I’m having one of those deep mornings. The kind where all I’ve been doing is sitting by my fireplace, wrapped in a blanket, going back and forth between reading and thinking. I’m reading Jeff Goins latest book, The In-Between, and all I can say is that it is resonating with me. It’s a quiet, simple book. But it’s beautiful. It’s like sitting in a meadow, watching the leaves on an aspen tree shake in the breeze.
The book has me thinking about all sorts of things. It has stirred the desire to travel again and got me inspired to write more. But more importantly, the book is resetting my contentment. And, halfway through the book (in the middle as it would have it), I think that sense of contentment, peace, and appreciation, is really what the book is about.
photo courtesy of hlkljgk at Creative Commons
I work a funky schedule; eight days on, six days off. I work eight days straight, backpacking in the wilderness with young adults. Then I’m back in the front country for six days, where I continue to work more as a writer and photographer. I love the schedule, but I often feel like it’s never enough as I struggle to cram everything in. In my pursuit of writing as a way of life, I never seem to blog enough, to make enough progress on my novel, to connect with enough people through social media who may or may not care about what I write.
It’s frustrating, bouncing between two lives. In one life, I am engulfed in the wilderness, cut off from everything but the elements as they surround me. The only things that matter are keeping the kids safe, keeping my sanity, and eating a hot meal by the fire. And in the other, I am continually striving, clawing at this slippery climb towards my goals and my dreams and feeling like I’m just not getting there fast enough.
And then, on a day like today, I am reminded of the quiet pleasure of simply being content, breathing slowly and drinking in my surroundings. Of saying thank you and appreciating the moment, right here in the middle of life.
It won’t ever be good enough, I won’t be satisfied if I’m always looking to the next thing. If I keep looking at the horizon, checking my watch and complaining that its not getting here fast enough.
I am reminded to be thankful, right here on this slow morning. I can appreciate the quietness of life. I can appreciate this moment as I sit by the fire in my pajamas. Tomorrow I head into the wilderness for a long week of cold weather. And if I choose, I can appreciate that too. I can appreciate the blustery winter weather and be thankful for my tarp shelter, my puffy jacket, and my sleeping bag as they keep me warm, and keep me alive. I can choose to appreciate the simplicity, and even the harshness, of life in the wilderness.
Sometimes life is simple, sometimes harsh, sometimes quiet, and sometimes wild. And in between all that is where we find ourselves daily. And in the middle of all that, I thank Jeff for the reminder to embrace it.