I chose the name for this blog, Minding the Gaps, as it stood for several things in my upcoming journey.
- It was a traveling metaphor for anyone who’s ever been on the London Tube. Each time the doors open a recorded voice says “mind the gaps” to keep you from tripping. You cannot go travel around London without this message being seared into your memory. Travel creates such wonderful shared memories and this is one for me.
- I was taking my long overdue “Gap Year” originally planned for 1981 with my college roommate. I ended up living life first. Marriage, children, career, divorce, marriage, children, career, divorce and grandchildren all came first. I honestly don’t regret the deferred dreams–but Langston Hughes was right, “a dream deferred is like a raisin in the sun” https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46548/harlem but what happens is up to us.
- Mindfulness. Minding the gap of time I”m taking away from family, community and work is an exercise in mindfulness. Yes, it is trendy, but for good reason. I knew that taking a year out of my life, away from the demands of a career, from the comfort of community and the security of family would be a big step in mindfulness. For the first time in my adult life, I would have time for reflection.
All of this has been a journey. There have been moments of great joy and fleeting despair. Meeting new friends around the world and the country–and complete loneliness. It has provided an opportunity for deep spiritual growth.
I’m in my seventh month now. And like any period of gestation, I’m getting anxious for the ending. To leave the discomfort of the unknown. Sometimes I’m so homesick and I realize I don’t know where home is. Then, This morning I pulled a meditation card that gave me a lot to think about:
No Place Like Home
Home feels safe and secure; it’s a comfortable place to rest and create, a place that is known and you can call yours. This card signals that your ability to trust yourself and feel at home in your own skin is beginning to solidify as you claim your dignity and integrity, aspects of yourself no one can take away from you. You know who you are. You hold your head high—yet with neither pride nor humility. Instead, you stand as the observer, seeing through the eyes of your soul. This puts you in a position of power and strength. Authenticity is your home. You are safe here, in the house of your spirit and Spirit.
Being mindful of this is one of the most difficult lessons for me to master–and I suspect I am not alone. But I am blessed to have the time, space and resources to reflect and integrate this lesson. With five more months to go and more questions than answers, I remind myself what a gift this is and the only way to truly appreciate it is to be mindful of it–no matter how difficult it is.
And, although I no longer own a home, I’ll always have a home as long as I have family and friends. It’s all about the journey, not the destination.