I spent last Wednesday to Sunday on vacation in Tofino with my family – mom, dad & sister. We decided that this year, instead of giving one another gifts at Christmas, we would take a vacation together, giving one another the gift of our time, the gift of shared memories. It was a really fantastic time. We stayed in a little log cabin on edge of the the shore of a sheltered cove. We listened to crashing waves, pattering rain, and our own crackling fire in the big stone fireplace.
Winter on the Pacific Coast is a fantastic display of the raw beauty of this rugged place. The fiercely huge waves and driving wind were vivid reminders of how powerful the natural world can be. Water was the dominating feature of every landscape we saw, from the majestic snowy mountains we climbed through to get to Tofino, to the rushing waterfalls at the feet of those mountains, to the ever-present drizzle or drive of rain, and then that breathtaking ocean as the culmination of this captivating world of watery chaos. I was overcome with awe and humility at the mirror-like beach of water-covered sand, at the huge waves, at the speed and unpredictability of the water as the ocean poured in closer and closer, reminding us of who/what was really in control of things as we explored the beach.
The most unexpected part of the journey was that I really didn’t know that it would be so difficult to relax. It actually took me a couple of days to really settle into relaxing. Perhaps if I’d left my computer at home, not brought any crochet projects, and abandoned all books, I might have relaxed more quickly. My biggest lesson in relaxation came when I had a massage on Friday afternoon.
During the massage I found it was very hard to completely let go of my body, let go of control. I’ve been learning lately about letting go in my mind, about allowing everything to be as it is, I have learned that one can’t actually actively “do” this, because it isn’t really a “doing”, it’s more of a “being”. And yet when it came to letting go physically, I somehow forgot everything I’d learned and tried to actively work on relaxing and letting go. My mind did a fantastic job – when I needed something to help with letting go, I sent it out to float in a bed of kelp in the deep dark green harbour across the street from the spa. But my body just could not figure out how to release control. This is something I’d like to learn more about.
I think the best I did at just allowing things to be as they were physically was the next day at Long Beach running down the beach in the cold wind, allowing the hail to pelt me, madly exploring through little trails atop a big cliff, not knowing where the edge was or where I was, drinking in the beauty around me, becoming so acutely sensitive to the particular place I was in, that every sense was heightened and every sensation magnified – like the faint but intense heat of the sun I felt as it broke through the clouds (like in the picture above). It’s like being next to a lover in that moment of intense arousal when each breath from their mouth blows across your body like a wind and each touch is like a thousand fingers lovingly kneading your flesh. So the wind runs its fingers through my hair and the leaves caress my hands, my fingers massage the damp moss and my lips gently kiss the rain. And in that moment I finally let go…