In Between

In Between

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

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.

Photographer, filmmaker, journalist, adventurer. I'm somewhere, maybe Flagstaff, AZ.

6 comments on this post

  1. clay lowe (@soulcruzer)

    says:
    November 20, 2013

    Nicely put. I’ve been in this same space lately and just today, I was randomly browsing in the bookstore while waiting for my train home and I stumbled The Rough gUide to Mindfulness and you’re blogpost echoes the same sentiment that I read on the train ride, be aware and appreciate the moment you are now, let go of the past and the future and be here NOW. Thanks Eric.

    Reply
  2. Eric Hanson

    says:
    November 20, 2013

    Thanks Clay,
    For a hearty soul like yourself, I believe its possible to both strive for those mountains, and be content with each step of the climb as well.

    Reply
  3. kathy

    says:
    November 21, 2013

    The quiet pleasure of being content, saying thank you, appreciating the moment, right here in the middle of life… Why don’t we do that more often? It’s what we were made for.
    Well said

    Reply
  4. Samantha Livingston

    says:
    November 21, 2013

    Eric, I haven’t previously run across you and I loved this. Simply drank it in on a day filled with caring for a sick son as well as a sick dog who’s being put to sleep today. The quietness of serving, caring and noticing are not so natural to me and, yet, there is safety here in the lounging and resting–even in the face of death today. Your words echo my thought that my being present in both the peace and the harshness of these moments helps me fully experience them and will help my family properly heal from them too. Thanks for the reminder that I need to get Jeff’s new book. 🙂

    Reply
    • Eric Hanson

      says:
      November 21, 2013

      Thanks Samantha,
      I’m glad this spoke to you. It sounds like a difficult day. And finding peace in the midst of that is beautiful.

      Reply
    • kathy

      says:
      December 4, 2013

      What an insight, Samantha, that being present in both the peace and the harshness of that day helps both you and your family to heal. That is a very wise and moving thought for me to consider.

      Reply

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