and tigers (yes, tigers).  The butterflies playfully flashed a treasure of iridescence; emerald, crimson, saffron, aquamarine, amber.  The scattering of coconut, banana, and papaya trees were street side offerings for a self-picked breakfast.  Live mariachi reconnected me with fond memories.  My kids tested their Spanish and won friends.     

I have returned more complete than when I left.  I love my family more lightly.  I offer inspired work. Blugh and I are strengthened.  My children have new wonders and memories unseen in Seattle. 

Gratitude.  Love.  Life.  Amazement.    Everyone must shed their skin.